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Lee, H.B. (1949). The Creative Imagination. Psychoanal Q., 18:351-360.

(1949). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 18:351-360

The Creative Imagination

Harry B. Lee, M.D.


From this brief review we can draw some instruction regarding our approach to the problem of artistic sublimation. It is not an insoluble mystery. The problem is one of artistic experience, not of beauty. The beauty of natural objects is not the same as artistic beauty. No one mental process explains all of the varieties of creativeness and artistic appreciation.

More of our studies and reports ought to be based upon those expressions of the creative imagination that we are able to observe in clinical practice, rather than speculative pathobiographical and psychographical studies. We should gather and sift clinically observed facts until we can describe the processes of artistic sublimation according to metapsychological standards. Upon this solid foundation, we will be able to construct more clear, more consistent, and more complete generalizations about sublimation, and about the varieties of artistic experience.

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