Announcing a collection of essays on voice-hearing in The Lancet

“Introduction” from William Blake's Songs of Innocence and of Experience

Hearing the Voice is delighted to draw our readers’ attention to a collection of five articles on voice-hearing that has been published recently in The Lancet’s ‘Art of Medicine’ section.

Written by Hearing the Voice researchers, the articles in the series explore the ways in which insights from the humanities and social sciences can deepen and enrich scientific, clinical and public understandings of hearing voices.

Topics covered include the way in which voice-hearing is depicted and understood in the thought-worlds of the medieval era; the representation of heard voices in the work of William Blake, George Elliot and other writers; the role of external and internal voices in the construction of novelists’ fictional worlds; and the rise of the voice-hearer as an identity with a distinct and growing political power.

All five articles are all available to read freely online at the links below:

Charles Fernyhough, ‘Listening to the voices’, The Lancet, 28 November 2015

Corinne Saunders, ‘Hearing medieval voices’, The Lancet, 28 November 2015

Peter Garratt, ‘Voices and the imaginative ear’, The Lancet, 5 December 2015

Patricia Waugh, ‘The novelist as voice-hearer’, The Lancet, 5 December 2015

Angela Woods, ‘Voices, identity and meaning-making’, The Lancet, 12 December 2015

We hope you enjoy reading the articles in this collection. Please feel free to leave a comment – it would be fantastic to hear your thoughts.

  1. Hello,

    Thank you for all of this! It’s thrilling to observe the development of the Voice Hearing Community and the thoughtful respect that Science is now giving it. I hope to be involved in this process of discovery as to:

    “How It Actually Feels To Have Heard Voices For Decades And To Analyze And Record Those Experiences.”

    My Inner Hearing Channels suddenly opened in 1980, were denied and strangled off for fifteen years, only to blossom forth again in 1995. They are stronger than ever now, at age 78, and I am compiling material contained in my many hand-written journals, as I have been doing over the years. These contain dreams and waking experiences, written during or immediately after my frequent Inner communications. By now, I have published two books and hundreds of blogs quoting a mere portion of the information that I have obtained. See, under Linda J. Brown, for the title, In Secret Diffusion. Another book is yet in the pipeline. Also see: My travel website: deals with my normal side of life – traveling solo around the world multiple times.

    However, this is not the body of work that I am now concerned with finding a home for. So far, I have transcribed thousands of pages typed directly from my journals and am currently continuing that task on the more recent journals. The future of this material and of the original notebooks is the question mark. I may well be collaborating with a historical author to publish this material, but we are barely approaching that idea. I do know that it is a rare collection of a first person, honest and unadorned, morning-after/during, record of my own Voice Hearing Phenomenon. It should eventually wind up in a protected place among people who can use it and enable it to go into other records about this very personal and sometimes puzzling, human ability. I’m eager to encourage other Hearers to speak up about their own experiences and am longing to find a community willing to share stories during active discussion periods. Let’s help us all to come out of the closet!

    My plan is to spend time in the UK next summer meeting with HVNs; to come to Durham and hope to find Interested Parties and Viable Suggestions as to how I can get involved in all of this and contribute what I have learned as a long-term and yet, happily sane, Voice Hearer. (Albeit, labeled Schizophrenic in 1980) Who knows how much longer I will live? But, at the moment, I am astoundingly healthy and energetic, and engaged in my third, solo, around-the-world junket…. now, typing accumulated journals furiously amidst the beauty of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico and waiting for your part of the world to warm up. My give & take Voice Hearing is more active than ever and “We” are standing by to offer whatever assistance we might in your scholarly efforts to get to the bottom of this fantastic phenomenon!

    I’ll see you in six months!

    Linda J. Brown

  2. Like Blake, Shelley, Keats, Shakespeare, Plato, Brooke and many others before me I too have been greatly inspired by the voices in the head. Receiving wonderful poetry, philosophy and insight. I have studied the subject for over 20 years. The voices have fed me with intelligence ref to this is made in sonnet 86 Shakespeare & sonnet 144. Its understanding is a complexity but I have proven it is far more than simply explained by mental illness. My gift/abilities have been described as phenomenal but to me it is an innate natural ability we all as human beings have. It is the ability to control the voices good & bad which determine the quality or destructiveness to pen or act on those voices. To further an education of the said subject you must certainly look beyond current understanding.