This course examines a variety of ways in which madness has been conceptualized in literary and philosophical texts. Through close readings of classical, early modern, and modern works we will consider forms of human disquiet which have been framed as amorous rapture, poetic furor, the wisdom of folly, visionary experience, satiric subversion, apotheosis, and enlightenment. We will reconsider Foucault's observation that madness is contingent on society by exploring the ways in which perceivably mad characters interact with the limits of their social restrictions and the boundaries of consciousness in order to reveal truths and manifest new outcomes. Special attention will be paid to relationship between insanity and intellect. What is madness? What does it reveal to us about ourselves and our worlds? How does the history of madness inform our understanding of contemporary discourse on mental health and psychic well-being?