Abstract

This essay examines three key texts by William Buchan, Isaac D’Israeli, and Richard Robert Madden, which demonstrate the emergence of the newly conceived idea of literary genius in the Romantic period. It considers the role of a new genre, the “medical biography,” in the development of this phenomenon. While the mental precariousness of the Romantic genius has been much commented upon, this essay concentrates instead on the bodily or physical aspects of genius, which is itself figured as a disease. The study and writing involved in publication are viewed as stimulants that can be addictive, ruining the health and wellbeing of authors and even leading to their early deaths.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1080-6571
Print ISSN
0278-9671
Pages
pp. 299-319
Launched on MUSE
2017-02-07
Open Access
No
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