Genius: History of an Idea
January 1991, Wiley-Blackwell
The contributors to this volume show how the ancient image of the inspired poet and the Renaissance conception of the divino artista both anticipate later notions of genius, developed into the 18th century around the central figures of Homer, Shakespeare and Goethe. Romantic definitions of genius are analysed, as are the implications of Nietzsche's pronouncements on 'human greatness'. The historic conjunction of genius and madness is explored from the early belief in divine possession through the Renaissance notion of melancholy to the age of psychoanalysis.