Robert Lowell, Setting the River on Fire by Kay Redfield Jamison download in iPad, ePub, pdf
That led him to divorce Hardwick and marry Blackwood and have a wretched up and down time with her. He came from the long line of distinguished New England Lowells and by his second year at Lowell House at Harvard, he couldn't stand another day of his heritage or Boston or New England. When he became manic again, she wasn't up for sticking around like Hardwick. Elizabeth Bishop, Lowell's close friend, had it right when she wrote to him that art wasn't worth such destructiveness.
As he passed through his twenties, Lowell's bipolar disorder worsened. In the first place, from the beginning he had an incredible sense of purpose, the sense that he was not only meant to be a poet, but that his purpose was to move poetry into new arenas. But I still had no appreciation of the full extent what he had done until I read this book. Her thesis, which I guess is true, is that Lowell really couldn't help himself and he has been unfortunately diminished, poetically speaking, by the grim facts of his spells of mania. Redfield explains this disorder expertly she's an expert, after all, and suffers from bipolar disorder, too.
To this task she brings several unique qualifications. That said, I don't think I will read Hamilton's biography because, as Redfield explains, Lowell was out of his mind when he was at his worst.
She handles so much material, so many angles, so many inherent contradictions, that she no doubt achieves many goals, but like Lowell, they are somewhat confused. The point being not only was he a great poet but he was a great human and a loyal friend. Jamison attributes this in part to his unique personality and equally to his New England Puritan legacy and character.
Third, is an almost serendipitous occurrence which ensured he would achieve his purpose. It took an incredibly strong will to overcome that amount of distraction and destruction, and he did it, to his credit. In the first place she is a clinical expert, meaning her academic career has been devoted to the study of mood disorders, including manic depression, or what we now know as bipolar disease.
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