Imagination by Charles Rycroft

Freud and the Imagination

“I should perhaps here state explicitly something that will, I suspect, already have become  clear; that I have no wish to dilate on the psychodynamics of the literary imagination. I must, however, state my impression, my conviction, that people who possess negative capability to a high degree seem not to conceive of themselves as opposed to an alien environment which they have to master by “irritable reaching after fact and reason,”    but   rather as a part of the universe which is capable of absorbing the whole into itself and then re-creating it by distillation in imaginative works; in other and psychoanalytical words, their relationship to “external reality” remains identificatory, without any drawing of impermeable ego boundaries between themselves and other people and other things. And secondly, they seem to be refreshingly free from the conventional notion that activity is masculine and passivity is feminine, and can therefore oscillate between active and passive states of being without feeling that their identity is threatened by doing so. As a result they can, for instance, imagine themselves into characters of the opposite—or rather other—sex as readily as into characters of their own.”



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