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October 2021

Breakdown or breakthrough? A history of European research into drugs and creativity

Journal/Book: J Creative Behav. 1999; 33: 1050 Union Rd, Buffalo, NY 14224, USA. Creative Education Foundation Inc. 257-276.

Abstract: Language barriers have largely prevented American scholars from learning about European studies concerning drugs and creativity. An art historian reports on several Swiss, English, French and German studies conducted from the 1940s to the 1970s, offering new data in a research area that has been banned since drugs like mescalin, psilocybin, and LSD became illegal. Different views of the operations of these drugs, revealed by such terms as ''hallucinogens,'' ''psychotogenics,'' and ''psychedelics,'' appear to have colored researchers' aims to a large extent. The notions of drugs ''dictating'' or ''liberating'' the intoxicated artist are criticized by discussing the importance of set and setting. It is proposed that intentional drug use among artists expecting artistic breakthroughs while intoxicated, can be seen as a form of ''gaucherie'' or disinhibiting technique.

Note: Article Ten Berge J, Vrije Univ Amsterdam, Dept Art Hist, De Boelelaan 1105, NL-1181 HV Amsterdam, NETHERLANDS

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