The Inkblots

The Inkblots

Hermann Rorschach, His Iconic Test, and the Power of Seeing

Book - 2017
Average Rating:
Rate this:
In 1917, working alone in a remote Swiss asylum, psychiatrist Hermann Rorschach devised an experiment to probe the human mind. For years he had grappled with the theories of Freud and Jung while also absorbing the aesthetic of a new generation of modern artists. He had come to believe that who we are is less a matter of what we say, as Freud thought, than what we see. Rorschach himself was a visual artist, and his test, a set of ten carefully designed inkblots, quickly made its way to America, where it took on a life of its own. Co-opted by the military after Pearl Harbor, it was a fixture at the Nuremberg trials and in the jungles of Vietnam. It became an advertising staple, a cliché in Hollywood and journalism, and an inspiration to everyone from Andy Warhol to Jay-Z. The test was also given to millions of defendants, job applicants, parents in custody battles, workers applying for jobs, and people suffering from mental illness -- or simply trying to understand themselves better. And it is still used today. Damion Searls draws on unpublished letters and diaries, and a cache of interviews with Rorschach's family, friends, and colleagues, to tell the story of the test's creation, its controversial reinvention, and its endurance -- and what it all reveals about the power of perception.
Publisher: New York : Crown, [2017]
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2017
ISBN: 9780804136549
Branch Call Number: 616.8909 R78s
Characteristics: x, 405 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (some color) ; 25 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Nov 13, 2017

This well-researched biography tells the real-life story of Hermann Rorschach.

Born in 1884 - Rorschach was a Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst who is best known for developing the "Rorschach Test" which was a stylized variation of a medium of art known as "Klecksography".

This test (of carefully designed inkblots) was reportedly intended to reflect the unconscious elements of one's inner personality. These inkblots were shown (one at a time) to a patient who was then asked to report what these images represented to them.

In 1922 - Hermann Rorschach (37 at the time) died from a ruptured appendix.

This book also contains a 16-page photo gallery.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number

Subject Headings


Find it at VPL

To Top