- Notes on Contributors
- Locke and His Influence
- Newton and Newtonianism in Eighteenth-Century British Thought
- The Idea of a Science of Human Nature
- Rhetoric and Eloquence: The Language of Persuasion
- Perception and The Language of Nature
- Language and Thought
- The Understanding
- Mind and Matter
- Passions, Affections, Sentiments: Taxonomy and Terminology
- Reason and the Passions
- Liberty and Necessity
- The Government of the Passions
- Self-Interest and Sociability
- Moral Judgment
- The Nature of Virtue
- Practical Ethics
- The Pleasures of the Imagination and the Objects of Taste
- The Faculty of Taste
- The Pleasures of Tragedy
- Genius and the Creative Imagination
- The Origin of Civil Government
- Forms of Government
- Reform and Revolution
- Luxury, Commerce, and the Rise of Political Economy
- Causation, Cosmology, and the Limits of Philosophy: the Early Eighteenth-Century British Debate
- Philosophy, Revealed Religion, and the Enlightenment
- Religion and Morality
Abstract and Keywords
The concept of genius—artistic genius in particular—is generally thought of as a quintessentially nineteenth-century phenomenon: the cornerstone, in fact, of German romanticism. Kant’s treatment of the concept has always been recognized as the source from which the early Romantics drew. But the fact of the matter is that it is to the British Enlightenment that we must look for the first modern formulation of the concept of artistic genius. For it was already well formed and clearly recognizable before Kant got his hands on it. The essay begins by suggesting two ancient sources for the concept of genius, as it developed in eighteenth-century Britain. It then goes on to discuss the contributions to the concept of Joseph Addison, Edward Young, Alexander Gerard, William Duff, and Gerard again, who dipped his oar in twice.
Peter Kivy is Board of Governors Professor of Philosophy at Rutgers University. He is the author of many books on aesthetics and the philosophy of art, including Thomas Reid's Lectures on the Fine Arts (Martinus Nijoff, 1973), Philosophies of Arts (Cambridge University Press, 1997), and The Seventh Sense: Francis Hutcheson and 18th-Century British Aesthetics (second editon, Oxford University Press, 2003).
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