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

by William Styron

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2,079583,188 (3.89)46
Member:drakescott
Title:Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness
Authors:William Styron
Info:Random House (1990), Edition: 1st ed, Hardcover, 84 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:Read, Psychology

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

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English (55)  French (3)  All languages (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)
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Epigraph
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
Dedication
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.
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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.
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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

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