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Churchill's black dog, Kafka's mice, and other phenomena of the human mind

In this collection of mini-psycho-biographies, Storr contends that Winston Churchill's brave defiance of Hitler's onslaughter owed much to another battle the politician wagedhis lifelong bout with depression, which Churchill nicknamed "Black Dog." In his discussion of the relationship between genius and pathology, the author, a well-known British psychiatrist, makes much of Churchill's wet nurse and his "oral" personality, greedy for approval. In other pieces, Kafka's existential insecurity is traced to his parents' prolonged absences during his childhood, while Isaac Newton, a self-punishing hypochondriac with a paranoid streak, is seen gaining mastery over the universe in reaction to his exaggerated sense of helplessness as an infant.

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