Creative Imagination: Studies in the Psychology of Literature

Creative Imagination: Studies in the Psychology of Literature

Creative Imagination: Studies in the Psychology of Literature

Creative Imagination: Studies in the Psychology of Literature

Excerpt

To obtain glimpses of the landscapes of other minds is one of the rewards of a leisurely transit through the realms of psychology. The experience is both entertaining and disturbing; entertaining, because of the infinite variety of the scenery, from polar ice-fields to tropical jungles; disturbing, because it is difficult holding to favourite dogmas when one sees cacti, magnolia trees, wild plum all flowering in beauty.

The variational factor in psychical experience has always fascinated me, so too has that realm back of the North Wind, the poetic imagination. Both literary appreciation and creation suggest fascinating problems that might be solved in the laboratory. I am aware that to many the suggestion of such work savours of a desire to unweave the rainbow. It does not seem so to me even in face of a most deep-seated passion for poetry. I am aware, too, that to many writers on æsthetics what has been done in the laboratory up to the present seems largely trivial or futile so far as their interests are concerned. Perhaps! Investigators are often, as Emerson would put it, wrong-headed in the direction in which they are rightest. I may, at least, ward off certain criticisms by disclaiming at once any intention of contributing to æsthetic theory or to one of critical evaluation. If the discussions in this book have such implications it is for others to find them. I must, however, register my belief that scientific analysis has much to bestow in the way of clarifying our understanding of the human activities that lead to art-creation and that it . . .

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