Virginia Woolf and Neuropsychiatry, written by Maxwell Bennett, one of the leaders in the field of neurosciences, provides an explanation of the symptoms and untimely suicide of one of literature's greatest authors, Virginia Woolf. The sources used are letters and statements from Woolf herself, the literature she wrote and comments, letters and other documentation that refers to her mental state and her medical status. The author uses current insights into depression, the mental consequences of child abuse and drug interactions/effects to examine her life.
The second part of the book provides a neuropsychiatric analysis of the state of present knowledge concerning what goes awry in the functioning of the brain in depression, particularly leading to suicide. Five essays, aimed at specialists in neuropsychiatry, show how far we have probed brain functions related to major psychiatric problems.
Maxwell Bennett said: "Because of her literary genius, we find in her novels, plays, critical reviews, autobiographical sketches and diaries an unparalleled insight into the mind of someone destined to end their life. These offer those concerned with mitigating the incidence of suicide a unique opportunity to consider the circumstances and familial burdens that promote severe depression and so design programs that will ameliorate them."
M. R. Bennett AO is Professor of Neuroscience and University Chair at the University of Sydney, Founding Director of the Brain and Mind Research Institute and Adjunct Professor of Neuropsychiatry. He is the author of many papers and books in neuroscience and neuropsychiatry, including The Idea of Consciousness (1997) and a History of the Synapse (2001) as well as more recently Philosophical Foundations of Neuroscience (2003) and History of Cognitive Neuroscience (2008) with his colleague Peter Hacker. Maxwell Bennett is the recipient of numerous awards for his research in neuroscience.
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