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Buy Touched With Fire: Manic-depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament New Ed by Kay Redfield Jamison (ISBN: ) from Amazon’s Book. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen An Unquiet Mind by Kay Redfield Jamison The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy The Catcher in . 25 quotes from Touched with Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament: ‘Who would not want an illness that has among its symptoms eleva.

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

Return to Book Page. Touched with Fire Quotes Showing of Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament. Thinking processes almost always slow down, and decisiveness is replaced by indecision and rumination. The ability to concentrate is usually greatly impaired and willful action and thought become difficult if not impossible.

Touched With Fire – Kay Redfield Jamison – Google Books

Manic-depressive illness—marked as it is by extraordinary and confusing fluctuations in mood, personality, thinking, and behavior—inevitably has powerful and often painful effects on relationships.

A stronger distinction was made between sane melancholies of high achievement and individuals whose insanity prevented them from using their ability.

The importance of rapid, fluid, and divergent thought in the creative process has been described by most psychologists and writers who have studied human imagination. The increase in the speed of thinking may wiht its influence in different ways. Speed per se, that is, the quantity of thoughts and associations produced in a given period of time, may be enhanced.

The increased quantity and speed of thoughts may exert an effect on the qualitative aspects of thought as well; that is, the sheer volume of thought can produce unique ideas and associations. Indeed, Sir Walter Scott, when discussing Byron’s mind, commented: It ran swift as the lightning from one subject to another, and occasionally burst forth in passionate throes of intellect, nearly allied to madness. Byron had this in an almost textbook manner, showing frequent and pronounced fluctuations in mood, energy, sleep patterns, sexual behavior, alcohol and other drug use, and weight Byron also exhibited extremes in dieting, obsession with his weight, eccentric eating patterns, and excessive use of epsom salts.


Although these changes in mood and behavior were dramatic and disruptive when they occurred, it is important to note that Byron was clinically normal most of the time; this, too, is highly characteristic of manic-depressive illness.

An inordinate amount of confusion about whether someone does or does not have manic-depressive illness stems from the popular misconception that irrationality of mood and reason are stable rather than fluctuating features of the disease.

Some assume that because an individual such as Byron was sane and in impressive control of his reason most of the time, that he could not have been “mad” or have suffered from a major mental illness.

Lucidity and normal functioning are, however, perfectly consistent with-indeed, characteristic of-the firw nature of manic-depressive illness.

This is in contrast to schizophrenia, which is usually a chronic and relatively unrelenting illness characterized by, among other things, an inability to reason clearly. Guilford, who carried out a long series of systematic psychological studies into the nature of creativity, found that several factors were involved in creative thinking; many of these, as we shall see, relate directly to the cognitive changes that take place during mild manias as well.

Fluency of thinking, as defined by Guilford, is made up of several related and empirically derived concepts, measured by tiuched tasks: In addition to fluency of thinking, Guilford developed two other important concepts for the study of creative thought: In tests of convergent thinking there is almost always one conclusion or answer that is regarded as unique, and thinking is to be channeled or controlled in the direction of that answer In divergent thinking, on the other hand, there is much searching about or going off in various directions.

This is most obviously seen when there is no unique conclusion.


There is freedom to go off in different directions Rejecting the old solution and striking out in some direction is necessary, and the resourceful organism will more probably succeed.

Daniel Kevles, in his book In the Name of Eugenics, quotes Galton as saying that “men who leave their mark on the world are very often those who, being gifted and full of nervous power, are at the same time haunted and driven by a dominant idea, and are therefore within a measurable distance of insanity.

Perturbed and constant motion, coupled with a brooding awareness of life’s impermanence, also mark the transient and often bleak nature of Byron’s work. He and the other Romantic poets, however, took the ideas and emotions to a particularly intense extreme. Shelley’s belief that poetry “marries exultation and horror, grief and pleasure, eternity and change,” and that it “subdues to union, under its light yoke, all irreconcilable things,” was in sympathy not only with the views of Byron but those of Keats as well.


What shocks the virtuous philosopher, delights the camelion Poet. It does no harm from its relish of the dark side of things any more than from its taste for the bright one; because they both end in speculation.

The possible importance of the circadian system in its pathogenesis is redcield by the capacity of experimental otuched in the timing of sleep and wakefulness to alter clinical state. Most rhythmic disturbances identified in the symptoms of manic-depressive illness occur over the course of a day-that is, they are circadian rhythms-and are most apparent in jamisoj daily rest-activity cycle.

The episodic recurrences of the illness, on the other hand, are usually infradian, oscillating over periods of months or years. Episodic mania and depression may also reflect disturbances in ultradian rhythms, those that oscillate more than once a day, which are common at the cellular level and in hormone secretion, as well as in such autonomic functions as circulation, blood pressure, respiration, heart rate, and in the cycles of sleep.

There is not, among all the martyrologies that ever were penned, so rueful a narrative as the lives of the poets. But how do these findings make sense in light of the striking peaks for severe depressive episodes, and suicide itself, during these same months?

And why should so many artists and writers have another peak of productivity during the autumn months? This is shown in the works of many writers, as well as in the findings from both Otuched and my studies. Interestingly, there is some evidence that major mathematical and scientific discoveries tend to occur during the spring and fall as well.

Indeed, autumn has been seen by many artist as their most inspiring season. Just a tuched while we sign you toyched to your Goodreads account.