RECOMMENDED FOR READING
Structure and Functions of Fantasy
Book by Eric Klinger; Wiley-Interscience, 1971
The writing of this book grew out of an experimental analysis of achievement fantasy. I began the experimental program itself when my difficulties in trying to solve a problem of personality measurement dramatized the inadequacies of theory about responses to projective techniques. Achievement fantasy, probably the most intensively investigated class of projective responses, seemed to be the safest place to begin. The first results that the program produced were reconcilable with existing notions, but soon our procedures produced data so puzzling, so totally out of keeping with the slender body of theory about projective techniques, that they forced a choice: either abandon the program as producing results that were theoretically inscrutable or pull together a robust enough general theory of fantasy to imbue such unexpected data with theoretical meaning. I chose to theorize.
The project quickly gained its own momentum. Theories of fantasy have, with rare exceptions, remained insulated from general psychology, but much of general psychological theory bears important implications for a theory of fantasy. Knowledge is, after all, of a piece, a nonlinear multidimensional space in which one never knows what he may meet or need next. Fantasy -- real-life, free fantasy as well as the processed fragments in projective protocols -- partakes of human behavioral organization generally. There were lessons to be extracted from research on play and dreams which have theoretically always been regarded as akin to fantasy; from research on conditioning, imagery, language, and motor skills which reveal aspects of the serial order of response components; and from research on motivation, for the dependence of fantasy content on motivational states is perhaps the best documented relationship concerning fantasy.
Defined as broadly as it is in this book, "fantasy" encompasses a very large share of waking awareness. Connected, directed thought and concentrated scrutiny of one's environment make up at most a modest fraction of daily life for most people. Even much instrumental thinking goes on interspersed with extraneous elements of thought, and perceptual activity most often takes the form of an automated monitor that coexists with mental ac-tivity, much of it fantasy. Fantasy thus contributes much of the inner climate, much of the mental decor, of being human and of being a particular person. However, it is far more than an epiphenomenon; it is, rather, an important part of the human being's system for managing large masses of information. Thus, in this scheme, fantasy is central to human functioning. It is not an encapsulated phenomenon; rather it manifests the operation of processes that enter into a wide variety of nonfantasy responses. Its workings play a critical role in creative thinking. Its organization indicates the need for some modifications of self-theory. Its vicissitudes suggest some conceptual handles for psychotic thought.
Most of the evidence on which this theoretical integration rests was originally gathered for purposes quite unrelated to constructing a theory of fantasy. The original objective of the present effort was, indeed, to synthesize a theory from a great deal of indirect evidence where direct data are scarce, precisely in order to enable investigators to gather more direct data that might be theoretically meaningful. Such a theory would serve little purpose if its conclusions were not affirmative and sometimes even speculative. At the same time, the process of deriving propositions from the available evidence highlights a splendid array of problems for further research.
Please read the rest of the book at Questia online library
| Writing books of this kind requires time and resources. The National Science Foundation has generously and graciously supported the experimental program and my writing since 1964 through Grants GS-458, GS1346, and GS-2735. The University of Minnesota contributed toward a research leave in spring quarter, 1967, and a sabbatical leave during 1968-69, both of which I spent in the environments best suited for this work, my home and office in Morris.
The Foundation's support and the generosity of the University of Minnesota, Morris, have made it possible to gather around me an unsurpassable group of people, my undergraduate assistants, who have contributed to all phases of my activity clerically, technically, motivationally, editorially, conceptually, and spiritually. The experimental operations and later the preparation of manuscripts were ably organized and coordinated first by Vernice B. Lehmann (not a student but decidedly a member of the campus community) who set lasting precedents of intelligence, competence, and efficiency, and subsequently by Ronald O. Hietala, Frederick W. McNelly, Jr. (with whom I also collaborated in exploring social role effects on fantasy), and Joseph D. Fridgen. When I most needed freedom to think, they kept our operations going unhampered and shielded me from distraction with equanimity, judgment, and grace. Those others most closely involved with conducting the research cited herein include Romilly W. Cassida, Marjory Hanson, Gene O. Holmblad, Gordon Johnson, Jeri Wine, Barbara J. Schmidt J. Schmidt, Daniel R. Studelska, Jr., and Sharon L. Roerick. A small group who were also involved with conducting experiments came together with me during much of 1970 in a weekly seminar on fantasy: Steven G. Barta, Joseph D. Fridgen, Rachel E. Froiland, and, for a time, Kenneth C. Gregoire and Allan H. Kachelmeier. They have contributed both directly to the manuscript and pervasively through their intellectual stimulation, support, and fellowship. Susan K. Currier completed an editorial run through the manuscript, helping to purge at least some of the stylistic atrocities. The manuscript as a physical entity has passed through several capable hands: Patricia A. Radke, Roxanne M. Anderson, Cheryl A. Brevig, Sandra M. Spillman, and Joyce C. MacIver, the latter two having been caringly involved with it almost throughout its writing.
It would be both futile and impractical to attempt to acknowledge individually all who have exercised an influence on my thinking, even an important influence. Occasionally, however, a debt is too fundamental to go unacknowledged. My decision to become a psychologist owes much to the example, help, and encouragement of Renato Tagiuri, my undergraduate advisor and teacher. I am still discovering the extent to which my thinking has been influenced by Donald W. Fiske. His support, encouragement, and unflappable guidance have sustained me during trying times. This entire manuscript, like many briefer ones before it, has benefited from his unstinting commentaries.
David C. McClelland and Robert C. Birney provided orientation during my initial stages of experimentation on achievement fantasy and have provided encouragement since. They, John W. Atkinson, and Heinz Heckhausen have commented extensively on portions of this and various predecessor manuscripts, forcing me repeatedly to rethink positions and tighten my reasoning. A number of friends and colleagues have read and commented generously on parts of the manuscript. Irvin Roth has done his best to save me and spare the reader from my worst conceptual excesses. Many others have read sections or chapters and have provided reassurance or significant corrections: Wilfred J. Brogden, George B. Flamer, David Foulkes, Clifton W. Gray, Martin F. Kaplan, Donald C. Norris, Wallace A. Russell, Jerome L. Singer, Theodore E. Uehling, Jr., Hans W. Wendt, and John C. Wright.
For permission to reproduce figures and long quotations I am indebted to the following publishers: American Psychological Association, Dorsey, Hogarth, Macmillan, University of Nebraska Press, and Ronald Press. Writing a book such as this required a certain kind of nurturance: personal and intellectual freedom, a degree of occupational security, reservation of prejudgments, valuing of creative thrusts, patience with the foibles...