HS 456: Understanding Creativity and Creative Writing

The aim of this course is to explore the distinctive features of creativity.  Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's insights into autotelic activities based on his study of creative people: chess masters, composers, surgeons, rock climbers etc. will be used.  This broad framework is meant to develop better appreciation of the internal focus, skills, conviction that the creative act requires.

Creative writing has its own distinctive demands.  Within the above-mentioned exploratory model of creativity, the writing methodology and sources of inspiration of selected major writers will be analysed.  This will entail reading of creative work as well as autobiographical material.  To cite a few examples: Albert Camus Carnets will be read along with his last incomplete novel The First Man.  Tennessee Williams� play �The Glass Menagerie� will be read along with his �Paris Review Interview�, Krishna Sobti and Mahasveta Devi's interviews in Wordsmiths along with their short stories �Ai Ladki� and �Arjun� respectively from the same anthology.  The students can add writers of their choice.

To bring alive the dynamics of creative writing, practising Indian and Western writers will be invited to read from their work and share their view of creativity.  The students will be encouraged to share their creative writing. 

For assignments and class tests students will be able to choose between analytical and creative writing.


Mihaly Csikszentmihaly: Beyond Boredom and Anxiety; The Experience of Play in Work and Games.  San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1975.

Georege Plimpton (ed.): Writers at Work: The Paris Review Interviews.  Sixth Series.  Penguin Books, 1984.

Albert Camus: Carnets 1935-1942, Hamish Hamilton, 1963.

Albert Camus: The First Man, Penguin Books, 1995.

Meenakshi Sharma (ed.): The Wordsmiths.  Katha, Rupa and Co. 1996.