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The Creative Process: Reflections on the Invention in the Arts and Sciences Paperback – November 22, 1985

ISBN-13: 978-0520054530 ISBN-10: 0520054539

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 259 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press (November 22, 1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520054539
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520054530
  • Product Dimensions: 0.7 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #145,755 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

"Art is a kind of innate drive that seizes a human being and makes him its instrument. To perform this difficult office it is sometimes necessary for him to sacrifice happiness and everything that makes life worth living for the ordinary human being."—Carl G. Jung

"I began in absolute chaos and darkness, in a bog or swamp of ideas and emotions and experiences. Even now I do not consider myself a writer, in the ordinary sense of the word. I am a man telling the story of his life, a process which appears more and more inexhaustible as I go on. . . . It is a turning inside out, a voyaging through X dimensions, with the result that somewhere along the way one discovers that what one has to tell is not nearly so important as the telling itself."—Henry Miller

From the Back Cover

"Art is a kind of innate drive that seizes a human being and makes him its instrument. To perform this difficult office it is sometimes necessary for him to sacrifice happiness and everything that makes life worth living for the ordinary human being." (Carl G. Jung)

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 39 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 29, 1999
Format: Paperback
I'm very touched to find this book again as i browsed through the net, 25 years after i first bought it in a flee market in New York. The essay by Henry Miller, literally blew my young artist mind back then. It inspired me to follow on his crazy steps. I quit my civil service job(without official leave) and went to Paris ,where I lived for ten years. I read and re-read that essay on creativity and it just kept giving me the courage to step further into the unknown, thus changing my life completely.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 28, 1998
Format: Paperback
Like a previous reviewer, I read this book when it was simply "The Creative Process". I was just a kid and bought the paperback version when they were much less expensive. I still have it and it is falling apart now. It is a book to keep. A previous reviewer mentioned his (her?) favorite parts. I can only add mine to that list: Mozart describing the "completeness" of his musical idea; Thomas Wolfe's "Story of a Novel" in which the writing of a novel is as gripping as the novel itself; R. W. Gerard, whose "Biological Basis of Imagination" breaks down the barriers between Gestalt Psychology, Biology, and esthetics; the concreteness of Stephen Spender's poetry; glimpses into the tactile imagination of Henry Moore; Max Ernst on the art of the collage. Lots of content in a small package.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 1, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book is a survey of the creative process over artists and scientists across different fields and times, including Mozart, the mathematician and philosopher of science Henri Poincare etc. The book gets to the heart of what life is all about.
This review refers to the first edition of this book: more may have been added in the reissue.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By mtbee@iaxs.net on November 26, 1997
Format: Paperback
I read this book under an earlier title -- but find it the samebasictext. Then it's title was simply, "The Creative Process" I think it more fitting because it deals with more than just art. The creative principles cross-over into all areas of life. Herbert Spencer reflects on the use of intuition, Henri Poincare explains eloquently why everyone is not a great mathematicion, & much much more. I think the piece I enjoyed most was "Remembering Hart Crane": "...Hart tried to charm his inspiration out of its hiding place by drinking & laughing & playing the phonograph."
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Chris Murphy on October 14, 2001
Format: Paperback
I was reffered to this book by my mentor. He is aging but took on the challenge of teaching a young man the art of stone carving. I am not a big reader. Of the many books he had me read that year, this one was the most influential. The basis for any advancement can be found with in its covers. IT has helped me with everything from goal planning, to the importance of building off what others have left. Read it! Memorize it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By M. Eigen on October 21, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Brewster Ghiselin has assembled a wonderful array of descriptions of creative processes, described by creative greats in their fields. This is not a new book and, as far as I can see, it has not been updated with descriptions by later artists, scientists, writers. For me, that does not lessen the value of what has been given. Einstein describes how he thinks in terms of vague muscular feels and images and later translates these feels into concepts and mathematical representations. Mozart describes how an entire symphony might come to him in a flash after a good meal, a wordless, soundless flash that has to be translated into musical notes. Poincare's classical writing on mathematic intuition gives a sense of intuition at work. Some of the entries are on the dull side. They are not all fetching and enlightening. But enough are to warrant an enriching and enjoyable read.

Michael Eigen
Author, Flames from the Unconscious and Eigen in Seoul: Madness and Murder
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