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Scheftel, S. (2009). The Cosmic Child: The Artwork of Joseph Cornell and a Type of Unusual Sensibility, or Thinking Inside the Box: The Mind That Channels Infinity. Psychoanal. St. Child, 64:54-71.
   

(2009). Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 64:54-71

The Cosmic Child: The Artwork of Joseph Cornell and a Type of Unusual Sensibility, or Thinking Inside the Box: The Mind That Channels Infinity

Susan Scheftel, PHD

This paper explores the unique mind of the twentieth-century American artist Joseph Cornell, known for his boxes and collages made with “found” materials. The author interpolates reflections upon Cornell with vignettes from the treatment of a young child, speculating that certain individuals may possess a constellation of vulnerabilities/sensitivities that constitute what is referred to as a “cosmic” sensibility. It is suggested that such an orientation can lead variously to anxieties and separation problems, as well as (or in addition to) intellectual and/or artistic giftedness. The outcome of such dynamics would depend on a complex interplay of temperament, circumstance, and relational attunement.

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