Darrin McMahon

Mary Brinsmead Wheelock Professor of History, Dartmouth College

Darrin M. McMahon is the Mary Brinsmead Wheelock professor at Dartmouth College, and formerly the Ben Weider Professor and Distinguished Research Professor at Florida State University. Born in Carmel, California, and educated at the University of California, Berkeley and Yale, where he received his PhD in 1998, McMahon is the author of Enemies of the Enlightenment: The French Counter-Enlightenment and the Making of Modernity (Oxford University Press, 2001) and Happiness: A History (Atlantic Monthly Press, 2006), which has been translated into twelve languages, and was awarded Best Books of the Year honors for 2006 by the New York Times, The Washington Post, the Library Journal, and Slate Magazine. I In 2013, McMahon completed a history of the idea of genius and the genius figure, Divine Fury: A History of Genius, published with Basic Books. He is also the editor, with Ryan Hanley, of The Enlightenment: Critical Concepts in Historical Studies, 5 vols. (Routledge, 2009); with Samuel Moyn, of Rethinking Modern European Intellectual History (Oxford University Press, 2014); and with Joyce Chaplin of Genealogies of Genius (forthcoming 2016 with Palgrave). McMahon has taught as a visiting scholar at Columbia University, New York University, Yale University, the University of Rouen, the École Normale Supérieur, École des Hautes Études, and the University of Potsdam. His writings have appeared in such publications as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, New York Times Book Review, Slate, Washington Post, The New Republic, and the Literary Review.

Participant In:

Understanding Genius

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Past Event

Schopenhauer defined genius in relation to the more conventional quality of talent. “Talent hits a target others miss. Genius hits a target no one sees.” Is originality indeed the sine qua non of genius? Is there, following Kant, a radical separation of the aesthetic genius from the brilliant scientific mind? What further distinctions might be made between… read more »

The Helix Center is pleased to announce receipt of a grant from the John Templeton Foundation in support of a series of fourteen roundtables addressing big questions in the physical, natural, and biological sciences and the humanities. The topics are: Knowledge and Limitations; The Span of Infinity; Complexity and Emergence; The Search for Immortality;  The Sublime Experience; The Meditative State; The… read more »

Understanding Genius II: Women

Saturday, March 26
2:30-4:30 pm

Past Event

Name five female geniuses off the top of your head. If you find yourself stumbling after Madame Curie, you are hardly alone. Why should this be when there is no shortage of brilliant, creative women, who are as numerous in history as they are today? How has genius been conceived historically? In our continuing investigation… read more »