Friday, 1 November 2013

Signs and Symptoms of the Mad Genius

In a new article, Simon Cross explores whats at stake in the representation of the 'mad genius'.
He argues that the madman is a protean figure in the popular imagination slipping through in dreams, fairytales, ballads, paintings, sculpting, literature, and as this chapter discusses, more recently in cinema as the mad genius in films. The chapter argues that madness and genius in films like Shine must be seen and understood concomitantly as each symbolises our culture’s fascination with the boundaries and limits of our own mental functioning. The signs of mad genius in film reveal creativity out of the chaos of symptoms. The conclusion argues that the meaning of the mad genius is heroic, strangely special, and utterly mythic. 

Simon Cross (2013) ‘Signs and Symptoms of the Mad Genius'. In Julian McDougall and Pete Bennett (Eds.) Myth Today and Together: Theory under Reconstruction (Routledge, 2013)


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