Engendered Fictions: Analysing gender in the production and reception of texts
NSWUP, $24.95 pb
An ancient grammarian who had pondered Horace’s remarks on whether a good poem is the product of natural aptitude (ingenium) or acquired skills (studium) opted for ingenium and produced what was to become a much-quoted aphorism: poeta nascitur non fit, ‘a poet is born, not made’. His privileging of ‘nature’ over ‘art’ is favoured by those anxious to preserve the mystery of poetry by deriving it from an inscrutable faculty called ‘genius’. Others, eager to unscrew the inscrutable, favour the rival and demystificatory claim that poets are made, not born, which enables human interventions to overcome biological determinism.