Invented Worlds: The Psychology of the Artsby Ellen Winner

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  • Leonardo

    Invented Worlds: The Psychology of the Arts by Ellen WinnerReview by: Nancy HubbeLeonardo, Vol. 17, No. 3 (1984), pp. 223-224Published by: The MIT PressStable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1575211 .Accessed: 15/06/2014 01:22

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  • to claim that Lewis "returned to London thoroughly prepared to release the torrent of creative work that would transform the art and literature of England" (p. 25). The hyperbole seems more inspired by novelistic conventions underlying Meyers's conception of the biography as a genre than by any adequate appraisal of Lewis's influence on English art .nd literature. By page 146 Meyers dourly but decisively claims, "Though his seminal works were highly praised by the most intelligent writers and critics of the time, he never achieved the fame of Joyce, Eliot, Pound, Lawrence and Virginia Woolf, and had no major influence on English thought and literature." If Lewis's Blast and Tarr had 'transformed' English art and literature in the teens, they had suddenly retransformed themselves by the mid-twenties and then endured again the 'seminal' yet uninfluential work of Lewis's middle period without so much as a miscarriage.

    Meyers's difficulties are instructive because they clearly show the resistance of Lewis's life and thought to the mild and uncritical genre of the literary biography, and in a larger sense the resistance to modernism by a premodernist, conventional aesthetic of appreciation and decorum. Despite his title, Meyers would like Enemy (Lewis's last journal) to become Coleridge's Friend Lewis deserves what Jameson has called for, "a psychobiography of the quality of those of Sartre or Erikson" (Fables of Aggression, p. 11). One can hardly fault Meyers for not rivaling such major thinkers, but one can fault him for ignoring the instruction his subject's own work offers to biographers and critics alike.

    Reviewed by Philip Kuberski, English Depart- ment, Carnegie-Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA15217, U.S.A.

    The Life of a Psychologist. Fritz Heider. University Press of Kansas, Lawrence, 1983. 195 pp., $12.95.

    Fritz Heider was born in Vienna in 1896. His paternal grandfather was the imperial dentist of the Emperor Franz Joseph. Following World War II, when Heider had settled in Kansas, he was invited to breakfast with the Archduke Otto, claimant to the Hapsburg's throne. As they shook hands to say goodbye, Heider remarked in a devilish way (as only the kin of a dentist could), "My ancestors have caused your ancestors much pain."

    This autobiography tells us that Heider's father was an architect, his mother an amateur actress. Both his parents painted and drew, and his mother took lessons from Gustav Klimt. Aside from peripheral morsels like these, the author makes almost no mention of art. This is somewhat regrettable since there is an essay by Heider (in Historical Conceptions ofPsychology. Mary Henle et al., eds. Springer, New York, 1973) in which he proposes a speculative link between gestalt theory, cubist painting and military camouflage. He was a student of the Berlin gestaltists (Max Wertheimer, Wolfgang Kohler and Kurt Koffka). He was a close associate of Kurt

    to claim that Lewis "returned to London thoroughly prepared to release the torrent of creative work that would transform the art and literature of England" (p. 25). The hyperbole seems more inspired by novelistic conventions underlying Meyers's conception of the biography as a genre than by any adequate appraisal of Lewis's influence on English art .nd literature. By page 146 Meyers dourly but decisively claims, "Though his seminal works were highly praised by the most intelligent writers and critics of the time, he never achieved the fame of Joyce, Eliot, Pound, Lawrence and Virginia Woolf, and had no major influence on English thought and literature." If Lewis's Blast and Tarr had 'transformed' English art and literature in the teens, they had suddenly retransformed themselves by the mid-twenties and then endured again the 'seminal' yet uninfluential work of Lewis's middle period without so much as a miscarriage.

    Meyers's difficulties are instructive because they clearly show the resistance of Lewis's life and thought to the mild and uncritical genre of the literary biography, and in a larger sense the resistance to modernism by a premodernist, conventional aesthetic of appreciation and decorum. Despite his title, Meyers would like Enemy (Lewis's last journal) to become Coleridge's Friend Lewis deserves what Jameson has called for, "a psychobiography of the quality of those of Sartre or Erikson" (Fables of Aggression, p. 11). One can hardly fault Meyers for not rivaling such major thinkers, but one can fault him for ignoring the instruction his subject's own work offers to biographers and critics alike.

    Reviewed by Philip Kuberski, English Depart- ment, Carnegie-Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA15217, U.S.A.

    The Life of a Psychologist. Fritz Heider. University Press of Kansas, Lawrence, 1983. 195 pp., $12.95.

    Fritz Heider was born in Vienna in 1896. His paternal grandfather was the imperial dentist of the Emperor Franz Joseph. Following World War II, when Heider had settled in Kansas, he was invited to breakfast with the Archduke Otto, claimant to the Hapsburg's throne. As they shook hands to say goodbye, Heider remarked in a devilish way (as only the kin of a dentist could), "My ancestors have caused your ancestors much pain."

    This autobiography tells us that Heider's father was an architect, his mother an amateur actress. Both his parents painted and drew, and his mother took lessons from Gustav Klimt. Aside from peripheral morsels like these, the author makes almost no mention of art. This is somewhat regrettable since there is an essay by Heider (in Historical Conceptions ofPsychology. Mary Henle et al., eds. Springer, New York, 1973) in which he proposes a speculative link between gestalt theory, cubist painting and military camouflage. He was a student of the Berlin gestaltists (Max Wertheimer, Wolfgang Kohler and Kurt Koffka). He was a close associate of Kurt

    to claim that Lewis "returned to London thoroughly prepared to release the torrent of creative work that would transform the art and literature of England" (p. 25). The hyperbole seems more inspired by novelistic conventions underlying Meyers's conception of the biography as a genre than by any adequate appraisal of Lewis's influence on English art .nd literature. By page 146 Meyers dourly but decisively claims, "Though his seminal works were highly praised by the most intelligent writers and critics of the time, he never achieved the fame of Joyce, Eliot, Pound, Lawrence and Virginia Woolf, and had no major influence on English thought and literature." If Lewis's Blast and Tarr had 'transformed' English art and literature in the teens, they had suddenly retransformed themselves by the mid-twenties and then endured again the 'seminal' yet uninfluential work of Lewis's middle period without so much as a miscarriage.

    Meyers's difficulties are instructive because they clearly show the resistance of Lewis's life and thought to the mild and uncritical genre of the literary biography, and in a larger sense the resistance to modernism by a premodernist, conventional aesthetic of appreciation and decorum. Despite his title, Meyers would like Enemy (Lewis's last journal) to become Coleridge's Friend Lewis deserves what Jameson has called for, "a psychobiography of the quality of those of Sartre or Erikson" (Fables of Aggression, p. 11). One can hardly fault Meyers for not rivaling such major thinkers, but one can fault him for ignoring the instruction his subject's own work offers to biographers and critics alike.

    Reviewed by Philip Kuberski, English Depart- ment, Carnegie-Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA15217, U.S.A.

    The Life of a Psychologist. Fritz Heider. University Press of Kansas, Lawrence, 1983. 195 pp., $12.95.

    Fritz Heider was born in Vienna in 1896. His paternal grandfather was the imperial dentist of the Emperor Franz Joseph. Following World War II, when Heider had settled in Kansas, he was invited to breakfast with the Archduke Otto, claimant to the Hapsburg's throne. As they shook hands to say goodbye, Heider remarked in a devilish way (as only the kin of a dentist could), "My ancestors have caused your ancestors much pain."

    This autobiography tells us that Heider's father was an architect, his mother an amateur actress. Both his parents painted and drew, and his mother took lessons from Gustav Klimt. Aside from peripheral morsels like these, the author makes almost no mention of art. This is somewhat regrettable since there is an essay by Heider (in Historical Conceptions ofPsychology. Mary Henle et al., eds. Springer, New York, 1973) in which he proposes a speculative link between gestalt theory, cubist painting and military camouflage. He was a student of the Berlin gestaltists (Max Wertheimer, Wolfgang Kohler and Kurt Koffka). He was a close associate of Kurt

    to claim that Lewis "returned to London thoroughly prepared to release the torrent of creative work that would transform the art and literature of England" (p. 25). The hyperbole seems more inspired by novelistic conventions underlying Meyers's conception of the biography as a genre than by any adequate appraisal of Lewis's influence on English art .nd literature. By page 146 Meyers dourly but decisively claims, "Though his seminal works were highly praised by the most intelligent writers and critics of the time, he never achieved the fame of Joyce, Eliot, Pound, Lawrence and Virginia Woolf, and had no major influence on English thought and literature." If Lewis's Blast and Tarr had 'transformed' English art and literature in the teens, they had suddenly retransformed themselves by the mid-twenties and then endured again the 'seminal' yet uninfluential work of Lewis's middle period without so much as a miscarriage.

    Meyers's difficulties are instructive because they clearly show the resistance of Lewis's life and thought to the mild and uncritical genre of the literary biography, and in a larger sense the resistance to modernism by a premodernist, conventional aesthetic of appreciation and decorum. Despite his title, Meyers would like Enemy (Lewis's last journal) to become Coleridge's Friend Lewis deserves what Jameson has called for, "a psychobiography of the quality of those of Sartre or Erikson" (Fables of Aggression, p. 11). One can hardly fault Meyers for not rivaling such major thinkers, but one can fault him for ignoring the instruction his subject's own work offers to biographers and critics alike.

    Reviewed by Philip Kuberski, English Depart- ment, Carnegie-Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA15217, U.S.A.

    The Life of a Psychologist. Fritz Heider. University Press of Kansas, Lawrence, 1983. 195 pp., $12.95.

    Fritz Heider was born in Vienna in 1896. His paternal grandfather was the imperial dentist of the Emperor Franz Joseph. Following World War II, when Heider had settled in Kansas, he was invited to breakfast with the Archduke Otto, claimant to the Hapsburg's throne. As they shook hands to say goodbye, Heider remarked in a devilish way (as only the kin of a dentist could), "My ancestors have caused your ancestors much pain."

    This autobiography tells us that Heider's father was an architect, his mother an amateur actress. Both his parents painted and drew, and his mother took lessons from Gustav Klimt. Aside from peripheral morsels like these, the author makes almost no mention of art. This is somewhat regrettable since there is an essay by Heider (in Historical Conceptions ofPsychology. Mary Henle et al., eds. Springer, New York, 1973) in which he proposes a speculative link between gestalt theory, cubist painting and military camouflage. He was a student of the Berlin gestaltists (Max Wertheimer, Wolfgang Kohler and Kurt Koffka). He was a close associate of Kurt Lewin and a friend of Rudolf Arnheim, whose writings have been so important to art.

    As Arnheim and others have frequently shown, there is an important connection between the gestalt principles of perceptual organization (e.g. similarity grouping, closure, continuity) and age-old rules of thumb in art.

    Lewin and a friend of Rudolf Arnheim, whose writings have been so important to art.

    As Arnheim and others have frequently shown, there is an important connection between the gestalt principles of perceptual organization (e.g. similarity grouping, closure, continuity) and age-old rules of thumb in art.

    Lewin and a friend of Rudolf Arnheim, whose writings have been so important to art.

    As Arnheim and others have frequently shown, there is an important connection between the gestalt principles of perceptual organization (e.g. similarity grouping, closure, continuity) and age-old rules of thumb in art.

    Lewin and a friend of Rudolf Arnheim, whose writings have been so important to art.

    As Arnheim and others have frequently shown, there is an important connection between the gestalt principles of perceptual organization (e.g. similarity grouping, closure, continuity) and age-old rules of thumb in art.

    This book is a candid and touching account of how it must have felt to be an important participant in the birth and infancy of Gestalt.

    As a bonus, it includes some rare and telltale photographs of Wertheimer, Kbhler and others. The pictures tell (as Heider confirms) that Wertheimer was "a short, intense man" who had "a unique way of talking and of writing. He operated by fits and starts that produced the impression that his ideas were fresh and pungent. One felt that this little man with the walrus moustache really believed what he was saying and that it must be something new since it made him so excited."

    Heider took a teaching post at the Psychological Institute at Hamburg in 1927, where he maintained contact with people like Edgar Rubin (who specialized in figure/ ground), Heinz Werner and Ernst Cassirer. He even met Heidegger briefly. And...