Sunday, 19 July 2015

The contrasting character of two modern favourite women literary geniuses

It is striking that - although men make up the great bulk of geniuses in most fields, there are plenty of women among the genius novelists and some poets (but no playwrights) - two of my current favourites are JK Rowling who wrote the Harry Potter series, and Susanna Clarke who wrote Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell - which are currently my favourite fictions by living authors.

Looking at them in terms of personality type, there is a great difference (so far as can be judged from public media - all this that follows is my opinion, inference and guesswork).

Susanna Clarke being interviewed at a public event (the, unseen, shoes are flat, comfortable 'pumps')

Susanna Clarke seems a classic bluestocking type, in terms of her rather reserved, even shy, public persona - and her non-celebrity - one might even say reclusive - lifestyle. She is a very pleasant looking lady, but - unusually nowadays - has not dyed her hair and is naturally grey, she dresses traditionally and modestly, she does not project sexuality. She is a slow and careful writer and has only published one novel and a few short stories. She seldom gives an opinion on public subjects - although everything suggests she has broadly mainstream Leftist views (with the exception of being patriotically English).

JKR in skyscraper shoes and plunge neckline at a movie premiere

Joanna Rowling is in contrast a very public celebrity - never out of the news, making pronouncements on many subjects, and allying with several fashionable Left Wing causes. She presented herself in a sexualized manner, having had plastic surgery and wearing fashionable and immodest clothing.

In both womens' great works, there is an underlying Christian ethos; although I gather that Clarke is not a Christian and Rowling is currently a very liberal Christian (or else, as I believe, apostate and not a real Christian nowadays - even though she clearly was when writing Harry Potter) - however, in my understanding, the Christian frame is essential to the excellence of both authors' best work.

My point here is that real geniuses always have the Endogenous personality type - as I have called it (see reference below) -  but the Endogenous personality includes people expressing very different behaviours - as widely different as Clarke and Rowling.

The Endogenous personality can be regarded as a destiny - and only when it is so regarded, will genius achievement (potentially) follow. The interesting distinction between these two women, is that Rowling seem to me to have betrayed her destiny, while Clarke has tried to remain faithful to it.

Why do I say Rowling has betrayed her genius - simply because she is very-obviously very-concerned with how she presents herself to the public; and that acts to sabotage genuine quality, high-level achievement... genius. (This extends to creating a distorted, and dishonest, and self-serving mythology of her own life as a writer.) Rowling is consciously, almost systematically sabotaging her own destiny as a creative person. Unless she repents this, she will certainly have destroyed her own genius.

Therefore I think it is not possible that Rowling could again write anything as good as the Harry Potter series; while it is possible that Clarke could write another thing as good as Strange and Norrell.

But the situation is not symmetrical. Whereas Rowling cannot produce anything great again, because she has eliminated an essential element of great work; Clarke will not necessarily produce another great work even if she is faithful to her destiny, because achievement may be blocked by the lack of other necessary factors - such as health, or luck.

This is, indeed, what corrupts so many artists, why the culture of celebrity (of 'success') has been lethal to so many geniuses in recent years: on the one side they have a certainty of worldly-success (money, fame, status, power) - offered them on a plate, or indeed thrust-upon them; while on the other hand there is only a possibility of doing more great works.

Here-and-now certainty versus the mere possibility at some point in the future - the public world versus personal destiny - Pleasure versus Fulfillment - Prestige versus Creativity - Man versus God...