The aim of this dissertation is to critically examine the representation of female madness in The Bell Jar, by Sylvia Plath, Wide Sargasso Sea, by Jean Rhys, and Surfacing, by Margaret Atwood, with a particular emphasis on the depiction of madness as a form of revolt against the oppression of women in patriarchal societies. I focus specifically on the textual construction of female insanity in three twentieth-century reading of these depictions in relation to an influential contemporary example of Western psychological discourse, namely The Divided Self (1960). Drawing on the work of Western feminist scholars such as Elaine Showalter and Lillian Feder, I engage with the broader questions of the female malady and dilemma. I pay attention not only to the various tropes, metaphors and images which are employed in the representation of madness, but also give attention to the explanations of madness that are offered in each text as well as the ways in which the various stories of madness are resolved. In the introduction, I offer an overview of the history of madness (and female madness in particular) and consider the importance of Laing and the antipsychiatry movement in challenging conventional definitions. In Chapter 1, I explore the depiction of madness in The Bell Jar, with the focus on the protagonist, Esther, whose madness, I argue, is represented as a conflict between female creativity and mid-twentieth century feminine ideals. In Chapter 2, I discuss Wide Sargasso Sea, a novel which gives a voice to the madwoman in the attic in Charlotte Jane Eyre. I argue tha rather that a particular construction of madness that of the stereotypical wild madwoman is imposed upon her. In addition, I argue that her madness is presented as the result of being abandoned and cast as insane by her husband, whom she marries as part of an economic exchange. In Chapter 3, I explore the ways in which, in Surfacing madness is attributed both to her abortion as well as to the realisation of her own complicity in the patriarchal oppression of women and nature. In all three novels, I suggest, female madness is represented sympathetically as a reaction to, and revolt against patriarchal oppression. In addition, I argue that each novel makes a contribution to an emancipatory feminist politics by suggesting several routes of transcendence or escape. In my concluding chapter, I draw on the previous discussion of the various ways in which madness is figured in the novels in order to show how, in contesting stereotypical views, the three authors must create new vocabularies and metaphors of madness, thus engaging with patriarchal language itself. In this way, they not only contest normative constructions of the female malady but also bend patriarchal language into new shapes.