Customer Service | Help | FAQ | PEP-Easy | Report a Data Error | About
Tip: To access to IJP Open with a PEP-Web subscription…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

Having a PEP-Web subscription grants you access to IJP Open. This new feature allows you to access and review some articles of the International Journal of Psychoanalysis before their publication. The free subscription to IJP Open is required, and you can access it by clicking here.

For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Slochower, H. (1967). Genius, Psychopathology and Creativity. Am. Imago, 24(1-2):3-5.

(1967). American Imago, 24(1-2):3-5

Genius, Psychopathology and Creativity

Harry Slochower

This symposium, centering in the relation of genius, psychopathology and creativity, was stimulated by the reaction to Eissler's thesis on this problem, presented in his books on Leonardo da Vinci and more comprehensively on Goethe. The essays in this issue ought to help clarify the question and encourage further discussion.

Eissler makes a distinction between the sickness of a genius and that of an average talent. In the case of the genius, disease can have the function of dissolving the rigidities which block the flow of the creative process. This point has affinity to Freud's notion of “Lockerung,” which pertains to the loosening of ego structure in artistic creativity. To be sure, where such flexibility is not checked, we tend to get surrealistic absurdities, and finally, the breakdown of form, or the dissolution of art itself.

On the methodological level, the question has been raised as to the relative fruitfulness of the topographic and the genetic-historic model on the one hand, and the structural model on the other hand, by which the problem of creativity is approached. Some discussants appear to make a sharp distinction between the two approaches and, in stressing the structural, give the impression that the creative genius gains a kind of “secondary autonomy.”

It seems to me that such either-or choice is undialectic. One can formulate the structural model in Heinz Kohut's terms which allow for the interaction of non-pathological functions with “those essential classical findings and formulations of psychoanalysis which had been derived from the study of dreams and of psychopathology.”

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

Copyright © 2021, Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing, ISSN 2472-6982 Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Download PEP Bibliography | Report a Data Error | About

WARNING! This text is printed for personal use. It is copyright to the journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to redistribute it in any form.