Creative People at Work: Twelve Cognitive Case Studies / Edition 1

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To demystify creative work without reducing it to simplistic formulas, Doris Wallace and Howard Gruber, one of the world's foremost authorities on creativity, have produced a unique book exploring the creative process in the arts and sciences. The book's original "evolving systems approach" treats creativity as purposeful work and integrates cognitive, emotional, aesthetic, and motivational aspects of the creative process. Twelve revealing case studies explore the work of such diverse people as William Wordsworth, Albert Einstein, Jean Piaget, Anais Nin, and Charles Darwin. The case study approach is discussed in relation to other methods such as biography, autobiography, and psychobiology. Emphasis is given to the uniqueness of each creative person; the social nature of creative work is also treated without losing the sense of the individual. A final chapter considers the relationship between creativity and morality in the nuclear age. In addition to developmental psychologists and cognitive scientists, this study offers fascinating insights for all readers interested in the history of ideas, scientific discovery, artistic innovation, and the interplay of intuition, inspiration, and purposeful work.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"In the 12 case studies in this treasure of a book, various authors examine the critical, direction-finding moments in the work of such individuals as Charles Darwin, Jean Piaget, Robert Burns Woodward, William James, Anais Nin, and others. Each story is as different as each brain and heart, and all are fascinating." —Virginia Quarterly Review

"Provides a detailed and fascinating look at the lives of individuals of unusual creative distinction . . . each one visible face to face, diverse witnesses to the protean development of human potential." —Scientific America

"Wallace and Gruber dispel some popular misconceptions about adult creativity with case studies of the following individuals as adults: Lavoisier, Krebs, Faraday, Darwin, William James, Einstein, Piaget, R.B. Woodward, William Wordsworth, Dorothy Richardson, Anais Nin, and Melissa Zink . . . . Recommended for all library collections." —Choice

"The rich study of purpose in creativity that distinguishes Wallace and Gruber's Creative People at Work. . . . informative and up-to-date about creativity. . . . scientifically sound, with abundant references to both the scientific literature and the rich artistic background of the subjects." —American Journal of Art Therapy

"The authors reveal the wonderful, subtle complexity of individual purposes as they interweave specific historical and societal frameworks. It is to their enormous credit that in treading where many others have gone before they break through accumulated clouds of mystification and obscurantism, not destroying the "grander mystery of creativity" but offering instead a perceptive examination of its actions, purposes, and outcomes. . . . they never lose sight of their subjects as essentially everyday human beings engaged in an essentially human enterprise. . . . offers critical reading for psychologists, philosophers, teachers." —New Ideas in Psychology

"The value of studying creativity by closely examining the work of creative individuals is illustrated in this text....Will appeal to specialists in the field such as psychologists and educators, but the style is such that a broad range of individuals interested in creativity will find the text informative as well as a pleasure to read." —Imagination, Cognition and Personality

"Gruber and Wallace are the theoretical and scholarly shapers of this volume and they ask at the outset: What do creative people do when they are being creative? It is to their enormous credit that in treading where many others have gone before they break through accumulated clouds of mystification and obscurantism, not destroying the "grander mystery of creativity" but offering instead a perceptive examination of its actions, purposes, and outcomes. It is even more to the credit of the authors of this volume that they never lose sight of their subjects as essentially everyday human beings engaged in an essentially human enterprise. Offers critical reading for psychologists, philosophers, teachers, and all those who know that to support creative action is first to understand it." —New Ideas in Psychology

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195077186
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 6/28/1992
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 6.06 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 0.57 (d)

Meet the Author

Doris B. Wallace received her doctorate from the Institute of Cognitive Studies at Rutgers University. She is a Senior Research Psychologist at Bank Street College of Education in New York, a family therapist, and a collaborator in an international study of children of the Holocaust. Howard E. Gruber was formerly Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Director of the Institute for Cognitive Studies at Rutgers University, and Professor of Genetic Psychology at the University of Geneva. He is currently Research Scholar at Teachers College, Columbia University.

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Table of Contents

1. The Evolving Systems Approach to Creative Work, H. E. Gruber
2. Studying the Individual: The Case Study Method and Other Genres, D. B. Wallace
3. Antoine Lavoisier and Hans Krebs: Two Styles of Scientific Discovery, F. L. Holmes
4. Writing and Rewriting Poetry: Wordsworth, L. R. Jeffrey
5. Fields of Enterprise: On Michael Faraday's Thought, R. Tweney
6. How Darwin Became a Psychologist, R. T. Keegan
7. Ensembles of Metaphor in the Psychology of William James, J. V. Osowski
8. Stream of Consciousness and Reconstruction of Self in Dorothy Richardson's "Pilgrimage", D. B. Wallace
9. Imagery and Intuition in Creative Scientific Thinking: Albert Einstein's Invention of the Special Theory of Relativity, A. I. Miller
10. Self and Oeuvre in Piaget's Youth, F. Vidal
11. From Life to Diary to Art in the Work of Anais Nin, V. John-Steiner
12. Art and Elegance in the Synthesis of Organic Compounds: Robert Burns Woodward, C. E. Woodward
13. A Convergence of Streams: Dramatic Change in the Artistic Work of Melissa Zinc, M. B. Franklin
14. Epilogue, H. E. Gruber

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