Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness Paperback – January 8, 1992
Best Books of the Year So Far in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
Styron's harrowing struggle with clinical depression is the subject of his non-fiction bestseller, Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness (Vintage Books, 1992). In a mercifully brief 84 pages, Styron eloquently demonstrates how the most brutal and debilitating stages of psychotic depression often hurl patients into an existential nightmare from which the only perceived escape is death (and according to Styron, this misperception constitutes one common, potentially lethal distortion of thought in depressed patients).
Darkness Visible opens with a pointed epigraph from the book of Job. This reflects Styron's perception that like Job's trials, depressed patients are beset by something inexplicable and powerful that threatens to destroy the fruits of their life and labor, the relationships they hold dear, and their very understanding of spirituality. Like Job, depressed patients struggle to find cosmological meaning in their suffering. And like Job, depressed patients who petition God to provide this meaning for them may only receive partial answers or worse yet, a silence that reverberates from an expansive, ominous void.Read more ›
I think it's important that this book was written by an author of the same stature as famous writers who did take their lives. The difference is that Styron came out on the other side of this malady, saw it for what it was. At times he makes remarkable observations on depression, worthy of a clinician in a psychiatric hospital; for example, when he writes sentences such as, The physical symptoms of this affliction trick the mind into thinking that the situation is beyond hope.
As with many, Styron's physical predisposition to depression (a), led to (b) feelings of despair, hopelessness, and suicidal thoughts, which further fed the symptoms and perpetuated the disease.
This literary work helps dispel the idea that depression is "fashionable" and that suicide among the literati is "cool."
His "no holds barred" discussion honors those who fight this affliction.
(By the way, the title is from John Milton's epic "Paradise Lost," "darkness visible" is one of many ways Milton described the Hell into which Satan and his demons were tossed.)
In an author's note, Styron explains that this book started out as a lecture given at a symposium sponsored by the Department of Psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. The lecture was developed into a "Vanity Fair" essay before ultimately becoming this book.
Styron describes depression as "an insidious meltdown" of the mind, a "tempest in my brain." He reflects on the depression and suicide of other individuals whose lives had touched his. He describes in detail his own struggle with suicidal thoughts. Also covered are the medications he took, as well as his hospitalization and therapy.
Styron's book is both a fine piece of literature and a very informative window into a particular mental illness. Styron has been in the pit of despair, but has survived; I commend him for his courage and candor in sharing his experience in "Darkness Visible." Recommended companion text: Audre Lorde's "The Cancer Journals," about a poet's battle with breast cancer.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I read the book hoping he would have some pointer in how to lower the level of depression I have been having. Iy did not do anything to lower it. Read morePublished 8 hours ago by Richard A. Clark
The rawness of his description of depression paired with the elegance of his prose is breath taking. It took a lot of courage to write this.Published 3 days ago by Sandra
An amazing work, from a writer who obviously suffered the tortures of the damned while he was depressed. Reading what William Styron went through was actually heartbreaking. Read morePublished 11 days ago by Presela Anne
Wonderful, wonderful little book. A very easy read (text, not subject matter). Styron is a real writer. Read morePublished 15 days ago by Cynthia C.C.
The book was in "great" condition and arrived in great time, seemed to come in a short time! I was very pleased. Thank you.Published 17 days ago by Nancy S.
Disappointingly short. Basically a magazine article with a chapter added on. Very good about the sheer pain of depression and its effect on the ability to act, think, taste, feel... Read morePublished 19 days ago by Sam Clemens
My father was subject to depression. How deep it went and what caused it is now clouded by the post-traumatic stress he suffered from his participation in WWII. Read morePublished 26 days ago by Gridley
Very engaging, the author does not hesitate to tell it like lit is.Published 1 month ago by Southwest Rain lover