The Creative Process: Stories from the Arts and Sciences asks how celebrated works of art and breakthroughs in science came to be. What was the first inkling? What were the steps and missteps along the way? How was the process experienced by the creative person as it proceeded? And what are the implications for the psychology of the creative process?
Each chapter focuses on a specific creative endeavor, situating the work in the context of domain, culture, and historical era. Then it traces the development of the work—from what we know of its beginnings to its fulfillment. Qualitative materials—interviews, notebooks, diaries, sketches, drafts, and other writings—allow a story of the creative process as lived to emerge. The narratives exemplify established concepts in the psychology of creativity, propose broadening some, reveal the need for modification, and suggest new ones. Application of phenomenological frameworks illuminate the episodes in new ways as well. The case study approach proves again that each episode is unique, yet themes and variations come into view when the episodes are considered together in a final reflection.
From Darwin’s theory to an unusual jazz sound, here are 11 fascinating stories of how specific works took shape. Psychologists, students interested in creativity, and all those intrigued by the process in any creative field will find this book essential reading.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgments Illustration Permissions and Credits Introduction Part I: Classic Case Studies of Creative Episodes: Reflections and Extensions 1. How Poincaré inspired psychologists: Experiences in a mathematics contest 2. Darwin’s path to evolution theory: Changing frameworks and feelings 3. Picasso’s Guernica: The creative process in art as visual thinking Part II: Creating as Navigating Among Different Psychological Worlds 4. Creating novels and short stories: The writing realm and the fiction world 5. Acting for the stage: How three actors created their roles Part III: Focus on Intuition and Embodied Creating 6. Music by Biscardi: Letting the hands go someplace 7. Sendak’s search: Finding and taming the Wild Things Part IV: Writers as Phenomenologists: Discoveries from Exploring the Inner Landscape 8. Tolstoy and Anna Karenina: From condemnation to understanding 9. Woolf’s To the Lighthouse: Revelations from streams of consciousness Part V: Creating Collaborations in Science and Art 10. Blackburn and company: Unraveling the telomere mysteries 11. Ron Carter’s nonet: Inventing and developing a new sound Epilogue Index
Charlotte L. Doyle, psychology professor at Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville, New York, is an avid explorer of the creative process. She has written articles and book chapters on her research, on the educational implications of creativity findings, and on theoretical considerations such as how the features of flow challenge theories of cognition. She is also author of several textbooks including Explorations in Psychology and, to her surprise, seven picture books for children.
"Psychologist Charlotte Doyle has written a book about this creative process as it occurs in an amazingly wide variety of human endeavors, including mathematics, art, biological science, literature, the theater, classical music, jazz, and more. Some of the more familiar names are Poincaré, Woolf, Tolstoy, Darwin, Picasso, and Sendak. Elizabeth Blackburn’s field is microbiology, but her exploits in laboratory science will ring a bell with any laboratory scientist. The commonalties are striking, but so are the differences. To gain a richer, deeper appreciation of the creative process in its glorious human varieties, this book is indispensable." - James Allison, Professor Emeritus, Psychology, Indiana University-Bloomington
"The Creative Process is a masterclass on the imagination and its outcomes. I am grateful to Charlotte Doyle for sharing her insights into how things get made, for illuminating the pathways from impulse to creation." - Carol Zoref, author of Barren Island, Winner of AWP Award, The National Jewish Book Award, The H. Ribalow Award. Longlisted for the National Book Award.
"Few things create more sparks than the power of genius. Charlotte Doyle approaches creative processes in the arts and sciences from a storytelling perspective. Her focus is how creative geniuses – world-known but also hidden treasures – experienced through (self-)stories their creativity during specific episodes or projects. Her illuminating insights will inevitably open up more of this fascinating territory. This book is a rarity as it is an academic study which is both readable and compelling in a wonderful narrative style and manner." - Stephan Sonnenburg, Professor for Creativity and Branding, ICN Business School Nancy-Paris-Berlin