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Autism Genes Creativity. Wales 2 nd International Autism Conference. 8 – 10 th May 2006. Professor Michael Fitzgerald, Department of Psychiatry, Trinity College, Dublin 2. Genius and Creativity. Inventor as God e.g. Prometheus taught use of fire.

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autism genes creativity

Autism Genes Creativity

Wales 2nd International Autism Conference.

8 – 10th May 2006.

Professor Michael Fitzgerald,

Department of Psychiatry,

Trinity College,

Dublin 2.

genius and creativity
Genius and Creativity
  • Inventor as God e.g. Prometheus taught use of fire.
  • Romans spoke of genius of person or place.
  • Aetiology:
      • God touch.
      • Melancholy humour.
      • Muses.
genius and madness
Genius and Madness
  • The Poet Dryden:

Great wits are sure to madness near ally’d – and thin partitions do their bounds divide’.

  • Cesare Lombroso (1890):

The man of genius who had various characteristics of degeneration’.

genius and madness1
Genius and Madness
  • Seneca:

‘No great genius has ever existed without some touch of madness’.

  • Shakespeare:

‘The lunatic, the lover, and the poet – are of imagination all compact’.

mark twain
Mark Twain

Comments on innate ‘individual differences are what make horses race’.

genes and genius
Genes and Genius

Multiple genes of small effect.

Genes effect:

  • Traits of persistence.
  • Concentration.
  • Curiosity.
  • Certain types of stimulation (? Novelty).
temple grandin
Temple Grandin

‘Genius is an abnormality’.

‘If science eliminated these genes maybe the whole world

would be taken over by Accountants’.

oxford english dictionary
Oxford English Dictionary

Defines:

‘Extraordinary capacity for imaginative creation . . . often contrasted with talent’.

act of genius
Act of Genius
  • Original.
  • Novel.
  • Bring about a change in our understanding of a subject.
asperger savant
Asperger Savant
  • Special talent at high I.Q.
  • High creativity.
asperger
Ask questions a child would ask.

Ask fundamental questions.

Curiosity.

Focussed.

Workaholic.

Narrow interest.

Visual immagination.

Reject received wisdom.

Persistence.

High energy / motivation.

Asperger
autistic intelligence
Autistic Intelligence
  • Unconvertional.
  • Unorthodox.
  • ‘Pure and original, akin to the intelligence of true creativity’ -

Hans Asperger.

  • Musical.
  • Abstract and logical.
extreme male brain and autism
Extreme Male Brain and Autism
  • Asperger 1944 extreme form of maleness.
  • Autism more common in males.
  • Folk physics (Baron-Cohen):
    • Good hominid evolution.
    • Tool use, hunting skills, construction skills.
    • Engineering.
male brain
Male Brain
  • Simonton:

In the annals of science ‘fewer than 1% of all notables are female’. No female equivalent of Newton.

  • Baron-Cohen:

Female superiority / Folk Psychology.

Male superiority / Folk Physics.

  • Without skills of the male brain we would still be at the stage

before the wheel was invented.

male brain lateralisation schultz
Male Brain Lateralisation (Schultz)
  • Males tend to be more strongly lateralised for functions than females and adjusting for body size to have larger brains.
  • Males therefore show increased modularity and decreased interconnectedness that is dictated by the physical constraints imposed by their larger brains.
male brain lateralisation schultz1
Male Brain Lateralisation (Schultz)
  • Schultz states that ‘the larger brain in persons with Asperger’s syndrome would be increased modularity of function with less overlap and integration of functions perhaps resulting in a lack of central coherence.
larger heavier brains happe
Larger / Heavier Brains (Happe)
  • Increased cell packing in certain areas.
  • Abnormal number of neurons (nerve cells) due to failure of pruning.
  • Processing with excess neurons could result in a failure to process information for gist with increased capacity for exemplary based processing.
  • Embracement of riches at neural level.
central coherence happe
Central Coherence (Happe)
  • Processing incoming information in context.
  • Pulling information together for higher order meaning (often) at the expense of detail (i.e. gist / global processing). This leads to (Sigman and Capps):
    • Problems of joint attention and theory of mind.
    • Preservation of sameness.
    • Repetitive and stereotyped movements.
    • Restricted range of interests.
evolutionary psychology
Evolutionary Psychology

Mechanically orientated minds would be particularly suited from an evolutionary point of view with their invention of tools etc..

hans christian andersen had asperger s syndrome biography by jackie wullschlager
Hans Christian Andersen had Asperger’s syndrome. Biography by Jackie Wullschlager

Father:

  • Shoemaker, odd man, eccentric.
  • Unpractical and naïve.
  • Unhappy depressed man.
  • Read to Hans Christian Andersen.
  • Silent and loner.
  • Felt devil visited him and scratched his arm.
hans christian andersen
Hans Christian Andersen

Mother:

  • Strange but robust.
  • Into trolls, ghosts, and fortune-telling.
  • Stuck pieces of St. Johns Wart into ceiling and from their growth decided whether people would live long or die soon.
  • Her sister ran a brothel.
hans christian andersen1
Hans Christian Andersen

Paternal Grandfather:

  • Made odd carvings – men with beasts heads.
  • “Insane”.
  • Wandered in woods covered in garlands, singing top of voice followed by shrieking children.
  • Was very visual and loved reading and hoarded coins.
hans christian andersen2
Hans Christian Andersen

Features of Hans Christian Andersen:

  • Loner.
  • Clumsy.
  • Bullied in school.
  • Singular dreamy child.
  • Over sensitive.
hans christian andersen3
Hans Christian Andersen

Features of Hans Christian Andersen:

  • Few ordinary childhood pleasures.
  • Felt a changeling.
  • Depressed with suicidal thoughts.
  • Identity diffusion.
  • Felt different.
hans christian andersen4
Hans Christian Andersen

Features of Hans Christian Andersen:

  • Art saved him from suicide.
  • Autistic restlessness at school.
  • Autistic wanderer.
  • Autistic persistence.
hans christian andersen5
Hans Christian Andersen

School:

  • Teacher said:
    • ‘Nothing good can come of you’.
    • ‘You’re a stupid boy, who will never be any good’.
    • ‘No one will ever read what you write’.
hans christian andersen6
Hans Christian Andersen

School:

  • Problems with grammar and spelling.
  • Poor school performance.
  • Severely mistreated and humiliated by staff and pupils leading to elements of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – recurrent traumatic dreams of this period to end of his life.
hans christian andersen7
Hans Christian Andersen

School:

  • Hypersensitive.
  • Loner and very egotistical.
  • Lack of social know-how. Lack of empathy for others. Lack of theory of others minds.
hans christian andersen8
Hans Christian Andersen

Interests and Work:

  • Voracious reader and compulsive autobiographer.
  • Massive autistic imagination.
  • Extremely visual.
hans christian andersen9
Hans Christian Andersen

Autistic Fearfulness:

  • Death anxiety – death in many stories.
  • Fear of being buried alive.
  • Fear of dark and insanity.
hans christian andersen10
Hans Christian Andersen

Social Behaviour:

  • Archetypal social outsider / loner.
  • Sexually uncertain – diffuse sexual identity – masturbation only sexual outlet.
  • Fear of intimacy e.g. with Collin.
  • Related better to children like Lewis Carroll.
hans christian andersen11
Hans Christian Andersen

Social Behaviour:

  • Naïve and socially immature.
  • Tactless (and self destructive) in his attack on the powerful Johan Ludwig Heibergthe playwright.
  • Grossly overstayed his welcome with Charles Dickens. Saw himself like Moses in terms of social relationships i.e. not ever being able to make an intimate one.
hans christian andersen12
Hans Christian Andersen

Narrow Interests:

  • Compulsive writer.
  • Merged with characters in his stories.
  • Into paper cut-outs.
  • Fascinated by language.
hans christian andersen13
Hans Christian Andersen
  • Control:

Very controlling.

  • Nonverbal:

Awkward movements – gauche, peculiar, strange, ungainly, slouching, ugly, gawping and clumsy.

  • Narcissism:

Could be misdiagnosed as Narcissistic Personality Disorder – grandiosity and hunger for praise.

hans christian andersen14
Hans Christian Andersen

Identity Diffusion:

  • Poor sense of self, fragmented self, no clear sexual identity (homosexaul / heterosexual confusion).
  • “Alien” like many of his fictional characters.
  • Wanted to be fully human like W. B. Yeats.
hans christian andersen15
Hans Christian Andersen

Identity Diffusion:

  • Hans Christian Andersen was the man without a shadow – “inhuman” in a way.
  • Hans Christian Andersen wrote ‘I cannot recall my own features’.
hans christian andersen16
Hans Christian Andersen

Identity Diffusion:

  • Novels fail because characters not sufficiently human.
  • Mary Russell Mitford the novelist described him as ‘a toad-eater, a hanger-on in great houses’.
hans christian andersen17
Hans Christian Andersen

Stories:

  • Weak central coherence – able to see details others miss e.g. Emperors New Clothes.
  • Autistic superego – seen in stories about good and evil.
  • Similarities to Lewis Carroll.
  • Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s son Pen said ‘he is rather like his own ugly duck, but his mind has developed into a swan’.
outcome of asperger s syndrome high functioning autism
Outcome of Asperger’s syndrome / High Functioning Autism
  • Ludwig Wittgenstein (Tractatus – Philosophical investigations, depression, suicidal ideas).
  • Isaac Newton – One paranoid psychotic episode.
  • W. B. Yeats – Late marriage, special wife of persons with Asperger’s syndrome (wife – mother of person with Asperger’s syndrome).
outcome of asperger s syndrome high functioning autism1
Outcome of Asperger’s syndrome / High Functioning Autism
  • Bruce Chatwin – AIDS.
  • Vincent van Gogh (+ Bipolar).
  • George Orwell – Poor care of health.
outcome of asperger s syndrome high functioning autism2
Outcome of Asperger’s syndrome / High Functioning Autism
  • Simone Weil – Eating disorder.
  • Erik Satie – Alcoholism.
  • Andy Warhol – Neglect of health.
  • Ramanujan – Neglect of health.
arts asperger s syndrome creativity
Arts / Asperger’s syndrome / Creativity
  • Herman Melville.
  • Lewis Carroll.
  • A. J. Ayer.
  • Ludwig van Beethoven.
arts asperger s syndrome creativity1
Arts / Asperger’s syndrome / Creativity
  • Bella Bartok.
  • Glen Gould.
  • L. S. Lowry.
unstoppable brilliance

Unstoppable Brilliance

Prof. Michael Fitzgerald.

First Annual Hans Asperger Memorial Lecture. In

Association with Committee of International

Asperger’s Year.

Trinity College Dublin.

10th April 2006.

genius and creativity1
Genius and Creativity
  • Inventor as God e.g. Prometheus taught use of fire.
  • Romans spoke of genius of person or place.
  • Aetiology:
      • God touch.
      • Melancholy humour.
      • Muses.
genius from latin
Genius (from Latin)

‘The Male Spirit of a household’.

Genius also from ingenius which means innate ability.

genius and madness2
Genius and Madness
  • The Poet Dryden:

‘Great wits are sure to madness near ally’d – and thin partitions do their bounds divide’.

  • Cesare Lombroso (1890):

‘The man of genius who had various characteristics of degeneration’.

genius and madness3
Genius and Madness
  • Seneca:

‘No great genius has ever existed without some touch of madness’.

  • Shakespeare:

‘The lunatic, the lover, and the poet – are of imagination all compact’.

mark twain1
Mark Twain

Comments on innate ‘individual differences are what make horses

race’.

slide50
Kant

Kant said:

‘Mysteriously imparted to certain artists by nature, and dies with

the person’.

oxford english dictionary1
Oxford English Dictionary

Defines:

‘Extraordinary capacity for imaginative creation . . . often

contrasted with talent’.

definition of genius
Definition of Genius

Ezra Pound:

‘It is the capacity to see ten things where the ordinary man sees

one’.

act of genius1
Act of Genius
  • Original.
  • Novel.
  • Bring about a change in our understanding of a subject.
definition of genius1
Definition of Genius

Bernard Berenson:

‘The capacity for productive reaction against ones training’.

attitude to genius
Attitude to Genius

Samuel Butler:

‘Genius was immoral because it disturbed the world’.

jonathan swift
Jonathan Swift

You can recognise a true genius ‘you may know him by

this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him’.

hans asperger autistic psychopathy
Hans Asperger: Autistic Psychopathy
  • ‘Disturbance of social relationships . . special interests . . all levels of ability from the highly original genius . . to the . . mentally retarded individual’.
  • Salt of the earth.
  • Hans Asperger: Children with Asperger’s syndrome were capable of only forming their own strategies. They could not, or did not, follow those used by their teachers.
extreme male brain and autism1
Extreme Male Brain and Autism
  • Asperger 1944 extreme form of maleness.
  • Autism more common in males.
  • Folk physics (Baron-Cohen):
    • Good hominid evolution.
    • Tool use, hunting skills, construction skills.
    • Engineering.
asperger1
Ask questions a child would ask.

Ask fundamental questions.

Curiosity.

Focussed.

Workaholic.

Narrow interest.

Visual immagination.

Reject received wisdom.

Persistence.

High energy / motivation.

Asperger
asperger savant1
Asperger Savant
  • Special talent at high I.Q.
  • High creativity.
  • Weak central coherence.
  • Poor empathy skills.
autistic intelligence1
Autistic Intelligence
  • Unconvertional.
  • Unorthodox.
  • ‘Pure and original, akin to the intelligence of true creativity’ -

Hans Asperger.

  • Musical.
  • Abstract and logical.
temple grandin1
Temple Grandin

‘Genius is an abnormality’.

‘If science eliminated these genes maybe the whole world

would be taken over by Accountants’.

genes and genius1
Genes and Genius

Multiple genes of small effect.

Genes effect:

  • Traits of persistence.
  • Concentration.
  • Curiosity.
  • Certain types of stimulation (? Novelty).
my view
My View
  • Its their creative activity that keeps them sane.
  • Creative blocks lead to depression and suicidality.
male brain1
Male Brain
  • Simonton:

In the annals of science ‘fewer than 1% of all notables are female’. No female equivalent of Newton.

  • Baron-Cohen:

Female superiority / Folk Psychology.

Male superiority / Folk Physics.

  • Without skills of the male brain we would still be at the stage

before the wheel was invented.

eamon de valera

Eamon de Valera

Professor Michael Fitzgerald

eamon de valera1
Eamon de Valera
  • Born in 1882 in New York.
  • Political genius.
  • Mathematician.
  • ‘One of the nine people in the world capable of understanding Einstein’s theory of relativity during his lifetime’. Urban myth.
eamon de valera2
Eamon de Valera
  • Greater dedication to ideology than people.
  • Mesmerising effect on the Irish people.
  • Legacy: Fianna Fail.

Irish Constitution.

Irish language – regrowth.

eamon de valera3
Eamon de Valera

Family Background:

Mother:

  • Irish immigrant N. Y. 1879.
  • Sent Eamon to Ireland aged 3 years.
  • Had ‘determination and force’ (T. Coogan).
eamon de valera4
Eamon de Valera

Family Background:

Mother:

  • Bossy no frivolity.
  • Good memory.
  • Won spelling competition in New York.
  • ‘Coldness in her psychological makeup’ (T. Coogan).
eamon de valera5
Eamon de Valera

Family Background:

Father:

Juan Vivion de Valera / Spanish.

eamon de valera6
Eamon de Valera

Childhood:

  • ‘Semi-monastic atmosphere’ (D. Ryan).
  • Strict Catholicism.
  • Eccentric child – digging for springs and fowling.
eamon de valera7
Eamon de Valera

Speech and Language Problems:

  • Spoke with ‘slowness novel in an age of speed and slogans’.
  • ‘Dull halting manner’ (T. Coogan).
  • Speeches – lack of clarity with a distinct elusiveness in rhetorical phrases used.
  • When he spoke ‘he left everyone in the dark’.
  • He showed ‘failings as a public speaker’ (T. Coogan).
eamon de valera8
Eamon de Valera

Speech and Language Problems:

  • He was ‘intensely verbose, wasting a great deal of time on elaborate explanations of the simplest points, with many repetitions, speaking in a role of a school master to children’.
  • Taught mathematics at Carysfort College for Teachers.
  • Preoccupied with ‘science of abstractions’, spectroscopy, astrophysics, and electro-optics (D. Ryan).
  • High pitched voice.
eamon de valera9
Eamon de Valera

Speech and Language Problems:

  • Voice like a cracked or muffled bell (S. O’Faolain).
  • Old gravelly voice (T. K. Whitaker).
  • Humourless. Others state ‘grisly sense of humour’ (T. Coogan).
  • Dull, pedantic, piqued professor.
eamon de valera10
Eamon de Valera

Speech and Language Problems:

  • At lunch in Blackrock College – described in great detail a corpse being eaten by worms.
  • Problems with metaphor.
  • Asked meaning ‘Making hay where the sun shines’. Answer: What other time would you make hay?
eamon de valera11
Eamon de Valera

Impairment in Social Interaction:

  • 1920s interfered in internal politics of U.S.A.
  • Devoid of ‘political craft’ (D. Ryan).
  • Snubs lifelong workers (D. Ryan).
  • Arrogance and failure to consult with anyone (D. Ryan).
  • Impossible person (D. Ryan).
eamon de valera12
Eamon de Valera

Impairment in Social Interaction:

  • 1921 Letter from de Valera to Sir James Craig Prime Minister of Northern Ireland ‘as sheer impertinence it could hardly be beaten’.
  • Coogan states that de Valera’s outlook was to have apallying consequences in terms of campaigns of violence in Northern Ireland.
  • Coogan ‘he did little that was useful and much that was harmful’ during his period in office.
  • The simplicity of de Valera made him unable to see complexity of issues (persons with Asperger’s syndrome have a pared down psyche).
eamon de valera13
Eamon de Valera

Impairment in Social Interaction:

  • W. B. Yeats said ‘de Valera was a living argument rather than a living man. All propaganda no human life’.
  • T. Ryle Dwyer said ‘if behind the cold, impersonal countenance of the subject of this biography, there seems to be no real humanity, possibly its because there was none’.
  • His lack of empathy and civil war political reportage at the time cited it as ‘a criminal, attempt to divide the Irish nation’ (T. Ryle Dwyer).
eamon de valera14
Eamon de Valera

Personality:

  • Cold, controlled, holarly, reserved, domineering, self-righteousness. He was right and everyone else was wrong. Sense of infallability (T. Coogan).
  • Tactless, arrasive and aloof.
  • Indifference to feelings of others at Blackrock College.
  • Outsider to peers.
eamon de valera15
Eamon de Valera

Personality:

  • No social graces.
  • Misogynist.
  • Inspired the right to act for Ireland and showed little regard for democracy, having the whole alphabet of autocracy (T. Coogan).
  • Acquaintances were myriad, his near friends few.
eamon de valera16
Eamon de Valera

All Absorbing Narrow Interest:

  • Obsessional.
  • Single minded.
  • Workaholic.
  • Plugger.
  • Obsessed with Ireland having no connection with England (D. Ryan).
eamon de valera17
Eamon de Valera

All Absorbing Narrow Interest:

  • When he didn’t get his way by constitutional means he would forswear the ballot box for the bomb and bullet (T. Coogan).
  • His public rejection of the Treaty was fierce and he made his ‘wading through blood’ speeches and he used ‘the extremist support’ of the IRA.
eamon de valera18
Eamon de Valera

All Absorbing Narrow Interest:

  • His thirst for power became all-embracing and he became a ‘law-giver who helped to bring down a Civil War on the heads of the people’ and ‘incited young men to hatred and violence’.
  • He perpetuated a backward looking peasant parochial society – an isolationist parochial culture (autistic culture).
  • Paddy Lynch Government Economist said he had ‘no grasp of economics’.
  • He devastated the Irish economy with his personal economic war with England.
eamon de valera19
Eamon de Valera

Mind:

  • Repetitive adherence to ideas and interests.
  • Few dominating notions.
  • Mathematical frame of mind.
  • Logical mind-set.
  • Collecting instinct (documents).
  • Reading a lot (non-novels).
eamon de valera20
Eamon de Valera

Imposition of Routines and Control:

  • Professor Joe Lee claims that he showed ‘ceaseless political calculation’ and ‘labyrinthine deviousness’.
  • Stickler for routine, drills, uniforms, - soldier peers found him grim and he spoke to them in Irish which they did not understand.
  • He attempted to control everything going on around him (T. Coogan).
  • ‘Unique dictator’, ‘lip service to democracy’. He quotes one of de Valera’s 1916 commrades Griffith ‘that he was sick to the soul, cursed de Valera as the guns boomed on’ (D. Ryan).
eamon de valera21
Eamon de Valera

Imposition of Routines and Control:

  • While in the USA in 1920 – went as First Minister came back as President (self proclaimed) without consulting anyone in Dublin (T. P. Coogan).
  • In relation to the Civil War he prepared for ‘disruption without responsibility’ (T. P. Coogan).
  • When de Valera sent Michael Collins to Treaty negotations he said ‘we must have scapegoats’ (T. Ryle Dwyer).
eamon de valera22
Eamon de Valera

Imposition of Routines and Control:

  • According to Ryle Dwyer he thought he could ‘manipulate Griffith and Collins from Dublin and use them as ‘better bait’ for the British’.
  • Sean O’Faolain ‘felt betrayed when de Valera reneged on his own principles’.
  • ‘I had only to examine my own heart and it told me straight off what the Irish people wanted’ (de Valera).
  • I am a ‘judging machine’ (de Valera).
eamon de valera23
Eamon de Valera

Imposition of Routines and Control:

  • ‘He would not accept the will of the people when the people of Ireland voted to accept the Treaty between Ireland and Britain’ (D. Ryan).
  • He had ‘a tendency to regard something as either not having happened until he said it had, or, per contra, not having taken place at all if he so decided’ (D. Ryan).
  • He spurned facts when it suited him (D. Ryan).
eamon de valera24
Eamon de Valera

Imposition of Routines and Control:

  • ‘Implacable doctrinaire’, ‘logic-chopping’, ‘quibbling’, very much ‘a nit-picker’, ‘precision over commas and poetic shades of meaning, ‘formulistic . . . remote . . . niggling on details’, 1920’s he supervised the minute details of every department of government (D. Ryan).
  • ‘There was a difference between a de Valera fact – that is, one that should be believed’ (T. P. Coogan).
  • ‘Hard-headness in business and a self reliance bordering on the arrogant’.
eamon de valera25
Eamon de Valera

Imposition of Routines and Control:

  • 1920’s bystander in the USA ‘he has an unconscious contempt . . . for the opinions of others’ (T. P. Coogan).
  • Among Irish Americans his sanity was often questioned and indeed it was considered that he might be ‘labouring under some psychopathic condition’ or that he was ‘crazy’ (T. P. Coogan).
  • After Treaty was signed he made ‘250 interruptions, relying on his prestige to ride roughshod over procedures of the debate’ (T. P. Coogan).
eamon de valera26
Eamon de Valera

Imposition of Routines and Control:

  • Ran Irish Press in a highly parsimonious way (T. P. Coogan).
  • Lloyd George said that ‘negotiating with him was like sitting on a merry-go-round and trying to catch up with the swing in front’.
  • Lloyd George said ‘frankly he had never seen anything quite like him . . . Mr. de Valera is perfectly unique and the poor distracted would had a good right to be profoundly thankful that he was unique’.
eamon de valera27
Eamon de Valera

Imposition of Routines and Control:

  • In setting up the Irish Press was only interested in how to control it (O’Brien).
  • Set himself up as controlling Director, Editor in Chief, and Managing Director (O’Brien).
  • De Valera had complete control of content as well as appointment of staff.
eamon de valera28
Eamon de Valera

Imposition of Routines and Control:

  • De Valera said in Dail ‘I have no financial interest in the Irish Press’. For de Valera fact and fiction were not clearly delineated i.e. that he was a politician running a newspaper’ (O’Brien).
  • The price paid by the de Valera family to shareholders was nominal. It was clear that he (de Valera) was now a very wealthy newspaper tycoon’ (N. Browne).
  • According to Browne the Company (Press Group) was worth nearly one million pounds and reeked of corruption and nepotism.
eamon de valera29
Eamon de Valera

Co-morbidity:

  • 1916 – ‘nervous breakdown’.
  • He was seen to be ‘running around day and night without sleep, getting trenches dug, giving contradictory orders, and forgetting the password so that he nearly got himself shot’ (T. Coogan).
eamon de valera30
Eamon de Valera

Non-verbal Behaviour:

  • Eccentric, enigmatic, odd, strange in appearance, manner and dress.
  • Incalculable and baffling figurehead.
  • Idiosyncratic at Blackrock match – team lost because he insisted in taking all place kicks himself.
  • In 1945 went to German Embassy to give his condolences.
eamon de valera31
Eamon de Valera

Non-verbal Behaviour:

  • Clothes rought homespun, unusual cap with a prominent peak and flap folded across the top, rather like an airmans helmet.
  • Coogan notes his ‘austere manner and unusual appearance’.
  • R. Kee likened de Valera to a ‘Roman spear, with a voice like a cracked or muffled bell, and an ordered restraint in his looks, as if all lusciousness had been pared away by bitter experience’.
eamon de valera32
Eamon de Valera

Autistic Charm:

  • Awesome charisma (N. Browne).
  • ‘Air of an Archangel’.
  • He controlled his cabinet through parallel reins of awe and comradeship.
  • He had an enormous facility for demonstrating black is white.
eamon de valera33
Eamon de Valera

Autistic Charm:

  • Lay cardinal (gun and rosary beads).
  • Showed asceticism and rigidity.
  • Archbishop Lefebvre described de Valera as ‘the ideal Christian statesman’.
  • Had courage.
  • His autism limited his political contribution.
  • Lived in his head.
eamon de valera34
Eamon de Valera

Autistic Charm:

  • ‘We had people and we exported them faster than cattle and like cattle, and while fathers, sons and daughters cried all the way, to the train and the bus and the ship’ (U. Crowley).
  • De-lousing anger at government very much (U. Crowley).
  • ‘There is no family made more out of this country than the de Valera family’ (D. J. Flangan, Dail).
william butler yeats

William Butler Yeats

Professor Michael Fitzgerald

william butler yeats1
Born in 1865 in Dublin.

Nobel Prize in 1923.

Poet of Shadows.

Playwright.

Painter.

Theatre Director.

Occultist.

Senator.

William Butler Yeats
william butler yeats2
William Butler Yeats

Family Background:

Paternal Grandfather (William Butler Years):

  • Sceptic.
  • Deeply orthodox.
  • Remarkable man.
  • Vanity in extreme.
  • Dandiacal.
william butler yeats3
William Butler Yeats

Family Background:

Paternal Grandfather (William Butler Yeats):

  • Wore riding breeches so tight that he ripped three in one day.
  • ‘Unusual clergyman’ (Ellmann).
  • Once he boxed Yeats’ father’s ears and afterwards shook hands with him and hoped he was not offended.
  • Paternal grandfather sent Yeats’ father to a School where floggings were famous.
william butler yeats4
William Butler Yeats

Family Background:

Maternal grandfather (William Pollexfen):

  • Severe social impairment.
  • Was intimate with no one even his wife.
  • ‘Autistic’ aggression – hatchet beside his bed for burgulars.
  • Silent grandfather.
  • Inspired fear and deference.
william butler yeats5
William Butler Yeats

Family Background:

Maternal grandmother:

  • Deeply religious and superstitious.
  • Into nature cures.
william butler yeats6
William Butler Yeats

Family Background:

Father (John Butler Yeats):

  • Went from a legal career to painting.
  • Bohemian.
  • Constant search for individual style of painting left him unsatisfied.
  • ‘Searching for individual style as if for the Philosopher’s Stone’ (Ellmann).
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William Butler Yeats

Family Background:

Father (John Butler Yeats):

  • ‘Too exacting’.
  • ‘Autistic’ search for identity.
  • Strange / eccentric / financially irresponsible.
  • Painted those whose faces interested him (without hope of payment).
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William Butler Yeats

Family Background:

Father (John Butler Yeats):

  • Took family wandering between Dublin, London and Sligo.
  • Stubborn.
  • John Butler Yeats’ education of his son was ‘a long battle of minds and formidable wills that was to last a lifetime’ (John McGahern).
  • Controlling, independent and individual.
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William Butler Yeats

Family Background:

Father (John Butler Yeats):

  • All absorbing interests in work.
  • Solitary man.
  • Sceptic.
  • Took delight in expressing extreme views.
william butler yeats10
William Butler Yeats

Family Background:

Mother (Susan Pollexfen):

  • Nothing to do with theorizing.
  • Taciturn / gloomy.
  • Sensitive.
  • Undemonstrative.
  • Uncommunicative apparently emotionless.
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William Butler Yeats

Family Background:

Mother (Susan Pollexfen):

  • She was not sympathetic. The feelings of those around her did not concern her. She was not aware of them. She was always in an island of her own (T. Brown).
  • Genetic input to Yeats – Brown states that Yeats was a Pollexfen in his refusal or inability to confront in his writings any of the pain of childhood (due to his autism and problems with autobiographical memory).
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William Butler Yeats

Family Background:

Mother (Susan Pollexfen):

  • ‘The secret of Yeats, is that his mother did not love him’ (H. McGee) – not true.
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William Butler Yeats

Family Background:

Uncle George Pollexfen:

  • Tongue of leather over keyhole (H. Pyle).
  • Mystical and into the occult.
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William Butler Yeats

Family Background:

Another Pollexfen Uncle:

  • Tried to invent a warship that could not be sunk because of its hull of solid wood.
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William Butler Yeats

Speech and Language:

  • Delayed.
  • Believed to be ‘physically and mentally defective’.
  • Yeats sense of humour was simple and juvenile.
  • Prankish sense of humour.
  • Strong voice.
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William Butler Yeats

Speech and Language:

  • Affected voice.
  • ‘It put a great (many thought too great) yet always a subtle insistence on the rhythm . . it tended ever towards what seemed like indian singing’ (John Masefield).
  • Ellmann – curiously rhythmical manner of speaking that others found hard to reproduce.
  • Yeats studied in manner and speech unremittingly poetic (A. Cronin).
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William Butler Yeats

Reading:

  • Could not read by 9 years.
  • Major spelling and punctuation difficulties throughout his life e.g. gas would be spelt gass.
william butler yeats18
William Butler Yeats

Schooling:

  • Erratic.
  • First ten years largely at home.
  • Poor student.
  • He found school pedestrian and demoralising.
  • Remembered school as a time of failure, misery, and humiliation (K. Alldritt).
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William Butler Yeats

Schooling:

  • Poor classics but better at science.
  • Failed the entrane requirements for classics and mathematics at T.C.D.
  • Headmaster said ‘he would never amount to anything’.
  • Keen chess player.
  • Bullied in school.
  • Day dreamer. What religion do ants have?
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William Butler Yeats

Schooling:

  • Collected moths / butterflies.
  • Nickname in U.K. school ‘Mad Irishman’.
  • Very awkward.
  • Autodictat.
  • ‘Queer chap’ (K. Alldritt).
  • Clumsy, timid schoolboy.
william butler yeats21
William Butler Yeats

Social Impairment:

  • Childhood and early years – desire for isolation and lack of interaction with peers.
  • Shy / timid.
  • Loner.
  • ‘Felt himself apart’.
  • Lonely and powerless during adolescence.
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William Butler Yeats

Social Impairment:

  • Much childhood pain.
  • Much solitary wanderings (K. Alldritt).
  • In Howth – catching moths – sleep out at night (around Howth Castle).
  • Passion for poetry emerged in childhood.
  • ‘Could spout reams of poetry’ that school mates did not understand.
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William Butler Yeats

Social Impairment:

  • Lack of interest in games.
  • ‘Aloof and imperious’ (J. McGahern).
  • Poor autobiographical memory – George Russell (AE) noted lack of personal tone in autobriography.
  • Lack of ordinary good nature (T. Brown).
william butler yeats24
William Butler Yeats

Autistic Aggression:

  • ‘A certain malicious vein in his nature’ (T. Brown).
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William Butler Yeats

Books:

  • Bookish – the reason he gave was that he was anxious about other aspects of his life.
william butler yeats26
William Butler Yeats

Social Impairment:

  • He told the poet Katharine Tynan ‘I cannot help being inhuman as you call it . . . On the rare occasions when I go to see anyone I am not quite easy in my mind’.
  • ‘Sometimes the barrier between msyelf and other people filled me with terrror’.
  • ‘I have no instincts in personal life. I have reasoned them all away and reason acts very slowly and with difficulty and has to exhaust every side of the subject’.
william butler yeats27
William Butler Yeats

Social Impairment:

  • He tried to ‘connect himself with humanity’.
  • ‘He was not interested in people as such, only what they said or did’ (Georgie / wife).
  • Collected folklore (‘literary anthropology’). Not unlike Barton who also had autism.
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William Butler Yeats

Social Impairment:

  • ‘He is not comfortable with individuals: he needs an audience to which he can discourse in a pontifical manner . . . I doubt very much whether he takes an intimate interest in any human being’.
  • When speaking to the politician Eoin O’Duffy, O’Duffy’s wife noticed that ‘they spoke on different lines and neither listened to the other’.
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William Butler Yeats

Shyness:

  • Hid behind multiple masks and multiple identities.
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William Butler Yeats

Maud Gonne:

  • Naïve love.
  • This has tortured the Irish literati since.
  • He has lack of appreciatin of social cues.
william butler yeats31
William Butler Yeats

Diana Vernon:

  • Liaison at age 30 years.
  • Before that never touched a woman’s lips.
  • Did not know how to conduct affair.
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William Butler Yeats

Marriage:

  • Married at 52 years. Decision influenced by astrology.
  • Occult sources told him this was a good time to marry.
  • Married Bertha Georgie Hyde-Lees member of his circle of psychics.
  • Did not bother to invite his sisters to wedding.
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William Butler Yeats

Marriage:

  • Needed much encouragement from Lady Gregory to marry.
  • Married in the clothes he had bought to woo Maud Gonne’s daughter.
  • On wedding night told his wife he could summon up no desire for her.
  • She introduced him to automatic writing where she wrote down occult messages for Yeats.
  • This fascinated him and he was taken in by it.
william butler yeats34
William Butler Yeats

Marriage:

  • She was a perfect mother figure for him.
  • She submerged her identy in his and helped him to emerge from his isolation and eccentricity.
  • Yeats used the masculine name George for her (like Ludwig Wittgenstein and Anscombe).
  • Lacked common sense and would not have achieved Nobel Prize without wife.
william butler yeats35
William Butler Yeats

Yeats as Father:

  • Remote figure (Michael Yeats, son).
  • Living with a national monument (Michael Yeats, son).
  • Absolutely no idea how to talk to children (Michael Yeats, son).
  • He was told to discipline the children and all he did was read out a poem.
  • Yeats visited St. Columba’s College with his son and all he could ask the Principal was about the school drains.
william butler yeats36
William Butler Yeats

All Absorbing Narrow Interests:

  • Creativity in big way to end of life.
  • Very interested in animals.
  • Tried to hypnotise hens.
  • Absent minded – took a second dinner not realising he had eaten first.
  • Addicted to reverie.
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William Butler Yeats

All Absorbing Narrow Interests:

  • Once in a creative mood walking in door of house he said to his daughter Anne who are you looking for?
  • Obsessed with question like what is truth?
  • He was into ‘abstract schematizing’.
  • A vision had anti-system built into it.
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William Butler Yeats

All Absorbing Narrow Interests:

  • Poetry remarkable for its simplicity.
  • Powerful visual imagination.
  • His autobiography a chronological arrangement of pictures (AE).
  • Always eager to promote himself (K. Alldritt).
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William Butler Yeats

Non-verbal Behaviour:

  • Eager dark eyes.
  • A queer way of focusing when he looks at you.
  • Limited facial expression.
  • Cold, aloof, curiously without evident affect (T. Brown).
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William Butler Yeats

Non-verbal Behaviour:

  • Stereotyped or ritualised movements were accompanied by a dissociated or trance-like state that usually occurred when he was composing poetry.
  • In public he flapped his arms and was noticed by policemen.
  • Dress: Brown velveteen coat, a loose tie, and a very old Inverness cape, discarded by my father 20 years before (L. Johnson).
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William Butler Yeats

Composing Postures:

  • ‘Without warning he would begin to make a low, tuneless humming sound, and his right hand would wave vaguely as if beating time’ (M. B. Yeats).
  • ‘He wrote like God. He could put words together with such certainty that they seemed to have been engraved on tablets of stone from the beginning of time’ (John Carey).
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William Butler Yeats

Control:

  • Determination and perseverance (K. Alldritt).
  • Pushy single-mindedness (K. Alldritt).
  • Autodidactic nature.
  • Terrible man in combat.
  • Could silence jeering crowds at J. M. Synge’s play.
  • Tried to control Katharine Tynan’s career.
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William Butler Yeats

Control:

  • Autistic aggression in conflict: violent temper, combative.
  • Attracted to fascists and Mussolini.
  • Attracted to eugenics, authoritarianism and individualism – politically naïve.
  • Stood up to de Valera and Fianna Fail in 1933 when they wanted to withdraw Abbey funding.
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William Butler Yeats

Identity Diffusion:

  • Yeats’ mask or anti-self (autistic persons).
  • Search for self via occult.
  • ‘He is a rather cold-hearted philanderer not to say womaniser or dirty old man (A. Cronin).
  • Into mystical: occult, esoteric, ‘crackpots and charlatans’ (K. Alldrit), mumbo-jumbo of Order of the Golden Dawn, ‘lunatic clown Aleister Crowley (P. Boran).
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