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Cesare Lombroso, The Man of Genius (London: The Palingenesis Project, 2016)

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Cesare Lombroso, The Man of Genius (London: The Palingenesis Project, 2016)

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Catalogue Number
TPP017HB
Author
Cesare Lombroso
Title
The Man of Genius
Genre
Psychiatry
Date of Publication
July 2016
Format
Hardback
Size
Demi 8vo
Pages
590
ISBN
978-1-909606-12-8
Price
tba
 
Synopsis

First published in English in 1891, the present work argues that genius is a morbid condition, a form of insanity (albeit a very special one), which often occurs alongside physical or other mental abnormalities. Alexander was short. Cardano a hypochondriac. Socrates had a cretin-like physiognomy. Giotto had rickets. Kant had an abnormal development of the left parietal bone. Erasmus stammered. Saint Paul was an epileptic. Coleridge an alcoholic. Nerval a manic depressive. Carlyle abused his wife. Lombroso surveys hundreds of artistic, literary, and religious figures, noting the aberrations in their personalities, private lives, habits, creative work, physical traits, and psychological characteristics. The theory herein advanced, though controversial even in its day, proved nevertheless culturally influential. Notably, the author offered one of the earliest examinations of the art of the insane. Hans Prinzhorn, author of The Artistry of the Mentally Ill (1922) was inspired by Lombroso’s examination of psychiatric art. Prinzhorn’s work would in turn inspire Jean Dubuffet to found the Art Brut movement. Similarly, Max Nordau’s Degeneration (1892)—an attack on degenerate art—owes much to Lombroso’s work concerning men of genius in art and literature. Though outdated as a scientific study, with its fusion of criminology, criminal anthropology, degeneration theory, psychiatry, physiognomy, and Social Darwinism, The Man of Genius remains, all the same, a landmark in the history of ideas. And, though modern psychology classes much of what Lombroso deemed signs of insanity as minor aberrations, have his insights not retained an element of truth?

Table of Contents:

Note on the Text

xi

Preface

xiii

PART I

The Characteristics of Genius

Chapter I

History of the Problem

3

Aristotle — Plato — Democritus — Felix Plater — Pascal — Diderot — Modern writers on genius.

Chapter II

Genius and Degeneration

11

The signs of degeneration — Height — Rickets — Pallor — Emaciation — Physiognomy — Cranium and Brain — Stammering — Lefthandedness — Sterility — Unlikeness to Parents — Precocity — Delayed development — Misoneism Vagabondage — Unconsciousness — Instinctiveness — Somnambulism — The Inspiration of Genius Contrast — Intermittence — Double Personality — Stupidity — Hyperasthesia — Paræsthesia — Amnesia — Originality Fondness for special words.

Chapter III

Latent Forms of Neurosis and Insanity in Genius

79

Chorea and Epilepsy — Melancholy — Megalomania — Folie du doute — Alcoholism — Hallucinations Moral Insanity — Longevity

Chapter IV

Genius and Insanity

127

Resemblance between genius and insanity — Men and women of genius who have been insane — Montanus — Harrington — Haller — Schumann Gérard de Nerval —  Baudelaire — Concato — Mainländer — Comte — Codazzi Bolyai — Cardan — Tasso — Swift — Newton — Rousseau Lenau — Széchényi — Hoffmann — Foderà — Schopenhauer —  Gogol.

PART II

The Causes of Genius

Chapter I

Meteorological Influences on Genius

175

The influence of weather on the insane — Sensitiveness of men of genius to barometrical conditions — Sensitiveness to thermometrical conditions.

Chapter II

Climatic Influences on Genius

199

Influence of great centres — Race and hot climate — The distribution of great masters — Orographic influences —  Influence of healthy race — Parallelism of high stature and genius — Explanations.

Chapter III

Influence of Race and Heredity on Genius and Insanity

227

Race — Insanity — The influence of sex — The heredity of genius — Criminal and insane parentage and descent of genius — Age of parents — Conception.

Chapter IV

Influence of Disease on Genius

259

Spinal diseases — Fevers — Injuries to the head and their relation to genius.

Chapter V

The Influence of Civilization and of Opportunity

263

Large Towns — Large Schools — Accidents — Misery — Power — Education.

PART III

Genius in the Insane

Chapter I

Insane Genius in Literature

279

Periodicals published in lunatic asylums — Synthesis — Passion — Atavism — Conclusion.

Chapter II

Art in the Insane

303

Geographical distribution — Profession — Influence of the special form of alienation — Originality — Eccentricity — Symbolism — Obscenity — Criminality and moral insanity — Uselessness — Insanity as a subject — Absurdity — Uniformity — Summary — Music among the insane.

Chapter III

Literary and Artistic Mattoids

341

Definition — Physical and psychical characteristics — Their literary activity — Examples — Lawsuit mania — Mattoids of genius — Bosisio — The decadent poets — Verlaine — Mattoids in art.

Chapter IV

Political and Religious Lunatics and Mattoids

385

Part played by the insane in the progressive movements of humanity — Examples — Probable causes — Religious epidemics of the Middle Ages — Francis of Assisi — Luther — Savonarola — Cola da Rienzi — San Juan de Dios — Campanella — Prosper — Enfantin — Lazzaretti — Passanante — Guiteau — South Americans.

PART IV

Synthesis.
The Degenerative Psychosis of Genius

Chapter I

Characteristics of Insane Men of Genius

483

Characterlessness — Vanity — Precocity — Alcoholism — Vagabondage — Versatility — Originality — Style — Religious doubts — Sexual abnormalities — Egoism — Eccentricity — Inspiration.

Chapter II

Analogy of Sane to Insane Genius

503

Want of character — Pride — Precocity — Alcoholism — Degenerative signs — Obsession — Men of genius in revolutions.

Chapter III

The Epileptoid Nature of Genius

511

Etiology — Symptoms — Confessions of men of genius — The life of a great epileptic — Napoleon — Saint Paul — The saints — Philanthropic hysteria.

Chapter IV

Sane Men of Genius

533

Their unperceived defects — Richelieu — Sesostris — Foscolo — Michelangelo — Darwin.

Chapter V

Conclusions

541

Appendix

545

Index

551

 

 

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