A Hunger for Literature

The mice in Theodore Dalrymple’s house launched an attack on some of the books in his vast library in this week’s Takimag column.

And then there is the opposite impulse, also satisfied by Storr’s thesis, namely that to elevate those suffering from mental disorders to make them superior to those who do not. Indeed, there was a best-selling book about the mental disorders of great leaders that maintained that Churchill’s relative prescience or clear-sightedness about Hitler was the consequence of his inclination to depression and therefore to pessimism, which in regard to Hitler was fully justified. Therefore the last shall be first, and mental disorder is, if not good for you, at least a precondition of great achievement and a proof of sensitivity. I think this is Romanticism, or wishful thinking, thinly disguised as psychological depth.

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