Start reading The Untouched Key on your Kindle in under a minute. Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here or start reading now with a free Kindle Reading App.

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

 
 
 

Try it free

Sample the beginning of this book for free

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Anybody can read Kindle books—even without a Kindle device—with the FREE Kindle app for smartphones, tablets and computers.
The Untouched Key: Tracing Childhood Trauma in Creativity and Destructiveness
 
 

The Untouched Key: Tracing Childhood Trauma in Creativity and Destructiveness [Kindle Edition]

Alice Miller
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: £5.54 includes VAT* & free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
* Unlike print books, digital books are subject to VAT.

Formats

Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition £5.54  
Hardcover --  
Paperback --  
Kindle Daily Deal
Kindle Daily Deal: At least 60% off
Each day we unveil a new book deal at a specially discounted price--for that day only. Learn more about the Kindle Daily Deal or sign up for the Kindle Daily Deal Newsletter to receive free e-mail notifications about each day's deal.


Product Description

Product Description

As in her former books, Alice Miller again focusses on facts. She is as determined as ever to cut through the veil that, for thousands of years now, has been so meticulously woven to shroud the truth. And when she lifts that veil and brushes it aside, the results are astonishing, as is amply demonstrated by her analyses of the works of Nietzsche, Picasso, Kollwitz, Keaton and others. With the key shunned by so many for so long - childhood - she opens rusty looks and offers her readers a wealth of unexpected perspectives.What did Picasso express in "Guernica"? Why did Buster Keaton never smile? Why did Nietzsche heap so much opprobrium on women and religion, and lose his mind for eleven years? Why did Hitler and Stalin become tyrannical mass murderers? Alice Miller investigates these and other questions thoroughly in this book. She draws from her discoveries the conclusion that human beings are not "innately" destructive, that they are made that way by ignorance, abuse, and neglect, particularly if no sympathetic witness comes to their aid. She also shows why some mistreated children do not become criminals but instead bear witness as artists to the truth about their childhoods, even though in purely intuitive and unconscious ways.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 3158 KB
  • Print Length: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor; Reprint edition (9 May 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B009N989PM
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #278,889 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
  •  Would you like to give feedback on images?


More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, and more.

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?


Customer Reviews

4 star
0
3 star
0
2 star
0
1 star
0
5.0 out of 5 stars
5.0 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A deepening book 11 Feb 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If youve read her other wonderful works, this will only add to a deepening of ones knowledge of childhood trauma and its lifelong presence. Presents a valid explanation for the background to the work of creative giants such as Picasso and Nietzche; how the environment of specific childhood events and relationships has formed their unconscious attitudes and how they are expressed in their work. Her usual compassionate perspective and easy to understand writing style.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
17 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Alice Through the looking glass 4 July 1999
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I think it is time that ALice Miller recieve the credit due her for her enormous efforts in uncovering coded childhood trauma. Her tireless work has had an transformative and empowering impact on my life and the way I view my childhood and children. In this book Alice uncovers what some people want to view as a "masterpieces" of "ART". "What is really going on here?"she asks. "Look deeper..what is this artist trying to communicate". At times Alice observes and brings to light that the artist is screaming. THis book is SO important!
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  10 reviews
56 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extraordinary Insight 25 April 2002
By jumpy1 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
In The Untouched Key, the great psychiatrist Alice Miller has written another penetrating work about the manifestation of subconscious experiences into the conscious world. As far as I am concerned, most of the more recent modern writers on the subject have little to add to works like this one. Here is a highly respected and successful therapist, who went out on a limb and confessed to her colleagues, at a time when she could have been basking in the glory of seniority, that she finally realized she only went into the field to learn how to heal her own pain; and then had the courage to withdraw her membership from psyciatric associations once she realized their hypocrisy (which she took full responsibility for in herself, as well).
In this very fine but brief work, Alice Miller studies pivotal works of art and compares their content with the life stories of their creators. The resulting analysis is impeccably true-to-life and highly plausible. She does not trivialize art in doing so, but makes a sound case for how artistic expression could be the great liberator of mankind, and brings us to even greater respect of the artists she discusses. Whether they knew it or not (probably not?) their unrestrained creativity is presented as a gift to teach and inspire us all, subconsciously or consciously, whether or not we choose to analyze it ourselves.
58 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Alice Through the looking glass 4 July 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I think it is time that ALice Miller recieve the credit due her for her enormous efforts in uncovering coded childhood trauma. Her tireless work has had an transformative and empowering impact on my life and the way I view my childhood and children. In this book Alice uncovers what some people want to view as a "masterpieces" of "ART". "What is really going on here?"she asks. "Look deeper..what is this artist trying to communicate". At times Alice observes and brings to light that the artist is screaming. THis book is SO important!
26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Why I'm not so special (and what's so special about that) 2 April 2010
By meeah - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
A few years ago the therapist I had gone to see durnig a particularly harrowing period of my life recommended I buy a copy of Alice Miller's "The Drama of the Gifted Child" since she was certain that it would speak to the particular challenges I faced. "Wow," I thought, feeling flattered, "here's one intuitive lady. She can tell right off I'm a 'gifted' individual, one of the special ones." I headed to the nearest bookstore directly after the session and bought a copy and read half of it on the bus before I even got home.

No insult, no rejection, no critical barb that I'd ever experienced so quickly, nor so thoroughly deflated my ego--nor, as it turned out, so permanently.

I think I had some notion that the book was going to confirm my lifelong notion that I was some sort of exceptional creature of starlight that my dimwitted and immature parents, so ill-suited for parenting, had all but managed to snuff out with their psychological buffooneries. Oh, they had crushed me alright, or nearly so, twisted me, stifled me to the point where I am practically beyond normal human functioning, but the culture wasn't thereby losing any luminous polestar of immortal significance. Ha! I was just a normal, abused little girl. There was nothing special about me except my terrible and unrelenting need to be special. If you took any ten people, the only difference between me and the other nine was that I thought there was a difference. I had to be different; I had to be special in order to win my parent's love; in order to justify to myself their ill-treatment of me, I had to be the disguised prince, the Cinderella mistreated like a dirty scullery maid.

That was my drama: the drama of the "gifted" child.

Unlike me, and yet, at the same time, also like me, the artists, poets, philosophers, and dictators that Alice Miller treats in her book "The Untouched Key" did become world-renowned, did achieve a cultural immortality for their achievemens, whether for good or evil--and they were also all abused as children.

Ordinarily I wouldnt subscribe to this sort of psychological reductivism, the kind that traces an artist's or philosopher's ouvre backwards to the beatings he used to get as a six-year-old or his mother's pathological coldness or whatever. But Miller's argument is not only compelling it also acknowledges that the work of the adult artist is by no means invalidated because their worldview can be traced to their mistreatment as a child. The world can be understood just as Nietzsche understood it; indeed, the fact that Nietzsche's philosophy speaks to so many, seems so dead-on accurate, is because the world--full of grown-up abused children as it is--really does operate along lines of power and submission, of the strong and the weak.

Somewhat more controversial, however, is Miller's claim that the wellsprings of so much human creativity up to this point in history are almost exclusively to be found in childhood trauma. Art and history are, in a sense, a record of child abuse!

This seems a pretty preposterous proposition until you pause, take a good look at the world, and ask yourself if there is another more plausible explanation for the universal trainwreck that is humanity's lot, and always has been humanity's lot...and will continue being our lot for whatever future we still have as a species. What, after all, Miller argues, is the single most important common experience every human being everywhere shares? A childhood is her answer. We come out of the womb naked and innocent, knowing neither hatred nor cruelty...so how could things possibly have gotten to the point they have? Where do things go off the rails? To Miller it seems obvious. It's the way we're raised...by and large by parents who were also traumatized as children, and so it goes, and will continue going.

Among others, Miller turns her attention to Picasso, Stalin, Celan, Soutine, but it's Nietzsche to whom she devotes most of her book--and a good deal of the space she devotes to him is taken up with extensive excerpts from his work meant to illustrate the effect his awful childhood had on him--an effect, she asserts, eventually drove him insane.

Miller does not deny that a Picasso or a Nietzsche were indeed special; she doesn't deny that special people do exist, or that they don't possess aptitudes beyond the ordinary; they do. But she wonders what they might have been able to produce if they had been able to use their magnificent talents unencumbered by their unhappy pasts, if they hadn't been reflecting back to the world the story of their personal abuse which is also, in microcosm, the history of humanity's abuse towards its children, an abuse so many of endured at the hands of those who had the most influence in forming our view of the world and how to survive in it.
35 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Demystifying Childhood 1 Dec 2001
By Nancy R. Fenn, Astrologer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is one of the most important books you could ever read. It takes the world of childhood to a place you will never forget. As Miller walks you through her interpretations of the lives and self expression of Keaton, Nietzsche, Picasso, Kollwitz and others, you will learn intuitively how to interpret things the way she does. There is a loss of innocence in this process so it is a kind of initiation which comes to the depths of your soul. Your life will be much richer for this knowlege and your understanding of children and the inner child of every adult you know will be that much riper. Once you have read this book, you will wonder how you could ever have been so DEAF and so DUMB and so BLIND!!
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Part of the truth 14 Jan 2010
By Shalom Freedman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Alice Miller examines in this work the early childhood of a number of creative figures, Picasso, Kathe Kollwitz, Buster Keaton, Paul Celan, Nietzsche .She also has an essay called 'When Isaac Arises From the Sacrificial Fire' and one on 'The Newly Recognized Effects of Child Abuse'.
She says in her opening sentence, that she 'wanted to demonstrate that the works of writers,poets and painters tell the encoded story of childhood traumas no longer consciously remembered in childhood.' She also claims that her effort to share her findings with fellow psychiatrists was by and large rejected.
My problem with her in this work is not with her general principle but rather with the way she illustrates and proves it. She begins with the life of Picasso. She says there is little material on his early childhood a period ordinarily skimmed over by biographers. But she in researching the life came across the information that when he was three years old Picasso along with his parents survived an earthquake in Malaga. She connects this with the fact that Picasso's second sister was born three weeks later. These two pieces of information then become the basis of her understanding Picasso's 'trauma' of birth .She claims that his parents enabled him to freely play and use his imagination. But Picasso resisted the discipline of school of any kind of restriction which would bring him back to the world of his trauma. I found here her argument to be both skimpy in evidence and loose in its connections.
So too her treatment of Buster Keaton explains that as a child actor he was traumatized when laughing on stage. This laughing somehow led the audience to laugh less and so was strongly disapproved of by his parents. Keaton was taught he must not laugh and the deadpan disguises and suppresses his emotional life.
In reading Neitzsche's life she claims that what he wrote ' was his hopeless attempt , which he didn't abandon until his breakdown, to free himself from his prison by expressing his unconscious but present hatred for those who raised and mistreated him.His hatred and his fear of it, became all the more vehement the less he succeeded in becoming independent of its objects, his mother and sister."
My question would not be whether this claim is valid, but rather how far it goes in explaining the whole complex of Nietzsche's world of ideas.
Moreover and this a key point it seems to me that these kinds of explanations could be used in each and every person's life. They do not really provide a key to the 'special gift' of the person.
Nonetheless the book contains much interesting information and speculation. A brief, easy and largely enjoyable read. I would recommend it not be taken as the 'Bible' but rather as another interpretative essay which adds to our understanding of the figures in question.
Were these reviews helpful?   Let us know
Search Customer Reviews
Only search this product's reviews

Customer Discussions

This product's forum
Discussion Replies Latest Post
No discussions yet

Ask questions, Share opinions, Gain insight
Start a new discussion
Topic:
First post:
Prompts for sign-in
 

Search Customer Discussions
Search all Amazon discussions
   


Look for similar items by category