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Robert Bulwer-Lytton

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Genius does what it must, talent does what it can.
--
Last Words, reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).

 
Robert Bulwer-Lytton

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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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Genius discovers a system; average talent stereotypes it till it is shattered by fresh genius. It is dangerous for an army to be led by veterans; for on the other side God may place Napoleon.

 
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Talent does what it can; genius does what it must.

 
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