Madness and creativity

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One prominent idea in the modern media is that madness and creativity are linked, but this notion is not new and seems to have originated with the Greek thinker Socrates in the 5th century BC. He remarked: ‘Our greatest blessings come to us by way of madness.’ His ideas were developed by Aristotle and have gone into and out of fashion over the centuries. Only in the twentieth century was the link between madness and creativity fully revived. Virginia Woolf, who drowned herself in 1941, famously remarked: ‘As an experience, madness is terrific, I can assure you, and not to be sniffed at; in its lava I still find most of the things I write about.’ In this podcast, we look at ideas about creativity and those who suffer from mental disorders, and explore this idea and its place in the popular imagination.

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