WGST 07 First Year Seminar: Gender and Genius
“Mad, bad, and dangerous to know.” From Lord Byron to Lady Gaga, geniuses have always been bad news. Much of the cultural anxiety around genius is related to sex. Sigmund Freud’s essay on Leonardo Da Vinci defined genius in terms of sexual frustration. Edward Carpenter argued that genius was the third sex. Cesare Lombroso argued that genius was a genetic component of criminality. Christine Battersby thought the idea of genius was a tool for female oppression. In this course, we will look at changing ideas of genius and gender, from the Renaissance to the present.