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‘To know before hand is to freeze and kill’ Commentary on… Should psychiatrists write fiction?

  • Daniel Racey (a1)
Summary

In this article I argue that fictional accounts of mental illness should be unethically unobliged. I suggest that art is not generated with conscious ethical intent and provide evidence that art proceeding from an ethical agenda is more likely to be poor art. I also consider ways in which a writer-doctor might need to compromise what they articulate to maintain a professional ethical integrity.

Declaration of interest

None.

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Copyright
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Corresponding author
Correspondence to Daniel Racey (daniel.racey@nhs.net)
Footnotes
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See special article by Bladon.

Footnotes
References
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1 Bradbury, R. Zen and the Art of Writing and The Joy of Writing: Two Essays. Capra Press, 1973.
2 Beveridge, A. Should psychiatrists read fiction? Br J Psychiatry 2003; 182: 385–7.
3 Bladon, H. Should psychiatrists read fiction? BJPsych Bull 2017, in press.
4 Oyebode, F. Fictional narrative and psychiatry. Adv Psychiatr Treat 2004; 10(2): 140–5.
5An Interview with Will Self - Part 1, 2010 Annual London Psychiatry Trainee Conference (http://frontierpsychiatrist.co.uk/interview-with-writer-will-self-part-1/, accessed 28th June 2017).
6 Jaspers, K. General Psychopathology. Manchester University Press, 1963.
7 Wessely, S. Faulks’ guide to psychiatry. Lancet 2005; 366(9499): 1765–6.
8 Olen Butler, R. Butler and I. In Who's Writing This? Notations on the Authorial I, with Self-Portraits (ed Halpern, D). Ecco Press, 1999.
9 Bowles, P. Bowles and It. In Who's Writing This? Notations on the Authorial I, with Self-Portraits (ed Halpern, D). Ecco Press, 1999.
10 Atwood, M. Me, She, It. In Who's Writing This? Notations on the Authorial I, with Self-Portraits (ed Halpern, D). Ecco Press, 1999.
11 Hill, S. Racoons – or, Can Art Be Evil? In Strong Words: Modern Poets on Modern Poetry (eds Herbert, WN, Hollis, M). Bloodaxe Books, 2000.
12 Ou, L. Keats and Negative Capability. Bloomsbury Publishing, 2009.
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BJPsych Bulletin
  • ISSN: 2056-4694
  • EISSN: 2056-4708
  • URL: /core/journals/bjpsych-bulletin
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‘To know before hand is to freeze and kill’ Commentary on… Should psychiatrists write fiction?

  • Daniel Racey (a1)
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