The Midnight Disease: The Drive to Write, Writer's Block, and the Creative Brain

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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2005 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 307 pages
55 Reviews
What underlies the human ability, desire, and even compulsion to write? Alice Flaherty first explores the brain state called hypergraphia - the overwhelming desire to write - and the science behind its antithesis, writer's block. As a leading neurologist at a major research hospital, Flaherty writes from the front lines of brain research. Her voice, driven and surprisingly original, has its roots in her own experiences of hypergraphia, triggered by a postpartum mood disorder. Both qualifications lend power to Flaherty's riveting connection between the biology of human longing and the drive to communicate.
The Midnight Disease charts exciting new territory concerning the roles of mind and body in the creative process. Flaherty - whose engagement with her patients and lifelong passion for literature enrich each page - argues for the importance of emotion in writing, illuminates the role that mood disorders play in the lives of many writers, and explores with profound insight the experience of being "visited by the muse." Her understanding of the role of the brain's temporal lobes and limbic system in the drive to write challenges the popular idea that creativity emerges solely from the right side of the brain. Finally, The Midnight Disease casts lights on the methods and madness of writers past and present, from Dostoevsky to Conrad, from Sylvia Plath to Stephen King.
The Midnight Disease brings the very latest brain science to bear on the most compelling questions surrounding human creativity.
  

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The premise and context of the book is interesting. - Goodreads
And then she goes on about other quirks of writing. - Goodreads
Flaherty is a neurologist and a driven writer. - Goodreads
A neurologist's take on writing. - Goodreads

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - socalnovelist - LibraryThing

A little too much peripheral psycho-babble. I liked the areas of focus on the writer's issues, with block, and hypergraphia, but sometimes too much psycho-babble, and it lost me....I can study that in ... Read full review

Review: The Midnight Disease: The Drive to Write, Writer's Block, and the Creative Brain

User Review  - Melinda Jane Harrison - Goodreads

Considering that human beings are "new" to writing, five to six thousand years at most, our need to write is a mystery. I bought this book and a few others like it because I thought I might quit ... Read full review

Contents

III
17
IV
49
V
79
VI
108
VII
149
VIII
183
IX
224
X
267
XI
284
XII
285
Copyright

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About the author (2005)

A. W. Flaherty is a neurologist at Massachusetts General Hospital who also teaches at Harvard Medical School. She is the author of The Midnight Disease: The Drive to Write, Writer's Block, and the Creative Brain. A. W. lives with her husband and twin daughters near Boston.

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