The next few months we’ll be highlighting authors who have published in Culture, Medicine, and Psychiatry.
Katarzyna Szmigiero is a graduate of the University of Łódź, Poland. She is an Associate Professor at the Institute of Literary Studies and Linguistics of the of University of Jan Kochanowski, Poland (Branch in Piotrków Trybunalski). Her research interests concentrate on medical humanities, especially cultural representations of psychiatry and gender, and genre fiction.
What is your article ““We All Go a Little Mad Sometimes:” Representations of Insanity in the Films of Alfred Hitchcock“ about?
The article deals with the way motifs connected with psychiatry (doctors/treatment/people diagnosed with mental illness or individuals displaying disturbing behavior/attitudes to mental psychopathology) are used in the films of Alfred Hitchcock. First of all, it tries to answer the questions why the director so often presented mentally unstable characters in his works. It also looks at how Hitchcock gently questioned the assumptions about mental illnesses and its origins that were dominant in his times. Finally, it briefly mentions the legacy of Hitchcock if the cinematic portrayals of insanity are concerned.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your research interests.
I am interested in cultural representations of madness, gender studies, and popular literature.
What drew you to this project?
I have always loved Hitchcock’s films and saw Frenzy in my early teens, as it was my dad’s favourite. It was one of the most unpleasant and, simultaneously, hilarious film I have ever seen since.
What was one of the most interesting findings?
On the surface, Hitchcock appears to be following the psychoanalytic approach, especially in his American movies. However, he always undermines the official discourse on madness, proving that we are all, sometimes, a little mad and there’s nothing wrong about it.
What are you reading, listening to, and/or watching right now?
I am currently an avid reader of the retellings of the Medusa myth (as well as other chick lit fantasy books about antiquity).
Watch Hitchcock! Old films may seem dated, especially if you are not used to them. But his dialogues, designs, cast is often genius.
Thank you for your time!