The brooding artist type: you know one, you’ve been one, you’ve seen one in the coffeshop thinking deep thoughts and crying as they type furiously into their laptop. But does depression help or hinder creative thought? Last year the Coolidge Auditorium hosted a symposium on “Depression and Creativity” as part of the “Music and the Brain” lecture series. The symposium was part of the Library’s bicentennial celebration of composer Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847), who died after a severe depression following the death of his sister, Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel, also a gifted composer. Kay Redfield Jamison, co-director of the Johns Hopkins Mood Disorders Center at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and author of “Touched with fire” and other volumes addressing the at times volatile state of the creative mind, led the discussion. Watch “Depression and Creativity“, part of the Music and the Brain playlist on the Library of Congress’s YouTube channel. And remember, you can subscribe to Music and the Brain podcasts on iTunes.
If you’re in Washington tonight, February 26th, come hear the latest in the series Music and the Brain II with “Why Do Listeners Enjoy Music That Makes Them Weep?” Prof. David Huron, Head of the Cognitive and Systematic Musicology Laboratory, Ohio State University, is our guest speaker. The lecture begins at 6:15 in room LJ-119, on the first floor of the Jefferson Building.
To our readers of a creative bent: do you feel that depression is an obstacle to creativity, or is there method in your madness?