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p. 545. Genius and madnesslocked

  • Andrew Robinson

Abstract

The idea of a connection between genius and madness has a long history. ‘Genius and madness’ considers the beliefs from Aristotle through to the modern day. Three studies of different types of artistic creativity from three different periods are examined: fine artists in the Italian Renaissance during the 14th to 16th centuries; British poets during the age of Romanticism in the 18th to 19th centuries; and American writers in the late 20th century. Many psychologists and psychiatrists accept that the association arises from natural selection, which would favour creativity as an advantageous evolutionary trait, but a definitive connection between mental illness and creativity has not been established.

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