“Genius is formed in quiet, character in the stream of human life.”
So proclaims Goethe in his play Torquato Tasso. Tasso was a tortured Italian poet who lived in the sixteenth century and influenced and inspired many subsequent writers and artists, including Spenser, Milton, van Dyck and Byron. He was a man so busy polishing his genius he failed to engage with “the stream of human life”. He was celebrated for centuries for his artistic melancholy (aka rudeness); more recently, it has been suggested he was bipolar.