Random cultural history question. Many years ago, in the early 90’s, I was a college student. One of my dorm mates was a tortured writer. She wore a lot of black and was obsessed with her own suffering as a sign of genius. There seems to be a long tradition of this type depressed writer/ artist/ creative type. Why do many young people think that suffering and depression will make for better art? When did this start? Do other cultural traditions have similar archetypes? Is this some sort of catholic guilt or protestant work ethic thing? There is probably a simple explanation for the origin of this phenomenon, but I have no idea. Any cultural or art historians out there with suggestions?

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