Novelties or 'Common Maxims'

Rita Dózsai
2002 Anachronist  
The purpose of this paper is to consider Edward Young's Conjectures on Original Composition (1759) with special emphasis on the author's understanding of genius . It is well known that this particular essay had had a significant influence on the Ro mantic Movement in England, Gernuny and Fr ance str etching well beyond the confines of his time. Offering his conjectures on exceptional ability within the broad context of imitation and originality, the author made a peculiar contribution to the
more » ... ue of genius on the Continent. When one recalls the date at which this "manif esto of romanticism was ,vritt en," one may recognise "how the publication of the Conjectures was a milestone in !iter;iry history." 1 Precisely for this reason, that is, because of the way the Conj ectur es challenged prevailing classicism docs Y oung's enterprise still interest the reader. In what follows, therefore, I propose a consideration of Youn g's arguments, and .ntempt to examine whether his cbim for originality is justified . To achieve this, in the following pages, I shall revise, at first, the mo st important eighteenth-century treatises on genius in order to provide a possibl e contextual framew ork for Y oung's composition . I shall also be concerned with the eighteenth -century development of the notion of genius by focusing on Y oung's original or unoriginal efforts to posit a definition on this term. Meanwhile I also try to explore to what extent the Y oungean model paves the way for a Romanticised genius.
doi:10.53720/zyei8064 fatcat:w2oyctx7hbfjzifdvlofnf7x74