«pl.it / rassegna italiana di argomenti polacchi», 12, 2021, pp. 17-38

Urszula Kowalczuk

University of Warsaw / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

“Niewiadomość [...] nie jest obłędem”. O listach Marii Komornickiej do matki

“Unconsciousness [...] is not a madness”. On Maria Komornicka’s letters to her mother

ABSTRACT. This paper focuses on the letters (starting in 1907) that Maria Komornicka addressed to her mother, written from the psychiatric and mental institutions where she was confined. Notably, in these writings the first- person voice is a male subject. The important experience which this epistolary reflects is the rejection of the mental illness as a social construction which can define the author’s identity. The present article examines the narrative self, self-modalities and identity, and how the author writes the self to refuse and fight against the imposed, attributed disease. Among the key themes which will be explored are: an epistolary record documenting the conditions and contexts of the author’s opposition to clinical isolation, misunderstanding and uncertainty as essential components of anti-diagnostic discourse, linguistic strategies to invalidate the practices of exclusion and medicalization, and creativity and healing through letter-writing.

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