In discussions over the meaning of "genius" in the Renaissance, there is at the very least agreement that the term was associated with heightened powers of perception and creativity. Whether defined in terms of Neoplatonic notions of inspiration, Aristotelian/Galenic theories of the humors (and of melancholy in particular), or rhetorical theories of invention, ingegno is acknowledged as having denoted an unusual mental energy and flexibility which facilitated the creative process. It is the psychic mobility with which ingegno was consistently linked that I intend to emphasize here, and in particular its frequent identification with those volatile spirits that were centrally important in both Aristotelian/Galenic humoral psychology and in the Neoplatonic and hermetic traditions of natural magic. In this respect I am less interested in the early-modem "debate" over the origins of genius between Aristotelian naturalism and Neoplatonic supernaturalism than I am in the continuities between these two very often intersecting traditions.

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Copyright © 2012, Ashgate Press. The Invention of Discovery, 1500-1700.

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This is an Accepted Manuscript of a book chapter published by Routledge/CRC Press in The Invention of Discovery, 1500-1700 on 2012. available online: http://www.routledge.com.

Russell, Anthony. “Spirits, Vitality, and Creation in the Poetics of Tommaso Campanella and John Donne,” in The Invention of Discovery, 1500-1700, ed. James Dougal Fleming, (Surrey, UK: Ashgate Press, 2012): 79-92.

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