Misty Garrick's Reviews > Touched with Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament

Touched with Fire by Kay Redfield Jamison
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's review
Aug 15, 2010

liked it
bookshelves: to-read, psychology
Read in October, 2010

In this book, Redfield Jamison researches the connection between creative talents and bipolar disorder. She looks primarily at past writers as opposed to modern day and analyzes their creative outputs and observations of their condition by themselves, by others and by any medical records. She lists many examples and there are some interesting datapoints (for example, charting a composer's bipolar incidents along with their productivity in terms of composing music). However, the book did not have a clear thesis to me, and seemed to reiterate the same point over and over again for many chapters. Also, there didn't seem to be a lot of "control" examples -- analysis of prominent writers, artists and composers who did not exhibit signs of mental illness. Overall, I had high hopes for this book, but it just seemed rather dull. I'm still wanting to read Redfield Jamison's autobiography, which details her own struggles with bipolar disorder.

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