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The Genesis of Artistic Creativity Asperger’s Syndrome and the Arts

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Book - The Genesis of Artistic Creativity Asperger’s Syndrome and the Arts

by: Michael Fitzgerald

About the author:

Michael Fitzgerald is Henry Marsh Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Trinity College, Dublin. A Clinical and Research Consultant to the Irish Society for Autism and an Honorary Member of the Northern Ireland Institute of Human Relations, he has a doctorate in the area of autism and has been a researcher in this area since 1973. He trained at St. Patrick's Hospital Dublin, Chicago Medical School, and The Maudsley Hospital and the National Hospital for Nervous Diseases in London. He has clinically diagnosed over 900 individuals with autism and Asperger's Syndrome and has served on the Government Task Force on Autism and the Family. He has contributed to National and International Journals on autism and is the author of over 120 publications. This is his thirteenth book.

ISBN: 978-1-84310-334-9

Year: 2005

Publication Info: 256pp


The nature of artistic creativity and its relationship with ‘difference’ has intrigued people for centuries. The Genesis of Artistic Creativity is a revealing exploration of the lives of 21 famous writers, philosophers, musicians and painters including George Orwell, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Andy Warhol and many others, in light of the recognized criteria for diagnosis of high-functioning autism and Asperger’s Syndrome (AS).

Having diagnosed hundreds of individuals with AS during his professional career, Professor Fitzgerald examines here the social behaviour, language, humour, and obsessive interests and routines that accompanied creative genius in the past four centuries. From Herman Melville’s eccentric breakfast habits and Simone Weil’s intense dislike of being touched by other people to Ludwig van Beethoven’s inappropriate marriage proposals and Vincent van Gogh’s inability to form satisfying relationships with others, the author offers compelling insights into the association between creativity and autism spectrum disorders.

This celebration of artistic genius and AS will prove a fascinating read not only for professionals in the field of autism and AS, but for anyone interested in the sources of creativity and the arts.



Acknowledgements. Introduction. Part I. Asperger’s Syndrome and Writers.
1. Jonathan Swift (1667-1745). 2. Hans Christian Andersen (1805-75). 3. Herman Melville (1819-91). 4. Lewis Carroll (1832-98). 5. William Butler Yeats (1865-1939). 6. Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930). 7. George Orwell (1903-50). 8. Bruce Chatwin (1940-89). Part II. Asperger’s Syndrome and Philosophers. 9 . Spinoza (1632-77). 10. Immanuel Kant (1724-1804). 11. Simone Weil (1909-43). 12. A.J. Ayer (1910-89). Part III. Asperger’s Syndrome and Musicians.13. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-91). 14. Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827). 15. Erik Satie (1866-1925). 16. BÌ©la BÌÁrtok (1881-1945). 17. Glenn Gould (1932-82). Part IV. Asperger’s Syndrome and Painters. 18. Vincent van Gogh (1853-90). 19. Jack B. Yeats (1871-1957). 20. L.S. Lowry (1887-1976). 21. Andy Warhol (1928-87). Conclusion. References. Index.



The book will leave readers much better informed both about Asperger Syndrome and artistic creativity, but the recurrent sense of tragedy in these lives raises an even deeper question as to why suffering and struggle – either with self or others – seems to characterises the reach of greatness. It is almost as if genius is not something that naturally arises out of normal humanity but despite it.


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