Touched with Fire by Kay Redfield Jamison
Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament

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Synopsis

The definitive work on the profound and surprising links between manic-depression and creativity, from the bestselling psychologist of bipolar disorders who wrote An Unquiet Mind.

One of the foremost psychologists in America, “Kay Jamison is plainly among the few who have a profound understanding of the relationship that exists between art and madness” (William Styron).

The 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. Her 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 Lord Byron, Vincent Van Gogh, and Virginia Woolf.
 

About Kay Redfield Jamison

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Kay Redfield Jamison is Professor of Psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine as well as Honorary Professor of English at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. She is the author of the national best sellers An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness, Night Falls Fast: Understanding Suicide, and Touched with Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament. She is coauthor of the standard medical text on manic-depressive illness and author or coauthor of more than one hundred scientific papers about mood disorders, creativity, and psychopharmacology. Dr. Jamison, the recipient of numerous national and international scientific awards, was distinguished lecturer at Harvard University in 2002 and the Litchfield lecturer at the University of Oxford in 2003. She is a John P. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellow.From the Hardcover edition.
 
Published October 18, 1996 by Free Press. 384 pages
Genres: Health, Fitness & Dieting, Political & Social Sciences, Self Help, Science & Math, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction

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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...

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Publishers Weekly

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Drawing from the lives of artists such as Van Gogh, Byron and Virginia Woolf, Jamison examines the links between manic-depression and creativity. (Oct.)

Oct 21 1996 | Read Full Review of Touched with Fire: Manic-Depr...

London Review of Books

She subscribes to the current view of bipolar illness: that there is almost certainly a genetic predisposition, and that it must be managed throughout the course of the patient’s life with drugs, preferably lithium.

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https://www.psychologytoday.com

By comparison with the rate of manic-depressive illness in the general population, these British poets were 30 times more likely to suffer from manic-depression, 10 to 20 times more likely to suffer from milder forms of manic-depressive illness, more than 5 times more likely to commit suicide, an...

Aug 29 2014 | Read Full Review of Touched with Fire: Manic-Depr...

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