Abstract

In his writings about physiology, Julien-Joseph Virey (1776-1846) posited that sperm was not only a vital physical principle but also the seed of genius, albeit not without resistance. Beginning in the late 1850s, progressive thinkers of both sexes incorporated advances in embryology, which had emerged as early as 1827, to contest the idea that genius has a sex. This article considers the blend of generative and creative power maintained by Virey and like-minded thinkers, which failed as a scientific model but worked discursively to keep women out of the so-called biological origins of genius as well as literary culture.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1931-0234
Print ISSN
0014-0767
Pages
pp. 89-101
Launched on MUSE
2015-07-01
Open Access
No
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