Women appear in literature, on the edges of rationality, focus and perseverance of human life-force. It is men who go out and conquer the world; it is men who brood over the edicts of God; it is men who go forth into ordeals of the world. Women are, on the other hand, creatures of affliction – tender in their handlings, unsteady, lacking in fortitude, defined by a certain whimsicalness of spirit. Ophelia, the weakhearted. Or the devious, conniving Lady Macbeth. The level-headed Elizabeth Bennett is reasonable and attractive in her manly perspective. Women’s passion is tempered by society to harness the maternal body. Little is known socially about the wisdom of such ‘passionate’ women – their view of the world that sees them with suspicion, their view of the men that shun them, their sense of what is at the core of being in the world of their time.
I am trying to draw out a picture of the world internal to and as seen from the point of view of female madness, not only as it challenges dominant theories of subjectivity and reason, but also as it illuminates the world of shades that are not perceptible outside of madness. Madness, thus, for me, is a find infra-reason. What are the terms of madness' internal reason? What are the repercussions of this reason upon the world - the world coded in masculine terms? Madness is claim to sovereignty? Is madness an internal euphoria? Is it a register of wisdom? These questions stem from different experiences and readings of the world - as the US toys with the idea of another war - the reason of madness seems like a place of refuge. This infra-reason that picks wounds endlessly, and will not let the world simply move on from catastrophe to the next.