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Secrets of Creativity


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About the Author

Suzanne Nalbantian is Professor of Comparative Literature at Long Island University and an interdisciplinary scholar who is Chair of the International Comparative Literature Association (ICLA) Research Committee on Literature and Neuroscience. She is the author of four scholarly books and two edited volumes. Her book Memory in Literature: From Rousseau to Neuroscience (Palgrave 2003) forged new pathways linking literary depictions of memory to neuroscience. She is the principal editor of The Memory Process: Neuroscientific and Humanistic Perspectives (MIT Press 2011), which features original essays by both humanists and brain scientists. She has lectured widely throughout the U.S. and Europe on the topic of memory at such institutions as Harvard, Yale, Stanford, College de France (Paris), the European Science Foundation, Max-Planck (Tubingen), and the Pasteur Institute (Paris). She has directed interdisciplinary symposia in Neuroscience and the Humanities at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory on Long Island, NY and at ICLA congresses in Paris and Vienna. Paul M. Matthews is the Edmund J. and Lily Safra Chair of Translational Neuroscience and Therapeutics, Head of the Division of Brain Sciences in the Department of Medicine of Imperial College, London, and Associate Director of the UK Dementia Research Institute. He is Fellow by Special Election in St. Edmund Hall, Oxford and holds Visiting Professorships at McGill University, Nanyang Technological University and the University of Edinburgh. Professor Matthews was awarded an OBE in 2008 for services to neuroscience and was elected to the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2014. He is the co-author of over 380 scientific papers. He is also co-author (with Jeffrey McQuain) of the book The Bard on the Brain: Understanding the Mind through the Art of Shakespeare and the Science of Brain Imaging and co-editor (with Suzanne Nalbantian and James McClelland) of The Memory Process: Neuroscientific and Humanistic Perspectives (MIT Press 2011).


In the 1959 Two Cultures, C. P. Snow famously argued for a vast intellectual divide between the sciences and the humanities. Yet the 2019, Secrets of Creativity proves that scientific researchers and humanistic scholars-joined by artistic creators-can meaningfully share their insights concerning a ubiquitous and multifaceted phenomenon. Indeed, creativity can only be fully understood through this conversation among experts in psychology, psychiatry, neuroscience, computer science, philosophy, literary studies, art history, creative writing, and musical composition. That conversation renders this volume an interdisciplinary tour de force. * Dean Keith Simonton, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Psychology, University of California, Davis, and author of The Genius Checklist: Nine Paradoxical Tips about How You Can Become a Creative Genius *
In Secrets of Creativity Suzanne Nalbantian and Paul Matthewshave assembledan impressive collection of essays from a stellar group of thinkers in the arts and humanities, as well as from the sciences of mind and brain. This unique volume will have a lasting impact on how we think about creativity. * Joseph LeDoux, Professor of Neural Science at NYU and author ofanxiousand ofThe Deep History of Ourselves *
Supernal spirits from La Mettrie to Langer will be smiling over the brilliant assembly of living theoreticians of science and culture gathered here by humanist Suzanne Nalbantian and scientist Paul M. Matthews who striveto rekindle our interdisciplinary discourse over human self-awareness and the astounding range of human expression in light of thenewest advances in study of the brain. Guided by Nalbantian and her team the reader never loses sight of how mysterious is the evolutionary pathway of creativity - and then how rapid the newest surges in brain science - leading to this exciting intellectual juncture. * Gerald Gillespie, Professor Emeritus in the Division of Literatures, Cultures, and Languages at Stanford University and author of Living Streams: Continuity and Change from Rabelais to Joyce *
Creativity is something we all recognize when we witness it, but a mental process that is difficult to pin down. From conceptions entailing preparation, incubation, illumination and verification, through to neuroscience ideas about the diversity of brain areas involved, Nalbantian and Matthews brilliantly orchestrate a panoply of ideas from the sciences and the humanities. This is not a "how to" book, but a thoughtful reflection, bringing in also social and cultural influences such as those which led to the magical blending of ideas in Cervantes and Shakespeare. A book to help us understand better those amazing "aha" moments of our lives. * Richard Morris FRS, Professor of Neuroscience, University of Edinburgh and co-editor of The Hippocampus Book *

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