ENG 111

Fall 2002


READING GUIDE:  Extraordinary Minds, chapter 5—Maker:  The Case of Freud


Vocabulary . . .


A  Learn what each of these words means as it is used by Gardner in the place indicated.


Promising (p. 69)

Aberrant (p. 69)

Hysterics (p. 70)

Repressed (p. 70)

Imbroglio (p. 71)

Un-/ambiguous (p. 71)

Etiology (p. 72)

Suppressed (p. 72)

Motif (p. 73)

Paragon (p. 74)

Alter ego (p. 75)

Vagary (p. 77)

Burgeoning (p. 77)

Sui generis (p. 83)



B  On p. 76, “Faustian bargain.”  Faust is a character from German mythology made famous by a novel of the same name by Goethe.  Faust, according to the legend, was an alchemist who sold his soul to the devil in exchange for knowledge and power.  That’s not exactly what Gardner means here . . . or is it?


Notes . . .


As we’ve seen already, Gardner’s framework classifies extraordinary individuals into four different categories.  The second of these is Makers, “those highly creative individuals who have invented or decisively altered domains” (p. 73).  The maker of the case study is Sigmund Freud, and the domain is psychotherapy.


As you read, you might be a little confused by the chapter.  Where is the focus?  Is it on Freud?  Or on the category of makers?  After the first two sections, your answer reasonably would be on Freud.  But with the third section the picture becomes a lot less clear.  Notice how Gardner organizes his material here—alternating between Freud and a hypothetical example he calls E.M., for Exemplary Maker.


The fifth section, on p. 78, begins with three paragraphs about masters.  Masters are, of course, the first category of Gardner’s framework.  Keep in mind that he mentions them here only to establish a contrast with makers like Freud.


In the middle of this section, at the bottom of p. 79, Gardner poses the question, “what of the actual operations of Freud’s mind as a Maker?”  His answers, which appear in the following paragraphs, certainly make sense on their own.  But they in fact refer to five kinds of creativity that Gardner established in the Master/Mozart chapter.  If need be, please take a moment to refresh your memory of these on pp. 60-1.


These mental operations of Freud’s are, of course, the psychological aspect of his creativity.  The social aspect is taken up in the next section, “The Domain and The Field,” which begins on p. 80.


Recall that one of Gardner’s purposes for this book is what the rest of us can learn from extraordinary people.  He previewed three lessons at the end of Chapter One; he return to them at the end of this chapter, using Freud’s experiences as specific examples.  How do they match up?