The Inkblots

The Inkblots

Hermann Rorschach, His Iconic Test, and the Power of Seeing

Book - 2017
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An NPR Best Book of the Year
A New York Post Best Book of the Year
A Times Thought Book of the Year
An Irish Independent Best Book of the Year

The captivating, untold story of Hermann Rorschach and his famous inkblot test

In 1917, working alone in a remote Swiss asylum, psychiatrist Hermann Rorschach devised an experiment to probe the human mind: a set of ten carefully designed inkblots. For years he had grappled with the theories of Freud and Jung while also absorbing the aesthetic movements of the day, from Futurism to Dadaism. A visual artist himself, Rorschach had come to believe that who we are is less a matter of what we say, as Freud thought, than what we see.

After Rorschach's early death, his test quickly made its way to America, where it took on a life of its own. Co-opted by the military after Pearl Harbor, it was a fixture at the Nuremberg trials and in the jungles of Vietnam. It became an advertising staple, a clich#65533; in Hollywood and journalism, and an inspiration to everyone from Andy Warhol to Jay Z. The test was also given to millions of defendants, job applicants, parents in custody battles, and people suffering from mental illness or simply trying to understand themselves better. And it is still used today.

In this first-ever biography of Rorschach, Damion Searls draws on unpublished letters and diaries and a cache of previously unknown interviews with Rorschach's family, friends, and colleagues to tell the unlikely story of the test's creation, its controversial reinvention, and its remarkable endurance--and what it all reveals about the power of perception. Elegant and original, The Inkblots shines a light on the twentieth century's most visionary synthesis of art and science.
Publisher: New York :, Crown,, [2017]
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ♭2017
ISBN: 9780804136549
Characteristics: x, 405 pages :,illustrations (some colour)


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Nov 13, 2017

This well-researched biography tells the real-life story of Hermann Rorschach.

Born in 1884 - Rorschach was a Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst who is best known for developing the "Rorschach Test" which was a stylized variation of a medium of art known as "Klecksography".

This test (of carefully designed inkblots) was reportedly intended to reflect the unconscious elements of one's inner personality. These inkblots were shown (one at a time) to a patient who was then asked to report what these images represented to them.

In 1922 - Hermann Rorschach (37 at the time) died from a ruptured appendix.

This book also contains a 16-page photo gallery.

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