Seminar 8



  1. Explain Plato’s ideas about creativity.
  2. What does Schlesinger say about the studies that seem to show a connection between mental ill health and creativity?
  3. What point does she make about Cole Porter?
  4. What is wrong with literary confession as a source of evidence?
  5. Explain the problems she raises in connection with bipolar disorder on p. 75.
  6. Is Schlesinger right that the mad genius hypothesis cannot accommodate hard work?


  1. What general explanation for the persistence of the mad genius myth does Schlesinger consider in this piece?
  2. Explain Schlesinger’s three main hypotheses: blunting intimidation, living too close to the edge, and envy begets hostility.
  3. Are these convincing? How might we assess them?