R. D. Laing: The Politics of Experience and The Bird of Paradise

(2354 words)
  • Daniel Burston (Duquesne University )
  • Gavin Miller (University of Glasgow)

The Politics of Experience and The Bird of Paradise was published in 1967, and was such an astonishing success that it transformed R.D. Laing from the darling of British Left and artistic avant garde into an international icon on a par with Jean-Paul Sartre, Marshall McLuhan or Allen Ginsberg by the end of the decade. Sadly, the book's great popularity was not a measure of any lasting effectiveness. Though Laing was celebrated and reviled for this book throughout the 1970s, the substance of his ideas about interpersonal phenomenology, violence and normality, group psychology, schizophrenia, and so on, were grasped dimly, if at all, by most of his younger admirers, many of whom lacked the requisite background to fathom his …

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Burston, Daniel, Gavin Miller. "The Politics of Experience and The Bird of Paradise". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 29 August 2005
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=16851, accessed 27 May 2015.]