a story lives forever
Sign in
Form submission failed!

Stay signed in

Recover your password?
Form submission failed!

Web of Stories Ltd would like to keep you informed about our products and services.

Please tick here if you would like us to keep you informed about our products and services.

I have read and accepted the Terms & Conditions.

Please note: Your email and any private information provided at registration will not be passed on to other individuals or organisations without your specific approval.

Video URL

You must be registered to use this feature. Sign in or register.


Falling in love with a boy from the Hitler Youth


Is love a mental illness?
Brian Sewell Writer
Comments (0) Please sign in or register to add comments

I think whoever said that was just being clever. It is clever. It is amusing. But as it affects almost everybody in the human race, whether civilised or not, I think it’s a joke. It’s not to be taken seriously. I think one can be sick with love. One can be diverted and even destroyed by it. You can have people making the most extraordinary decisions as a consequence of either being in love or having been in love. You know, people change wills, dynasties divert left or right as a consequence of something going wrong with a love affair. But that it's an illness, no.

And I think when you talk of illness, this is something that you want to get rid of, but I think a man who has never loved has been deprived of an extraordinary experience. I mean... I think the sooner you fall in love, the earlier you fall in love, the better. The more often you fall in love, the better. Because I think that every human being is like a teapot, and there’s a spout and a handle and a lid and a knob on the lid and so on. And every love affair you have knocks off one of these, so that you end up just with the central carcass. We are all the central carcasses by the time we reach our age. I know you’re younger than me, but you do need to get your odd bits knocked off, one way or another, otherwise you don’t learn anything about yourself, or the human race.

So it’s all part of a rich experience, nothing to do with illness at all.

Born in England, Brian Sewell (1931-2015) was considered to be one of Britain’s most prominent and outspoken art critics. He was educated at the Courtauld Institute of Art and subsequently became an art critic for the London Evening Standard; he received numerous awards for his work in journalism. Sewell also presented several television documentaries, including an arts travelogue called The Naked Pilgrim in 2003. He talked candidly about the prejudice he endured because of his sexuality.

Listeners: Christopher Sykes

Christopher Sykes is an independent documentary producer who has made a number of films about science and scientists for BBC TV, Channel Four, and PBS.

Tags: love, mental illness

Duration: 2 minutes, 10 seconds

Date story recorded: 2008

Date story went live: 28 June 2012