September 20, 2016
My NEW Taki’s column: The latest diagnosis of Vincent van Gogh, and the fate of the ‘fantasy autopsy’
I didn’t think it would be possible for the comments to be “JOOOOO!!!”-y this week, but I took a look, and…
Or so they say this week. I sense a shift in the way scholars are sifting through the lives of the greats, away from postmortem pathologizing, the medicalization of history, and the contraction of creativity down to, say, lead poisoning, or even that old standby, sublimation.
For instance, they’ve been manfully chipping away at Emily Dickinson’s legendary reclusion, although the misfits and “misunderstood geniuses” for whom she (and van Gogh) are mascots aren’t budging. (And in the poet’s hometown there’s the tourist trade to think of—making Amherst a bit like the “Amity” of Jaws, except they want their shark, dammit…)
Now we’re being told that…