Down the Rabbit Hole and Through the Looking Glass

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Originally published in Contemporary Psychology: APA Review of Books, 1998, Vol 43(11), 786-787. Review of book: “Portrait of the artist as a young patient: Psychodynamic studies of the creative personality,” by Gerald Alper (see record 1992-97682-000). In fresh, sometimes lyrical language, Alper evokes the rich nuances of his patients' characters. Young artists, still struggling for recognition in crowded fields, possessing both narcissistic and borderline personality traits, populate his vignettes. Some of his conclusions on the creative personality, therefore, are generalizable beyond this group, whereas others are not. His amply supported premise argues that an artist's narcissism, rather than being either an etiologic factor for, or a neurotic by-product of the artistic process is, instead, an intrinsic aspect of that process. This, by itself, would have made a thought-provoking, question-raising, and satisfying read. Along the way, though, the reader is treated to the original reflections of an author- therapist who draws inspiration from fields as expected as psychoanalysis and existentialism, and as unexpected as hermeneutics, epistemology, strategic therapy, and physics. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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