‘Genius’ and ‘creativity’ as narrative devices for intellectual history

Bibliographic details

Allington, Daniel (2013). ‘“Genius” and “creativity” as narrative devices for intellectual history’. Paper to be presented at ‘Genius’, the fourth Arts and their audiences workshop at the Open University in Milton Keynes, 10.15-10.30, 21 June.


Since the beginning of the 20th century, the originally religious and apparently elitist term ‘genius’ has gradually been superseded by the originally academic and apparently democratic term ‘creativity’. While these concepts have been reified both in popular and in scholarly discourse, they transpire on closer inspection to be characteristics not of individuals but of the kinds of stories we like to tell about cultural and scientific progress.