I remember reading a biography of George Orwell in which Orwell and A.J. Ayer met in a hotel in France and spent an evening together (in the hotel bar, I hasten to add). The biographer (with a literary background) described them whimsically as 'two men of near-genius'.
Is the concept of genius pointless? If it depends who you ask, surely it is - John Lennon, Babe Ruth, Jackson Pollock, etc. and it can't simply be a question of aesthetics when applied to Newton or Aristotle, say. I reckon there are no criteria outside of a dictionary. How does philosophy deal with such vague terms?