Friday, October 29, 2010

It Is In The Madness

My next paper will be on the Charlotte Perkins Gilman short story The Yellow Wallpaper. This story centers on a woman going mad and is based partly on Gilman's own expression with depression and the "treatment" she was given (which included orders not to write, which would just be heartbreaking of itself). I enjoyed it.

There is something to be found in certain "madnesses." I recently heard of a book called Touched with Fire, which centers around the connection between mental illness and genius. It sounds quite interesting; one of the points it makes is just in the mental image we have of a great artist. You imagine the great musical conductor with his messy hair, crazed expression, and almost savage aura. Madness and genius meeting? And of course, there are people like Edgar Allan Poe that no one doubts had some trouble, let's say, in their lives, but are remembered by history for their artistic endeavors. Like I said, interesting.

It makes me think of Jo in Little Women. When she goes into a writing fit, she locks herself in the garrett, away from food and sleep for days, with her quote "genius burns." Genius burns from being "touched with fire?"

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

Bran Hambric: The Specter Key

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