Written in nine chapters separated into three blocks, Narcís Oller's The Madness is one of the first literary pieces of work to aim to truly analyze the social and genetic causes and results of mental illness. Told through the eyes of an anonymous “narrator" character, The Madness tells the story of a young revolutionary called Daniel Serrallonga and his gradual deterioration into madness and delusion. Set against the backdrop of the political crisis that ripped Spain apart in the mid to late 19th century and laid the foundations of the Spanish Civil War, The Madness is a fascinating study of mental health within both rural and urban Catalan society.
As relevant and entertaining now as it was when it was first published, this lively translation brings this fantastic piece of literature to new, modern audiences while drawing parallels with some of the 19th century's greatest English language writers such as Charles Dickens and Thomas Hardy.
“The Madness is no dense, nineteenth-century tract. Rather, it’s lively and witty: a tragedy, but written in a light, sometimes comic key.”—Michael Eaude, Catalonia Today
“Sharply translated by Douglas Suttle, who has smoothly adopted a rather dated language and renders Oller’s original text into subtle, flowing prose, The Madness is a politically, historically and socially significant novel that suggests Fum d’Estampa Press has a lot more to say.”—Eleanor Updegraff, www.shinynewbooks.co.uk
“This book is definitely a small gem. It mixes the humorous and serious very well, gives us an excellent view of late nineteenth century Catalonia and shows a healthy disrespect for authority, at least authority in late nineteenth century Spain.”—The Modern Novel
“The Madness is a journey into the mind of a man losing his grip on reality, it’s a psychological portrait that reflects on the lack of understanding of mental health by his contemporaries but it’s also an exploration of new ideas of psycho-analysis and positivism.”—Paul Burke, NB Magazine