On the Heights of Despair

One does not become lyrical except after a total organic affliction. Accidental lyricism has its source in external factors; once they have disappeared, their inner correspondent also disappears. There is no authentic lyricism without a grain of interior madness. It is significant that the beginnings of all mental psychoses are marked by a lyrical phase during which all the usual barriers and limits disappear, giving way to an inner drunkenness of the most fertile, creative kind. This explains the poetic productivity characteristic of the first phases of psychoses. Consequently, madness could be seen as a sort of paroxysm of lyricism.

-Emil Cioran, ‘On the Heights of Despair’.


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