The secular and the supernatural: madness and psychiatry in the short stories of Muriel Spark

Edinburgh-born Muriel Spark is one of modern Scotland’s greatest writers. Examination of her work reveals that the subjects of madness and psychiatry are recurrent themes in her writing. She herself had a mental breakdown when she was a young woman and she took an interest in the world of psychiatry and psychoanalysis. In her short stories, Spark approaches the subject of madness in a variety of ways: she relates it to the supernatural; to writing fiction; and to religion. She frequently juxtaposes secular and supernatural explanations of mental disturbance.

The history of psychiatry: personal reflections

Does an engagement with the history of psychiatry benefit the practising clinician? This paper adopts a personal perspective. It sketches the ideological conflicts which have raged in the study of the history of psychiatry in recent decades and looks at the often heated debates between historians and psychiatrists on the subject. It looks at the author’s involvement with the subject and considers how this may have influenced both clinical practice and the approach to history.

Transplant psychiatry

Transplant units increasingly recognise a need for assistance from psychiatrists and psychologists in the assessment and management of potential transplant recipients and live donors. This arises from the various known associations between mental disorder and the need for transplantation; the intensifying requirement to select carefully among the potential recipients and donors of scarce human organs; and the drive to maximise transplant outcomes by optimising all aspects of treatment after surgery.