The Flight of the Mind: Virginia Woolf's Art and Manic-Depressive Illness

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University of California Press, Jul 27, 1992 - Literary Criticism - 362 pages
In this major new book on Virginia Woolf, Caramagno contends psychobiography has much to gain from a closer engagement with science. Literary studies of Woolf's life have been written almost exclusively from a psychoanalytic perspective. They portray Woolf as a victim of the Freudian "family romance," reducing her art to a neurotic evasion of a traumatic childhood.

But current knowledge about manic-depressive illness—its genetic transmission, its biochemistry, and its effect on brain function—reveals a new relationship between Woolf's art and her illness. Caramagno demonstrates how Woolf used her illness intelligently and creatively in her theories of fiction, of mental functioning, and of self structure. Her novels dramatize her struggle to imagine and master psychic fragmentation. They helped her restore form and value to her own sense of self and lead her readers to an enriched appreciation of the complexity of human consciousness.
 

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Contents

Introduction
1
I owned to great egotism The Neurotic Model in Woolf Criticism
6
Never was anyone so tossed up down by the body as I am The Symptoms of ManicDepressive Illness
33
But what is the meaning of explained it? Countertransference and Modernism
75
In casting accounts never forget to begin with the state of the body Genetics and the Stephen Family Line
97
How completely he satisfied her is proved by the collapse Emblematic Events in Family History
114
How immense must be the force of life The Art of Autobiography and Woolfs Bipolar Theory of Being
134
A novel devoted to influenza Reading without Resolution in The Voyage Out
156
It is finished Ambivalence Resolved Self Restored in To the Lighthouse
244
I do not know altogether who I am The Plurality of Intrasubjective Life in The Waves
270
Science and Subjectivity
296
Afterword
303
Virginia Woolfs Mood Swing Chart 18951941
307
Notes
313
Works Cited
335
Index
349

Does anybody know Mr Flanders? Bipolar Cognition and Syncretistic Vision in Jacobs Room
185
The sane the insane side by side The ObjectRelations of SelfManagement in Mrs Dalloway
210

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About the author (1992)

Thomas C. Caramagno teaches in the Department of English at the University of Nebraska. Kay Redfield Jamison is Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

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