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Genealogies of Genius Joyce E. Chaplin

Genealogies of Genius

Joyce E. Chaplin

Published
ISBN : 9781137497642
Paperback
208 pages
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 About the Book 

Genius as a historical concept, rather than as a presumed trans-historical fact, is surprisingly underexamined. Only a handful of studies to date have attempted to explain its emergence and development as a contingent category, one shaped by theMoreGenius as a historical concept, rather than as a presumed trans-historical fact, is surprisingly underexamined. Only a handful of studies to date have attempted to explain its emergence and development as a contingent category, one shaped by the exigencies of time and place. Building on this budding interest, the essays in this volume seek to examine the uses to which concepts of genius have been put in different cultures and times. Collectively, they are designed to make two new statements. First, seen in historical and comparative perspective, genius is not a natural fact and universal human constant that has been only recently identified by modern science, but instead a categorical mode of assessing human ability and merit. Second, as a concept with specific definitions and resonances, genius has performed specific cultural work within each of the societies in which it had a historical presence.