Autism and art

“For success in science and art, a dash of autism is essential” –Hans Asperger

This quotation appears in the current issue of Wired, in a brief supplement (scroll down) to Steve Silberman’s fascinating article about the role of autism in genius. In the supplement are speculations that certain writers, musicians, and thinkers of the past suffered from disorders like savant syndrome, autism, and Tourette’s, and that the genetic traits that produce these disorders contribute to genius.

Wired’s possible diagnosis for writer and lexicographer Samuel Johnson is Tourette’s:

Johnson, the author of the first English dictionary, was prone to ritualistic movements punctuated by outbursts of barnyard noises and fragments of the Lord’s Prayer.

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