Thanks to everyone who sent in articles on geniuses in response to my how to be a genius essay. A few folks mentioned this great two part essay by Joel Achenbach of the Washington post, all about how geniuses have failed.
Here’s one of many choice quotes:
“For centuries, Shakespearean scholars have been stumped by the play. It’s so . . . awful. Mention “Titus Andronicus” to Harold Bloom, English professor at Yale and policeman of the Western canon, and he immediately says, ‘Boy, is that bad. It’s just a bloodbath. There’s not a memorable line in it.’
The Bard, bad? How’s that possible? Isn’t Shakespeare the greatest writer in the history of the English language, pulling away from the pack like Secretariat at the Belmont? How could the same guy write “King Lear” and this crappy thing?
Here’s the best explanation: Geniuses mess up too. This is a phenomenon that permeates the creative world. “