Sex-specific patterns in creative literary fantasy1


  • 1

    This study was supported by a grant from the National Insitute of Mental Health


A panel of judges rated the creative excellence of 72 works of fantasy written for children of 8–12 since 1930 Formal dimensions, needs, themes and stylistic characteristics of the books were described by rater-analysts Overall, books by men and women differed very little, though creative books as a group had distinctive features, and creative books by men and by women showed “sex-appropriate” characteristics On the basis of cluster analyses, three types of creative fantasy by male authors were identified the heroic, the tender, and the comic. Two types by women authors were identified, one emphasizing independence and the other contact with the irrreal and tender emotion The less creative books did not fit these types The patterns are interpreted in terms of relationships between the ego and unconscious, and interactions with the maternal matrix, archetypes, and society.