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2006, English
14×19 cm, 192 pages, 1 color ill., clothbound hardcover
ISBN 978-1-933128-12-2

“I did not write my life, and therefore cannot tell you in simple terms what happened to effect such change.
I have left that task to the images that have fallen from my fingers since my youth.
I have let them fall, so that one day they might be picked up.
My pictures describe me correctly.”


In 1842 an English artist accompanied a former mayor on a Grand Tour of Europe and the Middle East. Within a year he had become a devotee of the Egyptian god Osiris and murdered his beloved father, believing him to be an impostor. Bedlam is a novel inspired by a year in the life of Richard Dadd, a great Victorian painter and inmate of London’s Bethlem Hospital – more commonly known as Bedlam.



Jennifer Higgie is co-editor and staff writer of frieze magazine. She is the editor of Art and Humour published by the Whitechapel Gallery, London and MIT Press. She also wrote the screenplay for the feature film I Really Hate My Job, which will be on general release in 2007.

Higgie’s prose is fragmentary yet lucid, and the novel evokes the inextricable beauty and terror of Dadd’s sensory journey, while raising some of the philosophical questions it poses about art, language and other minds. Bedlam is a mystery story in which we search for clues as to how an individual might go from precocious talent to parricide.

— Oliver Harris,

Times Literary Supplement