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THE definition of genius is almost as diversified as is the personality of men of genius or that of leading literary critics. Just because in its characteristics and expression it is a something thoroughly unique, it is quite impossible to reduce it to an exact statement. Hence, the variety of view that we find. According to Johnson, "a genius is a mind of large general powers accidentally determined to some particular direction." In Schlegel's view, it is "the almost unconscious choice of the highest degree of excellence." "To believe your own thought," says Emerson, "to believe that what is true for you is true for all men, this is genius"; while the French critic Cousin states it thus: "The rapid and vivid perception of the proportion in which the ideal and the real should be. united." In these and similar declarations there are enough common features to cast some clear light on the nature of genius, and yet enough differences to leave the subject open to the judgment

of the individual student. For our purpose and as applicable to Shakespeare, genius may be said to be the possession of extraordinary gifts and powers and the ability to utilize them in extraordinary forms. However specific and personal the genius of Dante or Homer or Milton or Shakespeare may be, as determined by heredity and environment, they were alike in this, that they possessed extraordinary faculty and function. Nor is it to be forgotten that genius, because it is unique and original, must have a much wider area of liberty than ordinary mental power-must be, at times, a law unto itself and consistently transgress or ignore established law. Herein lies the main distinction between genius and talent; between creative and mere constructive ability; between exceptional and average faculty. We are now prepared to note the specific elements of Shakespeare's genius, more especially, as evinced in the sphere of the drama. As it was here that he was eminent, it is here that he is to be studied and estimated.

1. A profound knowledge of man and men: of man in the abstract as involving a study of human nature in general, and of men in their concrete individuality, national and personal. He believed, with Pope, that "the proper study of mankind is

man," that literature and life were to be mutual interpreters. In the Historical Plays, we have an expression of this knowledge which is objective and visible, and character is revealed through some incident, event, or action. In the Tragedies and Comedies, this knowledge is more interior and acute. Motives, dispositions, mental and moral qualities, are examined. In fine, the psychology of human nature is now studied. In his Sonnets, this particular type of study becomes still more introspective, inasmuch as the autobiographical element enters to color and intensify it. When it is said by Sprague that "he looked creation through," the reference is not merely to his observation of external phenomena, but to his study of subjective life. It was an outlook and an inlook, and these together, so that the result was a thorough and comprehensive examination of men and the world. First and last, Shakespeare was an interpreter of man to man, a mediator of the truth.

2. A knowledge of truth as truth, in addition to a knowledge of it in its relations and applications. To inferior and even to average minds truth, to be seen at all, must be presented under certain well-established forms, in current, conventional ways. Shakespeare looked at truth directly.

and immediately. As a writer has expressed it, "He thought in the lump," and not through the medium of detached statements and formal comparisons. He was conversant with what is called a body of truth, truth in its essence and entity, as the sum-total of human thinking and experience. Hence the "immense suggestiveness" of the poetry of Shakespeare, meaning so much more than it affirms, thus inviting and rewarding investigation, as fresh now as when first penned, and insured beyond the possibility of decline. When Schlegel tells us that "in profundity of view he was a prophet," there is a reference to this penetrating vision which the great dramatist had of essential truth and verities, so that he was not and could not be superficial. He saw truth and life "steadily and saw it whole."

3. Mental Affluence and Versatility. It is with the many-sided and myriad-minded poet that we are here dealing. Nor is it simply meant that Shakespeare wrote so many sonnets and plays. Other English authors have written more in verse and prose. His versatility was mental rather than literary, capable of producing vastly more than it did, had the occasion demanded it. His affluence was a latent resourcefulness, equal to any call that

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