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Creative work is rarely done by a lone genius. Artists, writers, scientists and other professionals often do their most creative work when collaborating within a circle of likeminded friends. Experimenting together and challenging one another, they develop the courage to rebel against the established traditions in their field. Working alone or in pairs, then meeting as a group to discuss their emerging ideas, they forge a new, shared vision that guides their work. When circles work well, the unusual interactions that occur in them draw out creativity in each of the members.

In a unique study that will become a rich source of ideas for professionals and anyone interested in fostering creative work in the arts and sciences, Michael P. Farrell looks at the group dynamics in six collaborative circles: the French Impressionists; Sigmund Freud and his friends; C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, and the Inklings; social reformers Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and the "Ultras" in the women's movement; the Fugitive poets; and the writers Joseph Conrad, Ford Maddox Ford, and their friends. Farrell presents vivid narrative accounts of the development of each circle and the roles each member played. He considers how circles form; how the leadership, group rituals, and interpersonal relations change as circles develop; how the dynamics of circles stimulate creative work; and why some circles flourish while others flounder.
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About the Author

Michael Farrell is a professor of sociology at the University at Buffalo, The State University of New York. He is the coauthor of "Small Groups Episodes" and "Men at Midlife."

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