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Steiner, R. (1999). Some Notes On The ‘Heroic Self’ And The Meaning And Importance Of Its Reparation For The Creative Process And The Creative Personality. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 80(4):685-718.

(1999). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 80(4):685-718

Some Notes On The ‘Heroic Self’ And The Meaning And Importance Of Its Reparation For The Creative Process And The Creative Personality

Riccardo Steiner

The author discusses a few points in a long clinical history from which he has derived the notion of ‘heroic self, describing how it manifested through ‘heroic’ projective and introjective identifications. He also demonstrates the importance of repairing both the heroic self and the internal objects, and how essential it is for the analyst to differentiate between the heroic self and its megalomaniac psychopathic manifestations, and to recover the heroic self when it appears to be lost, as in the case of severe, quasi-melancholic, depression. By heroic self and heroic projective and introjective identifications, he means the creative person's specific need to associate himself with, to compete with and excel the heroes of his own cultural tradition. The creative person is able to do so via these projections and introjections, and the need is based on the creator's inner awareness of naturally possessing unusual, or even outstanding, gifts; in other words, the creative person has an awareness of being, or of the possibility of becoming, a creative hero. Brief reference is made throughout to other clinical material, and in the final section further support is given to the author's views on the heroic self with short quotations and examples from non-psychoanalytic sources that provide further interesting evidence of the existence and functioning of the heroic self. With particular reference to Segal's work in this field (1952, 1991), and her notion of ‘meaningful form’, the author tries to further develop its implications in the light of the heroic self and of the heroic projective and introjective identifications, as far as the creator and those who respond to and evaluate his or her work are concerned.

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