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The Art of Thought: Graham Wallas on the Four Stages of Creativity, 1926

The Art of Thought: Graham Wallas on the Four Stages of Creativity, 1926
by Maria Popova How to master the beautiful osmosis of conscious and unconscious, voluntary and involuntary, deliberate and serendipitous. In 1926, thirteen years before James Webb Young’s Technique for Producing Ideas and more than three decades before Arthur Koestler’s seminal “bisociation” theory of how creativity works, English social psychologist and London School of Economics co-founder Graham Wallas, sixty-eight at the time, penned The Art of Thought — an insightful theory outlining the four stages of the creative process, based both on his own empirical observations and on the accounts of famous inventors and polymaths. Wallas outlines four stages of the creative process — preparation, incubation, illumination, and verification — dancing in a delicate osmosis of conscious and unconscious work. These phases, which literary legend Michael Cowley would come to parallel in his 1958 model of the four stages of writing, go as follows: T. Public domain images via Flickr Commons

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