Thursday, May 01, 2008

Creativity and Madness ... Quieting the Demons and Giving Art a Voice

On the topic of creativity, madness and mental illness, Tuesday's New York Times reviews two new books on this topic, including one by Marya Hornbacher, the author of the well-received book Wasted:
[29 April 2008 - New York Times] For scientists trying to parse the mystery of brain and mind, [Marya Hornbacher] is one more case of the possible link between mental illness and artistic creativity. With all our scans and neurotransmitters, we are not much closer to figuring out that relationship than was Lord Byron, who announced that poets are “all crazy” and left it at that. But effective drugs make the question more urgent now: would Virginia Woolf, medicated, have survived to write her final masterpiece, or would she have spent her extra years happily shopping? ... As for the central question of whether treating the illness impairs the creativity, Ms. Hornbacher weighs in firmly on the side of her meds, imperfect though they may be. “For me, the first sign of oncoming madness is that I’m unable to write.” Depression silences her; mania may flood her mind with glittering words, but they scatter before she can get them down. Only the prosaic morning meds (21 pills, at last count) will let her trap the words on the page. More

1 comment:

  1. I write for the Myartspace Blog and I just posted an entry concerning the link between mental illness and creativity. I've also been discussing the stereotypes concerning artists lately. It would be great to read your opinion on the topic.