Last Updated on July 29, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 211
• The Stranger (1942), Albert Camus’ classic existentialist novel, illustrates the terrors of human decision-making in a godless world. Styron names this book as a major influence on his own writing.
• Marty Jezer’s 1992 biography of 1960s’ rebel and Styron’s friend Abbie Hoffman, Abbie Hoffman: American Rebel, attempts to reconcile Hoffman’s public persona with his personal life. Styron speculates that Hoffman’s death was a suicide linked to mental illness.
• Howard Kushner’s 1991 study, American Suicide: A Psychocultural Exploration, explores the cultural fabric of American life and speculates on its relationship to the phenomenon of suicide in the United States.
• Hermione Lee’s exhaustive 1999 biography, Virginia Woolf, provides theories and accounts of Woolf’s bouts with depression.
• William Styron’s Lie Down in Darkness (1951) chronicles the lives of a southern family and describes the events that culminate in the suicide of Peyton Loftis. This is Styron’s first published novel.
• Elizabeth Wurtzel’s 1997 memoir, Prozac Nation: Young and Depressed in America, chronicles the life of a young and privileged woman suffering from depression who is treated with Prozac, an antidepressant.
• Psychiatrist Peter Kramer’s book Listening to Prozac (1997) explores the status of the antidepressant Prozac in America. Kramer examines the use of Prozac to ‘‘cure’’ personality problems as well as depression.
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