Manic Depression and Creativity

Overview

Many recognized geniuses had creative capacities that were driven by bouts of manic intensity followed by the depths of mind-numbing despair. From Plato, who originated the idea of inspired mania, to Beethoven, Dickens, Newton, Van Gogh, and today's popular creative artists and scientists who've battled manic depression, this intriguing work examines creativity and madness in mystery, myth, and history. Demonstrating how manic depression often becomes the essential difference between talent and genius, Hershman ...
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Manic Depression and Creativity

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Overview

Many recognized geniuses had creative capacities that were driven by bouts of manic intensity followed by the depths of mind-numbing despair. From Plato, who originated the idea of inspired mania, to Beethoven, Dickens, Newton, Van Gogh, and today's popular creative artists and scientists who've battled manic depression, this intriguing work examines creativity and madness in mystery, myth, and history. Demonstrating how manic depression often becomes the essential difference between talent and genius, Hershman and Lieb offer valuable insights into the many obstacles and problems this illness poses for highly creative people. Lieb critiques the wave of new books on depression as well as those on creativity to determine how far we have come in our understanding of this complex illness.

The authors also explode the myth that suffering is essential to creativity. Guides for the manic depressive are suggested to reduce emotional pain and personal problems while increasing productivity.

Julian Lieb, a psychiatrist in private practice and former director of the Dana Psychiatric Clinic at Yale-New Haven Hospital, and D. Jablow Hershman authored Brotherhood of Tyrants: Manic Depression and Absolute Power.

The book contains black-and-white illustrations.

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Editorial Reviews

From The Critics
Reviewer: Virginia Galloway, BA (Rush University Medical Center)
Description: The profound contribution to civilization by persons with manic depression is illustrated in this book.. Hershman's Brotherhood of Tyrants: Manic Depression and Absolute Power is the companion volume.
Purpose: Although many books about depression do exist, few books speak of manic depression and its multifarious benefits to society. This book provides an insightful, comprehensive. and valuable analysis of manic depression's impact on some of civilization's most influential and creative individuals.
Audience: This book serves as a valuable tool for mental health professionals and lay public interested in an awareness of manic depression and its effects on some of the most creative individuals ever known. The authors are credible: Hershman is an artist and novelist and Dr. Lieb is a psychiatrist. The companion volume is also co-written by Hershman and Lieb.
Features: This text provides a thoughtful analysis of genius followed by a clinically accurate yet understandable description of manic depression. The lives and careers of Newton, Dickens, Beethoven, and van Gogh are examined to explain and illustrate the role of manic depression in creative persons and thus, the contribution of manic depression to society. In a forceful summation, the authors argue for increased education, awareness, and treatment to decrease suffering and possibly increase productivity in people with manic depression. Black and white portraits are provided. A table delineating manic versus depressive symptoms and traits is conscientiously provided for the less psychiatrically astute audience. While the biographies are provided to explain the impact of manic depression, they are somewhat extensive in their details.
Assessment: This book elucidates the positive as well as deleterious effects of manic depression on the lives of some of history's most creative and influential persons. It is an interesting and informative book that is a welcome addition to current literature.
Virginia Galloway
The profound contribution to civilization by persons with manic depression is illustrated in this book.. Hershman's Brotherhood of Tyrants: Manic Depression and Absolute Power is the companion volume. Although many books about depression do exist, few books speak of manic depression and its multifarious benefits to society. This book provides an insightful, comprehensive. and valuable analysis of manic depression's impact on some of civilization's most influential and creative individuals. This book serves as a valuable tool for mental health professionals and lay public interested in an awareness of manic depression and its effects on some of the most creative individuals ever known. The authors are credible: Hershman is an artist and novelist and Dr. Lieb is a psychiatrist. The companion volume is also co-written by Hershman and Lieb. This text provides a thoughtful analysis of genius followed by a clinically accurate yet understandable description of manic depression. The lives and careers of Newton, Dickens, Beethoven, and van Gogh are examined to explain and illustrate the role of manic depression in creative persons and thus, the contribution of manic depression to society. In a forceful summation, the authors argue for increased education, awareness, and treatment to decrease suffering and possibly increase productivity in people with manic depression. Black and white portraits are provided. A table delineating manic versus depressive symptoms and traits is conscientiously provided for the less psychiatrically astute audience. While the biographies are provided to explain the impact of manic depression, they are somewhat extensive in theirdetails. This book elucidates the positive as well as deleterious effects of manic depression on the lives of some of history's most creative and influential persons. It is an interesting and informative book that is a welcome addition to current literature.
Booknews
A fascinating look at the personal and creative lives of four major talents tormented by manic-depression (Dickens, Newton, Beethoven, and Van Gogh), probing the stereotype of the mad genius and the role depression has often played in turning talent into genius. Explains how the disorder can be used as a positive factor in the creative artist's life, and suggests ways to alleviate the extreme highs and lows of the disorder. For general readers. No index. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
Paul Insel, Ph.D.
In this accessible and engaging set of biographies and self-help narrative, Lieb and Hershman expertly discount the myth that suffering is essential to creativity. They discuss combating the dark forces of manic depression and explain how this disorder can be used as a positive force in the creative artist's life, suggesting ways to alleviate the extreme "highs" and "lows" of the disease. With effective treatment, manic-depressives can control their lives and increase their productivity.
Healthline Magazine

4 Stars! from Doody
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781573922418
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books
  • Publication date: 8/28/1998
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 230
  • Lexile: 1320L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.42 (w) x 8.27 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface 1
1 A Dissection of Genius 7
2 Manic-Depression 19
3 Newton 39
4 Beethoven 59
5 Dickens 95
6 Van Gogh 139
7 Diminishing Creativity 177
8 Augmenting Genius 197
Epilogue 207
Bibliography 217
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