Help remembering a book

Many, many, many years ago I heard of an excellent literature book, which I’ve compeletely forgotten the name of, the author or any factual information. Looking all over the place to remember its title has driven me mad! Although it’s a very vague description, would anyone recognize a novel with an ill-spirited, yet genius and brilliant protagonist? If you have any ideas, please mention them (I might recall it if I see it).

Tom Ripley, from the Ripley series (Patricia Highsmith)?

You don’t have any more information than that? What about an era for the setting? Or a scene?

It was written during the romantic-era. The setting was around 200 to 300 years ago in some city (eg. London etc) but I really don’t remember which one.

Sorry, far too vague.

The “ill-spirited, yet genius and brilliant protagonist” has been a standard character type since Moliere at least.

Tristam Shandy?


Heard of? Not actually read. Are you hoping that a title will trigger a memory or will any suggestion fitting your very vague description do?

The History of Tom Jones

Sherlock Holmes

I was thinking “ill-tempered” better fits Professor Challenger. Of course, neither goes back quite “200 to 300 years.”

Ingenious Pain?

True, but the character is genius and brilliant, which really narrows things down to Holmes.
I don’t suppose this is one of those Neal Stephenson books, is it?

Challenger not brilliant?

He has broken his cane over the heads of lesser men than you for suggesting any such thing.