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Home: Bipolar Information: Famous: Writers

Famous Writers with Bipolar Disorders

The following list is drawn from Kay Jamison's Touched With Fire; Manic-Depressive Ilness and the Artistic Temperament

In Appendix B: Writers, Artists, and Composers with Probable Cyclothymia, Major Depression, or Manic-Depressive Illness.

"This is meant to be an illustrative rather than a comprehensive list; for systematic studies, see text. Most of the writers, composers, and artists are American, British, European, Irish, or Russian; all are deceased . . . Many if not most of these writers, artists, and composers had other major problems as well, such as medical illnesses, alcoholism or drug addiction, or exceptionally difficult life circumstances. They are listed here as having suffered from a mood disorder because their mood symptoms predated their other conditions, because the nature and course of their mood and behavior symptoms were consistent with a diagnosis of an independently existing affective illness, and/or because their family histories of depression, manic-depressive illness, and suicide--coupled with their own symptoms--were sufficiently strong to warrant their inclusion."

    H = Asylum or psychiatric hospital
    S = Suicide
    SA = Suicide attempt

  • Hans Christian Andersen
  • Honore de Balzac
  • James Barrie
  • Arthur Benson (H)
  • E.F. Benson
  • James Boswell
  • William Faulkner (H)
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald (H)
  • Lewis Grassic Gibbon (SA)
  • Nikolai Gogl
  • Maxim Gorky (SA)
  • Kenneth Graham
  • Graham Greene
  • Ernest Hemingway (H, S)
  • Hermann Hesse (H, SA)
  • Henrik Ibsen
  • William Inge (H, S)
  • Henry James
  • William James
  • Charles Lamb (H)
  • Malcolm Lowry (H, S)
  • John Bunyan
  • Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain)
  • Joseph Conrad (SA)
  • Charles Dickens
  • Isak Dinesen (SA)
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Herman Melville
  • Eugene O'Neill (H, SA)
  • Francis Parkman
  • John Ruskin (H)
  • Mary Shelley
  • Jean Stafford (H)
  • Robert Louis Stevenson
  • August Strindberg
  • Leo Tolstoy
  • Ivan Turgenev
  • Tennessee Williams (H)
  • Mary Wollstonecraft (SA)
  • Virginia Woolf (H, S)
  • Emile Zola

Modified August 6, 2004

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