Dr Leigh Wetherall Dickson, is Senior Lecturer in Eighteenth and Nineteenth-Century English at Northumbria University. Her research primarily focuses upon literature written by those who identify themselves as having experienced what would now be called depression, specifically the ways in which people describe the experience in the absence of a medical model / vocabulary. She is also interested in the ways that life stories are constructed, and the competing claims for the 'truth' that are made by autobiography, biography and fiction when the subject has attained the status of celebrity, and which becomes an increasingly complex issue when the mental faculties of that subject are called into question. With respect to this latter issue Dickson has studied the case of Lady Caroline Lamb, and has published widely on this subject and has also co-edited The Works of Lady Caroline Lamb (Pickering and Chatto, 2009). Prior to being appointed lecturer at Northumbria, Dickson was the postdoctoral Research Associate on the Leverhulme Trust project 'Before Depression, 1660-1800: The Representation and Culture of the English Malady' (see www.beforedepression.com), that ran from 2006-2009. Publications arising from this included Melancholy Experience in Literature of the Long Eighteenth Century (2012, with Stuart Sim, Clark Lawlor, Richard Terry, John Baker and Allan Ingram) and Depression and Melancholy 1660-1800, a four-volume edited collection of source material (2012, with Allan Ingram, Anita O'Connell, David Walker and Michelle Faubert). For 'Fashionable Diseases' Dickson is exploring the current relationship between celebrity endorsement and the visibility of mental illness and the impact that such an endorsement has upon the debate of stigma and treatment.

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Page last modified: Wednesday, 5th February 2014