17 Million Words/155 Volumes/40 Years/1 Diary
June 9, 2006 8:30 AM   Subscribe

17 Million Words / 155 Volumes / One bedridden hypochondriac (?) : Arthur Crew Inman wrote one of the strangest diaries of the 20th century. Listen to his voice (WMA), or see an excerpt from the documentary being made about him (WMV) by the man who wrote a play based on his life.
posted by OmieWise (15 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
The third link argues that Inman may have suffered from temporolimbic epilepsy (TLE), something I know nothing about. I'd love to get ikkyu2's opinion.
posted by OmieWise at 8:32 AM on June 9, 2006

posted by Divine_Wino at 8:45 AM on June 9, 2006

That's a whole lotta writing...

Interesting post, OmieWise.
posted by educatedslacker at 8:52 AM on June 9, 2006

Um...Isolation? Comfortable wealth? 17 million words?
Graphomania? (the excerpt quoted in the link is from Milan Kundera's "Book of Laughter and Forgetting")
posted by es_de_bah at 9:01 AM on June 9, 2006

Any relation to Inman Square in Cambridge, Ma.?
posted by StickyCarpet at 9:04 AM on June 9, 2006

I thought TLE as soon as I read the fourth link. The hypergraphia is a real tip off. PK Dick had it. When my sister had it, before she was treated, she just wrote and wrote and wrote. Nice post OmieWise.
posted by jessamyn at 9:05 AM on June 9, 2006

Fascinating. Though your man does come across as utterly vile.

I know someone who was diagnosed with TLE in her late 70s, and completely refuses to believe it a decade on - reading that article, I'm more inclined than ever to think that the diagnosis was absolutely spot on.
posted by jack_mo at 9:06 AM on June 9, 2006

I'd never heard of this! Sounds like a mashup of Memoirs of My Nervous Illness and In Search of Lost Time...now I'm all excited.
posted by everichon at 9:18 AM on June 9, 2006

Another fine post Omiewise, thank you. And great pitch, everichon!
posted by safetyfork at 10:35 AM on June 9, 2006

Very fascinating!
posted by cass at 12:03 PM on June 9, 2006

Good stuff, Omiewise.

And now back to crafting my 17,000,000 word long Metafilter comment. It should be ready circa 2046.
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 12:42 PM on June 9, 2006

Great post OmieWise, thanks. Stimulating reading and I enjoyed the sound clip as well. Yikes, was this guy stuck in deep doom and gloom! Must have been exhausting to be around. Fascinating too the interest of Lorenzo DeStefano, who wrote the play and Daniel Aaron, Harvard professor who edited the 17 million words into 2 volumes.

My dx of Arthur Crew Inman is Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD) co-morbid with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), Schizoid Personality Disorder traits and clinical depression.

I don't think he was suffering from Temporal Lobe Epilepsy. The reason is that TLE causes hallucinations. I didn't know about TLE or PK Dick. Interesting.

OCPD traits are more pervasive than 'mere' obsessive compulsive issues. People with OCPD are VERY critical and can be driven to write at great length. One might think that people with OCPD are very neat since they have such intense control issues but they are usually hoarders and live in unbudgeable mess. However, people with OCPD are usually empathic to some degree. People with NPD are not.

The traits that make me think Arthur Crew Inman was NPD are:
his grandiosity,
sense of entitlement,
self-centeredness, ("His desire for the spotlight rears its head throughout the diary."),
his voyeurism in hiring a 1000+ others to entertain him with their lifestories,
pathological hypochondria,
chronic malice ("Inman spared no one his poisoned pen, even his wife of 40 years, Evelyn Yates Inman."),
inability to connect with others lovingly, rather than only express gratitude for his wife when she performed well as his servant ("I am, in fact, of the humble opinion that my wife is a treasure among treasures, the hub of the wheel of my existence. I guess I love her more than I had any idea. Admitting it is not unlike having a tooth pulled."),
his speaking about himself in the third person,
his enmeshing others around him to take care of him as a child over decades and
his interest in very young girls.

None of those traits alone would be enough to label him NPD but put together, it would seem he certainly had a lot of narcissistic traits. His writing leaves me feeling like he was a sort of bizarre combo between homebound, meticulous Emily Dickinson and Nosferatu.

posted by nickyskye at 2:14 PM on June 9, 2006

To be honest, I'm more interested in what his wife was like. She helped him have affairs? She found a way to live with him?

posted by Afroblanco at 2:52 PM on June 9, 2006

AfroBlanco, Good point. Another version of Carmela Soprano?
posted by nickyskye at 3:31 PM on June 9, 2006

Wonderful post—I don't know how I missed it originally, but I'm glad my eye lit on it today. Listening to that clip of his voice was mesmerizing; now I want to read the diary.
posted by languagehat at 11:17 AM on June 10, 2006

« Older Alcoholic Drinking Occurred in Harmony with the...   |   Duncan Hunter next on the corrupt Califonian... Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments