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The Untouched Key: Tracing Childhood Trauma in Creativity and Destructiveness
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The Untouched Key: Tracing Childhood Trauma in Creativity and Destructiveness

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  288 Ratings  ·  26 Reviews
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 ...more
ebook, 192 pages
Published May 9th 2012 by Anchor (first published 1988)
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Aug 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Evelyn by: I have read several of Alice Miller's books. My sister recommend
The subtitle of this book is “Tracing Childhood Trauma in Creativity and Destructiveness.” The premise of this book is that a child can endure any kind of trauma if he or she has a witness, that is, a person who supports the child emotionally or sympathizes with the plight of the child even if that person cannot change events.

When children are traumatized by cruel child rearing practices, external events such as war, or outright abuse and they have no sympathizing witness, it creates evil and A
Jul 26, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book probably would have made a marginally interesting dissertation for a dual Ph.D. major in art and psychology. But it lacks footnotes and citations, which irks me to no end. The basis on which the book rests can be aptly summed up with Miller's own quote: "I wanted to share what I had found with biographers and pscyhoanalysts, but I soon learned that I was dealing with forbidden knowledge, by no means easy to share with 'the experts.' And so I decided not to publish my study but to keep ...more
Mar 02, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Miller's take on adult creativity and destructiveness as a result of childhood trauma was fresh. Usually, childhood trauma is traced to only destructive adult behavior, but Miller shows how various types of trauma (aside from abuse), can result in adult creativity. My favorite chapter is "The Emperor's New Clothes," where Miller showed how the child on the street pointed out what adults did not: the fact that the emperor was naked. The more hidden part of the story was the power attributed to au ...more
All her books worth reading, an inspirational woman
If you haven't read this book, you don't understand anything about anything.

I'd love to hear her thoughts on every art piece ever created!
Jason Prodoehl
Jul 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating look into how childhood and later behavior. Picasso, Hitler, Soutine. Very interesting.
Triecia Gibney
Oct 02, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Why do some children who suffer a troubling childhood become brutal monsters like Adolf Hitler whilst others appear to develop into highly sensitive people capable of expressing their suffering via creative pursuits? This is the question Miller attempts to answer as she explores the childhoods of the likes of Picasso,, Kathe Kollwitz, Buster Keaton, Hitler, Soutine and Friedrich Nietzsche.
Miller's work has been criticised for its lack of evidence and indeed many of her conclusions are based on s
Sep 10, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Este libro es una joya de la psicología en el área del maltrato infantil y su repercusión en la vida adulta. Se explota un tema ya muy conocido y persistentemente ignorado acerca del impacto de las experiencias tempranas sobre la psicopatología del individuo. Alice Miller nos plantea el sufrimiento infantil como eje para el rumbo que toma el mundo. Cuestiona temas casi sagrados como la veneración ciega a los mayores, dándole un giro a la mítica historia del sacrificio de Abraham. Nos recuerda lo ...more
This book is primarily concerned with the work and history of select individuals, for the sake of illustrating that themes of trauma persist into adult life, through both acts of creativity and destructiveness. Miller looks at Pablo Picasso, Buster Keaton, Friedrich Nietzsche, and others, analyzing their works and actions, while pointing towards traumatic themes that she believes are evidenced in the history of these individuals. Miller is critical of many of these individual’s biographers, whom ...more
Mar 28, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
WIth utmost respect to Alice Miller's gifts to the world, Drama of the Gifted Child is really the only one of her books that is crucial to read. The others, including The Untouched Key, seem to differently-package the same ideas. Though to her credit, The Untouched Key sparked in me an interest in reading biographies (though I'm perennially disappointed by an almost universal lack of insightful explorations into early childhood).
Jo Verbena
An introduction to the repercussions of childhood on adult creativity, a short and accessible read which raises many questions. But as another reviewer mentioned, there is a lack of footnotes and sources to back-up her findings into the family constructs of the subjects of her study. The book has a subjective and conversational tone which calls into question the validity of Miller's conclusions on the lives she examines.
Sep 12, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: psychotherapy
A compelling review of historical figures whose childhood experiences and traumas are purported to have shaped them into who they were. The implications are both terrible and wonderful and Alice Miller makes a strong case as a lone voice at the time she wrote this. Her own story and biases are evident but are not made explicit, which results in a four star book receiving a three star review.
Samantha Verdin
May 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: psychology
MUY bueno para entender las obras de Nietzsche, Picasso, Kafka y otros. Todo, a la luz de sus vivencias, dinámicas familiares y traumas infantiles.

Sobre las fuentes de la investigación de Alice Miller, creo que sí le faltó seriedad... pero toda la información es comprobable si hacemos un poco de investigación!
Jan 01, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting read. Alice looks at the paintings of some artists and the writings of Nietchie and analyses them based on what she knows about their childhoods.

Miller then ends the book by stating that people with non-violent childhoods will grow up secure and able to nurture their own children and won't need to use the threat of war as a way to negotiate with other nations.
Tomas Ramanauskas
Jul 26, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kids
Miller dives into the childhoods and works of Nietzsche, Picasso, Stalin & others, and tries to trace back the mistakes of their parents which resulted in genius philosophy/outstanding art/human disasters. Once again, as it is often the case with Miller, her meticulous process is fascinating and final findings are shady.
Jan 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely riveting little book about the pattern of pain imposed by parents on children and what it does to the world. A brilliantly succinct distillation of MIller's lifetime of work. The closing section on Abraham and Isaac is heartbreaking in the width of its perspective. Deepen your path to healing yourself and the world--read this book.
Allison Thurman
May 09, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Now what would she say happened to Robert Mugabe? ...
Rabbit {Paint me like one of your 19th century gothic heroines!}
DNF. This book couldn't hold my attention.
Wish I had this book while writing my thesis!
Jul 22, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
same tune, different words
Mar 16, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: true-story
I think it is true that the abused child becomes a creative adult.
rated it it was amazing
Nov 21, 2012
Ann Fox
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Tracie Hoops
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Oct 30, 2012
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Feb 29, 2012
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Jan 11, 2017
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author by this name in the Goodreads database.

Psychologist and world renowned author, who is noted for her books on child abuse, translated in several languages. In her books she departed from psychoanalysis charging it with being similar to the poisonous pedagogies, which she described in For Your Own Good.

Miller was born in Poland and as young woman lived
More about Alice Miller...

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“Nuoren ihmisen on murrosiässä ensin hylättävä kaikki, mikä hänelle siihen asti on ollut rakasta, jotta hän voi rakentaa uudet arvot.

Samoin Friedrich Nietzsche, joka ei koskaan ollut kokenut puberteetin kapinaa ja joka 12 vuotiaana oli kirjoittanut sovinnaisia ja pikkuvanhoja merkintöjä päiväkirjaansa, ryhtyy nyt 25 vuotiaana hyökkäämään hänelle aiemmin arvokasta kulttuuria vastaan, alkaa pilkata sitä, vääristellä sitä absurditeettiin asti. Eikä hän tee sitä aikuistumassa olevan nuoren ihmisen keinoin vaan filologin ja filosofian professorin pitkälle kehittyneen älyn asein.

On aivan selvää, että tällä kielellä on voimaa ja että se tekee vaikutuksen.”
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