Books in Brief

Andrea Szalanski


Divine Fury: A History of Genius, by Darrin M. McMahon (New York: Basic Books, 2013, ISBN hardcover 978-0-465-00325-9 and e-book 978-0-465-06991-0). 352 pp. Hardcover US$29.99 and CAN $34.50.

An intellectual historian gives the first comprehensive account of the concept of genius, from Socrates to Napoleon to Einstein and beyond. In the course of analyzing the democratization, disappearance, and potential rebirth of the genius figure, McMahon discusses the beginning of the idea of genius (in the eighteenth century, when increased skepticism about religion allowed people to take full credit for their creativity), the kind of power attributed to geniuses, “evil" geniuses, and the future of the genius concept, which began to wane after World War II.

Brave Genius: A Scientist, a Philosopher, and Their Daring Adventures from the French Resistance to the Nobel Prize, by Sean B. Carroll (New York: Random House, 2013, ISBN hardcover 978-0-307-95233-2 and e-book 978-0-307-95235-6). 576 pp. Hardcover US$28 and CAN$33.

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