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By S. Stone Horton

Affective ailment and the Writing existence interrogates the mythos of the 'mad author' via lived event, literary research, writerly mirrored image and modern neuroscience. It explores how affective problems color, force and occasionally silence the writing brain – and the way affective distinction has continually trained the literary mind's eye.

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Extra info for Affective Disorder and the Writing Life: The Melancholic Muse

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But an alternate reading, with affective disorder in mind, is that of a body/mind hurtling out of control. An arrow, a powerful image for psychoanalytic criticism, also implies powerlessness; once fired, an arrow cannot change its course. “Something else” lifts this rider, bodily. “Dead hands, dead stringencies”, dead efforts to hold things together, all of these “unpeel” for good; the speaker will not survive the “cauldron of morning”. Plath’s art navigates both dark undercurrents and icy altitudes; the poems offer a front-row seat to the terrifying instability of the self.

11–13). The taproot of Plath’s ruminative depression inches ever deeper, into dark aquifers of human evil and suffering, of Dachau, Auschwitz, severed-foot paperweights. /I drink them,/Hating myself, hating and fearing” (180, stanza 22). The label “confessional”, branded on Plath’s generation of American poets, is reductive. For Oates, Ariel is “not one woman dragging her shadow around in a circle”. The poems are not emotional outbursts. Rather, personae exist in the realm of the uncanny, in “the light of the mind/cold and planetary” (172, line 1).

Gov. US National Library of Medicine. Web. 4 July 2010. Styron, William. Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness. New York: Vintage, 1992. Thomas, Katherine, et al. “Depressed Writing: Cognitive Distortions in the Works of Depressed and Non-Depressed Poets and Writers”. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity and the Arts, November 2007. 1(4): 204–218. org. The American Psychological Association. Web. 20 February 2013. ”  Turnera, Arlene, et al. “Association Between Subcortical Volumes and Verbal Memory in Unmedicated Depressed Patients and Healthy Controls”.

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