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Meeting The Madwoman - Linda Schierse Leonard

Paperback Published: 1st March 1994
ISBN: 9780553373189
Number Of Pages: 256

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The Madwoman is a powerful psychological and emotional energy that lives in us all—both men and women—and speaks to us all, inhabiting our dreams, our lives, our collective cultural memory. Ignored or suppressed, she becomes a force of self-destruction; acknowledged and understood, she becomes a source of creativity and power. In this remarkable and revolutionary book, Linda Schierse Leonard explores how we can overcome the inner turmoil of contemporary life—unexpressed rage, the buildup of guilt and anxiety—by harnessing this primal expression of our natural instincts.
From Medea to Ophelia to Thelma and Louise, the paradox and patterns of “madness” are as old as time. But the chain can be broken; the Madwoman within each of us can and must be freed, openly expressed, and transformed into a source of constructive, creative energy. Leonard draws upon an extraordinary range of sources—ancient myths and fairy tales, films and literature, contemporary and historical women’s lives—to design a model of empowerment for women today.
With its fresh perspectives and bold insights, Meeting the Madwoman is a provocative work of profound cultural significance, one whose ideas are sure to resonate for years to come.

Praise for Meeting the Madwoman
“A book loaded with practical insights that’s also fun to read . . . With refreshing originality, Leonard reverses some traditional perceptions.”New Woman
“A vigorous exploration . . . Throughout, Leonard writes passionately, seeing the Madwoman as an empowering symbol and the discovery process as a spiritual exercise—a kind of purification and ultimate triumph of the feminine spirit.”Kirkus Reviews

Industry Reviews

A vigorous exploration by Jungian analyst Leonard (The Wounded Woman, 1982, etc. - not reviewed) of the "Madwoman" archetype, an unsettling image whose negative energy, she suggests, must be recognized and rechanneled as a positive force. The Madwoman appears in literature, dreams, movies, and case studies, all of which Leonard contemplates in rich detail. She describes at length eight different varieties of Madwomen - the Caged Bird, the Recluse, the Muse, etc. - giving examples from literature (Charlotte Gilman's The Yellow Wallpaper), history (Alma Mahler, Rachel Carson), and her own therapy practice. In each instance, she emphasizes the need to become conscious of destructive behavior as a first step, to act for change from one's full potential and unique vision. Leonard also includes more everyday kinds of insights, commenting on the range of feelings of loss engendered by a romantic break-up, or challenging a popular stereotype (the social isolation, for instance, of the rejected single woman) with formidable contrary examples (Rachel Carson's love of solitude as a key to her productivity and strength). Throughout, Leonard writes passionately, seeing the Madwoman as an empowering symbol and the discovery process as a spiritual exercise - a kind of purification and ultimate triumph of the feminine spirit. Women Who Run With the Wolves will feel comfortable with Leonard's sense of women as nature's exiles, her use of myth and dreams for elaboration, and her validation of feminine mystery. (Kirkus Reviews)

Acknowledgementsp. xi
Introductionp. xiii
Meeting the Madwomanp. 1
Modern Masks of the Madwomanp. 3
The Madwoman in Mythologyp. 8
The Madwoman at the Movies, the Opera, and in Literaturep. 11
The Madwoman and the Judge: The Bacchantsp. 13
The Patriarchy... The Madwoman... and Feminine Spiritp. 16
The Madwoman's Paradox: Creation or Destructionp. 18
Befriending the Inner Madwomanp. 19
Mad Mothers, Mad Daughtersp. 24
The Saint (or the Too-Nice Mother)p. 26
The Ice Queenp. 34
The Cold Chain of Injury: Autumn Sonatap. 37
Daughter of an Ice Queen: Victoria's Storyp. 43
Healing the Ice Queen: A Fairy Talep. 45
"The Snow Queen": A Healingp. 46
The Dragon Ladyp. 50
The Sick Motherp. 61
Understanding the Mad Motherp. 68
The Caged Birdp. 71
Cagesp. 73
The Symbol of the Birdp. 76
The Boredom of Mrs. Bridgep. 79
Descending into Madness: The Yellow Wallpaperp. 83
Breaking the Bars Through Writing: Charlotte Perkins Gilmanp. 85
Freeing the Caged Bird: The Story of Constancep. 90
Opening the Cagep. 95
The Musep. 104
The Inner Musep. 105
The Misuse of the Musep. 106
On the Pedestal: The Madwoman as Musep. 108
The Golden Goddess: Alma Mahlerp. 113
Dark Musesp. 120
The Tragic Muse: Camille Claudelp. 122
Actualizing the Inner Muse: Celeste's Storyp. 128
Transforming the Musep. 134
The Rejected Loverp. 137
Revenge of the She-Devilsp. 140
Medeap. 143
The Tragedy of Maria Callasp. 145
From Victim to the Feminine Spirit: Barbara's Storyp. 155
Transforming the Rejected Loverp. 161
The Bag Ladyp. 166
Fears of the Bag Ladyp. 167
The Bag Lady as Inner Figurep. 169
Facing the Fear: The Story of Dianap. 172
Crazy Wisdom: Trudy the Bag Ladyp. 177
Walking Free: Peace Pilgrimp. 180
The External Dilemmap. 184
The Reclusep. 187
The Old Recluse: The Road to Meccap. 190
Honoring Nature: Rachel Carsonp. 197
Healing the Reclusep. 207
The Revolutionaryp. 211
The Conscious Revolutionary versus the Terrorist: Raising Feminine Consciousnessp. 214
Learning to Fight for Feminine Rights: Brenda's Storyp. 216
Female Solidarity: Thelma and Louisep. 223
A Conscious Revolutionary: Rosa Luxemburgp. 228
Embodying Feminine Powerp. 237
The Visionaryp. 240
The Visionary's Conflict: Personal Desires versus Transpersonal Servicep. 248
Honoring the Visionaryp. 251
Raging at God: The Sibylp. 254
Priestess of Poetry: Anna Akhmatovap. 258
Glenna's Story: Resolving the Conflictp. 269
Embodying the Visionsp. 276
Through the Madnessp. 280
Moira's Journeyp. 284
Invite Her to Lunch: The Madwoman at Your Tablep. 294
Notesp. 299
Indexp. 307
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780553373189
ISBN-10: 0553373188
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 256
Published: 1st March 1994
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 22.9 x 15.5  x 1.9
Weight (kg): 0.48
Edition Number: 1