June 5, 1991

Creativity and Madness: New Findings and Old Stereotypes

Author Affiliations

Chicago, Ill

Chicago, Ill


by Albert Rothenberg, 199 pp, with illus, $22.95, ISBN 0-8018-4011-2, Baltimore, Md, The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1990.

JAMA. 1991;265(21):2878-2879. doi:10.1001/jama.1991.03460210124046

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Albert Rothenberg has devoted the major part of a distinguished psychiatric career to a broad program of research on creativity. In this excellent, concise volume, he reports his current views on this fascinating subject. The book is by no means confined to the limited topic implied by its title; it addresses itself to the effects on creative endeavors of a variety of adaptive disturbances and also deals with nonpathological aspects.

Creativity and Madness is written for a nonspecialist readership; most of its chapters were previously published in journals for the laity and do not include the apparatus of comprehensive scholarly references or even the full research data on which Rothenberg's conclusions are based. Although it is, as a consequence, a very personal statement of the author's views in a field still lacking wide consensus, it is well argued and judicious and, therefore, a useful introduction to the domain of creativity