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Schmukler, A.G. (1990). American Imago. XLIV, 1987: The Artistic Personality in Psychoanalytic Theory. Jon Frederickson. Pp. 257-273.. Psychoanal Q., 59:170-171.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: American Imago. XLIV, 1987: The Artistic Personality in Psychoanalytic Theory. Jon Frederickson. Pp. 257-273.

(1990). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 59:170-171

American Imago. XLIV, 1987: The Artistic Personality in Psychoanalytic Theory. Jon Frederickson. Pp. 257-273.

Anita G. Schmukler

Frederickson examines those factors that have resulted in reductionism in psychoanalytic writing about the analyses of artists. The acceptance by psychoanalytic writers of stereotypes of artists (e.g., as prophets or madmen) has contributed to this misunderstanding. Freud's conception of the artist is distinguished from those of his followers, many of whom fail to grasp Freud's notions. Freud identified an internal kinship between the artist and the neurotic, but followers of Freud have frequently equated the two. Both the artist and the neurotic, in Freud's view, withdrew from an unsatisfactory reality, but Freud was explicit in stating that creative artists

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could find their way back to reality through the vehicle of their artistic productions. For Freud, the artist "was a heroic figure who mastered his conflicts in a creative, non-neurotic fashion." Thus, art exists between the real world which frustrates wishes and the wish-fulfilling world of our fantasies. While the myth of the artist as a madman is prevalent in current literature, it was not one of Freud's notions. The view of the artist as a neurotic led to a notion of art as "sublimated neurosis." Ego psychology and its focus upon regression in the service of the ego permitted a view that creative work is an expression of ego strength. Recently, there has been a shift in psychoanalytic literature from focus on the artist to focus on creativity. The author suggests that some important questions must be addressed. These include the meaning of the "special meaning of the artist," the "bourgeois critique," the differentiation between "romantic stereotypes and actual historical and current artists," and the tendency to apply preconceived notions rather than specific analytic evidence.

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Article Citation

Schmukler, A.G. (1990). American Imago. XLIV, 1987. Psychoanal. Q., 59:170-171

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