39. D’Alembert uses at least two different meanings for the word “genius” in this Discourse: the older notion of genius as some excellent quality which certain persons had the good fortune to share (found in the phrase: “He has genius”), and the more romantic one beginning to appear in the eighteenth century, which assigns the name “genius” to a person of transcendent creativity, intellect, or ability (see [a, b, c, d, e, f, g, h]). Saint-Lambert’s celebrated article “Genius,” Encyclopédie, VII, 582–84, carries through this latter definition in detail. In addition d’Alembert defines genius as a “feeling that creates”. For a lucid discussion of the concept of genius in eighteenth-century France, see Herbert Dieckmann, “Diderot’s Conception of Genius,” Journal of the History of Ideas, II (1941), 151–82.


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