Touched with Fire Essay

1057 Words5 Pages
Touched With Fire begins with a clear review of the signs and symptoms of bipolar and related disorders, highlighting particular symptoms that may enhance or hinder creative success. The author, Kay Jamison, discussed the course of the illness over time, explaining why certain phases may be connected to increased productivity and others with little or no productivity. She also reviewed the experimental studies conducted on the number of mood disorders among living writers and artists. Those studies examined such factors as psychiatric care, medications, hospitalizations, suicide attempts, and family histories. Then she reviewed historical records of numerous artists that are now deceased. The study found that the number of bipolar illnesses in these groups were shockingly high, especially for poets. The book described how Jamison researched statistical data of many artists examining the relation between mood swings and creative productivity. She studied family trees to reveal histories of irritability, insanity, and suicide. Although Jamison explained that mental illness is not a prerequisite for creativity, in this book, she provided substantial evidence to suggest that the manic and depressive phases of bipolar illness may offer something to enhance the creative process. Kay Jamison used biographical sources linking manic-depressive illness and the artistic temperament. These biographies included personal accounts such as letters and quotations from people such as Robert Lowell, Robert Burns, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Robert Schumann, Theodore Roethke, Edgar Allen Poe, Vincent Van Gogh, Lord Byron, and others. In addition, she analyzed the work of these artists, which often described, in detail, the emotional and intense highs and lows that they experienced. The scientific discussion, provided in this book, of manic-depressive illness allowed me to recognize

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