A masculine circle : the charter myth of genius and its effects on women writers

Doctoral thesis English OPEN
Chibici-Revneanu, Claudia
  • Subject: HQ | PN

This dissertation examines the concept of artistic genius and its workings\ud as a functional ‘charter myth’, helping to inscribe, enhance and perpetuate\ud discriminative practices against women within the field of literature in general\ud and novel writing in particular.\ud As an active agent as well as symbolic representation of some core\ud patriarchal values such as the innate supremacy and thus justified dominance of\ud men, the concept of genius operates in the following manner: Firstly, through its\ud multiple mythical elements such as the untruth of its affirmations surrounding\ud creativity combined with a paradoxical ability to nevertheless produce evidence\ud for its seeming accuracy; its inherent narrative structure featuring a prescribed\ud genius hero and tale and the latter’s powerful mythical allure, all of which help to\ud push the prominence of genius despite its continued academic deconstruction.\ud Secondly, through the subtle yet powerful gendering of the protagonist and plot\ud pattern it provides, containing a clear blue-print for a hero with a male body\ud complemented or opposed by a subordinate, non-genius female.\ud This gendered mythical pattern directly affects women writers in a variety\ud of manners. On the one hand, it assists the lastingly biased reception of women\ud authors, pre-imposing genius-inscribed beliefs of female inferiority onto literary\ud judgments, thus cyclically perpetuating that belief. On the other – and most\ud importantly for this thesis – the myth of genius also has an inward bearing on\ud many female writers, impeding their creative process and development especially\ud through the myth’s complex interaction with self-confidence as one of the core\ud features necessary for a successful completion of literary projects such as novels.
  • References (32)
    32 references, page 1 of 4

    PART 1: IN-GENIUS CIRCLES……………………………………………..51 2. Genius as a Myth 2.1. Introduction…………………………………………………………….52 2.2. What is a Myth?.......................................................................................53 2.3. Believed in but untrue…………………………………………………..56 2.4. A story?....................................................................................................68 2.5. A mythical tale?.......................................................................................74 2.6. The importance of being mythical……………………………………...78 2.7. Conclusion……………………………………………………………...84 6. Genius through the Stages of Creativity

    6.1. Introduction…………………………………………………………...218 6.2. Stage One: Volition and Permission…………..………………………219 6.3. Stage Two: Execution and Revision……….………………………….251 6.4. Stage Three: Release and Reception..………………………………...269 6.5. Conclusion…………………………………………………………….282 7. Ways Forward and Conclusion

    7.1. Introduction…………………………………………………………...284 7.2. Limitations and suggestions for future research………………………287 7.3. Implications of findings and ways forward…………………………...292 Bentley, Toni, 'Life, and My Evil Ex-Boyfriend', The New York Times, 23 September 2007 [consulted at http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9901E3D6133DF930A15 75AC0A9619C8B63 (accessed April 2011)].

    Carruthers, Mary Jay, 'The Re-vision of the Muse, Adrienne Rich, Audre Lorde, Judy Grahn, Olga Broumas', in The Hudson Review, 36.2 (Summer 1983), pp.293-322 [consulted at <http://www.jstor.org/pss/3856702> (accessed November 2010)].

    Eliot, George, 'Silly Novels by Lady Novelists', The Westminster Review, 66 (old series), 10 (new series) (October 1856), pp. 442-461 [consulted at <http://webscript.princeton.edu/~mnoble/eliot-texts/eliotsillynovels.html> (accessed July 2010)].

    Enright, Anne, in 'Ten Rules for Writing', The Guardian, 20 February 2010 [consulted at <http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2010/feb/20/ten-rulesfor-writing-fiction-part-one> (accessed July 2010)].

    Gladwell, Malcolm, 'The Talent Myth - Are Smart People Overrated?', The New Yorker, 22 July 2002, pp.28-32 [consulted at <http://www.gladwell.com/pdf/talent.pdf>, accessed December 2010)].

    Guest, Katy, 'The Big Question - Has the Time Come to Close the Book on Women-Only Literary Prizes', The Independent, 6 June 2008 [consulted at <http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/features/thebig-question-has-the-time-come-to-close-the-book-on-womenonlyliterary-prizes-841352.html (accessed January 2011)].

    Harding, Luke, 'Leo Tolstoy - The Forgotten Genius', The Guardian, 6 January 2010 [consulted at <http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2010/jan/06/leotolstoy-the-last-station>, (accessed March 2010)].

    Laurance, Jeremy, 'You Don't Have to be Bipolar to be a Genius - But it Helps', The Independent, 3 February 2010 [consulted at <http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/you-dont-have-to-bebipolar-to-be-a-genius-ndash-but-it-helps-1887646.html> (accessed April 2010)].

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