Sunday, November 22, 2015

Insane Genius In Literature by Cesare Lombroso 1896

Insane Genius In Literature by Cesare Lombroso 1896

See also The Smartest People in History - 300 PDF Books on DVDrom

For a list of all of my disks and digital books click here

The connection which, as we have seen, exists between genius and insanity is confirmed by the over-excitement of the intelligence, and the temporary appearance of real genius frequently observed among the insane.

"It seems," writes Charles Nodier, "as if the divergent and scattered rays of the diseased intellect were suddenly concentrated, like those of the sun in a lens, and then lent to the speech of the poor madman so much brilliancy that one may be permitted to doubt whether he had ever been more learned, clear, or persuasive while in full possession of his reason."

"Madness," writes Theophile Gautier, "which creates such enormous gaps, does not always suspend all the faculties. Poems written during complete dementia often observe the rules of quantity extremely well. Domenico Theotocopuli, the Greek painter, whose master-pieces are admired in the Spanish churches, was insane. We have seen in England, scenes of lions and stallions fighting, the work of an insane patient, done on a board with a red-hot iron, which looked like some of Gericault's sketches rubbed in with bitumen."

Under the influence of insanity, "an ignorant peasant will make Latin verses; another will suddenly speak in an idiom which he has never learnt, and of which he will not know a word after his recovery. A woman will sing Latin hymns and poems entirely unknown to her; a child, wounded in the head, constructs syllogisms in German, and is unable, when no longer ill; to utter a single expression in that language."

Winslow knew a gentleman, incapable in his normal condition of doing a simple addition sum, who became an excellent mathematician during his attacks of mania. In the same way, a woman who wrote poetry while in the asylum, after her cure became once more a peaceable and prosaic housekeeper.

A monomaniac at the Bicetre lamented his detention in the following striking verse:—

"Ah! le poete de Florence
  N'avait pas, dans son chant sacre
 Revé l'abime de souffrance
 De tes murs, Bicetre execre." *

Esquirol gives an account of a maniac who invented, during the acute period of his malady, a new kind of cannon which was afterwards adopted.

Morel had under his care a madman, subject to intermittent states in which all his faculties were more or less blunted, if not actually lost, who, during his lucid intervals, composed fine comedies.

John Clare, who wrote nonsense as soon as he began to express himself in prose, in some of his tender and melancholy elegies rose to a rare perfection of style and the choicest ideas.

Leuret says, in speaking of mania, "It has happened to me more than once to form too favourable an idea of the intellectual capacity of some persons, when I could only judge of it by what they said or did during an attack of mania. A patient whose conversation and flashes of wit had struck me, sometimes turned out, after his recovery, to be a very ordinary man, far inferior to the opinion I had conceived of him."

Marce has recorded the case of a young married woman of cultivated mind, but merely ordinary intelligence, who, during the course of an attack of mania, in which ideas of jealousy predominated, "wrote to her husband letters which, for their eloquence and the passionate energy of their style, might easily be placed beside the most fervent passages of the _Nouvelle Heloise_. When the attack was over her letters became simple and modest, and no one, on comparing them with the others, would have believed that the two sets came from the same pen."

Excessive activity of the intellect, writes Dagonet, is also sometimes observed in the depressive forms of mental aberration, but much less frequently than in the expansive forms. As a proof of this, it is sufficient to cite the following letter, written by a patient affected with melancholic delusion, to her husband, a country schoolmaster. The letter was full of mistakes in spelling; the woman who wrote it had no education, and in her normal condition, no eloquence; but disease had transformed her by developing her intellectual faculties:—.

"Why did not the Master of the universe open the tomb to me in my brilliant youth? Why, at the same time, did He not remove me from you, since you do not love me, and I am making you unhappy?

"Why did I become a mother? To be unhappy—more than unhappy—to leave the children who are so dear to me. . . . Why do you hate me? Though I stood with my feet in boiling oil, I should still say, I love you!

"Why did you not let me die? You would be happy, — and I —my troubles would be over. . . . My dear children would come and play by my grave. I should still be near them—I should still, in the darkness of the grave, hear them say, 'There is our mother !'"

If this woman had fed her mind on the works of Chateaubriand she could not have expressed herself with more poetry or imagination.

"It has been known," says Tissot, "that a young man, whose tutor had never been able to teach him anything, and who, as the saying is, could not put a noun and an adjective together, spoke Latin fluently, after some days of malignant fever, and developed ideas which till then had not struck him."

Among other examples of what Lecamus calls learned frenzies, he cites Mademoiselle Antheman who, during her delirium, was of "smiling countenance and agreeable humour. Having lost the use of her right hand through paralysis, she painted and embroidered with her left, with incredible dexterity; and the productions of her mind were no less surprising than those of her hands. She recited verses which showed the greatest possible vivacity and delicacy, though they were the first she had ever composed."

"I am going to try," says Gerard de Nerval, in his book entitled Le Reve et la Vie, "to transcribe the impressions of a long illness which ran its course entirely in the mysteries of my mind. I do not know why I make use of the term illness, for never—as far as I am concerned— did I feel better. Sometimes I thought my strength and activity were doubled; it seemed that I knew and understood everything, imagination gave me infinite delight. In recovering what men called reason, shall I have to regret the loss of this?"

What mental practitioner has not heard similar words over and over again from the mouth of unhappy patients who, after recovering their reason, regretted their past state, that new life, that vita nuova, which Gerard defines as "L'epanchement du songe dans la vie reelle."

Increase of intellectual activity, says Dr. Parchappe, is frequently met with in insanity; it is even one of the most salient characteristics of this disease in its acute period. The annals of science—adds the same author— contain a certain number of well-authenticated facts, which have contributed to confirm the superstition of a
1 Tissot, Des nerfs et de leurs maladies, p. 133.
2 Medecine de f esprit, vol. ii. p. 32.
supernatural heightening of the intellectual faculties, and which explain, up to a certain point, how the love of the marvellous, in credulous observers, by exaggerating and distorting analogous facts, has been able to gain credit for the wonderful tales which abound in the history ot religious sects at all epochs, and more especially in the history of diabolical possessions in the Middle Ages.1

Van Swieten (Comment., 1121) relates that he had seen a woman who, during her attacks of mania, only spoke in verse, which she composed with admirable facility, although in health she had never shown the least poetic talent.

Lorry cites the case of a lady of rank, of very ordinary intellect, who was subject to attacks of melancholy, during which her intelligence was so far developed as to enable her to discuss the most difficult questions with eloquence.

A young girl of the people, aged fourteen, attacked with insanity in consequence of a religious revival, talked on theological subjects as if she had devoted herself to this study; she spoke like a preacher, of God and of Christian duties, and gave sagacious answers to the objections which were made.

"I have had occasion," writes Morel, "to remark, in some hypochondriac, hysteric, and epileptic patients, an extraordinary intellectual activity at the critical periods of the disease. It is not rarely observed that the attacks of exacerbation to which they are subject are preceded by an abnormal manifestation of the intellectual forces. A young hypochondriacal patient, confided to my care, often astonished those who saw him by the facility of his elocution, and the brilliancy with which he expressed his ideas. At certain times he would compose, in the course of a single night, a piece of music or a play which possessed remarkable traits, and some beauties of the first order. But, knowing the patient, I was never mistaken in my prognostications from this state of things. I knew that, after three or four days of excitement, this young man would fall into a dull stupor and become a prey to a torpid apathy which prevented him from feeling the instinct of his greatest natural necessities. The case ended in complete dementia."

"In the case of a hysterical patient, with a predominance of exalted religious ideas, I have also observed remarkable phenomena of intellectual reminiscence. She had heard a great number of sermons, and read still more. I have heard her repeat word for word what she had read or what had been delivered in her presence. We were able to follow her, book in hand, when, under the influence of a nervous excitement which quickened her memory, she recited sermons by well-known Christian orators. She was quite unable to repeat this phenomenon in her ordinary condition; but, as in the preceding case, we knew what view to take of a fact of this nature—not to mention that it resembled a large number of other cases, by means of which, at different times, the public credulity has been exploited. In this woman the phenomenon always preceded a crisis of exacerbation followed by stupor.

"Let us now pass to the extreme concentration of the attention in a hypochondriacal patient relating her own sensations. The following extracts are from a diary left to me by the patient in question. It summarizes all that is experienced by this class of patients.

"September 6, 1852, 9 p.m. This evening, on going to bed, sharp pain in the sacral regions and in the thighs. Tearing pains in the left ear and eye while falling asleep. I was overpowered by the feeling of fear. I seemed to be rolling into bottomless abysses, and to have, as it were, an iron hook fixed in my skull and heart, and dragging them out.

"September 7, 1852, 7 a.m. Lancinating pain in the eyes, acute suffering in the eyelids. Pressure on the temples, principally on the left, eyes constantly watering, larynx contracted; a horrible, never-ceasing devouring hunger, which seems to make me start. I am seized by an anger which makes me seem mad in the eyes of others. If I could still cry out, that would relieve me; I am boiling over with anger, and I look wild. It is as though I had a little saw inside my head. Always this motion of sawing—of a wheel which keeps turning and carries me with it. My bones feel to me like dead wood which burns like logwood.

"September 8, 1852. The whole day without having been able to do anything. My forehead seemed encircled with a tight iron band. I went to bed with a feeling of deep depression. Fear overpowers me—sometimes a feeling of hatred—a very little excusable jealousy of those who can act freely and work. I have in my back something like little strings pulling in all directions, making music like an accordion. It is torturing. The strongest man would fall dead with terror, if he could see the reality of a person in my state of health. . . . And they laugh at me. . . . The doctors refuse to believe in my sufferings. There are moments when all that I have ever seen in my life is before my eyes at once. I feel myself lifted into the air or up to the roofs; I feel a horror of myself. It is like an old painting by Rembrandt etched in aqua fortis.

"Dreams.—Dead horses, headless, dismembered— horrors of all kinds. . . . Then there are members of my family who appear to me; but everything I see is distorted and reduced in size; there is, as it were, a camera obscura in me, and the reflector shows me everything in miniature. I admit that I may be insane—but you, too, must admit at least that I am very ill," &c.

It is known, says Paulhan, that with some dementia patients, certain faculties remain intact; they can, for instance, play at cards or draughts, though their mind in general may be quite disorganized. The same is found to be the case with idiots. Griesinger saw, in the Earlswood Asylum, a young man who had made, all by himself, a remarkable model of a man-of-war. This individual's intelligence was very limited; he had no idea whatever of numbers. "It more frequently happens," adds the author, "that complete idiots execute fairly good work in drawing or painting. In such cases, it is, of course, only a mechanical talent."

Esquirol reports the case of a general suffering from mania, whose "delusions persist throughout the summer, with some lucid intervals, during which the patient writes comedies and vaudevilles which betray the incoherence of his ideas. ... In spite of the confusion of his mind, the general conceives an idea for the perfecting of a certain weapon, draws designs, and manifests the desire of getting a model constructed." One day, he went to the foundry, and, on his return, was seized with agitation and delirium. A while later, he paid a second visit to the foundry, and "the model having been executed, gave an order for fifty thousand. This order was the only act which gave the founder reason to suspect the general's malady. His invention was afterwards officially adopted." Thus, in the midst of general incoherence, an important series of ideas was maintained and carried out to the end.

A writer not practised in mental disease, Esquiros, whom we have already had occasion to quote, mentions the following facts, which are very significant:—

"Dr. Leuret," he says, "related to us the history of a patient in the Bicetre who, during his malady, had shown a remarkable talent for writing, though when in good health he would have been quite incapable of doing as much. 'I am not quite cured,' he said to the physician, who thought him convalescent. 'I am still too clever for that. When I am well, I take a week to write a letter. In my natural condition I am stupid; wait till I become so again." The same observer also cites the case of a merchant whose affairs were in danger. During his illness, this man found means to re-establish them; the result of each of his attacks was the perfecting of some mechanism, or the invention of some means for facilitating his industry; and at the end of this invaluable insanity, he was found to have recovered both his reason and his fortune.

"We have been shown at Montmartre, in Dr. Blanche's establishment, traces of charcoal-drawings on a wall. These half-effaced figures, one of which represented the Queen of Sheba, and the other some king, were the work of a distinguished young author, who has since recovered his reason. This illness had developed a new talent, which was non-existent, or at least played a most insignificant part, while he was in health.

"It is said that Marion Delorme met, in a madhouse, with the first man who conceived the idea 'of applying the forces of steam to the needs of industry, Salomon de Caus. Talents created by disease forsake the individual, for the most part, at the same time as the disease itself."

I had under treatment at Pavia, a peasant lad, aged twelve, who composed extremely original musical melodies, and bestowed on his companions in misfortune nicknames which fitted so well that they always kept them. With him was a little old man afflicted with rickets and pellagra who, when asked whether he was happy, replied, like a philosopher of ancient Greece, "All men are happy, even the rich, if they are only willing."

Many of my pupils still remember B____, by turns musician, servant, porter, keeper of a cookshop, tinman, soldier, public letter-writer, but always unfortunate. He left us an autobiography, which, apart from a few orthographical mistakes in spelling, would be quite worth printing; and he asked me for his discharge in terms which, for an uneducated working man, were wanting neither in beauty nor in originality.

Not long ago I heard a poor hawker of sponges, when insane, thus conjecture and sum up the cardinal idea of the circulation of life: "We do not die. When the soul is worn out it melts, and is turned into another shape. In fact, when my father had buried a dead mule, we afterwards saw mushrooms growing in great numbers on the same spot, and the potatoes in the same place, which were formerly very small, grew to twice their usual size."

Thus a vulgar mind, enlightened by the energy of mania, stumbles on theories which the greatest thinkers arrive at with difficulty.

G. B., a maniac, nephew of a celebrated author, said to me one day, when I hesitated before permitting him to ride a somewhat skittish horse, "No fear, doctor— similia similibus."

M. G., a merchant, suffering from melancholia, said to some one who had called him "Count" by mistake, "What count? I have kept plenty of accounts—I know no others!"

"Why will you not shake hands with me?" I asked Madame M___, a sufferer from moral insanity, one morning, "Are you angry with me?" "Pallida virgo cupit, rubicunda recusat" she replied. Another time I asked her, "Do you hope to leave this establishment soon?" She answered, "I shall leave it when those outside have recovered their reason."

V____, a thief, and insane, made his escape during a walk which had been permitted him. When overtaken and reproached with having betrayed the confidence reposed in him, he replied, "I only wanted to try whether my knees were stiff or not."

B. B., a maniac woman, over seventy years of age, who had lost all her teeth, made obscene remarks. When remonstrated with for using expressions so unbecoming to her age, she said, "Old! old! Why, do you not see that I have not yet cut my teeth?"

N. B., who became a poet through insanity, writes with much subtlety, but his verses do not scan. His companion, G. R., once told us that he lengthened the feet on purpose, so that, being well planted, they should not be able to escape his memory.

Synthesis.—The most original and general characteristic of the poets who are the product of insanity is precisely the forcing of the mind to a state so at variance with previous conditions of life and culture. In many, it is true, the only result of this effect is a continuous flow of epigrams, plays upon words, and assonances —puns, in short, such as are praised in society as evidences of wit; though it is no wonder that they should abound in lunatic asylums, being, as they are, the very negative of truth and logic. This tendency, or, at least, the tendency to alliteration and rhyme, is evident in all their works, even those written in prose. Yet, on the other hand, we not rarely meet with improvised philosophers, who in their utterances reproduce parts of the systems of the Positivists, of Epicurus and Comte; the brain, quickened by insanity, being able to seize upon those salient points of truth from which the systems named took their rise, and that because these men have less hatred of novelty, and more originality, than normal people.

Their most salient characteristic—originality heightened to the point of absurdity—is due to the overflowing of the imagination which can no longer be restrained within the bounds of logic and common sense. It is natural that the mind which has been most injured, or is by nature the most deficient, should exceed most in this respect. We need only refer now to the pretended metamorphosis and journeyings of the soul of P___ of Siena, and the writings of M___ of Pesaro, who had carried his passion for the Greek language so far as to invent a new idiom, in which gravel was called lithiasis, the sea, equor, convictions, agonies, the world, a vase.

Their more rapid association of ideas, and livelier imagination, often enable them to solve problems which more cultivated, but normal, intellects can scarcely attack with success.

Another peculiarity characteristic of them, but which, be it noted, is often found also in the writings of criminals, is the tendency to speak of themselves or their companions, and to write autobiographies, abandoning themselves without restraint to the torrent of ambition or love. But with insane persons the form of expression is much less artificial than that used by criminals, in whose writings one finds more coherence but less creative power and originality.

The use of assonances in place of reasoning is entirely peculiar to the insane, as also the use of special words, or words used in a peculiar sense, and the exaggerated importance attributed to the most trifling things.
"Cest le travail des fous d'epuiser leurs cervelles
  Sur des riens fatigants, sur quelques bagatelles"

said Hecart in his Gualana, which, by the way, is only the work of a mattoid.

Many of them, though fewer than among the mattoids, mingle drawing with poetry, as though neither art by itself were sufficient for the impetus of their ideas. Their style lacks the polish which comes of much elaboration, but abounds in incisive and vigorous sentences, so that it often equals, and even surpasses, the productions of calmer and more refined art.

Passion.—This should not cause surprise any more than the tendency to versification in individuals who, before losing their reason, were ignorant of prosody, when it is remembered that poetry—as Byron well said and demonstrated in his own person—is the expression of passion under excitement, and grows in vigour and effectiveness as the excitement increases.

That rhythm can relieve and express abnormal psychic excitement much better than prose can be deduced from the poetic inspirations of drunkards, as well as from the spontaneous affirmations of insane poets.

"Je vous écris en vers, n'en soyez point choqué,
 En prose je ne sais exprimer ma pensee,"

an insane criminal wrote to Arboux, clearly explaining this tendency.

A lunatic at Pesaro gave this reason for some of his verses: "Poetry is a spontaneous emanation from the mind—poetry is the cry of the soul pierced by a thousand griefs."

Atavism.—Vico had already guessed, and Buckle, at a later date, has admirably explained that, among primitive peoples, all thinkers and sages were poets. In fact, the earliest histories were put into a fixed form and handed down by the bards of Gaul, or by the Toolkolos of Tibet; likewise in America, the Deccan, Africa, and Oceania. Ellis writes that the Polynesians have recourse to their ballads as to historical documents when any question arises regarding the deeds of their ancestors. And as in ancient India, so also in mediaeval Europe, the sciences were explained in verse. Montucla speaks of a mathematical treatise of the thirteenth century written in verse; an Englishman versified the Institutes of Justinian, and a Pole wrote a rhyming work on heraldry.

History, properly so called, though written in prose was in the Middle Ages no less fabulous and full of fantastic absurdities and puns than poetry. Troyes was derived from Troy, Nuremberg from Nero, the Saracens from Sara; Mahomet was a cardinal; Naples was built on a foundation of eggs; after certain victories of the Turks there were children born with 22 or 23 instead of 32 teeth. Turpin, the Macaulay of those times, relates in his chronicle that the walls of Pampeluna fell as soon as the followers of Charlemagne had begun to pray. Ferrante was 20 cubits in height, and had a face a cubit in length. In short, the history of those days was the same as the fairy tales still told at rustic firesides, from which we can gather nothing but the uniform quality of human imbecility which becomes more fantastic the more ignorant it is.

A tendency to revert to ancestral conditions appears even in the prose of the mattoid or insane. Thus Tanzi and Riva, speaking of some works by monomaniacs write as follows:—

"For the demonomaniacs of a hundred years ago— belated representatives of mediaeval mysticism, who typify the ancient form of paranoia—are now substituted the modern paranoiacs; new alchemists who, with their pseudo-scientific delusions, and their vainglorious phrases, revive in our day the style and thoughts of Trithemius, Agrippa, Paracelsus, and other men of the sixteenth century who were strange, but learned and venerated students of occult science and magic. Paranoia follows the path of humanity through the centuries, undergoing, with a pertain delay, all its changes, though often separated from it only by a slight interval. As an example of this latter kind we may take the following passage from an extremely long autobiography, written by a paranoiac, in which the acute and accurate account of his own adventures is found in company with insane statements like the following:—

"'It ought to be known that the aristocracy, or persons descended from them, secrete a certain, as yet undefined, substance which produces electricity. In this way it is easy to understand how there can be communication between one nobly-born person and another—if one thinks for a moment of the telegraph and its electric batteries. In this manner two nobles, being placed in communication, act upon each other as electric batteries, transmitting every movement and thought by means of a thread, as if the idea and way of thinking were so many strokes on the part of the manipulator of the telegraphic instrument. The system, as may be understood, is infinitesimal, for thought, transmitted from one side, forms on the other as many infinitesimal points as there are atoms forming the idea.'"

MM. Riva and Tanzi observe that many of the ancient alchemists expressed themselves in precisely the same way.

"So," they continue, "nothing could be easier than to recognize a .born paranoiac in the King of Bavaria, misanthropic, vain, ambitious, mystical, romantic, voluble, subject to hallucinations, eccentric in his acts, his habits, his judgment and his conduct, perverted in his aesthetic tastes, in love, in the ethical sentiments, exaggerated and unbalanced in everything. He was so profoundly impressed with the stamp of mediaeval atavism that political journalism—hitting the mark with unconsciously scientific correctness—designated him as a Sir Percival come to life again."

The pathologic and atavistic origin of many of the literary productions of the insane explains the frequent inequalities of the style, which is as feeble and slovenly when the excitement ceases, as it was at first splendid and vigorous, and the abrupt transition from stanzas worthy of a classic author to the scribbling of an idiot. This origin also accounts for the extreme contradictions to be found in the writings of one and the same author—as is seen in Farina and Lazzaretti—their fondness for aphorisms and detached periods, the abrupt and disconnected character of their style—which is both primitive and childish— and the monotonous repetition of certain words or phrases, recalling the verses of the Bible or the suras of the Koran. It also explains their propensity for continually dwelling on the same subject, nearly always connected with matters out of the line of their own studies, and (what is more important) of no advantage to themselves or others. Their works are nearly always autobiographical.

Conclusion.—Summing up what has been said, there is a special organization in all the writings of madmen, even the absurdest—a true finality, as Paulhan calls it.

"I understand by this," he says, " that, as soon as one psychic element exists, it tends to call forth others. It is not the totality of the mind—if it is not itself co-ordinated —which determines the appearance of phenomena, but the elements. That is to say, what is already systematized in the mind tends to acquire a more complete systematization. If it is a sensation, it will tend to awaken particular, precise, and appropriate ideas or acts; if it is a general tendency—a pre-established mental organization—it will tend to make the mind interpret in such or such a manner the sensations which reach it.

"As every psychic element is systematic, and as, when finality is not to be found in the totality of a psychic organism, or of a series of actions, or a theory, or an argument, or a passion (and in this case all these facts are not really psychic elements), it exists in the elements. This tendency on the part of the elements to systematic association, exercising itself without higher control, without general direction, ends in producing numerous discords in the totality of psychic operations. The result is somewhat as though all the musicians in an orchestra were to play different tunes in as many different keys.

"When, in the constitution of society, an association is dissolved, a law of finality is broken and the elements (the human, beings who formed the association) are restored to individual life. They then enter upon new forms of social activity. If, for example, a factory is closed, the men and women who worked there and were united by a systematic association, go to work again, each on his or her own account, either separately, or in new associations, in which some of them may chance to meet again. The same thing takes place with the psychic elements, wherever, from one cause or another, the bond which united them is broken; they enter into new associations where they work, each on its own account, at the risk of producing nothing but incoherence. This isolated activity of the elements is met with in a striking manner in mental disease.

"The pun is a form of this disorder. On analyzing it, we find that it consists essentially in this: A sound employed in a particular complexus (consisting of the sound, the ideas, and the systematized images constituting the signification of the sound), itself forming part of a more complex system, separates itself at least partially from these two systems, and becomes associated with other systems of ideas and images. The association through a resemblance between certain parts of the words —for example, by means of rhyme—is an essentially analogous fact. Here it is a sound which, systematically associated with other sounds, allies itself at the same time with different sounds, in order to form simultaneously, or at short intervals, systems which do not harmonise together. Among the latter class may be reckoned the greater number of lapsus linguae and lapsus calami.

"Examples of this abound. M. Regnard has cited several pieces of verse written by madmen, which show in a high degree the mode of elementary systematic association. Sometimes one observes a remnant of intellectual co-ordination, as in the following lines, in which, however, incoherence is also abundantly manifested:—

"'Jaime le feu de la fougere
Ne durant pas, mais pétillant;
La fumée est acre de gout.
Mais des cendres de: la Fou jerre
On peut tirer en s'amusant
Deux sous d'un sel qui lave tout,
De soude, un sel qui lave tout.'

At other times sense disappears altogether, as in these lines, also quoted by M. Regnard, and composed by a patient whose mania was that of self-conceit, and who had been insane for twenty-five years:—

"'Magnan! a mon souhait, medecin Magnan ime,
   Adore de mon sort la force qui . . . t'anime.

Admirant son beau crane . . . autre remord de Phedre,
Nargue Legrand du Saulle et sois un Grand du Cedre.'

A good example of this phenomenon is afforded by the patient, observed by Trousseau, who wrote down more than five hundred pages of words connected with one another by assonance or sense: Chat, chapeau, peau, manchon, main, manches, robe, rose, jupon, pompon, bouquet, bouquetiere, cimetiere, biere, &c.

"One need not be either insane or imbecile to make puns and associate words together on account of superficial resemblances. In this case, instead of being a permanent dissociation of the more complex systems, it is a momentary dissociation which gives rise to the phenomenon. Nothing is more natural—when one feels the need of unbending one's mind—than to restore to themselves the psychic elements retained in complex systems not necessary to life, and to allow them a liberty which they sometimes abuse. To continue the above comparison—which may be carried a long way—the workmen in the factory are not always at work; they have their moments of rest and recreation, and then usually occupy themselves with less complex systems."

Those most prone to these rhythmic manifestations are, in my opinion (which is borne out by Adriani and Toselli), chronic maniacs, alcoholic maniacs, and paralytics in the early stage—in whom, however, there is apt to be more rhyme than verse, and more verse than sense. Melancholy patients would take the next place, owing to the small number of these found in asylums; they seem to find in versification a relief from their habitual silence, or a defence against imaginary persecutions. This is a much more important fact than would appear at first sight, when connected with another, already well known, viz., that all great thinkers and poets'are constitutionally inclined to melancholy.

For a list of all of my disks and digital books click here

No comments:

Post a Comment