Sleep Fictions: A Digital Companion

XI.2 Hudson

James’s careful charting of Roderick’s decline is entrenched in the cultural moment. For instance, the novel prefigures George Beard’s hypothesis about artistic genius in his 1881 study American Nervousness.* Beard argues that “geniuses who are very precocious may be looked upon as the last of their race or of their branch—from them degeneracy is developed; and this precocity, despite their genius, may be regarded as the forerunner of that degeneracy” (263). 


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