The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath Darkness Visible by William Styron The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides The Noonday Demon by Andrew Solomon Prozac . Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness. William Styron, Author Random House ( NY) $ (84p) ISBN The New York Times–bestselling memoir of crippling depression and the struggle for recovery by the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Sophie’s Choice.

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Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — Darkness Visible by William Styron. A Memoir of Madness by William Styron. A work of great vosible courage and a literary tour de force, this bestseller is Styron’s true account of his descent into a crippling and almost suicidal depression. Styron is visiblf the first writer to convey the full terror of depression’s psychic landscape, as well as cisible illuminating path to recovery.

Paperback84 pages. Published January 8th by Vintage first published September 4th To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Darkness Visibleplease sign up. Lists with This Book. Jan 17, Lawyer rated it it was amazing Shelves: My thoughts swirl over the important content of Styron’s brief memoir originally delivered as a lecture in Baltimore, The information contained in this little volume is too important to trust to hastily dashe Darkness Visible: The information contained in ztyron little volume is too important to trust visinle hastily dashed off thoughts, without the benefit of careful consideration.

So a night’s sleep is called for. And, truthfully, to consider how much of myself I choose to reveal within my review of Styron’s story. For much of what he has to say, also applies to me, as it does to many among us. Yet, I am not unaware of the stigma brought about by confession. My inclination is truthfulness leads more to seek help. It has made all the difference. For I emerged from darkness, once again to see the stars.

There is much joy in the night sky, but a terrible loneliness in the dark, without even a match to strike to hold to a candle’s wick. The Heart of the Matter-January 25, It has dadkness considerably more time than one night of vy sleep to bring myself to write an adequate review of Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness.

For I did not stop with this brief but brilliant account by William Styron. I continued on to with Reading My Father by his youngest daughter, Alexandra Styronan absorbing, intimate memoir detailing what it was like to be William Styron’s daughter in good times and in bad. The bad included not only the time Styron so articulately described in this work, but in his continuing battle clinical depression. His battle did not end with the publication of Darkness Visible in Rather, Styron was revisited by “the black dog,” the “dark river,” “the abyss,” a number of times before his death in No, Styron did not die by his own hand.


He endured cancer of the mouth, and died of complications from pneumonia. A review of Reading My Father will follow at some point, hopefully in the very near future. West III is at the right corner of my desk. Yes, I am making a study of Styron’s life and his works, a number of which I have read at this time, but not all of them. Many, some published posthumously have a great bearing on Styron’s life view, his state of mind during some of the most difficult points in his life.

There was something else I had to give considerable thought to before writing this review. I indicated that in my “hastily dashed off thoughts” now appearing in what I have called the Preamble to the main body of this review. Those of you who have read my reviews know that I have often included personal details of my life.

This will be the most personal review I have ever written. Not only will you read of Styron’s thoughts on the nature of depression, but you will learn of mine, something that I struggled to hide for many years, quite successfully, until, I, too, slid off the edge of the world in much the same fashion as did Styron.

It is not so much that confession is good for the soul, but that with each voice speaking about the debilitating anguish of depression, perhaps those who do not understand it will not view those who suffer from it weak human beings, would be shirkers of responsibility, or simply spineless beings.

Styron did much to dispell that stigma. However, many people who share those misconceptions, quite frankly do not read William Styron. I have come to wonder if they read much of anything. I also have a few things to say about the pharmaceutical industry and the manner in which they pitch their products in endless streams of mindless commercials. It draws on literary allusion after allusion.

Note the very source of its title. Paradise Lost by John Milton. For its subject matter it is remarkably succinct, a mere ninety pages. It is remarkable for its clarity. Styron is remarkable for his revelation of his illness, it is the taking off the mask that those battling depression wear so well, for so long.

Styron reveals his self medication with alcohol, perhaps an addiction, though he never calls it alcoholism. Yet he reveals that he frequently wrote under the influence of alcohol and could not do so without a fluent flow without the aid of alcohol.

At visjble age of sixty, the mere taste of alcohol resulted in pure revulsion.

He was devastated by insomnia night after night. He discloses that he was an auto-didact. He was a master at self-diagnosis. Before seeking psychiatric help styrn had pondered over the Diagnostic Statistical Manual, what I call the ultimate cookbook containing all the diagnostic recipes for disorders large and small for psychologists and psychiatrists.

Darjness further complicate matters, though Styron does not admit it in Darkness Visible Styron was a hypochondriac extraordinaire. We can thank daughter Alexandra for that information.


Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness by William Styron

Styron cracked apart in on a trip to Paris to accept the Prix Mondial Cino Del Duca, styeon for his lifetime achievement in producing works reflecting on great humanism. The award was offered by the wife of his French Publisher. Del Duca had published Styron’s first novel Lie Down in Darkness inand had published each of his ensuing works.

It was to be a day of festivities. However, Styron had already sought an appointment with a psychiatrist in New York. Immediately after the award was presented, Styron in an absolute panic, immobilized by anxiety, told Madame Del Duca he could not attend the luncheon being held in his visivle.

Which drew an angry “Alors!

Illuminating depression

Styron, even in his frozen state, apologized, did recognize his gaffe and told her he had a problem psychiatrique and that he was sick. Styron and his rock, wife Rose, suffered through the luncheon, Styron unable to choke down hardly a bite. A flight on the Concorde the next morning began a rigorous pyschiatric treatment. Styron seriously contemplated suicide. Some central thoughts from Darkness Visibleeach of which I hold to be absolutely true, which I will interlace with my own confessions, the devil take the hindmost.

The names of some of my principal players have been changed to protect the innocent and the guilty, for there are both. It thus remains nearly incomprehensible to those who have not experienced it in its extreme mode, although the gloom, “the blues” which people go through occasionally and associate with the general hassle of everyday existence are of such prevalence that they do give many individuals a hint of the illness in its catastrophic form.

A little time, you’ll feel better in no time.

Darkness Visible

Snap out of it. Do you think it’s pleasant being around you? If you do, I’ll take you for every cent you’ve got. Many years were loveless. We had two children. When my son graduated from high school, I left work early one day, gathered clothes together, the kids came home to find me packing.

I explained their mother and I couldn’t get along anymore. It wasn’t their fault. Nor williak it their mother’s. She was a good woman. I would never say a bad word about her. The divorce took two years. My former wife fought all styrom way.

I was an Assistant District Attorney. There was a limited pot of money. There would always be a eilliam amount of money. It took two lawyers to convince her of that. Even then, I gave her everything, keeping my books, records, fishing equipment, and camping equipment.