Divine Fury: A History of Genius

Divine Fury: A History of Genius

Darrin M. McMahon


Genius. With tricks of insanity and secret, ethical license and visionary strength, the notice indicates a nearly otherworldly strength: the facility to create, to divine the secrets and techniques of the universe, even to spoil. but the suggestion of genius has been diluted lately. this present day, rock stars, soccer coaches, and marketers are categorized ‘geniuses,’ and the observe is utilized so extensively that it has obscured the feel of designated election and superhuman authority that lengthy observed it.

As acclaimed historian Darrin M. McMahon explains, the concept that of genius has roots in antiquity, while males of prodigious perception have been suggestion to possess—or to be possessed by—demons and gods. tailored within the centuries that and utilized to quite a few non secular figures, together with prophets, apostles, sorcerers, and saints, abiding notions of transcendent human strength have been invoked on the time of the Renaissance to provide an explanation for the awesome creativity of fellows like Leonardo and Michelangelo.

Yet it was once simply within the eighteenth century that the genius used to be really born, idolized as a brand new version of the top human variety. Assuming prominence in figures as diversified as Newton and Napoleon, the trendy genius emerged in stress with a growing to be trust in human equality. Contesting the thought that every one are created equivalent, geniuses served to dramatize the exception of striking contributors no longer ruled by way of traditional legislation. The phenomenon of genius drew medical scrutiny and large public statement into the twentieth century, however it additionally drew spiritual and political longings that may be abused. within the genius cult of the Nazis and the outpouring of reverence for the redemptive determine of Einstein, genius completed either its apotheosis and its Armageddon.

The first accomplished historical past of this elusive inspiration, Divine Fury follows the fortunes of genius and geniuses in the course of the a long time right down to the current day, displaying how—despite its many diversifications and up to date democratization—genius is still a effective strength in our lives, reflecting glossy wishes, hopes, and fears.

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