Artistry of the Mentally Ill: A Contribution to the Psychology and Psychopathology of Configuration | H. Prinzhorn
No one is more conscious of the faults of this work than the author. Therefore some self -criticism should be woven into this foreward. There are two possible methodologically pure solutions to this book's theme: a de scriptive catalog of the pictures couched in the language of natural science and accom panied by a clinical and psychopathological description of the patients, or a completely metaphysically based investigation of the process of pictorial composition. According to the latter, these unusual works, explained psychologically, and the exceptional circum stances on which they are based would be integrated as a playful variation of human expression into a total picture of the ego under the concept of an inborn creative urge, behind which we would then only have to discover a universal need for expression as an instinctive foundation. In brief, such an investigation would remain in the realm of phenomenologically observed existential forms, completely independent of psychiatry and aesthetics. The compromise between these two pure solutions must necessarily be piecework and must constantly defend itself against the dangers of fragmentation. We are in danger of being satisfied with pure description, the novelistic expansion of details and questions of principle; pitfalls would be very easy to avoid if we had the use of a clearly outlined method. But the problems of a new, or at least never seriously worked, field defy the methodology of every established subject.