There is probably no other field of human activity where delirious ideas blossom so visibly as in literature. Whole subcultures have been developing themselves around the works of certain writers. One just has to think about the latest hype that surrounded the “Game of Thrones”, to name the most recent one.
Monomania is also a condition that intrigued many writers. The 19th century writer Edgar Allan Poe would often write tales in which the narrator and protagonist would suffer some form of monomania, becoming excessively fixated on an idea, an urge, an object, or a person, often to the point of mental and/or physical destruction.
Flaubert’s hatred of the bourgeois and their willful idiocy that began in his childhood developed into a kind of monomania. It is monomania from which Flaubert’s tragic heroine, Madame Bovary suffers; in her case it takes the form of an incessant guilt and fear of discovery.
In Crime and Punishment, the magnum opus of renowned 19th-century Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky, the main character, Raskolnikov, is said to be a monomaniac on numerous occasions.
There are many other literary examples; Captain Ahab in Melville’s Moby Dick, Heatcliff in Bronte’s Wuthering Heights, etc…
The most common monomaniacal behavior associated with the literary field is however of a more mundane nature: the obsession of writers with writing and that of the readers with reading.
Most renowned successful prolific writers are so occupied with their craft that it undermines their mental health and/or social life. Robert Pirsig, the writer of Zen and the Art of Motor Cycle Maintenance suffered several mental breakdowns and spent time in and out of psychiatric hospitals. Michael Crichton, the writer of Jurassic Park and many other bestsellers was married five times and his marriages lasted on the average for 3 years because he was an nonredeemable workaholic.
On the other side of the literary specter you have the obsessive readers that fall in two different categories. Those who’re so obsessed with the work of an author that they configure a whole subculture around it, and those who’re submerging themselves into the fictional reality that literature offers by hopping from one book to another.
Like every obsession, also an obsession with literature is a symptom of an unbalanced mind. Where a well integrated personality resembles a sun around which several planets are turning, a monomaniacal mind is like a moon circling around one planet.
Literature can add value to a life, but a life where value is only found in literature, creates monsters.