R. D. Laing: Wisdom, Madness and Folly

(1688 words)
  • Daniel Burston (Duquesne University)
  • Gavin Miller (University of Glasgow)

In some ways, R.D. Laing's autobiography is a curious work. Laing cautions readers that they will find little on his sex and family life, on his friends or social circle, or even on the scholarly background to his theories. This warning is not entirely true: there are lengthy passages on his family of origin, and frequent philosophical and psychiatric references. The text also follows a clear historical narrative, tracing the author's life from family and schooling, through to university, military service, and his early work in mental hospitals. Nonetheless, the gist of Laing's warning is accurate. Instead of writing a conventional autobiography, he uses the template of a life story to bring together the many incidents and scenes that …

Please log in to consult the article in its entirety. If you are not a subscriber, please click here to read about membership. All our articles have been written recently by experts in their field, more than 95% of them university professors.

Citation:
Burston, Daniel, Gavin Miller. "Wisdom, Madness and Folly". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 30 August 2005
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=16856, accessed 18 December 2014.]