Psychiatry in Literature

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Psychiatry in Literature

  • Host University

    Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

  • Location

    Amsterdam, The Netherlands

  • Area of Study

    Biomedical Sciences, Literature

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

    Hours & Credits

  • ECTS Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    The psychiatrist and novelist have certain features in common. Both disciplines observe, describe and judge human behavior, although in a different way. In this course we will discuss a number of novels en movies in which psychiatric questions play an important role. At the same time the course also gives insight in the history of psychiatry and in the development of the concept of disease in psychiatry, starting in the early 19th century. The course will start and end with two Saturdays in a former psychiatric institution, in Gent and Haarlem. These institutions are now a museum for the history of psychiatry.


    • Interactive classes with peer interaction
    • Reading and analyzing novels
    • Writing reviews as a preparation for the classes, practicing academic skills
    • Visiting two museum for the history of psychiatry


    • Attending the courses
    • Writing 5 reviews (400 words) (30%)
    • Writing an academic essay of 3000 words (70%)


Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Some courses may require additional fees.


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