A tradition rooted in the mythology of romanticism and its conception of the artist as a cultural hero would want to believe that everything pertaining to the life of a genius has to bear the mark of the sublime. Everything in their lives -gestures, decisions, personality traits, eccentricities, even the most dissonant mistakes- are thus transformed into esthetic substance. We would want their lives to be masterworks, a perfect coherence_ and continuity between the work and its creator. Bolan-d Barthes has criticized this conception as a basically bourgeois aberration - the perennial realism of the bourgeois culture, its need to identify the signified with the signifier. And then we learn about the real human dimension of these heroes- their pettiness, narcissism, avariciousness, arbitrariness, and childishness, all of which are no more than their human specificity.