Touched with Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament

Kay Redfield Jamison

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Touched with Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament

Touched with Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament By Kay Redfield Jamison Touched with Fire Manic Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament 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 p

  • Title: Touched with Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament
  • Author: Kay Redfield Jamison
  • ISBN: 9780684831831
  • Page: 364
  • Format: Paperback
  • Touched with Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament By Kay Redfield Jamison 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.TheThe 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.
    Touched with Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament By Kay Redfield Jamison

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    One thought on “Touched with Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament

    1. stephanie on said:

      probably the most widely read of her books, i was disappointed the thesis is that what we now call bi polar I actually contributes to the artistic temperment and allows them to create the work that they did she looks at the people you would expect woolf, plath, van gogh, etc the thing is, i feel very strongly that you can create beautiful works of art without being mentally ill or while receiving treatment for your illness so this book kind of rubbed me the wrong way yes, i think woolf s depress [...]

    2. Owlseyes on said:

      Being depressed and being an artist, is quiet a connection it s hard but being depressed and maniac, it powers a lot a terrible state of being, I mean, for artists This is an exhaustive look and study at those connections As you read, you will wonder about the side by side presence of genius and malady, of the most beautiful art productions and the agony of psychological suffering All cases have impressed me, but most of all were the cases of poet Lord Tennyson and the musician Robert Schumann, [...]

    3. Cari on said:

      Focusing on the relationship between artistic creativity and manic depressive illness, Touched With Fire is rewarding, interesting and full of information However, this is a book that requires an effort, expects you to be paying attention fully at all times This is no quick, relaxing beach read Jamison brings her scientific and academic background to her subject, which makes for a fascinating but difficult read for anyone lacking her extensive background Her constant references to scientific stu [...]

    4. Ed Smiley on said:

      Kay Redfield Jamison is a renowned psychologist, expert on bipolar she prefers the term manic depressive illness, and is also bipolar herself.She covers the relationship between creativity and mood disorders sympathetically and without reductionism This is non fiction, so I can describe this without it being a spoiler OK She does not seek to explain creativity in a reductive way as the result of mental illness I must mention in passing that some reviewers seemed to have missed the distinction be [...]

    5. Nina on said:

      Quick rundown on what I got out of this bookIt s a heavy read, so you have to be 100% focused 100% of the time, not something you can lounge around and read lightly but it is very interesting.Bipolar disorder, along with various other mental illnesses, has long been perceived as an mysterious yet threatening disease, which manifests in extremes of temperament ranging from ecstatic highs, to debilitating lows, often seasonal in nature The link between the artistic temperament and bipolar disorder [...]

    6. Nimue Brown on said:

      A fascinating book exploring the complex history between mental health issues and creativity It s startling how many icons of creative working had not only personal mental health issues, but family histories laden with suicides and troubled minds The statistics for mental health problems in poets especially, as opposed to the rest of the populous, are alarming I m wary of the archetype of the mad genius, as is the author, to my relief There s no suggestion that madness is necessary for creatives [...]

    7. Calli on said:

      I have often been curious about the saying, There is a fine line between genius and madness, and with that I have continually found myself drawn to the works of writer s poets, artist s, musicians, scientists, philosophers, et all whom are said to have suffered from some sort of mental illness I have been unconsciously until recently been drawn over and over again to this subject, this connection between what this author describes as the Artistic Temperament, and in this case Manic Depressive Il [...]

    8. Lori Anderson on said:

      I marked this book up and down with a pencil, underlining passage after passage I read this book trying to understand my depression and while the book is primarily about bipolar, which I don t have, it s full of information that can help someone fighting depression And if you are trying to figure out where you lie within the spectrum, it s a helpful tool.As a jewelry designer, glass bead maker, and writer, I ve always suspected there was something behind the artistic temperament , and this book [...]

    9. Kristin on said:

      Interesting insights here There is a danger, of course, in romanticizing biopolar disorder as some kind of marker of creativity It s worth pointing out that there are many creative people who don t suffer from the horrors of bipolar disorder, and many people with bipolar who are not creative.That should probably be said again being bipolar is not romantic it is many things, but few of them are actually enjoyable The fact that some bipolar folks find creative ways to express themselves despite th [...]

    10. Cyd on said:

      This book adds context to Jamison s later and much personal book, An Unquiet Mind, which she wrote only two years after this one It also gives me context for my own life I am no Byron or Shelley or Van Gogh, but I believe her conclusions about manic depressive illness and creativity apply to me nonetheless Jamison really GETS it her books make me feel less lonely And not only does she totally get it she is incredibly articulate about it Highly recommend everything she has written for anyone li [...]

    11. Debra Valentino on said:

      One of Jamison s earliest books, but she s always a consummate researcher and a conscientious writer I love her work, and have read nearly everything she s published In my opinion, she s that good though her memoir is not her best work If you enjoy poetry or are interested in the lives of poets and writers, this is a fascinating study.

    12. Carter on said:

      An illuminating look, in detail, at what we know or knew, as of 1996 about the connections between manic depression artistic creativity My gut reaction was to assume this connection was imaginary, but the science says otherwise The book s term paper structure makes for relatively slow, but very interesting, read.

    13. Sue on said:

      This was a great book So many great artistic minds moving at incredible speed to create masterpieces and then the crash I read it over 10 years ago and then gave it away so can t refer to it now I highly reccomend it Musicians, Poets, Artists, etc

    14. Raegan Butcher on said:

      Interesting ramble thru the mental wards of art and literature to see the effects of mental illness on a wide variety of artists, painters, poets, writers and other assorted misfits.

    15. Z on said:

      The thing is, while I was bored to death while reading, it was my fault I misunderstood, I thought the movie was an adaptation of this And I wanted to read this before watching the movie, I also wanted to read the author s work again, so I downloaded the book without research Bad move.The reason I give this three stars was that I know this had to take a lot of time and research and preparation I think my favourite part was the chapter with family trees This could be an interesting read for peopl [...]

    16. Kirsten on said:

      It s become something of a game in the popular media to diagnose long dead artists with various chronic illnesses, in particular neurological and mental disorders such as epilepsy, schizophrenia, depression, and bipolar disorder In this well researched book, Jamison takes this beyond idle speculation and, using family histories, evidence from the artists works particularly those of poets and writers , and personal papers, compelling argues that manic depressive AKA bipolar disorder has played a [...]

    17. Dave on said:

      I added both editions, oopsy way This has been touted as the book to read on the bipolar manic depressive cyclothymia spectrum of mental illness or craziness as we call it The fine madness which affect artists and why is itOf course KRJ s author is considered special to write this book as she is a professor and researcher of mental disorder and is reportedly afflicted with Bi polar or something.While it is an interesting list of studies and opinions of quite well known writer and some painters, [...]

    18. Bobby on said:

      Dr Jamison is a fine writer and the I am interested in the general topic but for whatever reason I found the book less engaging than I expected to A major problem for me was that Dr Jamison kept on writing statements like not a direct quote but close enough , Although study XYZ have methodological limitations, they showed trended to show The problem with basing arguments on poor data is that obviously one s conclusions may not be valid, i.e a bunch of bad studies add up to a bunch of bad studies [...]

    19. Julia on said:

      I came in pretty skeptical of Jamison s thesis, which sounded way too romantic for a serious disorder, and of her methods, especially attempts to posthumously construct diagnoses based on artists biographical data and creative output She handles both of those issues deftly, though, and with a combination of modern scientific research and well chosen quotations and anecdotes, presents a nuanced, persuasive overview of bipolar symptoms correlating with artistic productivity I m thoroughly impresse [...]

    20. Charlie L on said:

      This is a highly detailed discussion of the relationship between artists and manic depressive illnesses It covers every aspect I could think of regarding the relationship between these two and presents research findings in a straightforward way It is particularly refreshing in that it weaves back and forth between science and art not only does it use extensive research to support its points, but it is filled with prose and poetry that gives artful support Highly recommended for anyone interested [...]

    21. Cameron Gordon forbes on said:

      An inspiring book for the mentally ill and for that reason i award if 5 stars Though in the vast majority of cases examined here the family history of the individual had as much if not greater influence on the incident of depressive illness as any creative talent.Still, it shows what people, who would otherwise have been wrote off by society can achieve by picking up a pen or a brush Not all great artists are mad But the mad can become great artists.

    22. Nina Pace on said:

      An amazing insight into the bipolar temperament and its relationship with creative ability Allows a fantastic glimpse into the heightened senses of people with this mental illness, and attempts to reveal the long family lineages of famous artists and writers suffering this condition A challenging but worthwhile read for anybody interested in mental illness and or creativity.

    23. Darlene Cypser on said:

      This is a fabulous exploration of the potential linktween creative genius and what others might call madness It is extremely well written book intended for the non scientific audience Commentators who claimed it was written for scientists obviously have never read any scientific papers, nor much in the way of literature.

    24. Be Fisher on said:

      I love this book I ve read and re read it several times It shows that despite illness these artists throughout history have created some of the most beautiful works of art paintings, poetry, novels and shows that because of or in spite of they must create

    25. Brian on said:

      Jamison s thesis is that artists are disproportionately manic depressive that manic depressive illness and to a lesser extent unipolar depression are correlated with creativity She presented study after study to this effect, but most of them had vanishingly small sample sizes or other gaping flaws she also tells us in passing that 25% of studies in the literature find no relationship between mental illness and creativity, but she doesn t present any of those I believe her thesis, but the argumen [...]

    26. Mommalibrarian on said:

      Although manic depressive illness is much common in writers and artists than in the general population, it would be irresponsible to romanticize am extremely painful, destructive and lethal disease Most people who suffer from manic depressive and depressive illness are not unusually creative, and they reap few benefits from their experiences of mania and depression even those who are highly creative usually seek relief from their suffering The author wrote this on page 207 of her 260 page book [...]

    27. Charlie on said:

      I had heard that Dr Jamison has a tendency to romanticise mood disorders, but I didn t understand how true that was until I read this book Knowing she herself was diagnosed with bipolar helps me understand even I m type two bipolar, so none of the information in the book was very new to me, and a lot of the stuff she d talk about would be discussed over and over Some of the anecdotes from bipolar artists, poets, and writers were pretty interesting, but what I was hoping for were answers, or at [...]

    28. Sarah Embaby on said:

      I think it s brilliant with all the backgrounds and the back ups statics the accuracy is very goodit s also very recommended to psychological researchers and studentsPersonally, I d spent the latter 6 years suffering of the Manic depressive Illness Though I have no Idea, it was an illness or what s happening All I know I was suffering in melancholy aloneBut to face something you don t know, is very terrifying in itselfyou have no Idea how your mood change and your hypomania starts the voices, th [...]

    29. Rob on said:

      Kay Redfield Jamison has written a highly engaging book about BiPolar illness in connection with creativity and artists of all stripes This book helped me identify my own condition as manic depressive as I am an artist as well eight years before I as actually diagnosed as such by a Cornell trained psychiatrist In other words, reading this was better than eight years of dealing with mental health professionals So I highly recommend the book However, one think that has increasingly bothered me in [...]

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