From a Psychiatrists Shelf April 2022 (Volume 1/Number 1)

Penal Convicts in Chekhov’s Russia


This opening number is where From a Psychiatrist’s Shelf sets out its stall. Though we the curators intend to arrange future numbers along thematic lines, in this number we introduce a range of subjects to our readers. There is a range of source materials namely two short stories, a play and a children’s book. Each one of these is a work of literature in its own right with its author’s intentions in the foreground at every reading. With a psychiatrist’s eye and ear however, we have also found in the narratives examples of the development of symptoms and the emergence of diagnoses, the family response to this development, the psychiatrist’s relationship with a patient and finally the effects of early childhood neglect. The inclusion of two Chekhov stories is not surprising as he was a practicing clinician in late 19th century Russia. More surprising perhaps is the less well-known play by Calderon de la Barca, who with masterful insight, describes the onset of delusional jealousy in a 17th century nobleman in Spain. ‘Not Now, Bernard’ is a classic children’s book which has dark humour which seems to warn parents: ‘Listen to your child!’

Please also check out our July 2022 number which we hope to dedicate to Women and Mental Health

The Curators

From a Psychiatrist’s Shelf is a quarterly web-based magazine on about world literature and how it can contribute to professional and personal development of psychiatrists. It is written by psychiatrists for psychiatrists and other mental health professionals, as we believe that the reflective attitude of mental health professionals , about the what, the how and the why in psychiatry and psychology, is a unique perspective on literature. Literature can with its potency of well-chosen words and plot, lay down a strong trace in one’s mind and memory, a trace that can be recalled with ease in future and thus contribute to professional development



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From a Psychiatrist's Shelf

From a Psychiatrist's Shelf

Three UK-based psychiatrists Wico, Emily and Caroline curate this blog that explores the common ground of psychiatry and literature & film.