25 May, 2015

A Beautiful Mind

BY Sylvia Nasar
Book Information1/1/0/US/SS/1998/?  •  243x166x35  •  780  •  NBCCA'98  •  Pulitzer'99(F)

This post is in memory of John Nash and his wife, Alicia, who were killed in a car accident while making their way back home from Norway, where John was awarded the Abel prize for his work on nonlinear partial differential equations. This biography by Sylvia Nasar, although unauthorized by Nash, is perhaps a good way to "summon up remembrance of things past" now.


A central theme is how Nash dealt with and finally overcame paranoid schizophrenia, which reminded me of Robert Frost's "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening", with the "woods" being irrationality, its "owner" schizophrenia, the "little horse" rationality, and "easy wind and downy snow" the voices and hallucinations. The woods are lovely, especially in the darkest evening of the year, but rationality prevailed and Nash is minded that he had a promise to keep, and miles to go before he finally slept.

It is romantic, if poignant, that John and Alicia should experience all of life's vicissitudes and felicities together.

The first edition, published in 1998 by Simon and Schuster, won the National Book Critic Circle Award in the same year.







The complete number line ("10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1") indicates first edition. 

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