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For other uses, see Surrealist techniques.

Graphomania (from Greek γραφειν — writing,[1] and μανία — insanity), also known as scribomania, refers to an obsessive impulse to write.[2][3] When used in a specifically psychiatric context, it labels a morbid mental condition which results in writing rambling and confused statements, often degenerating into a meaningless succession of words or even nonsense and called then graphorrhea[4] (cf. hypergraphia). The term 'graphomania' has been used in early 19th century by Esquirol and later by Eugen Bleuler, becoming more or less usual [5] Graphomania is near condition to typomania - obsessiveness with seeing one's name in publication or with writing for being published, excessive symbolism or typology.[6]

Outside the psychiatric definitions of graphomania and related conditions, the word is used more broadly to label the urge and need to write excessively, whether professional or not. Max Nordau, in his attack to what he saw as degenerate art, frequently used the term 'graphomania' to label the production of the artists he condemned (most notably Richard Wagner[7] or the French symbolist poets [7])

Milan Kundera ironically explains proliferation of non-professional writing as follows:

"Graphomania inevitably takes on epidemic proportions when a society develops to the point of creating three basic conditions:

  1. An elevated level of general well-being, which allows people to devote themselves to useless activities;
  2. A high degree of social atomization and, as a consequence, a general isolation of individuals;
  3. The absence of dramatic social changes in the nation's internal life. (From this point of view, it seems to me symptomatic that in France, where practically nothing happens, the percentage of writers is twenty-one times higher than in Israel)."

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Graphic, etymology
  2. ^ Graphomania Medicine world
  3. ^ Scribomania, Everything 2, 2007-04-21
  4. ^ Drever J., (1954), A Dictionary of Psychology, Harmondsworth: Penguin Books
  5. ^ "The habit of excessive writing, of explaining, amplifying, and reiterating, of letter making and pamphleteering, forms a morbid symptom of known as “graphomania.” Some men may overload their natural tendency to write, but a certain class of lunatics use nearly all their mental activities in this occupation, to the endless annoyance of their friends, relatives and physicians."“Bryan’s Mental Condition:” One Psychiatrist’s View Source: New York Times, 27 September 1896.
  6. ^ Typomania, definition
  7. ^ a b Nordau M., Degeneration: "We will take a closer view of the graphomaniac Wagner.. He displays in the general constitution of his mind ... all the signs of graphomania, namely, incoherence, fugitive ideation, and a tendency to idiotic punning." p171-2; London: Heinemann. 1895 [1]