- Title Pages
- Chapter 1 The Eighteenth Century
- Chapter 2 Genius Obscured
- Chapter 3 Language, Religion, Nation
- Chapter 4 Individual versus Collective Genius
- Chapter 5 The Romantic Poet and the Brotherhood of Genius
- Chapter 6 Victor Hugo, William Shakespeare, and the Dynasty of Genius
- Chapter 7 Genius under Observation
- Chapter 8 Genius, Neurosis, and Family Trees
- Chapter 9 Genius Restored to Health
- Chapter 10 A Novel of Female Genius
- Chapter 11 Balzac’s <i>Louis Lambert</i>
- Chapter 12 Creativity and Procreation in Zola’s <i>L’Œuvre</i>
- Chapter 13 Exemplarity and Performance in Literature for Children
- Chapter 14 Alfred Binet and the Measurement of Intelligence
- Chapter 15 Minou Drouet
- Chapter 16 Cultural Critique and the End of Genius
- Chapter 17 The Return of Genius
- Chapter 18 Julia Kristeva and Female Genius
- Chapter 19 Derrida, Cixous, and the Impostor
- (p.1) Introduction
- Genius in France
- Princeton University Press
This introductory chapter considers the scope of the history of thinking about genius. It first traces the etymology and definitions of the word “genius.” Etymologically and culturally speaking, the term is hugely overdetermined while remaining strangely underspecified in its actual applications. The chapter explores the ambiguities of the term, before outlining the history of such a discourse on genius in Europe. This history has been extensively documented and explored in ways that lend credence to the view that genius is the topic of a single, pan-European conversation to which the French, the English, and the Germans are the major contributors over the course of the eighteenth century.
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