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Chasseguet-Smirgel, J. (1984). Thoughts on the Concept of Reparation and the Hierarchy of Creative Acts. Int. R. Psycho-Anal., 11:399-406.

(1984). International Review of Psycho-Analysis, 11:399-406

Thoughts on the Concept of Reparation and the Hierarchy of Creative Acts

Janine Chasseguet-Smirgel


The author discusses 'reparation' of the object, an essential concept, according to Melanie Klein, in the creation of works of art. However, if this were so, we could not understand why creation so often brings about guilt feelings, since it would be entirely in agreement with the superego. Clinical examples show that creation is often felt by the creator as happening at the expense of the object.

In fact, in relation to reparation, there exist two sorts of creation: one, which enriches and fills up the ego (and which can generate guilt) and the other, which indeed repairs the object.

The intrinsic aesthetic value of these two forms of creation remain to be studied. The author explains the function of the 'hobby' (violon d'Ingres) in relationship to the superego.

Further research on factors which inhibit creativity in women might elaborate the notions set forth here.

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