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Genius and the MindStudies of Creativity and Temperament$
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Andrew Steptoe

Print publication date: 1998

Print ISBN-13: 9780198523734

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198523734.001.0001

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Early lives: prodigies and non-prodigies

Early lives: prodigies and non-prodigies

(p.96) (p.97) Chapter 5 Early lives: prodigies and non-prodigies
Genius and the Mind

Michael J. A. Howe

Oxford University Press

The chapter analyses whether the early child life of a genius is a direct reflection of the creative achievements in adult life, through the contrasting childhood and adolescence life of four intellectual giants of the nineteenth century namely John Stuart Mill, Charles Darwin, Michael Faraday, and George Stephenson. A number of links and their subsequently examined insights have shown that the experiences of childhood and early life make it possible for some individuals to prepare themselves for major creative achievements in their maturity. An understanding of the unique path followed by a young person in early life helps in understanding how and why that person became capable of their particular accomplishments. Results have indicated that the vast majority of child prodigies do not develop into exceptionally creative adults thereby emphasizing that there are no inevitable connections between prodigy and genius.

Keywords:   genius, creative achievements, adult life, childhood, adolescence, John Stuart Mill, Charles Darwin, Michael Faraday, George Stephenson, prodigy

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