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Raab, K.A. (2000). Creativity and Transcendence in the Work of Marion Milner. Am. Imago, 57(2):185-214.

(2000). American Imago, 57(2):185-214

Creativity and Transcendence in the Work of Marion Milner

Kelley A. Raab

Marion Milner was a British psychoanalyst whose life spanned the major part of the twentieth century. Unlike D.W. Winnicott, her contemporary and friend, Milner has yet to be discovered by scholars of religious studies.1 Like Winnicott, her work lends itself well to the study of religious symbolism from the perspective of the early infant-mother relationship. In addition, Milner wrote extensively about the nature of creativity, and, to some degree, its relationship to transcendence. In this essay I investigate Milner's view of “creativity” as a vehicle for experiencing transcendence. In the course of exploration, I also address the role of unconscious processes in religious experience. To do so I look at a portion of the corpus of Milner's work in three parts: 1) her articles on Blake's Illustrations to the Book of Job, 2) Milner's last published diary, Eternity's Sunrise, and 3) her published account of work with a schizophrenic patient in The Hands of the Living God. These three foci, along with references to other works, provide a fairly accurate picture of Milner's understanding of the relationship between creativity, transcendence, and the unconscious.

I Milner's Interest in Creativity

Marion Milner was born in London in 1900 as Marion Blackett, in a family of modest means. Since an excellent biography can be found elsewhere,2 in tracing Milner's life trajectory I will limit myself primarily to discussing her intellectual interests and career pursuits. When she was seventeen, Milner left school and obtained a position teaching a young boy how to read.

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