Graphomania  

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In May 1777, Comte de Mirabeau, 18th century French aristocrat was imprisoned at Vincennes. There he met Marquis de Sade, both of them imprisoned by lettre de cachet, both libertines; however the two disliked each other intensely. They both wrote prolifically in prison, both suffered from graphomania, Mirabeau would write letters to Sophie, Le libertin de qualité and the Erotika Biblion; Sade was incarcerated in various prisons and insane asylums for about 32 years (out of a total of 74) of his life; much of his writing, starting with his debut Dialogue Between a Priest and a Dying Man was done during his imprisonment.
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In May 1777, Comte de Mirabeau, 18th century French aristocrat was imprisoned at Vincennes. There he met Marquis de Sade, both of them imprisoned by lettre de cachet, both libertines; however the two disliked each other intensely. They both wrote prolifically in prison, both suffered from graphomania, Mirabeau would write letters to Sophie, Le libertin de qualité and the Erotika Biblion; Sade was incarcerated in various prisons and insane asylums for about 32 years (out of a total of 74) of his life; much of his writing, starting with his debut Dialogue Between a Priest and a Dying Man was done during his imprisonment.

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Graphomania is the obsessive compulsion to write books. It is also the name of of various surrealist techniques, see entoptic graphomania.

According to Kundera, graphomania is the groundless claim, sometimes being large-scale, of being a writer:

"The irresisitable proliferation of graphomania among politicians, taxi drivers, childbearers, lovers, murderers, thieves, prostitutes, officials, doctors, and patients shows me that everyone without exception bears a potential writer within him, so that the entire human species has good reason to go down the streets and shout: 'We are all writers!'" --The Book of Laughter and Forgetting by Milan Kundera

When a woman asked Charles Bukowski "Will I disturb your writing if I vacuum?" Bukowski supposedly answered "Nothing can disturb my writing, it's a disease."

Contents

Sade

“Both [Quills and Marquis] get inside de Sade’s urge to write no matter what, using sheets and his own blood, although Marquis makes far less melodramatic fuss about the frustrated creative urge than Quills does.” --Richard Scheib

Negotiating with the Dead: A Writer on Writing

Margaret Atwood asks why writers write in Negotiating with the Dead: A Writer on Writing (2002), sourced here.

These are the three questions most often posed to writers, both by readers and by themselves: Who are you writing for? Why do you do it? Where does it come from? …
Here then is the list:
… To pass the time, even though it would have passed anyway. Graphomania. Compulsive logorrhea. Because I was driven to it by some force outside my control. Because I was possessed. Because an angel dictated to me. Because I fell into the embrace of the Muse. Because I got pregnant by the Muse and needed to give birth to a book …

And ‘to pass the time’ reminds us of Borges who notes:

“I do not write for a select minority, which means nothing to me, nor for that adulated platonic entity known as ‘The Masses’. Both abstractions, so dear to the demagogue, I disbelieve in. I write for myself and for my friends, and I write to ease the passing of time.” — Introduction to The Book of Sand

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Graphomania" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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