Eccentrics

David Weeks, Author, Jamie James, Author, Jamie Weeks, With Villard Books $23 (0p) ISBN 978-0-394-56565-1
In this entertaining, if insubstantial, book, Weeks, a neuropsychologist at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital, and freelance writer James set out to examine the lives of those who, while not mentally ill, nevertheless veer significantly from conventional behavior. Weeks discusses the well-known eccentricities of figures such as the poet William Blake and pianist Glenn Gould, as well as eccentrics who, though famous or notorious in their own time, are largely forgotten in ours, such as Ignatius T.T. Donnelly, whose 19th-century book arguing that the Lost Continent of Atlantis was the source of all civilization was a bestseller. Weeks also presents a wide range of contemporary eccentrics, who seem to relish the opportunity to talk about themselves. While the book's anecdotes are charming, Weeks tends to generalize, and his attempt to present an argument that eccentrics are fundamentally happier and healthier than ``normal'' people is too weakly supported to be convincing. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/02/1995
Release date: 10/01/1995
Genre: Nonfiction
Hardcover - 978-0-517-19506-2
Paperback - 277 pages - 978-1-56836-156-7
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