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Divine Madness


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Table of Contents

Preface. 1 The Nature of Madness and Creativity: Myths and Realities. 2 Sylvia Plath: Perfected in Death. 3 Judy Garland: Under the Rainbow. 4 Mark Rothko: Painted in Blood. 5 Ernest Hemingway: Living Up to His Legend. 6 Virginia Woolf: A Great Lake of Melancholy. 7 Charles Mingus:Musical Hallucinations. 8 Vaslav Nijinsky: A Method to His Madness. 9 Marilyn Monroe: Killed by Kindness. 10 Lenny Bruce: Sick and Dirty Comic. 11 Brian Wilson: Afraid of the Water. 12 Interpretations of Meaning in the Lives of Creative Geniuses. Notes. References and Further Reading. About the Author.

About the Author

Jeffrey A. Kottler is one of the most prolific authors in the fields of psychology and education, having written sixty-five books about a wide range of subjects. He has authored a dozen texts for counselors and therapists that are used in universities around the world and a dozen books each for practicing therapists and educators. Some of his most highly regarded works include On Being a Therapist, The Imperfect Therapist, Compassionate Therapy, Making Changes Last, and The Mummy at the Dining Room Table. He has also authored several highly successful books for the public that describe complex phenomena in highly accessible language: Beyond Blame; Travel That Can Change Your Life; Private Moments, Secret Selves; The Language of Tears; and The Last Victim: A True-Life Journey into the Mind of the Serial Killer. Kottler has been an educator for thirty years. He has worked as a teacher, counselor, and therapist in a variety of settings: preschool, middle school, mental health center, crisis center, university, community college, and private practice.He has served as a Fulbright scholar and senior lecturer in Peru (1980) and Iceland (2000), and has worked as a visiting professor in New Zealand, Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Nepal.He is currently professor and chair of the counseling department at California State University, Fullerton.


It's commonplace to observe that the line between genius and mental illness is razor thin, and critics point to a long list of writers, artists and musicians-from William Blake to Sylvia Plath-as illustrations. Kottler, a professor of counseling at California State University, Fullerton, superficially probes the relationship between madness and creativity through 10 case studies of artists who are as famous for their mental instability as their work: Sylvia Plath, Judy Garland, Mark Rothko, Ernest Hemingway, Virginia Woolf, Charles Mingus, Vaslav Nijinsky, Marilyn Monroe, Lenny Bruce and Brian Wilson. An excellent storyteller, he uses these case studies to illustrate the loneliness, sensitivity and intensity that characterized the lives of these artists and the extent to which their personal traumas and psychological instability blossomed into creative genius. For example, he tells how Plath's contentious relationship with her mother and her tortured marriage to Ted Hughes drove her into depression and eventually suicide but also fueled her poetic genius. But the stories of these artists are already very well known, and Kottler offers no genuinely new insights. Moreover, he resorts to sophomoric and clich?d notions-"we are all a little crazy, some more than others," "creativity is thinking outside the box"-to explain the relationship between madness and creativity. (Jan.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

"...fascinating and intimate portraits" (Glasgow Evening Times, February 2006) "It is an excellent book that highlights the suffering and pain that coexist in parallel with extraordinary creativity." (www.restoringthemind.com, Monday 5th November 2007)

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