Metaphors of Mental Illness in Graphic Medicine  book cover
1st Edition

Metaphors of Mental Illness in Graphic Medicine

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after October 25, 2021
ISBN 9781032102092
October 25, 2021 Forthcoming by Routledge
160 Pages 15 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This book investigates how graphic medicine enables sufferers of mental illness to visualize the intricacies of their internal mindscape through visual metaphors and reclaim their voice amidst stereotyped and prejudiced assumptions of mental illness as a disease of deviance and violence.

In this context, by using Lakoff and Johnson’s conceptual metaphor theory (CMT), this study uncovers the broad spectrum of the mentally ills’ experiences, a relatively undertheorised area in medical humanities. The aim is to demonstrate that the mentally ill are often represented as either grotesquely exaggerated or overly romanticised across diverse media and biomedical discourses. Further, they have been disparaged as emotionally drained and unreasonable individuals, incapable of active social engagements and against the healthy/sane society.

The study aims to unsettle the sanity/insanity binary and its related patterns of fixed categories of normal/abnormal, which depersonalise the mentally ill by critically analysing seven graphic narratives on mental illness.

Table of Contents


1 Drawing Illness: History, Theory, and the Development of Graphic Medicine

2 The Function of Metaphors in Retelling Stories of Illness

3 Mental Illness and the Politics of Representation

4 Nobody Memoirs as Counter-Discourse: Bipolar Disorder and its Metaphors

5 Visual Metaphors of OCD and Schizophrenia

6 Visualizing Fragmented Selves: Conventional and Creative Metaphors of Depression


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Dr. Sweetha Saji is Assistant Professor of English in the Department of English at Mount Carmel College, Bengaluru. Her research concentrates on Graphic Medicine and Medical Humanities. She has published over ten research articles in SCI and Scopus indexed journals. She is an ad-hoc reviewer for Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics (Taylor & Francis) and BMJ Journal of Medical Humanities (Springer). She is a rank holder for graduate and post graduate degrees in English Language and Literature from Mahatma Gandhi University, Kerala.

Dr. Sathyaraj Venkatesan is Associate Professor of English in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at the National Institute of Technology, Trichy (India). He is the author of six books and over ninety research publications that span African American literature, Health Humanities, Graphic Medicine, Film studies, and other literary and culture studies disciplines. He is most recently the co-author of Infertility Comics and Graphic Medicine (New York/London: Routledge, 2021) and India Retold (New York: Bloomsbury, 2021).