chapter  4
Dramatising the Identity Crisis
Pages 82

The eighteenth-century concept of personality as an autonomous individual, which defined the bourgeois theatre – principally Sturm und Drang and German classical theatre – refers to a potential inborn in man, given by nature. In this sense, Herder defined ‘genius’ as the embodiment of personality. ‘Genius lies dormant in mankind as the tree in its seed’, and Goethe complained, through Wilhelm Meister, of the enormous difficulties encountered by the citizen who is forced to earn his daily bread – an activity which hinders the development of his personality.