Views & Reviews Medical Classics

4.48 Psychosis

BMJ 2010; 340 doi: (Published 19 May 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;340:c2605
  1. Richard Hurley, assistant magazine editor, BMJ
  1. rhurley{at}

    “I have become so depressed by the fact of my mortality that I have decided to commit suicide.” The play 4.48 Psychosis is a bleak, often angry examination of clinical depression and suicidal ideation. The playwright, Sarah Kane, was a key figure in the British “in-yer-face theatre” of the 1990s, which was characterised by provocative and confrontational writing and depictions of explicit sex and violence. Kane committed suicide in 1999 at the age of 28; 4.48 Psychosis, her fifth and final play, was first performed almost 18 months later.

    Kane had attracted controversy while alive. Her first play, …

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