Making "quite anew": Brain modularity and creativity

Ellen Spolsky

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

17 Scopus citations


In 1579 Sir Philip Sidney explained why poets are so exceptionally creative. The astronomer, the grammarian, the lawyer, and the historian all take "the works of nature" for their objects, but "only the poet," he in - sisted, "distaining to be tied to any such subjection, lifted up with the vigor of his own invention, doth grow in effect another Nature, in making things either better than Nature bringeth forth, or, quite anew, forms such as never were in nature" (108, emphasis added). Cultural theorists have not been impressed with this glorifi cation. They return us to an earlier view of artists as craftsmen, like carpenters and jewelers. We are encouraged to understand that cultural products of all kinds-soap operas as well as grand operas-emerge from the interaction of artists with the ma - terial circumstances of their specifi c milieux. Works of art are indeed tied to "nature" they claim; their production owes more to the forms of the local culture than to unique and irrepressible genius.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIntroduction to Cognitive Cultural Studies
PublisherThe Johns Hopkins University Press
Number of pages19
ISBN (Print)9780801894886
StatePublished - 2010


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