Touched with Fire
Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament
By (author) Kay Redfield Jamison
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Touched with Fire by Kay Redfield Jamison
Book DescriptionThe anguished and volatile intensity associated with the artistic temperament was once thought to be a symptom of genius or eccentricity peculiar to artists, writers and musicians. Kay Jamison's work, based on her study as a clinical psychologist and researcher in mood disorders, reveals that many artists subject to exalted highs and despairing lows were in fact engaged in a struggle with clinically identifiable manic-depressive illness. Jamison presents proof of the biological foundations of this disease and applies what is known about the illness to the lives and works of some of the world's greatest artists including Byron, Van Gogh, Schumann and Woolf.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780684831831
(214mm x 139mm x 22mm)
Imprint: Simon & Schuster Ltd
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Ltd
Publish Date: 2-Dec-1996
Country of Publication: United Kingdom
Books By Author Kay Redfield Jamison
Unquiet Mind, Paperback (January 2015)
With an introduction by Andrew Solomon.
Exuberance, Paperback (November 2005)
The author of the bestselling "An Unquiet Mind"--an internationally renowned authority on mood disorders--now gives readers something wonderfully different: an exploration of exuberance and how it fuels our most important creative and scientific achievements.
Flight of the Mind, Paperback (February 1996)» View all books by Kay Redfield Jamison
Focusing on Virginia Woolf, the author demonstrates how Woolf used her illness intelligently and creatively in her theories of fiction, of mental functioning, and of self structure.
US Kirkus Review » Study of manic depression and inspiration that for many will be a hard read but that makes its points convincingly - if only fragmentarily - chapter by chapter. The relation between madness and genius is a fascinating subject, and Jamison (Psychiatry/Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine) has a rich lode of firsthand observers to quote from: Byron, Coleridge, van Gogh, Robert Lowell, John Berryman, Sylvia Plath, Theodore Roethke, Virginia Woolf, and many more, all of whom offer spellbinding words about their bouts with manic depression (paranoia and schizophrenia aren't covered). The basic argument here is "not that all writers and artists are depressed, suicidal, or manic. It is, rather, that a greatly disproportionate number of them are; that the manic-depressive and artistic temperaments are, in many ways, overlapping ones; and that the two temperaments are causally related to one another." Genealogical studies of famed manic depressives show a definite genetic linkage, which is complemented by a seasonal one: Jamison includes seasonal tables of mood disorders, fluctuating productivity ("winter depression...summer hypomanias"), and peak times for suicide. Lithium and newer drugs, she explains, often dampen creative highs while relieving victims of turmoil and suicidal lows, but calm periods at optimum serum blood levels may allow longer, more productive periods of creativity. Some sufferers, however, choose to go with the lows for the rewards of the hypomanic state when it returns (hypomania is a middling state that gives a rich lift before the hyperactivity of mania or the colossal bleakness of melancholia). Jamison also finds a high incidence of manic depression among substance abusers, although she doesn't study the incidence of illness among abstinent drinkers or drug-abusers. Clear writing and research, but heavily clinical. (Kirkus Reviews)
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Author Biography - Kay Redfield Jamison
Kay Redfield Jamison, PhD, is the bestselling author of An Unquiet Mind, Touched with Fire, and other books. She is a professor of psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and has been named a "Hero of Medicine" by Time.
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