Work continues at the University of Oklahoma Press
La CastaƱeda Insane Asylum
Narratives of Pain in Modern Mexico
$29.95 Paperback

La Castañeda Insane Asylum is the first inside view of the workings of La Castañeda General Insane Asylum—a public mental health institution founded in Mexico City in 1910 only months before the outbreak of the Mexican Revolution. It links life within the asylum’s walls to the radical transformations brought about as Mexico entered the Revolution’s armed phase and then endured under succeeding modernizing regimes.

Author Cristina Rivera Garza brings the history of La Castañeda asylum to life as inmates, doctors, relatives, and others engage in dialogues on insanity. They discuss faith, sex, poverty, loss, resentment, envy, love, and politics. Doctors translated what they heard into the emerging language of psychiatry, while inmates conveyed their personal experiences and private histories through expressions of mental suffering. The language of pain—physical and spiritual, mild to excruciating—allowed patients to detail the sources and consequences of their misfortune.

Available now for the first time in English, this edition contains updated sources and features a note by the translator, Laura Kanost.

About The Author
Cristina Rivera Garza is the award-winning author of six novels, three collections of short stories, five collections of poetry, and three nonfiction books. Originally written in Spanish, these works have been translated into multiple languages. She is Distinguished Professor of Hispanic Studies and Director of the Creative Writing Program at the University of Houston.
Laura Kanost is Professor of Spanish in the Department of Modern Languages at Kansas State University. She is the coauthor of Latin American Women and the Literature of Madness: Narratives at the Crossroads of Gender, Politics, and the Mind.

Reviews & Praise
“The author not only takes us inside the complexities of the asylum and its social context but also gives a present identity to individuals who were never able to have it in the past, making them unforgettable for the reader.”---Claudia Guillén in Revista de la Universidad de México

Book Information
10 b&w illus.
280 Pages
Paperback 978-0-8061-6723-7
Published January 2021
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