Susan Hill: The Bird of Night

(316 words)
  • Gina Wisker (University of Brighton)

In the Gothic The Bird of Night the schizophrenic writer, Francis’ diaries, letters and life story are contained within the narrative voice and control of the academic, Harvey, who writes about him. The novel explores the childhood causes of Francis’ madness, guilt over his desire to kill his cruel brother, and his adult state of schizophrenia which leads to decisions about suicide. In its investigations of the journey through schizophrenia, Hill’s novel resembles others of the 1960s and 70s, including Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar , and Doris Lessing’s Briefing for a Descent into Hell . Creativity, and in Francis’ case the production of a long poem, seems to be close to instability if not madness, a…

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Wisker, Gina. "The Bird of Night". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 28 March 2001
[, accessed 28 September 2016.]