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Grundy, D. (2004). Psychoanalysis and Creativity: What's the Pattern? A Review of Patterns: Building Blocks of Experience by Marilyn Charles. Hillsdale, NJ. The Analytic Press, 2002. 185 pp.. Contemp. Psychoanal., 40(1):109-116.
   

(2004). Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 40(1):109-116

Psychoanalysis and Creativity: What's the Pattern? A Review of Patterns: Building Blocks of Experience by Marilyn Charles. Hillsdale, NJ. The Analytic Press, 2002. 185 pp.

Review by:
Dominick Grundy, Ph.D.

HERE is a description of the subject matter of Patterns in the words of its author:

Organic patterns have their roots in our earliest experiences and antedate the more explicit organization of conscious memory. The categories and expectations we build up, based on these patterned experiences, become the nonverbal foundations of symbolic thought. Nonverbal meanings are particularly important in affective interchanges and thus have a unique importance in the world of art, where a given product may be technically good, but its greatness often depends on the relative success in eliciting an affective response from the audience. [pp. 114-115]

As explained in a foreword by James Grotstein, the developmental area under discussion here is the “prelexical period” (p. ix), and it involves, as he says, bringing together “psychoanalytic thinking with infant development research.” Psychoanalytic ideas about creativity have often focused on childhood, or at least, biography. One thinks of Freud's discussion of Leonardo da Vinci's childhood, the psychoanalytic use of an artist's life by Ernst Kris, psychoanalytic studies of Van Gogh's painting or Shakespeare's Hamlet. Early “applied” psychoanalysis focused on the relation of creative art to conflicts in the ego. The goal in this book, however, is to locate sensorimotor phenomena and trace them all the way up through to adult creative work, where they may, one hopes, contribute to an affective response from an audience. Such early patterns are viewed as subject to modification by cognitive development, but not necessarily by intrapsychic conflict, which in Freud's case was typically oedipal.

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