The anguished, volatile intensity we associate with the artistic temperament has often been thought to have much in common with the experience of manic-depressive illness, both characterized by despairing low and exalting highs. Dr Jamison draws on her work as a psychiatrist to artists and writers, in addition to what we know about the lives of Van Gogh, Schubert, Byron and Virginia Woolf among others, to explore the literary, biographical and scientific evidence for the connection between manic-depressive illness and artistic activity. She also examines the cultural implications of this perceived connection between artistic temperament and mood disorders. She advocates a restrained, humanistic approach to the treatment of manic-depressive illness which seeks to preserve the artistic energy that is often its concomitant. Kay Redfield Jamison is the co-author Frederick K. Goodwin of "Manic-Depressive Illness". She has won the John F. Kennedy Scholarship, UCLA Graduate Woman of the Year and UCLA Woman of Science. She produced and wrote "Moods and Music", which won the 1990 American Psychiatric Association's Robinson Award for Best National Television Program.
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The march of science in explaining human nature continues. In Touched With Fire, Jamison marshals a tremendous amount of evidence for the proposition that most artistic geniuses were (and are) manic depressives. This is a book of interest to scientists, psychologists, and artists struggling with the age-old question of whether psychological suffering is an essential component of artistic creativity. Anyone reading this book closely will be forced to conclude that it is. Very Highly Recommended.About the Author:
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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