Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness by…

Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness (original 1990; edition 1990)

by William Styron

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,118583,100 (3.9)47
Title:Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness
Authors:William Styron
Info:Random House (1990), Edition: 1st ed, Hardcover, 84 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Read, Psychology

Work details

Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness by William Styron (1990)


Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 47 mentions

English (55)  French (3)  All (58)
Showing 1-5 of 55 (next | show all)
Profoundly honest account of William Styron's life of depression, focusing on 1985, the year it became debilitating to him to the point where he almost killed himself. Styron is very literate on the subject of depression itself in the medical sense but he shines in his self-examination of his life from a youth to the time when he wrote the book. For someone who has battled depression, it is a gift of hope that they will someday know serenity and joy. ( )
  bogopea | Aug 20, 2016 |
Short but to the point, this intensely personal memoir sheds a bit of welcome light on an illness still largely inexplicable and in severe cases almost incurable.
  bartt95 | Jun 22, 2016 |
In this memoir, the author - probably best known for the novel Sophie's Choice - frankly discusses his personal relationship with depression. He also touches on the stigma and dismissiveness surrounding depression and sets about educating the reader - not in a condescending, proselytising manner though - on the causes and effects depression. For a twenty-six year old book, Darkness Visible is still relevant and even necessary to the ongoing discourse about depression. It's a short but informative essay which everybody should read and recommend.

A superficial aside: the cover is clever in the raised lettering of the almost-invisible title in the black section. ( )
  kitzyl | Apr 2, 2016 |
A powerful description of what depression feels like from the inside (a feeling which Styron says the very word "depression" does not quite capture).

Playwright Jean Kerr once described hope as "the feeling you have that the feeling you have isn't permanent." Styron writes:

In depression this faith in deliverance, in ultimate restoration, is absent. The pain is unrelenting, and what makes the condition intolerable is the foreknowledge that no remedy will come—not in a day, an hour, a month, or a minute. If there is mild relief, one knows that it is only temporary; more pain will follow. It is hopelessness even more than pain that crushes the soul.

He points out that, though depression is at least as debilitating as other illnesses, those who suffer from depression are expected to press on; to act normal; to function in the world as if their illness did not exist, or more accurately as if their illness were something that they could choose to change.

Leaves one with a lot to think about, and though Styron is not afraid to explore very dark places, he ends on a hopeful note. ( )
  bibleblaster | Jan 23, 2016 |
This was an interesting and well-written account of descencion into depression late in life. The account is pithy and honest. ( )
  Jen.ODriscoll.Lemon | Jan 23, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 55 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
For the thing which
I greatly feared is come upon me,
and that which I was afraid of
Is come unto me.
I was not in safety, neither
had I rest, neither was I quiet;
yet trouble came.
— Job
To Rose
First words
In Paris on a chilly evening late in October of 1985 I first became fully aware that the struggle with the disorder in my mind—a struggle which had engaged me for several months—might have a fatal outcome.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
"This book began as a lecture given in Baltimore in May 1989 at a symposium on affective disorders sponsored by the Department of Psychiatry of The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Greatly expanded, the text became an essay published in December of that year in Vanity Fair" Author's note.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0679736395, Paperback)

In 1985 William Styron fell victim to a crippling and almost suicidal depression, the same illness that took the lives of Randall Jarrell, Primo Levi and Virginia Woolf. That Styron survived his descent into madness is something of a miracle. That he manages to convey its tortuous progression and his eventual recovery with such candor and precision makes Darkness Visible a rare feat of literature, a book that will arouse a shock of recognition even in those readers who have been spared the suffering it describes.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:03 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

The author chronicles his personal battles with severe depression, and offers help to others on how to overcome this disorder.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 2 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
4 avail.
111 wanted
4 pay

Popular covers


Average: (3.9)
1 8
1.5 2
2 9
2.5 7
3 100
3.5 38
4 183
4.5 20
5 116

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


You are using the new servers! | About | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 110,745,060 books! | Top bar: Always visible