“Girl, interrupted”, an inspiration of a picture of Vermeer

Girl Interrupted at her Music is a painting by the Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer. It was painted in the baroque style between the years 1660 and 1661, using oil on canvas.

The painting was the inspiration for the title of Susanna Kaysen’s memoir about her stay at McLean Hospital for psychiatric treatment, Girl, Interrupted. Girl Interrupted at her Music was an integral part of Kaysen’s mental recovery and understanding. The memoir was adapted into an Academy Award winning film by the same title, starring Angelina Jolie and Winona Ryder.

Girl interrupted at her music.  Access: 21 st April 2009.
(In the wikipedia page, appears the same text at the date of the access)


Related to this, I put an extract here of  “Review of Girl, Interrupted by Dan Schneider, 4/30/05 :

“The end of the book is particularly strong, and probably the best pure writing in the book. After telling us where the memoir title comes from- Vermeer’s painting Girl Interrupted At Her Music, SK ends the memoir this way:

…And the wall is made of light- that entirely credible yet unreal Vermeer light.
Light like this does not exist, but we wish it did. We wish the sun could make us young and beautiful, we wish our clothes could glisten and ripple against our skins, most of all, we wish that everyone we knew could be brightened simply by our looking at them, as are the maid with the letter and the soldier with the hat.
The girl at her music sits in another sort of light, the fitful, overcast light of life, by which we see ourselves and others only imperfectly, and seldom.”


To read more, you can check the following pages:

– “Girl, Interrupted: The Book and the Film” Article by Sussana Kaysen. April 2000. American Psychiatric Association.

Susanna Kaysen’s Girl, Interrupted. A Comparison of the James Mangold Film and the Book. Article of Leslie Halpern. Dec 15, 2008.