Sunday, October 23, 2005

Newly Discovered Poem Likely Lincoln's

While on the subject of suicide, here is a recently discovered poem about suicide thought to be by Abraham Lincoln.
Joshua Wolf Shenk discusses it at length in his book Lincoln's Melancholy.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Existentialist Musings, Clinically Pondered in French

In his review of the stage production of Sarah Kane's "4:48 Psychosis" Charles Ishewood notes that Kane's work "may be as close as world literature has ever come to receiving a dispatch from a dead soul. (Ms. Kane committed suicide shortly after finishing it in 1999.) To read it is to feel the dizzying rush of a mind succumbing to the terrible seduction of nonexistence."
Here is a review of the book from
I've read many of Sarah Kane's plays...and hated them all. However, this specific play of hers hits so deaply at what it means to be truly depressed, it's scary. 4.48 psychosis represents 4:48 am, the time when most people commit suicide. This in itself show how horribly, and yet beautifully, intense this book is. In fact, this was Sarah Kane's last play before she committed suicide, very soon afterwards. The writing of the play is completely manifested to meet with the minds of those who are depressed, with words scattered across the page...repeated phrases...intense images...and much more. If you're trying to do a quick and easy play to this one, forget it. However, if you can ever find a way to make this play come alive on the stage, i'll travel anywhere to watch it. This book is for the lover of vocabulary, the person trying to find the perfect words to describe an intense emotion and sense of mind. This may be the one play that accomplishes it completely. It's short and worth it...I gauruntee it'll interest you. Reviewer: Litost x143

Saturday, October 15, 2005

"Killing Cures" An Exchange

This exchange revolves around Sherwin Nuland's August 11, 2005 review of Andrew Scull's book Madhouse: A Tragic Tale of Megalomania and Modern Medicine and Jack El-Hai's book The Lobotomist. Nuland's review is not available online but the exchange gives some idea of the issues these books have raised.