Styron, William

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Portrait of William Styron (click to view image source)
William Styron
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Styron, William Gender: M
William Clark Styron, Jr.
born on 11 June 1925 at 22:15 (= 10:15 PM )
Place Newport News, Virginia, 36n59, 76w26
Timezone EST h5w (is standard time)
Data source
From memory
Rodden Rating A
Collector: McEvoy
Astrology data s_su.18.gif s_gemcol.18.gif 20°38' s_mo.18.gif s_piscol.18.gif 02°42 Asc.s_aqucol.18.gif 04°49'


American writer, the author of "Sophie's Choice" and "Darkness Visible," a best seller of 1990. The book is a profound description of depression, a disorder that affects some 10-to-20 million Americans. The unspeakable darkness which people experience makes suicide a response to unbearable pain. Stricken by the illness in 1985 at the age of 60, he stressed the difference between everyday blues and the blanketing darkness that makes life a horror.

William Styron was a sickly child, by his own account, which was conducive to being introspective. He inherited a predisposition toward depression from his father, a Newport News, Virginia engineer who died in 1978. He never completely mourned the death of his mother when he was 14. Later, he recalled chronically abusing alcohol to banish what must have been the edge of gray that he had almost every day. He earned a bachelor of arts degree at Duke University in 1947 and studied writing at the New School for Social Research.

Styron was an associate editor for McGraw-Hill Book Company in New York in 1947. He wrote critically acclaimed "Lie Down in the Darkness" in 1951 at age 24 as a neophyte novelist. In it he described the terrible despair that foreshadowed the darkness he would encounter when he was stricken with clinical depression. Other notable works include "The Confessions of Nat Turner," 1967 and best-seller "Sophie’s Choice," 1979, which features a heroine who suffered from a despair so bleak that it eventually led to suicide. "Sophie’s Choice" was made into a movie.

In the 1950s, he began an off-and-on relationship with Norman Mailer, which was complicated by a rivalry that developed between the two writers. Mailer broke off the relationship privately and later attacked Styron publicly in print. Styron chose to answer Mailer’s attacks by placing parts of Mailer’s private letters to him in his novel, "Set This House on Fire." After an estrangement of many years, they reconciled in the 1980s.

Politically as well as an artistically involved, Styron opposed the Vietnam War and the death penalty. He agitated for prisoner’s rights.

When he was hospitalized for depression in 1985, he had come close to ending his own life. After his recovery he decided to write about his experience. The result, "Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness," is a terrifying, astonishingly frank account of the illness. By speaking out, he sought to help others see that there is hope for recovery.

Styron had been married to his wife, Rose, for 32 years in 1990. They livef in Roxbury, Connecticut and summered in Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts. The great writer who battled illness for many years died of pneumonia on November 1, 2006 at his home on Martha’s Vineyard, MA. He was 81.

Link to Wikipedia biography


  • Relationship : Marriage 1958 (Rose)
  • Mental Health : Depressive episode 1985 (Stricken with depression)
  • Work : End Major Project 1990 (Publication of best-selling book)
  • Death by Disease 1 November 2006 (Of pneumonia, age 81, on Martha's Vineyard, MA)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.

Source Notes

Frances McEvoy quotes Karen Thorne from him; he answered without hesitation


  • Diagnoses : Psychological : Abuse Alcohol (Rehab)
  • Diagnoses : Psychological : Depression (Experienced writer of depression)
  • Family : Relationship : Marriage more than 15 Yrs (From 1958)
  • Family : Relationship : Number of Marriages (One, lasting)
  • Personal : Death : Illness/ Disease
  • Personal : Death : Long life more than 80 yrs
  • Vocation : Writers : Fiction
  • Vocation : Writers : Textbook/ Non-fiction
  • Notable : Awards : Pulitzer prize (Literature)