In her book, Kolodny draws on her extensive experience treating artists and writers in psychotherapy and psychoanalysis, as well as on her own encounters with obstacles to writing, to explore these questions:
Why does creative work inevitably involve anxiety and invite avoidance?
What are those internal forces that can hinder us in doing it and what can help?
A book about making art asks of itself no less than unselfconscious artfulness: in this most important of tasks Susan Kolodny succeeds splendidly in The Captive Muse....This book succeeds in the very difficult tasks of making lucid, meaningful statements about the states of mind that are involved in making art.
The Captive Muse...is an eminently balanced and sound account of what writers and teachers of writing face as resistances in their own and their students' work. And it would be very good indeed if more psychotherapists read this book and absorbed one of its central tenets--that creative work is ot allied with but rather blocked by psychopathology.