quinta-feira, junho 11, 2009

Row over claim Robert Burns was manic depressive

From The Times
June 7, 2009
Row over claim Robert Burns was manic depressive

Lindsay McIntosh
A heated debate has broken out over whether Robert Burns suffered from bipolar disorder amid claims that the National Trust for Scotland deliberately played down a report suggesting that he was a manic depressive.
The trust denied accusations that it had “airbrushed” an expert's critique of the bard's character so that it could present him as a more romantic figure.
Joan Charles, an “intuitive analyst”, was recruited by the trust's public relations team to study Burns's manuscripts and letters as part of Scotland's Year of Homecoming celebrations. She concluded that the 18th-century writer experienced extremes of mood and later agreed that they might today be classified as bipolar disorder.
However, the PR team released a watered-down version of her findings, with no reference to such extreme mood swings or the term “bipolar”. The move fuelled anger among mental health campaigners who claimed it was an attempt to “edit history”.

Of Song. On Miss W.A. (The Bonnie Lass O' Ballochmyle), written in 1886, Ms Charles reported: “This is an upbeat song. Burns is sexually excited and in good humour when writing this piece.” But in analysing the manuscript of A Winter Night, written in the same year, she observed: “Burns was feeling very low and was in a deep, dark place when writing this. He had a tender heart that was misunderstood and this is crying out with hurt from within.”
David Hopes, curator of the new Robert Burns Memorial Museum project in Alloway, who worked with Ms Charles, was quoted in a Sunday newspaper as saying: “There were handwritten notes which mentioned the word ‘bipolar' and a press release was going to be issued by a public relations company.
“But in the meantime, the NTS intervened. There was real concern that we were painting this picture of a lunatic Burns, which we weren't trying to do at all. If you were to look at Burns's writing, you could term that a bit bipolar. But the trust thought that was a negative connotation.” Mr Hopes could not be contacted yesterday.
It is understood that the handwritten notes were made by a PR executive who had surmised from Ms Charles's findings that she was suggesting that the bard was bipolar. Ms Charles was quoted yesterday as saying that she had agreed that the mood swings were “like bipolar” but she had insisted that if the PR agency wanted to use the term it was its connotation, not hers.
A spokesman for the trust claimed that Ms Charles, who could not be reached for comment, had never agreed to such terminology. “The National Trust for Scotland did not withhold any information relating to opinion on Burns's mental health. Rather, it ensured that the information disseminated was factually correct.
“The information gathered in relation to Burns's character arose from a purely subjective analysis of the poet's handwriting by an individual handwriting expert, Joan Charles, who is not medically or psychiatrically qualified. Joan did not herself use the specific term ‘bipolar' in relation to her findings and neither wished for the term to be applied by a third party to her findings.”
Previous studies of bipolar disorder have shown a clear link between creativity and manic-depressive illnesses. Figures such as Baudelaire, Beethoven and F Scott Fitzgerald are all thought to have suffered from the condition.
Earlier this year, the scholar Robert Crawford suggested the Burns suffered a mild form of manic depression and the poet himself admitted that he suffered from episodes of “blue devilism”.

FONTE (imagem incluída): http://www.timesonline.co.uk/
LEGENDA DA IMAGEM: (Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh, Scotland/The Bridgeman Art Library) to not show image description
An analysist concluded that Robert Burns experienced extremes of mood

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