Cookies Policy

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

I accept this policy

Find out more here

Poincaré’s ‘Delicate Sieve’: On Creativity And Constraints In The Arts

Brill’s MyBook program is exclusively available on BrillOnline Books and Journals. Students and scholars affiliated with an institution that has purchased a Brill E-Book on the BrillOnline platform automatically have access to the MyBook option for the title(s) acquired by the Library. Brill MyBook is a print-on-demand paperback copy which is sold at a favorably uniform low price.

Access this chapter

+ Tax (if applicable)

Chapter Summary

This chapter develops a conjecture that falls within the conceptual space defined by two extreme theses: 1) the popular, inspirationist idea that artistic creativity is a sudden, involuntary, and ultimately inexplicable event. 2) the dubious, rationalistic counter thesis, which characterizes artistic creation as a principled, deliberate selection from amongst an array of previously known options, each of which is associated with an expected quantity of artistic value. The chapter discusses Henri Poincaré’s reflections on creativity in his 1908 essay, "L'Invention mathématique". Taking Poincaré’s general model as the author's point of departure it sketches a new conjecture about artistic creativity. The chapter also discusses a kindred proposal by Jon Elster. It illustrates and explains this conjecture with reference to Virginia Woolf 's artistic breakthrough in the writing of Jacob's Room. Finally the chapter takes up and responds to objections that may be raised against these claims about artistic creativity.

Keywords: artistic creativity; Henri Poincaré; Jacob's Room; Jon Elster; L'Invention mathématique; Virginia Woolf



Can't access your account?
  • Tools

  • Add to Favorites
  • Printable version
  • Email this page
  • Recommend to your library

    You must fill out fields marked with: *

    Librarian details
    Your details
    Why are you recommending this title?
    Select reason:
    The Idea of Creativity — Recommend this title to your library
  • Export citations
  • Key

  • Full access
  • Open Access
  • Partial/No accessInformation