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Genius in France : an idea and its uses

Author: Ann Jefferson
Publisher: Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, [2015] ©2015
Series: Book collections on Project MUSE.; UPCC book collections on Project MUSE., Literature Supplement.
Edition/Format:   eBook : Document : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
"This engaging book spans three centuries to provide the first full account of the long and diverse history of genius in France. Exploring a wide range of examples from literature, philosophy, and history, as well as medicine, psychology, and journalism, Ann Jefferson examines the ways in which the idea of genius has been ceaselessly reflected on and redefined through its uses in these different contexts. She traces  Read more...
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Genre/Form: Electronic books
Additional Physical Format: Print version:
Jefferson, Ann.
Genius in France : an idea and its uses.
Princeton, New Jersey : Princeton University Press, [2015]
(DLC) 18290587
Material Type: Document, Internet resource
Document Type: Internet Resource, Computer File
All Authors / Contributors: Ann Jefferson
ISBN: 9781400852598 1400852595 0691160651 9780691160658
OCLC Number: 897466391
Description: 1 online resource (xii, 273 pages)
Contents: Preface --
Introduction --
Part I: Enlightenment Genius. 1. The Eighteenth Century: Mimesis and Effect --
2. Genius Obscured: Diderot --
Part II: Nineteenth-Century. Genius: The Idiom of the Age --
3. Language, Religion, Nation --
4. Individual versus Collective Genius --
5. The Romantic Poet and the Brotherhood of Genius --
6. Victor Hugo, William Shakespeare, and the Dynasty of Genius --
Part III: Genius in the Clinic. 7. Genius under Observation: Lélut --
8. Genius, Neurosis, and Family Trees. Moreau de Tours --
9. Genius Restored to Health --
Part IV: Failure, Femininity, and the Realist Novel. 10. A Novel of Female Genius: Mme de Staël's Corinne --
11. Balzac's Louis Lambert: Genius and the Feminine Mediator --
12. Creativity and Procreation in Zola's L'Œuvre --
Part V: Precocity and Child Prodigies. 13. Exemplarity and Performance in Literature for Children --
14. Alfred Binet and the Measurement of Intelligence --
15. Minou Drouet: The Prodigy under Suspicion --
Part VI: Genius in Theory. 16. Cultural Critique and the End of Genius: Barthes, Sartre --
17. The Return of Genius: Mad Poets --
18. Julia Kristeva and Female Genius --
19. Derrida, Cixous, and the Impostor.
Series Title: Book collections on Project MUSE.; UPCC book collections on Project MUSE., Literature Supplement.
Responsibility: Ann Jefferson.

Abstract:

"This engaging book spans three centuries to provide the first full account of the long and diverse history of genius in France. Exploring a wide range of examples from literature, philosophy, and history, as well as medicine, psychology, and journalism, Ann Jefferson examines the ways in which the idea of genius has been ceaselessly reflected on and redefined through its uses in these different contexts. She traces its varying fortunes through the madness and imposture with which genius is often associated, and through the observations of those who determine its presence in others. Jefferson considers the modern beginnings of genius in eighteenth-century aesthetics and the works of philosophes such as Diderot. She then investigates the nineteenth-century notion of national and collective genius, the self-appointed role of Romantic poets as misunderstood geniuses, the recurrent obsession with failed genius in the realist novels of writers like Balzac and Zola, the contested category of female genius, and the medical literature that viewed genius as a form of pathology. She shows how twentieth-century views of genius narrowed through its association with IQ and child prodigies, and she discusses the different ways major theorists -- including Sartre, Barthes, Derrida, and Kristeva -- have repudiated and subsequently revived the concept. Rich in narrative detail, Genius in France brings a fresh approach to French intellectual and cultural history, and to the burgeoning field of genius studies."--Jacket.

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"[Ann Jefferson] outlines for the first time a body of writings on genius in France that have tended to be overlooked until now."--Celine Surprenant, Times Literary Supplement "The precise Read more...

 
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