Creativity, Madness and Fiction
- 133 Downloads
The theme of madness and creativity in fiction continues to inspire post-1945 writers who have been affected by mental illness or who want to comment on the link between mental distress and genius, for example Jenny Diski, Patrick Gale, Sylvia Plath, William Styron, and Susan Hill. Indeed, there is now a distinguished body of literature about the relationship between madness, eccentricity, and creativity (Barker, 1998; Becker, 1978; Gooch, 1980; Pickering, 1974; Sacks, 1984; Schildkraut and Otero, 1996; Saunders and Macnaughton, 2005). Similarly, various studies document a notable incidence of mental illness in creative people, and also in their immediate family (Andreasen, 1987; Dykes and McGhie, 1976; Eysenck, 1993; Jamison, 1989, 1993; O’Reilly, Dunbar, and Bentall, 2001; Richards et al., 1998). While some commentators object to such a link (e.g., Edel, 1959; Lindauer, 1994), there are convincing arguments to support the relationship between madness and creativity, as Richard Bentall indicates: ‘Suffice it to say that, overall, the research is surprisingly consistent, and the long-held association between madness and creativity seems to be a real one’ (2003, p. 114). Interest in the link between madness and creativity, of course, is not just a literary phenomenon and extends much more widely, for example to figures from art, science and philosophy such as Van Gogh, Einstein, and Socrates among others.
KeywordsMental Illness Literary Criticism Bipolar Affective Disorder Creative Writer Chemical Imbalance
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.