William Styron’s Darkness Visible. A memoir of madness was published in 1989. It’s a short (+/- 100 p.) autobiographical memoir of an ex-depressive. Styron has gone through the worst, with suicide lingering continuously in his mind. Luckily he never attempted to take his own life, and lived to write this account.

It’s a mix of autobiography, medical literature, and literary criticism. He discusses artists with depression, why depression should be considered a major illness, the thousandfold questions medical science still has concerning depression and lots more.

The book is based on a lecture, but onfolded itself to become a large essay. The writing is deeply literary, with beautiful sentences and imagery, while staying true to the cold harsh reality of depression.

Because depression is virtually un-understandable for outsiders, Styron decided to write this account to enhance a true understanding of this life-threatening disease. Because a disease it is. And he proves just that. Gripping.