Darkness Visible: A Memoir Of Madness

Paperback | January 8, 1992

byWilliam Styron

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A work of great personal 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 perhaps the first writer to convey the full terror of depression's psychic landscape, as well as the illuminating path to recovery.

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From Our Editors

A work of great personal 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 perhaps the first writer to convey the full terror of depression's psychic landscape, as well as the illuminating path to recovery

From the Publisher

A work of great personal 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 perhaps the first writer to convey the full terror of depression's psychic landscape, as well as the illuminating path to recovery.

William Styron, 1925 - William Clark Styron was born June 11, 1925 in Newport News, Virginia to William Clark Styron, a marine engineer, and Pauline Abraham Styron, who died when he was thirteen years old. He was a descendent of the Stioring family that arrived in Virginia in 1650. He attended Duke University and took courses at the Ne...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:96 pages, 8 × 5.2 × 0.3 inPublished:January 8, 1992Publisher:Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0679736395

ISBN - 13:9780679736394

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Simply anguishing and brilliant A must read if you have ever been enveloped by "the poisonous fog".
Date published: 2014-08-20
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Speaking Truths This short but excellent read takes us on an uncomfortable ride through depress. It provides a soltice of sorts and helps one feel not no alone. Definitely a must read.
Date published: 2014-06-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Darkness Visible by William Styron Darkness Visible – A Memoir of Madness by William Styron William Styron’s “Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness” is a slim volume (84 pages) recounting in first person, his deeply personal struggle with crippling depression, the events leading up to his battle with the illness, and many of the terrors surrounding that time. In language befitting the Pulitzer Prize winning novelist, Styron articulates the hell of depression with stark beauty, comparing many facets of his bleak existence with the optimistic happenings of everyday life going on all around him, and his desperation at being unable to enjoy even the simplest things. After seeing Styron interviewed on a talk-show, and hearing him say, long after publication of this book, that it had garnered more attention than any of his other novels, Sophie’s Choice and the Confessions of Nat Turner included, combined – he went on to say, as flattering as it was, it puzzled him somewhat and he was growing a little tired of, “...hearing about that damned depression book...” He said it jokingly, but it made one wonder, all the same; at least it made me wonder. I was one of the readers who loved that book and loved him for writing it. In fact, coincidentally, at the time I saw Styron being interviewed; I was attempting to write a short note to him, thanking him for writing “Darkness Visible” and also, trying to tell him why it was such an important book and what it meant to me. In the end, I decided to forget about the interview and proffer my gratitude to Styron anyhow. I did tell him that I hoped he didn’t mind receiving one more plaudit for his “depression book” trusting that his famous sense of humour was intact. Why did I feel such a need to write to this author? Styron’s “Darkness Visible”, in addition to recounting in vivid detail the darkness of depression and the depths of despair, talks at length about his reluctance to be hospitalized, and about staying too long on the wrong medication. In my own sorry state, I remained straddling the abyss far too long, avoiding hospitalization with an irrational fear that bordered on paranoia. After reading “Darkness Visible”, a book written about a situation very similar to my own, and penned by an author I greatly respected, it was as if I had received tacit permission to enter the hospital. Styron does not sugar-coat hospitalization, far from it, but he does present it as a viable option. For someone like me, that was all it took. I thought he should know how helpful his little book had been. Some months later, I received this in the mail: “Dear Ms.I I was very touched by your eloquent letter. I’m so glad my experience – especially the part concerning the hospital – could have been valuable to you. Your words make me glad I wrote the book and I’m grateful for your thoughtfulness. Sincerely, William Styron.” By the time I received his note, I was on my way out of my own depression. Had I not been, I’m sure reading William Styron’s very kind words would have helped immeasurably. As it is, I treasure them still and have the note pasted in the front of my copy of “Darkness Visible”, a tiny tome about depression and the darkest stages of the human condition. More importantly, in the end, the book is about living through depression, and how almost everyone does, something it is hard remember when one is in the throes of the illness. For that alone, the book is worth reading and re-reading. (this review has appeared online at Helium.com and on the reviewers personal blog', "S.E.Ingraham Says")
Date published: 2011-05-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent THis is a must read for anyone with depression, anyone who knows someone with depression and anyone who wants to understand the physical and emotional pain depression can cause. William Styron's account of his experiance with Clinical Depression is vivid and evokes both emotion and the physical manifestation of depression which is often so hard to communicate. I can not recoommend this book highly enought!
Date published: 2011-01-21
Rated 3 out of 5 by from A literary memoir on depression William Styron was a soldier in his internal war with melancholia, who after rising up from the depths of its temporary madness decided to share his fashioned armour and learned defences with the afflicted masses, via Darkness Visible. This literary memoir details one mans descent into paralyzing inertia, discontent and hopelessness, while never once causing the reader to follow suit. Styron seemingly attempts to dispel some of the myths surrounding hospitalization, and the efficacy of pharmacology, while informally poo-pooing ‘group’ and ‘art’ therapies, asserting that they may be helpful to others, irrespective of their inability to assist him. In an effort to explain and understand the root of depression and its piercing clutches, Styron subscribes to the theory of an “incomplete mourning” of profound loss in childhood, as one of its driving instigations. The insinuation is also made that it is a disease that commonly affects artistic types - especially poets - and women, to higher degrees. What I take away with me at the end of this short glimpse into the malady of a literary giant, are some profoundly affecting and, possibly, life saving observations that have surely helped countless people find their way out of the desolate labyrinth that is depression. “Even those for whom any kind of therapy is a futile exercise can look forward to the eventual passing of the storm. If they survive the storm itself, its fury almost always fades and then disappears. Mysterious in its coming, mysterious in its going, the affliction runs its course, and one finds peace.” www.booksnakereviews.blogspot.com
Date published: 2009-02-21

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From Our Editors

A work of great personal 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 perhaps the first writer to convey the full terror of depression's psychic landscape, as well as the illuminating path to recovery