Creativity and insanity: the enigmatic medical biography of Nikolai Gogol. Academic Article uri icon


  • The complex relationship between creativity, the highest form of human activity, and insanity has attracted the attention of scholars since the classical ages. Both Aristotle! and Plato- discuss the issue. Plato reasoned that the poet, at the climax of his creativity, is possessed by the muses and moves through a form of a divine madness. He saw different types of creative madness as ensuing from mental illness. In the nineteenth century, the influential physician Cesare Lombroso claimed that genius is a hereditary constitutional defect to be found in families with evidence of mental illnessv'. Henry Maudsley claimed that neurophysiological chan § es could be traced in both genius and insanity. In recent years there have been several systematic studies of this relationship'r", These have demonstrated a connection between affective disorders (mainly in their bipolar form) and the creativity of …

publication date

  • January 1, 2000