Joseph Epstein in Literary Genius, a compilation of great essays compiled about 25 classic writers who define English and American literature, discusses the style of genius which is captured here concisely:
Genius used to be thought to suffer deficiencies and even 1st century AD, Seneca wrote, “There is no genius not touched by madness” and A Beautiful Mind book and later film made the life of mathematician, John Forbes Nash amply stands for evidence. To impute madness to genius is to offer a partial explanation for the phenomenon, which remains another of those mysteries of life for which we’ve no real explanation. Genius, whenever or wherever it pops up, is finally unaccountable, inexplicable. Once cannot hope to explain its origins; one cannot plot its course; one must settle for attempting to describe it as it applies itself.
Why Art is so great than science and here’s the argument why artists should be given priority to be saved in World War II:
Perhaps it is scarcely realized how little time science would have lost by the loss of even the greatest scientists. If Newton had never lived, the world would not have to wait for more than one or two years for the law of gravitation and for the calculus, Huygens was hot on track of the first of the Newton’s discoveries, Leibniz had independently found the second. If Edison never had lived, Swan would have invented incandescent lamp and Hughes the microphone, at the same time.
But if Leonardo da Vinci had fallen in the battle of Anghiari, instead of remaining at a safe distance and painting it after the reports of eye-witness, the Gioconda painting would have remained forever unpainted. If Shakespeare had been sent to fight against the Armada and perished as a nameless hero, his plays would have been forever unwritten.
The work of creative artists us individual and unique. His loss is forever unrecoverable. The loss of a scientist or an engineer or inventor or entrepreneur – is only a loss of time….but a genius or creative artist is measureless.
Harold Bloom says Genius is “the god within” and “by necessity, invokes the transcendental and the extraordinary, because its fully conscious of them”. Geniuses operate through different styles. Edward Gibbon wrote on style as “The style of an author should be the image of his mind”. Timelessness, grandeur of vision, originality of outlook – all these, in concert and worked at high power, comprise the genius in writer. This and the ability to make us see constitute literary genius.