City of Incurable Women

Available Feb 22, 2022

128 pages

Trade Paper

List Price US $16.99
ISBN: 9781942658863


ISBN: 9781942658900

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City of Incurable Women is a brilliant exploration of the type of female bodily and psychic pain once commonly diagnosed as hysteria—and the curiously hysterical response to it commonly exhibited by medical men. It is a novel of powerful originality, riveting historical interest, and haunting lyrical beauty.”

Sigrid Nunez, author of The Friend and What Are You Going Through

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“I would follow Maud Casey anywhere. In City of Incurable Women, she has given us her best work yet. This is a song for the forgotten, full of voices that will stay with you and guide you—an astonishing portrayal of rage and hope. What a glorious work of art and what a true gift to us.”

Paul Yoon, author of Snow Hunters and Run Me to Earth

“In exquisite prose, Casey has built a city inside a book, a city that is a hospital, a museum, a dance, a body in ecstasy just outside the frame. On every page of this achingly beautiful book, Casey brings a wise and feral attention to the so-called incurables of the ‘era of soul science’—Augustine, Louise, Marie, Geneviève, and a chorus of nameless others singing their private beginnings and public ends.”

Danielle Dutton, author of SPRAWL and Margaret the First

“Enlightening. . . . Casey’s rich imaginative leaps make for tantalizing and affecting portraits. [City of Incurable Women] defies convention and revels in searing, gorgeous language.”

Publishers Weekly (starred review)

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“With acute empathy . . . Casey masterfully magnifies the stories of ‘incurable’ women in Paris’s 19th-century Salpêtrière hospital.”

Shelf Awareness

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“Lyrical. . . . Through thorough research and a cutting pen, Casey elevates these women back to their deserved place in history, bringing to life those who were reduced to mere photographs.”


“An innovative novel. . . . Soaringly lyrical.”

Kirkus Reviews

“Where are the hysterics, those magnificent women of former times?” wrote Jacques Lacan. Long history’s ghosts, marginalized and dispossessed due to their gender and class, they are reimagined by Maud Casey as complex, flesh-and-blood people with stories to tell. These linked, evocative prose portraits, accompanied by period photographs and medical documents both authentic and invented, poignantly restore the humanity to the nineteenth-century female psychiatric patients confined in Paris’s Salpêtrière hospital and reduced to specimens for study by the celebrated neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot and his male colleagues.

Excerpt from City of Incurable Women

Available Feb 22, 2022

Upcoming Events

Publishers Weekly shares the story behind City of Incurable Women and discusses the novel with author Maud Casey.

Maud Casey talks about City of Incurable Women with the Georgia Review.

Watch Maud Casey in conversation with Anne Hoffman about City of Incurable Women in the Psychiatry and the Arts seminar series of the DeWitt Wallace Institute for the History of Psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medicine.