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Hidden Populations

The Progression of the Depiction of the Mentally Ill in Popular Culture

For most of history, mental illness has been considered a taboo subject in society’s conversations. However, The second half of the 20th century found mental illness to be a popular topic in literary, film, and theatrical media. The following PowerPoint illustrates the progression of mental illness as a topic in popular culture and its positive and negative effects:

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List of Books, Movies and Plays

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? – a play by Edward Albee (1962)

- 1966 Film Adaptation directed by Mike Nichols and starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest – a novel by Ken Kesey (1962)

- 1963 play adaptation by Dale Wasserman

- 1975 film adaption directed by Milos Forman and starring Jack Nicholson

Sybil  – a book by Flora Rheta Schreiber (1973)

- 1976 made for TV movie starring Sally Field

She’s Come Undone – a novel by Wally Lamb (1992)

Rain Man – a 1988 movie starring Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise

Girl, Interrupted – a memoir by Susanna Kaysen (1993)

- 1999 film adaptation starring Winona Ryder and Angelina Jolie

A Beautiful Mind -a biography of John Nash, Jr. by Sylvia Nasar (1998)

- 2001 film adaptation starring Russel Crowe

Proof – a play by David Auburn (2000)

- 2005 film adaption starring Gwyneth Paltrow, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Anthony Hopkins. 

The Goat or Who Is Sylvia? – a play by Edward Albee (2002)

next to normal – a musical by Brian Yorkey and Tom Kitt (2008)