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Greenacre, P. (1957). The Childhood of the Artist—Libidinal Phase Development and Giftedness. Psychoanal. St. Child, 12:47-72.

(1957). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 12:47-72

The Childhood of the Artist—Libidinal Phase Development and Giftedness

Phyllis Greenacre, M.D.

This presentation may be somewhat premature. The subject is one about which one thinks slowly and hesitantly, perhaps because genius is always somewhat dazzling and mysterious. Whether the term "giftedness," "creativity," or "marked talent" is used, still the idea of genius is close at hand. The differences in definition as well as nuances in their usage reflect somewhat various ideas of the nature of genius. To my way of thinking, creativity is a special capacity which may or may not be associated with great ability; but it is usually only of general significance when it is part of a constellation of special abilities and drives—which make for the creative individual. Creativity does not seem to have a great deal to do with superior intelligence in terms of quotients, even though excellent intelligence may contribute to the productions of the creative person. In this paper I shall use the term the artist as a generic one referring to those possessing unusual creative productivity in any field. My presentation is both schematic and hypothetical, without full documentation and supporting evidence even for some fundamental parts of it, except in so far as occasional illustrations may tend to be of this nature. Neither am I reviewing the work of others who have contributed to this subject. There has been a great deal written that I have not yet had a chance even to read, valuable though it is; nor to reread some articles which I am sure have contributed to my ideas. It has been my intention to use the present formulations as a kind of work sheet, or blueprint of what is to be further investigated and correlated with the work of others.

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