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Genius in FranceAn Idea and Its Uses$
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Ann Jefferson

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780691160658

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691160658.001.0001

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Genius under Observation

Genius under Observation


(p.91) Chapter 7 Genius under Observation
Genius in France

Ann Jefferson

Princeton University Press

This chapter details the emergence of a new medicine of the mind in France. The philosophical component of the new medicine was based in large part on the principles of eighteenth-century sensualist philosophy. This tradition held out to the practitioners of mental medicine the presumption of a connection between the body and the mind, which had particular importance for their growing interest in genius. The broad consensus that had existed in the eighteenth century between aesthetics and a philosophy of the mind is mostly lost in the nineteenth century as two opposing models of mental functioning emerge. The powers of observation widely attributed to genius in the eighteenth century were now claimed as the prerogative of (medical) science, and contrasted with imagination, which was predominantly associated with genius and the arts.

Keywords:   mental illness, psychiatry, mental medicine, mental functioning, imagination, medical science, pathographical perspectives, Louis-Francisque Lélut, genius

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