KAY REDFIELD JAMISON at Seattle Public Central Library
Co-presented with the WASHINGTON CENTER FOR THE BOOK AT THE SEATTLE PUBLIC LIBRARY.
A professor of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University, the author of a standard text on manic-depressive illness, and a writer of surpassing grace with a series of major works - An Unquiet Mind, Night Falls Fast, and Touched with Fire among them - Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison is here tonight with an extraordinary new book, Robert Lowell, Setting the River on Fire: A Study of Genius, Mania, and Character (Knopf).
“Reading Setting the River on Fire, I felt I was keeping company with the man I knew, yet seeing him bathed in so many new lights that I realized how little I had actually known him. In this astonishingly multidimensional portrait of Robert Lowell, Jamison makes him live and breathe, and restores to him the grandeur he deserves. We can see her in him and him in her and, in the best sense, Setting the River on Fire turns out to be an exhilarating vicarious biography—something so rare as to be perhaps unique, a biographer fully inhabiting the life of her subject in a way that seems to the reader a life at once seen from a wise distance and felt intimately at first-hand. —Jonathan Raban.
“Kay Jamison brings together meticulous research into the factual narrative of Lowell’s life, an immensely sophisticated ability to interpret his poetry, and a profound understanding of his mental illness and its effect on everything else about him. Written in prose that is often poetic and always acute, it is a poignant, terrifying, and thrilling examination of the complex relationship between genius and madness. It captures Lowell’s electrifying charm, his persistent elegance of thought, and the consuming chaos of his despair. It is one of the finest biographies I have read.” —Andrew Solomon.
Free admission is on a first-come, first-served basis. Seattle Public Central Library is at 1000 Fourth Avenue (between Madison & Spring). For more information, please see www.spl.org or call 206.386.4636.