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“On Lohengrin’s Swan, ” is an extended reading of W. E. B. Du Bois’s short story “Of the Coming of John” as a poetic elaboration of his theory of the sociogenesis of human intelligence. It begins by exploring Du Bois’s narrative style, analyzing how he depicts a particular impressionistic consciousness in a manner akin to what Baudelaire describes as modernist, which is compared to Poe’s depiction of consciousness in his short story “The Man of the Crowd.” It then contrasts the nature of the interiority depicted with John Jones in “Of the Coming of John” to that of Baudelaire’s flâneur, arguing that Benjamin’s elaboration of flânerie as the emblematic figure of modernism cannot comprehend Jones. It concludes by tracking the theoretical foundations of Du Bois’s depiction of Jones’s consciousness to his critical engagement with mathematics, specifically developments in analysis and number theory and its applications in statistical sociology.

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