genius, in Roman religion, guardian spirit of a man, a family, or a state. In some instances, a place, a city, or an institution had its genius. As the guardian spirit of an individual, the genius (corresponding to the Greek demon) was largely the force of one's natural desires. The genius of the paterfamilias was honored in familial worship as a household god and was thought to perpetuate a family through many generations. Notable achievements or high intellectual powers of an individual were attributed to his genius, and ultimately a man of achievements was said to have genius or to be a genius.

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2015, The Columbia University Press.

Genius: Selected full-text books and articles

Origins of Genius: Darwinian Perspectives on Creativity By Dean Keith Simonton Oxford University Press, 1999
Genius and Character By Emil Ludwig; Kenneth Burke Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1927
Manic Depression and Creativity By D. Jablow Hershman; Julian Lieb Prometheus Books, 1998
Creativity and the Mind: Discovering the Genius Within By Thomas B. Ward; Ronald A. Finke; Steven M. Smith Plenum Press, 1995
Greatness: Who Makes History and Why By Dean Keith Simonton Guilford, 1994
Nature's Gambit: Child Prodigies and the Development of Human Potential By David Henry F E Ldman; Lynn T. Goldsmith Basic Books, 1986
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