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Louisa May Alcott

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It takes people a long time to learn the difference between talent and genius, especially ambitious young men and women.
--
Ch. 22 : Artistic Attempts

 
Louisa May Alcott

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Universality is the distinguishing mark of genius. There is no such thing as a special genius, a genius for mathematics, or for music, or even for chess, but only a universal genius. ... The theory of special genius, according to which for instance, it is supposed that a musical genius should be a fool at other subjects, confuses genius with talent. ... There are many kinds of talent, but only one kind of genius, and that is able to choose any kind of talent and master it.

 
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I think the difference between me and some of the other YBAs [Young British Artists] was that I was ambitious for the work, and not ambitious for myself.

 
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‘You served here how long, Cornelius?’
‘Long enough to learn about what they believe. Not long enough to learn to speak their language well enough to get their confidence. Not long enough to learn how to read their books. Now I’ve three years before retirement and a measure of spare time for getting down to it.’
‘This, you know,’ Marcellus said, ‘is all wrong. You’re not here to get their confidence or read their books. They’re a colonized people. We’re here to give orders.
‘They’d rather die than obey some of the Roman orders. Besides, it’s laid down that their religion is inviolate...’

 
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Everyone can act. Everyone can improvise. Anyone who wishes to can play in the theater and learn to become 'stage-worthy.' We learn through experience and experiencing, and no one teaches anyone anything. This is as true for the infant moving from kicking and crawling to walking as it is for the scientist with his equations. If the environment permits it, anyone can learn whatever he chooses to learn; and if the individual permits it, the environment will teach him everything it has to teach. 'Talent' or 'lack of talent' have little to do with it.

 
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Fabian Baron: "She's very imposing and knows what she wants. She's very informed and opinionated, which makes her genius. She takes you in and swallows you up—and you don't mind it, you actually enjoy it. There's an unspoken seduction that goes on. I was young, She was young, too, and beautiful. She knows what she's doing. And such drive. Some people want to lift stones and see what's under it. She'll be on a beach with millions of stones and want to lift every one of them."

 
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