By S. Stone Horton

Affective ailment and the Writing lifestyles 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 infrequently silence the writing brain – and the way affective distinction has consistently educated the literary mind's eye.

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Print. 214–215. Barron, Frank, Alfono Montuori, and Anthea Barron, eds Creators on Creating; Awakening and Cultivating the Imaginative Mind. New York: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam, 1997. Print. Interviews: Italo Calvino 101, Marion Milner, 113–114, Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky 180–181. Danquah, Meri Nana-Ama. “Writing the Wrongs of Identity”. Unholy Ghost; Writers on Depression. Ed. Casey, Nell. New York: Perennial, 2002. Print. 174–175. Hensick, Teri, Kate, Oliver, and Pocobene, Gianfranco. “Puvis de Chavennes’s Allegorical Murals in the Boston Public Library: History, Technique, and Conservation”.

In the next fragment of yellowed correspondence, Puvis, now 70 years old, has begun work on a mural of the “inspiring muses” in his studio in Neuilly, France. In addition to erecting a 60-foot wall with a 2-story door in the center to replicate the Boston library space, he has made architectural models of the grand staircase and the arched loggia that opens onto the mural wall and has requested samples of the Italian marble that is being cut for the staircase, columns, and second floor hall. He sketches hundreds of life drawings using live models, distilling the images and framing them up, before he realizes that his Muses will have to fly over the mural meadow or they will appear to patrons ascending the staircase to be truncated at the waist by the second floor balustrade.

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. Plath wrote through manic–depression, swimming against its tide as long as she could before eventually succumbing. Suicide is less rational choice than the unpeeling from life – gradual or sudden – of a psyche in extremis.

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