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 Genius (literature)

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taixyz1992



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PostSubject: Genius (literature)   Sat Nov 20, 2010 11:59 pm

The concept of genius, in literary theory and literary history, derives from the later 18th century, when it began to be distinguished from ingenium in a discussion of the genius loci, or "spirit of the place." It was a way of discussing essence, in that each place was supposed to have its own unique and immutable nature, but this essence was determinant, in that all persons of a place would be infused or inspired by that nature. In the early nationalistic literary theories of the Augustan era, each nation was supposed to have a nature determined by its climate, air, and fauna that made a nation's poetry, manners, and art singular. It created national character.

T.V.F. Brogan argues that "genius" is a middle term in the evolution of the idea of inspiration and poetic ability from a belief in an external source (afflatus, or divine infection, and poetic phrenzy, or divine madness) and an internal source (imagination and the subconscious). However, the concept became nearly identical with poetic madness and divine madness in later Romanticism. The word itself was conflated with the Latin ingenium (natural ability) by the time of the Renaissance, and it thereby becomes a natural spirit or natural essence unique to the individual and yet derived from the place. In this sense, it is still a term synonymous with skill.


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