*a plan, then…

*(—follows on from ‘part II. —toward some sort of (provisional plan. …’ ).

*an… outline for the project, then. …

 *and so then (and, good God,—why not…—?),… —the-a plan (provisional, of sorts…).

*I. in the first… section-chapter (…—sequence of fragments) here, I want to lay the groundwork for my reading of Birth and of neo-classical Modernist aesthetics.

—I will make the argument that the opening (rather obscure and, apparently, insignificant) gambit of The Birth of Tragedy *(—on: gods—vs. concepts. …) can be illuminated by comparing it to the analogous terms of Nietzsche’s critique of language and the intellect, and championing of ‘intuition’ as a new philosophical and artistic method in the later ‘On Truth and Lies in a Nonmoral Sense’ essay. …

*—I will lay out the terms of the rejection of the metaphysical in the essay, linking it to Nietzsche’s (very) early critique of Schopenhauer (and Kant).

—drawing on a comparison of the key terms of ‘On Truth and Lies’ *(—as simplifying and clarifying those of Birth), with those of Henri Bergson’s philosophy (—‘intuitionvs. the concepts of the intellect), I will argue that the ‘primal unity’ (Ur-Eine) of Birth, though seemingly, perhaps, straightforwardly Schopenhauerian, is, in fact, much closer to Bergson’s concept of ‘duration’ and Nietzsche’s own later formulation of the ‘will to power’. …

*II.— *(the core of the thing). …

Nietzsche’s conception of Apollo and Dionysus and, particularly, his claim that the Dionysian artistic drive affords access to the ‘primal unity’, may appear straightforwardly Schopenhauerian and Romantic.

however, drawing on the first chapter, in my reading of Birth I will thus be able to place myself in a position to argue that it is the key contrast between the concepts of the intellect and ‘intuition’, clarified in ‘On Truth’, which truly underpin Nietzsche’s conception of Attic theatre and aesthetics: *—of the gods vs. concepts, and to demonstrate that Birth is (therefore) implicated in Nietzsche’s pre-existing and continuing critique of Schopenhauer and rejection of metaphysics. …

*—I will read the Apollinian and the Dionysian as two modes of the sublime, embodying (in art) the natural drives to the *incorporation and *purgation of lived experience, respectively. …

*—and, for Nietzsche, art reaches its apogee in the form in which these two art impulses (—*modes of the sublime) are conjoined.

(and,—don’t worry (if, indeeed, you were),… —I’ve got a whole damn line on conjunction vs. any idea of (dialectical) ‘synthesis’. … )…

that is,… —the need to purge everyday experience and to experience the ecstatic release and free play of all the desires-drives harnessed,—channeled, or repressed within(-beneath) it, characteristic of the Dionysian, gives birth to a further need (felt) not to lose that experience in the—ineluctable—fall-return (back.—down) into the everyday that follows hard upon it…

—this leads to the drive to retrieve everyday experience in the form of a register from which to draw (discrete, comprehensible) images with which to thus incorporate the experience of purgation. …—in effect,—to the Apollinian. …

*—the conjunction of the Dionysian and Apollinian in the incorporation of the experience of purgation represents the fold in the ironic self-(re-)creation of the artist. …

and, for Nietzsche, this Dionysian-Apollinian conjunction takes place in the birth of tragedy. …

—I will argue that the terms of Nietzsche’s reading of the Dionysian-Apollinian relationship represents his account of the process from artistic inspiration to creation, and, in essence, an ironic appropriation of the terms of Romantic accounts to a fundamentally anti-Romantic aesthetic. …

 

*(II(a).—…).

in the second part (portion) of the chapter, I want to move on, then, to clarify what I think is at stake in the account of the creative process in Birth by drawing a parallel to the terms of neo-classical Modernist aesthetics, in particular the ‘classicalvs. the ‘romantic’.

*—I will ground my reading of Modernism in an examination of the incarnations of Stephen’s aesthetic theory in Joyce’s fiction from Stephen Hero, through Portrait, to Ulysses, and their relationship to the ideas in Joyce’s own critical writings.

in particular, I’ll focus on the use (and abuse) of Aquinas and Shakespeare in the development from the early concept of the ‘epiphany’ to that of the ‘image’.

—this development is marked by its incorporation of (or, rather,—into) a conception of the ‘classical’, and I’ll seek to clarify this by comparing the terms of Stephen’s and of Joyce’s definitions of art with the critical writings of T.E. Hulme (in particular, drawing on the material in the first chapter, Hulme’s reading of Bergson on ‘intuitionvs. the intellect), and those of Ezra Pound, contrasting the terms of neo-classical Modernist aesthetics with those of Yeats’s self-styled late-Romantic aesthetic metaphysics.

*—I’ll use my reading of the fold of the artist in Birth *(—anti-metaphysics and Romantic—anti-Romanticism) to illuminate what I believe to be at stake in neo-classical Modernist aesthetics and, in turn, locate Birth in far greater proximity to neo-classical Modernism than readings of its relationship to Romanticism have (thus far, to the best of my knowledge) allowed for, or considered.

and, in what remains of the chapter, I will finish by using my reading of the philosophical naturalism of Birth, the fold, and the ‘classical’ to give a reading of Nietzsche’s account of the structure, relationship to audience, and (most importantly) the effect of tragedy.

*III— in what will, effectively, constitute the second half (or—portion) of this… project,—everything-all (from here-on in) starts to become—to get—all too sketchy and—speculative. …

(hmm).

having reworked the material from thesis, and presented my theory of the fold (and, as such, then, achieved my original purpose here), I propose to move on to examine some of the philosophical, political and ethical implications it… kicks up (so to). …

*—I want to reproduce and rework some material from Notes of a Vanishing Quantity (such as it is at the current time (of writing)), which I originally prepared for a blog post for a reading group on early twentieth century political thought, which I organised with my very good and dear friends Dr Christos Hadjiyannis (now Research Fellow in English Literature at Wolfson College, The University of Oxford), Dr Silvia Villa (at this time attached to The University of Edinburgh), and Dr Sarah Humayun. …

*(Christos is now, incidentally, involved in running a new reading group—on the History of Ideas, at Wolfson…).

 

*—I will seek to develop my readings of Nietzsche, Bergson and Hulme, and, using E.M. Forster’s essay ‘What I Believe’ as a foil, to lay out the terms—emerging from the rejection of metaphysics and ironic appropriation of Romanticism—of what I see as neo-classicism’s rejection of Humanism. …

 

*—and it is here that I envisage—building on the substance of a review originally written for Edinburgh Spotlight—my criticism of Alain de Botton and of Jo Clifford (as exemplifying certain… problems in contemporary thought and the arts) sitting. …

*in conclusion. …

—I envisage (at the time of writing this) the main substance (so to) of this project concluding in a review and restatement of the ‘classical’, Romantic—anti-Romanticism and (above all) my concept of the fold (of the artist), and, taking issue particularly with Robert Pippin’s ‘On “becoming who one is” (and failing): Proust’s problematic selves’ (in Nikolas Kompridis (ed.)—Philosophical Romanticism), in light of these, to end with a set of reflections on the fate of the Romantic aesthetic of the ‘fragment’ and on fatalism.  …

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part II. —toward some sort of (provisional) plan. …

*(—follows on from ‘the eventual artist’. … ).

PART SECOND.
*(—toward a sort of clumsy, inadequate
and provisional plan…).

so,… (hmm).

—in what follows here, then (for the rest of these—introductory—remarks), I want to try to lay out, as best I’m able, (and why not?) a provisional outline and structure of where (now—at the time of writing this) I feel I want all this to go…

legitimate criticism…

*as I’ve said already (above),—what I’m involved in-with here is a ridiculously personal, pretentious and ambitious work, aiming to establish a complete theory of artistic inspiration (an—*aesthetic theory),… —eschewing any claim to genu-ine, thoroughgoing scholarship ahead of things (in advance).

 

that having been said. …

*— one of the critical comments I received on my thesis—one that at the time disappointed and disheartened me (frankly, struck me as somewhat illegitimate, actually, in a way…), but which, in retrospect (in-with hindsight), strikes me now as completely fair—is that my work lacked *‘depth’. …

(—that, philosophically, it had a (sweeping) breadth, but that it lacked depth).

fair, insofar as it indeed did lack (—it lacks), a depth of engagement. …

for example.—…

in the opening chapter—which I aim (at the time of writing these introductory remarks) to reproduce here, in a heavily revised form—I, essentially, gave a straightforward and not particularly critically thoroughgoing reading of Nietzsche’s essay, ‘On Truth and Lies in a NonMoral Sense’, and drew a parallel between the terms of Nietzsche’s account of the origins of language and contrast between the intellect and *(the crucial term, for me) *‘intuition’ with what I argued were the analogous terms in the work of French philosopher Henri Bergson. … 

—I didn’t dwell, in any meaningful detail, on all the possible problems or critical questions in or of the essay. such as—for example—the problem of what is referred to as ‘correspondence’: the (question of the) correspondence between words and things they are used to designate.

—I relegated references to all such problems to contextual notes…

nor did I, really (truly), engage in any thorough criticism of Bergson.

(and this is true also, I think, of the ways in which I referred to the works of Plato, Kant, and Schopenhauer, elsewhere. …).

*(—for the substance of all of this,—please see below…).

hmm.

 

—whilst the (necessarily) limited scope, space (length), and time given for-to a thesis (—to any given work, come to that, I suppose) do provide some excuse for this—as well as the fact that these things weren’t the focus of the thesis, but, that instead, I used them as means (I suppose), toward the end of clarifying and contextualising my readings of Nietzsche and Joyce—this does, undeniably, leave both myself and the thesis open to charges of *superficiality. …

 

*—. I’m aware, then, that this remains as a problem, and it’s one that I hope to at least go some way toward remedying here…

(—one I (feel I) need to address…).

…—to treat of these things in the detail that they deserve-require. …

(—to develop the depth of the argument and of the textual and critical engagement…).

…*—either (then) to seek to remedy all that lack of depth, or (perhaps)… to turn that superficiality—as an expression of, what feels to me, an… impulsive,… —unschooled (dilettantish?),… (—hopelessly idealistic-optimistic) *—encyclopaedic drive-ambition—to account here (somehow)…

 

hmm.

 

 

fit for purpose

*although I’m broadening my original remit here—foregrounding my readings of the self-styled neo-classical Modernists, letting Joyce (so to speak) take the place I see him as occupying in their midst—I want (—am going) to reproduce large, edited,… fragments from the ‘Introduction’ to my thesis here…

—in part because, upon revisiting that wretched beast in the process of trying to compose all of this, I’ve been surprised to find that both the writing and the substance hold up to reading and scrutiny far better than I had any real right to hope that they would, but, also, because a lot of the points made in it still hold true, here—in this… awkward gamble—and are (still?) fit for purpose…

 

 

an opening gambit
(borrowed).

*—to more fully introduce my argument (—my thesis) here—to outline its (provisionally proposed) structure and lay out some genuine critical and intellectual context,… —a fragment.—from the thesis ‘Introduction’, then. …—

*—recent critical work on the relationship between Joyce and Nietzsche has tended to focus exclusively on the question of influence

 in ‘The Struggle against Meta (Phantasma)-Physics: Nietzsche, Joyce and the “Excess of History”’ *(catchy, engaging title there), for example, drawing his reading in particular from The Use and Abuse of History, Joseph Buttigieg gives a broad account of Nietzsche’s conception of history, but, in effect, uses his reading of Nietzsche to simply augment his reading of Joyce, arguing that his conception of the ‘postmodern’ Nietzsche can ‘illuminate and give depth’ to the works of the ‘modernist’ Joyce. [1] (—?).

 …in The Aesthetics of James Joyce, Jacques Aubert discusses what he calls the ‘Nietzschean overtones’ of Joyce’s work.[2] (?)

 —Aubert focuses on what he argues is Hegel’s crucial influence on Joyce and appears to align Nietzsche, and Nietzsche’s influence on Joyce, with what he somewhat vaguely and allusively refers to as ‘post-Hegelian’ or ‘Neo-Hegelian’ philosophy (though it is never clear precisely what he intends these to denote…).[3]

 in ‘Beyond Truth and Freedom: The New Faith of Joyce and Nietzsche’, Joseph Valente (whose work, elsewhere, on Joyce’s politics I very much admire) gives an illuminating account of Joyce and Nietzsche’s mutual rejection of metaphysics, but focuses exclusively on the later Joyce and Nietzsche.—again, Valente frames his argument specifically in terms of an influence, drawing on an idiosyncratic reading of the concept of the ‘superman’ and identifying Stephen as ‘recognizably Zarathustrian’. [4] (again… —?).

—the central problem with the critical approach that these accounts share in common—which concerns itself with this question of (supposéd) ‘influence’—is that, in effect, it obliges itself to attribute a detailed and philosophically thoroughgoing reading of Nietzsche’s works to Joyce (—one not always necessarily in evidence in the criticism itself). …

—it must therefore be at pains to stretch available biographical information on Joyce’s reading of Nietzsche, as well as examples of ‘Nietzschean’ references drawn from Joyce’s texts, in order to fit a partial, incomplete or inaccurate characterisation of Nietzsche’s thought… —in essence, threatening to transform Joyce into some kind of ‘Nietzschean’ (?) and Nietzsche into some kind of anticipatory (or proto-) ‘Joycean’ (—?).[5]

 

by contrast, then, this thesis *(—the current work) will seek to set aside the problematic question of influence from the outset, instead seeking to examine the mutually illuminating *parallel which it will argue exists between the theorising of artistic inspiration and the resulting conception of the figure of the artist in the works of Joyce and Nietzsche. it will argue that this parallel has mutually illuminating consequences for an understanding of both Nietzsche and Joyce’s relationships to metaphysics and, through this, to Romanticism. …

*(—you see?, hm?… —none too shabby, perhaps, (at least on that one), when you get right down to brass tacks (—to the nub of the thing)… (—?)).

*though for ‘Nietzsche and Joyce’, here should be read: ‘Nietzsche and neo-classical Modernism’ (—more broadly),… the basic substance of this opening gambit from the thesis remains. …

 

—I don’t want to transform the neo-classical Modernist writers into ‘Nietzscheans’—of any given hue, or in any given way—here, nor (indeed) am I trying here to transform Nietzsche in any way into some kind of ‘proto-Modernist’.

*(—I’m really still not sure what would be gained by doing so, without doing a disservice to both parties,—misrepresenting both…).

…*—instead, what I’m (still) interested in here—what will form my focus and underpin my structure here—is what I will argue is the mutually illuminating parallel that exists in the terms of their accounts of the ‘classical’ and rejections of the ‘romantic’, and (most importantly), as I’ve already attempted to describe, above, where all this serves to place art in relation to (claims about) knowledge, truth and ethics.

 

 

*—the argument. …
(context).

*my argument here will be grounded in a reading of Nietzsche, focussing on an in-depth close re-reading of the opening sections of The Birth of Tragedy.

indeed. …

and my aim in this re-reading (—this ‘critical reappraisal’ of Birth. and,… yes.—I’m aware of how ambitious and how arrogant that sounds…) is to bring into question its commonly critically perceived status as a (lamentably?) overtly and straightforwardly Schopenhauerian, Wagnerian and Romantic text, the substance of which Nietzsche was to abandon in his later work…

by contrast, I will argue that, though in an (admittedly) somewhat obscure and nascent form, the text contains the seeds of the major concepts and claims of Nietzsche’s later, mature (?) works—particularly his later rejection of metaphysics and of Romanticism, critique(s) of Schopenhauer, and, most importantly (for me), the concept of the ‘classical’.

*… —in particular I will argue for the need for a critical reappraisal of the Apollinian and Dionysian within the text, and of the relationship between them. …

in order to do that I’m going to retain a gambit which I adopted quite late on in the process of my doctoral thesis and really only (fully) incorporated into the final draft. …

—it’s a gambit of which I’m still honestly not wholly sure…

*—I want to locate this reading in the context of recent critical debates which have sought to interpret Nietzsche’s work through the rubric of philosophical *naturalism.[6]

hmm.

… —I’m still not sure that I’ve understood philosophical naturalism as deeply or as clearly as I ought (or need to), you see, but I offer the following from the thesis ‘Introduction’ in the hopes that a review of some of the most important and influential writers and works on naturalism—specifically in the context of Nietzsche’s work—will help to explain precisely why considering Birth as a naturalist text (so to speak) will serve to illuminate and substantiate my reading…

*… —these debates have focussed exclusively on the nature of  Nietzsche’s naturalism in his later philosophy, from Human, All Too Human (1878-1880), onwards, on the whole dismissing Birth as part of an early Schopenhauerian, Wagnerian  and Romantic ‘phase’ of Nietzsche’s work, which he would later—grow out of… (hmm).

Brian Leiter, for instance, argues that Nietzsche’s naturalism constitutes a ‘Methodological Naturalism’ (‘M-Naturalism’), according to which ‘philosophical inquiry […] should be continuous with empirical inquiry in the sciences’.[7]—It is a naturalism whose claims are not necessarily confirmed in a scientific manner, and which therefore remains a ‘Speculative M-Naturalism’, and yet is also in part a ‘Substantive’ naturalism insofar as it holds ‘the (ontological) view that the only things that exist are natural’. (Ibid.)…

—for Leiter then, Nietzsche’s is a naturalism which remains ‘speculative’ insofar as it is intuitive and artistic and yet is also empirical and, therefore, ‘substantive’ in its rejection of metaphysical explanations of phenomena; limiting its own project to an examination of natural drives and forces. …

*engaging with the terms extracted here from Leiter’s understanding of Nietzsche’s naturalism, as well as Ivan Soll’s argument that Nietzsche’s philosophy of art forms: —‘part of an overarching naturalism that grounds the value of any aspect of culture in the way it serves our most basic needs as living creatures’, I want to extend the range of the extant readings of Nietzsche’s idiosyncratic form of philosophical naturalism and its impact on his philosophy of art to argue for a critical reappraisal that sees it as already at stake in Birth.[8]

*as Nietzcshe’s first major published text, Birth, I will argue, represents an (arguably somewhat clumsily framed) opening gambit. …

*—a statement, then,—of (philosophical and artistic) purpose.

—it contains the (as yet—inarticulate,—incompletely fashioned) substance of his most important mature ideas and represents, in essence, I will argue, Nietzsche’s account of the conception of artistic inspiration and creation that will, indeed, go on to underpin his later works and (importantly) his style. …—

 

*I will argue that to read Birth  in this way—as a naturalistic account of artistic inspiration and creation—allows for a reappraisal of a subject of great concern in recent Nietzsche criticism: namely, that of the relationship of his philosophy of art from Birth onwards to the legacies of both Schopenhauer and Romanticism. …

in particular, I will argue for a re-conception of the relationship of Birth to Schopenhauer’s philosophy…

—against the prevalent contemporary critical trend to attribute an uncritical adoption of Schopenhauerian philosophy to the text, I will instead follow the opposing contemporary trend to locate the text within the wider context of Nietzsche’s early rejection of Schopenhauer’s metaphysics in his posthumously published notes and early writings.[9] This will allow me to argue that the deployment of Schopenhauer’s ideas and philosophical vocabulary in Birth is ironic.[10] … *(y-hip.—there it is…).

—for Schopenhauer, the artist is one who achieves liberation from subjective willing and attains access to the Platonic Ideas of which everyday objects are the imperfect expressions, or shadows.[11]

I will argue that in Birth Nietzsche implicitly opposes Schopenhauer’s ‘Platonic’ (—?) conception of art.

*—(one of my central claims here will be that) Nietzsche ironically appropriates the terms of Schopenhauer’s philosophy of art to his own, idiosyncratic form of philosophical naturalism—itself fundamentally at odds with Schopenhauer’s Kantian and Platonic metaphysics.—As Christopher Janaway (rather beautifully and succinctly) puts it…

[Nietzsche] opposes transcendent metaphysics, whether that of Plato or Christianity or Schopenhauer. He rejects notions of the immaterial soul, the absolutely free controlling will, or the self-transparent pure intellect, instead emphasizing the body, talking of the animal nature of human beings, and attempting to explain numerous phenomena by invoking drives, instincts, and affects which he locates in our physical, bodily existence. Human beings are to be “translated back into nature,” since otherwise we falsify their history, their psychology, and the nature of their values—concerning all of which we must know truths, as a means to the all-important revaluation of values. This is Nietzsche’s naturalism in the broad sense.[12]

Janaway argues here that Nietzsche rejects all concepts which can be seen to rest on claims to a transcendent (or) metaphysical foundation.

—in particular, Janaway frames this as a rejection of the key concepts of Schopenhauer’s metaphysics: ‘the absolutely free controlling will’ and ‘the self-transparent pure intellect’, though also (more broadly) of the religious doctrine of the ‘immaterial soul’.—for Nietzsche, he argues, to try to understand human beings and human history (—the history of the ‘human’) in light of these claims to transcendent metaphysical principles is to effectively misinterpret and to falsify that history. …

—in opposition to transcendent metaphysics, then, the history of ‘humanity’ must be ‘translated back into nature’ and understood as the dynamic interplay of natural drives, forces and affects, specifically in terms of the ways in which this interplay forms the, apparently self-identical, phenomenon of ‘the body’. …

*I will argue here that the key terms which, in the context of his larger argument, Janaway attributes to Nietzsche’s later works, are already at stake in Birth

—to read the account of artistic inspiration and creation at stake in Birth as fundamentally anti-metaphysical in this way will ultimately allow me to argue for a re-conception of the text’s relationship to Romanticism. …

*—in contrast, on the one hand, to contemporary critical readings of Birth which argue for the text’s thoroughgoing Romanticism, and, on the other, contrasting accounts which argue for the text’s thoroughgoing rejection of Romanticism, I will argue that Nietzsche’s account of artistic inspiration and creation represents his ironic appropriation of the terms of Romantic accounts of artistic inspiration to an aesthetic which rejects the metaphysics at stake in these accounts.[13]

*and this (for me, absolutely central and crucial ) claim—to a form of… *ironic Romantic—anti-Romanticism—is what will underpin my reading of the parallel between Nietzsche’s writing on art and the critical writing and aesthetic theorising of the neo-classical Modernists. …

—I will argue that Nietzsche’s ironic appropriation of the terms of Romantic accounts of artistic inspiration, and rejection of Romantic, Schopenhauerian and late-romantic aesthetical metaphysics can be used to illuminate the (corresponding-analogous) philosophical claims underpinning the conception of art in the critical and creative writings of the [neo-classical] Modernists.

—in turn, (yes. hmm. —it’s reciprocal…) the definition of the ‘classical’ and claims as to the nature of artistic inspiration and (the limits of) creation of the Modernists will help to illuminate what I will argue is at stake in Birth.

*(in particular, I’ll draw a parallel between the ‘classical’ as this appears in Nietzsche’s later writing on art (—from Human, All Too Human, onward), T.E. Hulme’s essays on Modern art and Bergson’s philosophy, Stephen’s aesthetic theory in Joyce’s fiction (Stephen Hero, Portrait and Ulysses), and Joyce’s own earlier writing on art…

—I will seek to demonstrate that the ‘classical’ is already at stake, then, in the theory of artistic inspiration and creation in Birth).

*—it’s from the terms of this parallel that I’m going to seek to re-state the thesis of *the fold in the self-creation of the artist, which I first framed in my doctoral thesis and which will underpin my own work, and to develop it here. …


[1] Buttigieg refers to Nietzsche, The Use and Abuse of History, trans. Adrian Collins (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1957). Buttigieg, Joseph A., ‘The Struggle against Meta (Phantasma)-Physics: Nietzsche, Joyce and the “Excess of History”’, boundary 2, 9 (1981), 187-207 (see 189).

[2] Jacques Aubert, The Aesthetics of James Joyce (Chicago: John Hopkins University Press, 1992).

[3] 66. See references throughout. F.C. McGrath also seeks to characterise Nietzsche in this way, arguing that ‘turn-of-the-century aesthetics’ was ‘thoroughly imbued’ with Hegel, and that ‘neo-Hegelianism’ had been made ‘widespread in Britain and Europe through the works of Nietzsche and Wagner’, though, again, he appears to offer little evidence to clarify Nietzsche’s ‘neo-Hegelian’ status, or to substantiate his historical claims. See F.C. McGrath, ‘Laughing in His Sleeve: The Sources of Stephen’s Aesthetics’, James Joyce Quarterly, 23, (1986), 259-275, 259-275 (see 260).

[4] ‘Beyond Truth and Freedom: The New Faith of Joyce and Nietzsche’, James Joyce Quarterly, 25 (1987), 87-103.

[5] In his biography of Joyce, Richard Ellmann claims that Joyce had read some of Nietzsche’s work during 1903, but doesn’t provide any details of the extent or depth of this reading, nor of Joyce’s possible consultation of whatever critical material was available on Nietzsche at that time. This leaves little biographical evidence on which to ground any thesis of ‘influence’… (—See Ellmann, James Joyce: New and Revised Edition [Oxford: OxfordUniversity Press, 1982], 142).

[6] On the critical debate on the nature of Nietzsche’s naturalism in relation to his later philosophy see Richard Schacht, ‘Nietzsche’s Gay Science, or, How to Naturalise Cheerfully’, in Robert C. Solomon and Kathleen M. Higgins, eds., Reading Nietzsche (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988), 68-86. On the naturalism of Nietzsche’s epistemology and philosophy of art, see Schacht, Nietzsche (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1999). Brian Leiter, Nietzsche on Morality (London: Routledge, 2002). See also, Leiter, ‘Nietzsche’s Naturalism Reconsidered’, University of Chicago, Public Law Working Paper No. 235, 2009 (http://ssrn.com/abstract=1171285).

[7] Leiter, Nietzsche on Morality, 3-7.

[8] Ivan Soll, ‘Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, and the Redemption of Life through Art’, in Christopher Janaway, ed., Willing and Nothingness: Schopenhauer as Nietzsche’s Educator (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1998), 79-115 (82).

[9] My reading of the critical trend to assert Nietzsche’s early uncritical adoption of Schopenhauer will focus on Julian Young’s Nietzsche’s Philosophy of Art (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992).—I will align my own opposition to the position that Young serves to exemplify, with the opposing critical trend to problematise and resist this influence.—See in particular Martha Nussbaum, ‘The Transfigurations of Intoxication: Nietzsche, Schopenhauer, and Dionysus’, in Salim Kemal, Ivan Gaskell, and Daniel W. Conway, eds., Nietzsche, Philosophy and the Arts (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1998), 36-69 (esp. 38-39). See also Nussbaum, ‘Nietzsche, Schopenhauer, and Dionysus’, in Janaway, ed., The Cambridge Companion to Schopenhauer (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999), 344-374 (esp. 344-345).

[10] See Christoph Cox, ‘Nietzsche, Dionysus, and the Ontology of Music’, in Ansell Pearson, ed., A Companion to Nietzsche (Oxford: Blackwell, 2006), 495-531. Cox argues that the Apollinian and Dionysian are not concerned with the thing-in-itself and the appearance and that Nietzsche is not reverting ‘back to metaphysical, anti-naturalist distinctions – ontological distinctions between a “true” and an “apparent” world or epistemological distinctions between an unknowable given and ordinary experience or knowledge.’ (499)

[11] On Schopenhauer’s account of the Platonic ‘Idea’ as the object of art, see in particular Arthur Schopenhauer, The World as Will and Representation, 2 Vols, trans. E.F.J. Payne, (New York: Dover, 1966), §§31-32, 171-175

[12] Janaway, Beyond Selflessness: Reading Nietzsche’s Genealogy, 34

[13] On the ‘Romanticism’ of Birth see Aaron Ridley, Nietzsche on Art (London: Routledge, 2007) (9). On Nietzsche’s straightforward ‘Anti-Romanticism’, see Adrian Del Caro, Nietzsche contra Nietzsche: Creativity and the Anti-Romantic, (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1989), and also Judith Norman, ‘Nietzsche and Early Romanticism’, Journal of the History of Ideas, 63 (2002), 501-519.

*on the ‘eventual artist’. …

*(follows on from: *’the fold of the artist).

the eventual artist.
(—by way of explanation.—by way of apology…).

and so then,…
(hmm).

*I was in love. …

—very deeply in love.
we met (I met you) on what still (oddly) feels to me like it ought to have been the… auspicious (?) occasion of New Year’s Eve, 1999.—on the nervous cusp of the new millennium (century, decade…).

(—on, what felt at the time, like the peculiarly anxious, dying edge of the old-the last millennium… …—like the gradual dissipation of an uncomfortable case of trapped wind… —release (no doubt), but without that feeling of profound relief…).


she was-is (—you are) heart-breakingly beautiful (I remember)…

—beautiful clear, soft pale skin.—elegant, with slightly… elfin (?) features.—long, dark flowing hair and sharp, pure crystal blue eyes.
(—long and slender with gentle curves).

what I was (always) struck by, I think, (looking back) was her (by your)… cool reserve. … —that slightly aloof refinement with which she always held herself.

more than anything, though,—as we talked, then—I was struck by how intelligent and well-read she was (—far more so than me),—and so (caustically) sharp-witted and sarcastic.

—someone smarter and more-informed than me (who also wanted to be a writer), with whom I could talk about books and have a prolonged, flirtatious, caustic battles of wit (and to always lose, of course).

—she was-is (you are)—perfect.

and I loved her (from the beginning, I think).

throughout the course of my undergraduate and Masters study, I became (increasingly) interested in theories of coincidence, the relationship between Philosophy and Literature, Nietzsche’s philosophy, and in the sublime. …

—I was drawn to Nietzsche, I think, because of his writing style and because his philosophy seemed to me to begin and end in or with art, but also because of his conception of the death of God. …

…—not ‘atheism’ (hmm) in any popular sense—as that (sadly widespread) adolescent, petulant misotheism (—hatred of God), espoused by Dawkins (and his ilk). …

—it is not (simply) the case for Nietzsche, as I understand it, that God does not exist (—that God has never existed).

for Nietzsche, God ‘lived’. …

—it is the case that God exists no longer.—that God is dead.

what initially excited and interested me in Nietzsche was the claim itself and, then, his seemingly unflinching examination of its implications for theories of metaphysics, knowledge, truth and to an understanding of morality.

in particular, over what became the hot, glorious summer in-between graduating from my Bachelor’s degree and commencing my Master’s studies (—over successive night-shifts in a stifling cabin that served as security base to a large, grey warehouse on a sprawling industrial estate at the edge of town, where I worked), I read The Birth of Tragedy.

and what I found had a strange and uncanny resonance for me—what I wrote about in my Master’s dissertation under the rubric of the sublime and what I came, later, to feel is concerned with the nature of artistic inspiration and creation and the reception of art—was the relationship between what Nietzsche calls the Dionysian and Apollinian artistic drives, but, more particularly, his claims regarding music and its qualitative and temporal primacy in (or over) the arts…

…—when I was young, my music teacher—a man who I came to think of as a sort of mentor—recruited me, on the basis of vocal talent, into a choir.
(first as a second soprano, then, later, as a (very light) tenor…).

…—he looked like Hegel looks in his sketched portraits—… —like a slightly stern and conservative schoolmaster, with an intense and slightly erratic energy and… zeal (especially when he was conducting), and he was a great musician and organist. though he had a slightly… bumbling and eccentric manner about him, he was essentially very fond of his students and was extremely supportive of their development.

I think that, though I didn’t realise it at the time, he occupied the place of a kind of grandfatherly figure for me…

*his wife, who, even at the time, in a strange and obscure way which I have still failed to resolve properly for myself, I also felt became a mentor-figure for me, became one of the first women priests to be ordained by the Church of England.

—she was quietly wise, dignified and (I think) quite sardonic, and always seemed (knowingly?) to impart a kind of patient calm on those around her (—on her immediate environment), without their awareness…

she had a formal, quiet grace and refinement.

she represented for me, I think (in ways which I have only in more recent times come to begin to understand) as intelligent—an intellectual (form of)—faith.

—she easily and (seemingly) naturally, embodied the… (what?)—qualities (?)—the values she espoused in her (short) ministry.
*(—an unaffected and harmonious seeming correspondence, somehow, between personality (character) and faith, which I think I’ve only ever seen in perhaps one other person…).

I came to love her—to love them both—very much.
she died of cancer while I was still quite young.

and I have always felt that she had been abandoned (by the church), over what still seem to me incredibly petty, narrow-minded, parochial (culturally and artistically bereft) personal and social politics, of the type that seem to dominate the day-to-day functioning of—the predominantly white, middle-class—Anglican and other denominational churches.

and I found (have found.—have clarified for myself), in the intervening time (years) between then and now (—writing this), that had been her (been them) that I had had faith in, and never (truly) in God, or in the church…

and yet.—something (I still feel) remains.—in the music. …

—in works such as Stainer’s The Crucifixion. …

—in the harmonies,—and against the depth—the *volume—of the organ.

*—intensities.
—the sense, felt, of a lift… —something (a condition, or state—?) out, beyond the ‘self’ (subjectivity) as lived everyday.—a state that brings the “self” to a halt.

—an exhilaration and a tension beyond the scale and the scope of the everyday ‘self’ (seeming). and as if the ‘self’ can’t withstand it. …

*—the ‘self’, then,—undone. but in that uncanny start (felt), there is also an exhilaration coupled to the sense of release—the freedom—of all the energy: the drives, forces and desires, leashed and contained in-within the everyday ‘self’. …

*—to, somehow, feel the world raging (there),—against itself (—to feel the way in which the world rages against itself).—the forces harnessed into order: some denied, others willed into compromise, some sublimated to their other ends than their own (willed).

—obliged into a hierarchy of (un)fulfillment. …

—all unveiled,—liberated (unleashed), in(to) full, in-by that experience…

—(the) *sublime.
(—the uncanny, awe, and exhilaration…—?).

—the creation (in art—music), then, of the object-proper of religious feeling (sentiment). …

—that feeling,—that experience, for me now, is always somehow inextricably (as it seems) tied to vague memories of, and my feelings for, her, and to her death.


*—and Nietzsche’s conception of music and of the Dionysian in The Birth of Tragedy, gave me, for the first time, I felt, the intellectual (—intellectual-historical, philosophical, and aesthetic) framework, vocabulary and categories to begin to adequately capture, comprehend and to articulate that experience.

and, at the end of my Master’s degree, I became, yet again, what would now be called a—‘boomeranging adultescent’. …
*(I am now, at the time of attempting to write all this, what would now be termed “underemployed”. and, oh, but good Ch-rist,—the many degrees of (subtle) distinction in the terms of frustration and indignity
(so many,—so very, very many…).).
*a—boo(oo)-muh rang-inga-dul-tessunt(…).

hmm.


my… relationship (—is that the right word… —?) with you seemed to approach (to have been approaching) what felt to me, at least, a… —critical pitch (tension), at that time. …
—it was never, I felt (—it seems to me) a question of capacity, or of capability *(of being capable of loving, or of being loved). …

—it was the case that I never felt *worthy,… —I never felt that I deserved to be loved (by you).
*(—not worthy yet. …

—always waiting for the act, the time,—the accomplishment that would render me—prove me—worthy…).

when I told her that I loved her, I think that, at least in part, I believed—or hoped so fervently that that feeling appeared to border on ‘belief’—that something truly would change between us.—some kind of consummation.—an accomplishment of what I wanted and hoped for
*(—acceptance. recognition. … —a relief from the anxious, nervous tension.—the warmth and safety, the protection, of acceptance…).

but,—nothing happened.


I was too late. …

—too late to stop her getting very badly hurt.
(—in a way, and to an extent which there was no chance of taking back, or of (in any way adequately) offering any understanding, solace, or comfort…

(—I’m sorry).).
—because of my (extreme,—ridiculous) youth,—all my anxieties, apprehension, awkwardness, frustration (—not ready.—no means or resources with which to prove my worthiness, as yet)… I was too afraid—too much of a coward—to tell her that I loved her, until we had (without my having been aware) passed the point at which it could have made a difference,… —had a reached a point at which it was already too late.

and although she told me that my feelings were reciprocated (and I believe that she really did love me,—before all of this), we were never able to overcome all the things that served to keep us apart from one another.

we still saw each other (though not as often as I would’ve liked)—and remained friends, but I always felt that there was an oppressive evasion between us,—something (the thing that remained) always between us, not being said, but always sensibly present (always felt).

over the course of my undergraduate study, I think I had achieved a level of success (—intellectually and in terms of success in writing) than I had believed (certainly been led to believe) myself capable…

and this had seemed to continue, in (what felt to me) like a sort of a (gradual) rising arc, through the course of my Master’s study.
*(and I felt that I was approaching, at least, that… thing,… that state, that I wanted to be—an intelligent, engaging, informed writer, with an accomplishment—an object, in the world—as palpable proof…).

at the end of my Master’s,—uncertain, then, of what I would do next—of what I would be trying to accomplish, I suppose…

—I ‘boomeranged’, then, (back) to the town where I had grown up, and I took work in financial litigations at the solicitor’s firm where I had worked before my undergraduate degree, in essence, to try to earn enough to undertake doctoral study…
it’s strange. …

—that feeling *(—complex of feelings),—of having slowed, somehow. … —of having stagnated (slight). …

*—an uneasy, imbalanced, fluctuating… —mixture (composite-conglomerate) of embarrassment (humiliation would, perhaps, be too melodramatic), a choked-stifled frustration, and a sort of nervous impatience, that comes from being obliged into an return and (what is felt to be) a step back (—down).
*(—. of having to hang back—to hold back. even with a certainty (felt) of what you could and should be doing—are capable of and are ready for…

—of not having the time, or the access to resources, that you feel you need…).

…*—it’s a feeling (or,—a state of mind, perhaps) I think, that must be all-too familiar and widespread to people of my generation (and those immediately following us.—the ‘millenials’,—so-called…),—following in the wake of the regrettable, undeniable, ineluctable failure of ‘free’ (—unregulated, supposedly self-regulating) market economics in the collapse of the U.S. housing market bubble *(as only the very latest historical example of the inevitable self-undoing, self-destructive logic of such economics and of the, now seemingly unstoppable, neo-liberal political ideology which drives and rigourously safe-guards the unregulated market), and the heedless, ill-conceived, ill-executed acquisitions and unchecked, unethical trading of the banks.

*(—in a time of unprecedented and increasing level of access to cultural, historical and artistic artifacts-works, and yet without the time, education, or the intellectual or economic resources to engage with, read or use those resources…).

thanks to the greed (and it is greed), myopia, self-interest and cultural and intellectual poverty of few…

hunh. …
—I’ve never seen the real attraction of money-wealth…

—we are told (by those still in authority, who are supposed to know—) that incomprehensibly large sums of money must be offered as remuneration for work in the contemporary ‘city’,—in order to be able to attract the very brightest and best,—the (intelligent and capable) ‘talent’…

hmm.

—if that were truly the case, and those operating and trading prior to the global economic crash were truly intelligent, prescient and capable enough, surely the crash itself would not have happened… (—?).

and. why?—I find myself asking—must (frankly) obscene financial reward be the sole incentive at stake?

—if there is no innate dignity, skill, accomplishment and satisfaction in (to be derived from) work that obscene financial compensation must be offered, then it is clear (at least so it seems to me) that that is not work worth doing in the first instance…
(and, if indeed there is (innate) dignity, skill, accomplishment and satisfaction in the work, then that obscene compensation is already (in advance) obsolete,—superfluous… …).

—I would understand (I feel) if those so ‘compensated’ (even those summarily removed from office for gross negligence, dereliction of duty or flat incompetence), used their obscene wealth to fund lives of dizzying and unparalleled activity and accomplishment… —travel; geographic, cultural, artistic, scientific exploration and discovery,…

hell.—even just a startling, heinous and depraved burn of drink and drug-fuelled sordid, unnatural sex acts and mad and unconscionable gambling in Vegas…

but. (hmm).—what is that we’re left with… (—with what are we presented)—?

—with a small, drab, indistinguishably homogenous-seeming array of uncultured, inartistic, unintellectual, uninspired and inarticulate grey dullards…

—wet prophylactics, filled with porridge, stuffed into starched suits, whose only (lamentable) course of action, it would appear, is to use exclusive plutocratic, nepotistic cliques to secure further, dull, soulless, wealth-generating positions…

(—(h)wh-ettpro fi lactick-ss…).
hmm.

and well. anyway… —so much for the dull, grey porridge-prophylactic mutants…

*(apologies for that digression…).

 

 

…—to have been living (so close to) the life you wanted and aspired to, and then to have to sacrifice (contact with) it, (if only for a time) and to (have to) step back to the time (and place.—the space) before…

*—at around that time, I saw you again. …

and something changed in our relationship (to each other). …

that one night in particular…

I remember.—she was in the pub we always went to-met in,—sat at a small table with a group of friends (I didn’t know them), to the side of the crowded, noisy bar.

—I’d been away, then,—reaching the end of my studies, and hadn’t seen her for a long while.

I’d been in the beer garden, with some friends, and had gone inside to buy the next round.

I’d hoped that I would see her there. (—I knew that she would be there…).

I walked into the bar (through the side door, there), and I saw you, sitting there, with those others.

and you looked up, and saw me.
—and her face (—her eyes)—lit up (to see me there). …
(I remember that her friends—the others around the table—looked confused as to why it was that I warranted the (obvious)… —quality, and the depth, of that response. …

—everybody she knew (everyone you meet) fell in love with…).

and we talked, alone (at the bar), for a while…

*and there was a (palpable?-a sensible) change in the… energy (sic) between us that night.

…—a kind of nervous (—slightly tense) excitement, I think.
(I felt your excited, nervous, apprehension).

*and she let me know that things (for her) had changed, and that now, given some time, there was a chance for us to be together.

and we both knew, I think, that that was it—how (deeply) in love with each other we were.
(—that thing that I never felt worthy of).

and though I had to leave her, then, and rejoin the others I was with (—a social obligation), (—I wish I hadn’t. … —I know that it’s strange, and more than slightly irrational, but I think I always resented them, after that…).

for the rest of that evening we couldn’t keep our eyes off each other, I remember.

and we agreed to see each other again, soon after, to talk…

but, when we did meet, for reasons I think I understand, the wall (—of aloof evasiveness and reservation) in-between us rose back up. (—those awkward, apprehensive, pregnant silences).—and nothing happened.

*(—a lot (the mass) of what I write will be about my sadness, frustration and regret at all those things which felt so close,—so vital (—necessary), and yet which failed to happen…).

at that time, I remember, I was (painfully) frustrated, anxious, and embarrassed because I lacked momentum, and direction. *(because—to you—I would appear to lack direction, and accomplishment, and momentum.—to be lost and floundering…). …—because, my… (what?)—my career (?—sic),—my development (I suppose), from which I had gleaned any and all satisfaction and self-confidence, had, in effect, stalled…

and though I felt that I had (some sort of) an ambition, I felt that I hadn’t yet found what I was looking for.

*(but that I would know it when I did.

—that it would be (in some way) hard, definite,… —concrete, and would answer for all those things that I was interested in-was drawn to.—all those things about myself that I was still struggling to understand, and to overcome…

and would demonstrate—would prove—(concretely, incontrovertibly) their value, and the value of the attempt to understand them).

—that the attempts I had made had been clumsy, pretentious and inadequate (—had failed to reach, and to articulate, that thing—that… thought (?) that I felt I had been somehow pursuing—? —trying to grasp,—clearly…).

during the course (—toward the end) of my Master’s studies, I had taken (for some—clearly unwholesome—reason that I forget now) to reading Joyce’s early fiction,—particularly A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.

I was taken, particularly, I remember, with the struggle against social, political, religious and sexual forces on the part of a protagonist who aspired (however arrogantly, naïvely or misguidedly) to become an artist, and—by extension—with the attempted formulation of a theory of art. *(—of the *‘image’. …).

later, I read the early draft (fragment) of Portrait,—Stephen Hero.—like most readers and critics, I was drawn to the earlier draft/incarnation of the aesthetic theory of Portrait, and especially to the concept of the ‘epiphany’. …

*…—in the process of doing research on Joyce, I came across accounts of the life of his daughter, Lucia. …

—after a turbulent childhood (understandable, given who her father was…), Lucia became a renowned modernist dancer in Paris. it’s rumoured that she had an affair with Samuel Beckett.

—having always been somewhat erratic and disturbed in her behaviour, at some point, Lucia disappeared, and what found later, wandering the streets of Dublin.

despite having consulted numerous therapists and psychoanalysts (amongst them, Carl Jung—always a mistake…), it was eventually decided on the part of the Joyce family, that they were not capable of giving her the care she required.

and what gave me an uncanny start, and interested me in Lucia’s plight, was that the decision was taken for Lucia to be taken into the care of Harriet Beecher Stowe, Joyce’s wealthy patron, and Lucia was moved to be near to her.

—Lucia was moved to St. Andrew’s Hospital in Northampton.—St. Andrews is located, on one side, next door to Northampton General Hospital, where I was born, and, on the other, to the school I attended.
*(—for a mush better and more accurate of the details of Lucia’s life, the reader should consult Carol Loeb Shloss’s Lucia Joyce: To Dance in the Wake (Bloomsbury: London, 2004)…)

—Lucia passed away in December of 1982—five months after I was born.

and I found that coincidence strange, and uncanny. …


though I had received a firm offer of a place on a PhD, working on Joyce and Derrida from The University of Warwick
(—a place for which I have a great deal of gratitude and affection. … —my plan had been to stay at Warwick and move in with a good friend of mine, who had also, originally, planned to stay on for doctoral study)
—I remember I had distinct reservations…

—I had had the extreme good fortune to work with Dr Simon Malpas during my undergraduate study at Manchester Metropolitan University.

—he was a huge influence on me, mostly, I think, because he is a man whose (frankly, intimidating) intelligence, teaching and relationship to his students I admire, and because he was one of the first people (in such a position) who took me seriously (intellectually) and considered me an intelligent student, with potential.

—he introduced me to the study of Philosophy and of critical theory (alongside Literature), invited me to join a PhD reading group on Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit, was the one who originally encouraged me into further study, arranged the references for my Master’s, helped me submit (successful) funding applications, and, alongside Dr Paul Wake, commissioned me to write my first academic published work for The Routledge Companion to Critical Theory. …

—in short, he was, and remains, a personal hero of mine and I owe him a very great deal (I still feel)…

before I graduated and left Manchester, he had been offered the position of Senior Lecturer in the English Literature Department at The University of Edinburgh, and had suggested that I move there, eventually, to work with him on my doctorate.

toward the end of my Master’s degree, we met, by (what seemed to me) a strange and auspicious coincidence, by chance, at a conference on ‘Rhetoric, Politics & Ethics’ in Ghent, Belgium.

—I had already arranged the position on the PhD at Warwick at that point, and he expressed his disappointment and, in effect, convinced me to reject that offer and to move to Edinburgh.
(my friend had also changed his plans and had arranged to move back to the States (and to Korea), which, I remember, was the final decisive factor in my decision…).
*(and, when I look at it now, framed in those terms, it (still now), to me, looks like the… (what?)—the right, and even, perhaps, the necessary (—inevitable?) (the only, I suppose) decision… (—? is that too strong… —?)…).

but, making that decision left with time. (—with a dull-feeling, frustrating gap-hiatus.—a back step).—waiting…

—to reject one offer—to abandon one proposal—and to have to wait to formulate another (—a new proposal) and secure a new offer…

*and I wanted to accomplish something.—to create an (intellectually and philosophically thoroughgoing) object in the world, as tangible, solid, measurable proof of what, up until that point, I had only ever… felt,—intuited (I suppose),—indistinctly *(exhilaratingly and frustratingly vague, partial and —indistinct) before. …
*(—something more than just another arbitrary and infinitely replaceable thesis, formed around marginal-ancillary intellectual curiosities, with nothing particularly (personally or intellectually) at stake in it, and with no apparent bearing on the world, outside of an esoteric field of effete academic interests. … —not simply another box-ticking, résumé padding, ladder-climbing exercise, engendered solely to gain access to an exclusive (and often nepotistic) clique… …).

over that (late) summer.—working in the law firm. …

reading in all spare moments (time): in breaks, during the evenings,… —late into the night (the early morning).

the long walks.—to work (there). and back.
(to the modern, architecturally non-descript, beige-brick commercial estate, clearly established-built for reasons of the economic advantage on the cheap land on the outskirts of town—out in the fields, by the river…).

with plenty of time. to think.—about her (—about you).—about the embarrassment, frustration and the wounded pride at having ‘boomeranged’ (—yes) back (again)
*(—about being seen to have boomeranged back again.—being seen by you to have—…).

…—about how I seemed (still seem—?) to be incapable of showing you what I feel I am (—could be),—what I felt (feel) I could be capable of accomplishing—but only this… (what?) hmm—this strange, inadequate, fumbling, failing *(—self-pitying) creature *(—nervous, hunched,—simian), I have always felt I must appear to you as (—am)…

*reading Joyce… —the bildungsroman (—the novel of the development of a culture),—the künstlerroman (—the novel of the development of an art)…
—reading Joyce’s earlier fiction. …

—the text which narrates the development of a culture,—of an art, and, at the same time, embodies that art…

—… but most of all, I think, time to think about my study.

* … —have you ever been in the situation, or the position, of… feeling (—some sort of intuition (—?)) that something (some thing) was happening (something with a great deal of personal significance), but, at the same time, of being aware that—at least as yet—you lack the… resources (intellectual, conceptual,—philosophical),—the vocabulary,… —the wherewithal (and, therefore, the confidence), to understand it (fully),—to comprehend it, name it and set it down (to articulate it). …

—could only, ever, comprehend it and set it down retrospectively—after the fact. …

?

*walking beside the park… *(—the long walk back).

I remember that it was a very warm, bright late-summer afternoon (—moving into early evening)…

the sky was perfectly clear and the air was warm but fresh.

the park—the broad, open, rolling commons—were empty.

—there was a dark, liquid blue-green of shade (slightly… dusty at the edges) beneath the trees…
and there (I think), it occurred to me.

—thinking about you, and about humiliation (felt), frustration, and wounded pride.

—that I loved you and yet couldn’t seem to get past all the problems in-between us (and, really, I was just too fucking young. …).

—that I couldn’t seem to stop myself (despite myself) acting and talking like a besotted idiot (—I was (—am?) a besotted idiot…).

—about the embarrassment of having felt I was… moving (forward-onward.—growing-developing—) and coming close to accomplishing what I wanted to accomplish *(again,—to write something with genuine intellectual depth, value and insight, with something at stake in it…), and having halted, and fallen back.

and, most of all, that I had no means (—the resources) to show you, finally and incontrovertibly, that I am (could be) worthy of you…

—anxiety, embarrassment, frustration…

ideas (always felt to have been growing,… —maturing,—becoming more articulate, —more refined), ambition (—that constant, low, pressing ache).

—all seemed now (then,—there) to converge. (—?)
*(as if I was—carried away by a sort of impression: a semi-conscious, partial, obscure idea,—unevolved,—undeveloped…

waiting, somehow, in a way, beneath everything else,—to be realised.

—a moment of (a sort of) revelation.

uncanny. …

*the ‘homely’,—the familiar,—the hidden or secreted (repressed)—suddenly uncovered.—become unhomely (unfamiliar.—new. … —reborn, in a way…).

—a conception had had of myself (—the ‘self’ as-had taken-it-to-be),—undone (in a way).—a misconception of myself.

involuntary.

—a crossing of a sort of threshold. (—a line. …).

a moment (or,—experience), unsought-for and involuntary, in which something that was mistaken or veiled, is revealed…

—an ironic inversion. …

and a distance, then, afterward, occupied—on what was lived before (—before the break).

—a sort of a disconnect.

*(a strange sensation. …

sudden.

a jolt.—a… quake (felt), in, through and across the chest.

a cool, fibrous, empty electric aching surge…

and a distending, aching surge also felt , at the same time, in the head—the mind…

that all that was known—all that I had thought that I knew (for certain—as definite)—had become—was always—unknown.

and I was a fool ever to have thought that I knew…

—a strange sort of displacement

all that I had thought that I knew,—nearly everything I felt when I was labouring under that misconception—had been empty, hollow and false, somehow.

and I wasn’t able to think like that, or to feel that way, anymore. even if I wanted to. …

*(—a realisation, then, of how small I had been (and a sense of how small I still was).—how more there was (is)—to know…).

—that I was not that anymore…).

and there, beside the park, on that (long) walk home on a late summer afternoon,—the thought occurred…

and then I (felt I) knew. (—felt that it had become clear. …).

—an answer. to that cool-burning ache felt—tense, taut—of anxiety, frustration and embarrassment, in the chest and in the mind.

—a (nervous)… thrill. felt.

—a surge: —a warm wave, rising.—a lift

*—to use that… what?… —that situation (sic),—with you.

—to (try to) understand my relationship to her (—my ‘mentor’) and how it (truly) affected me, and my relationship (sic) with ‘religion’—God,—the church (—Anglican Christianity),—my experience of music…

—to take all of my experience (—the anxiety, frustration, embarrassment, wounded pride, ambition,—love…), to bring it (all the fragments) together, and to turn it to account

*to try to use the thesis as a means to understand and to articulate it all—through (reference to) an as intellectually thoroughgoing understanding of a set of (seemingly crucial) philosophical and literary texts and concepts as possible…

to (somewhat surreptitiously) use my readings of Nietzsche (especially on music and the sublime) and of Joyce’s early fiction and critical writing—all of which I felt at the time represented the clearest and strongest influences on me—to read my experience (including that moment itself)…

and to produce, not just another functional, arbitrary, replaceable thesis, but to (try to) create something—a work—with something truly at stake within it.

and, in turn, to use that… (process of) working out as an intellectual ground/foundation for (an attempt to produce) a work of art.

—to produce a novel, closely, honestly and painfully drawn from my experience.
*(—a novel, provisionally entitled *— Notes of a Vanishing Quantity, which I finished quite recently, and have begun to enter the process of attempting to have published…).

—companion pieces, then.

*(influenced, in part by Joyce’s early, quasi-autobiographical fiction, and also by Nietzsche’s project for a drama based on the life of the philosopher Empedocles—originally intended as a dramatic counterpart to the (theoretical) Birth of Tragedy—the original “sketches” for which seem to have evolved, over time, into Thus Spoke Zarathustra.

*—for which, see Daniel Breazeale, Philosophy and Truth: Selections from Nietzsche’s Notebooks of the early 1870s (New Jersey: Humanities Press, 1979)).

…—the experiences I wanted to comprehend and to articulate informing the focus and direction of my thesis (my research…), and, reciprocally, my research and the draft material and various chapters of my thesis informing the substance of the novel (—of Notes)…

*(as (for) an example,… —

I had been drawn, during my Master’s, to the work of Ludwig Feuerbach, (in particular) The Essence of Christianity, and especially to the terms of Feuerbach’s appropriation of Hegel’s conception of *self-alienation (—in The Phenomenology of Spirit) and his own conception of the end of Christianity…

and so,… I would go away, study and produce a reading of Feuerbach’s conception of self-alienation, which I felt could (somehow) be used, in part, to help explain Nietzcshe’s use of the sublime and conception of music in The Birth of Tragedy.

and that reading, then, could in turn, inform how I understood and wrote about my relationship to my mentor and to music…

…).

—and that would be the project (—the plan) for my doctorate…
—and it failed.

my examiners described my work as ‘idiosyncratic’ and ‘intemperate’. … —though the thesis ‘passed’, they, and Simon (my supervisor) actively discouraged me from attempting to have it published (—in its ‘current form’.)…

and though I did have a discussion with an editor for a major academic publisher, proposing (what in effect amounted to) an introductory book on Nietzsche and Modernism, I abandoned this latter project, I think because it would have meant having to abandon my thesis—the comparison of Nietzsche and Joyce’s conceptions of artistic inspiration and the ‘classical’, and their (mutual) ironic appropriation of the Romantic in the fold of the self-creation of the artist—which I felt I still hadn’t had any feedback on or criticism of (—no way to test, revise, modify and justify…)
*(the terms of the comparison had gone unmentioned in viva voce examination).
and, frankly, it seems to me that the world at large simply does not need (yet) another (potted) introductory account of the bloody stream-of-consciousness (in Woolf, et.al), and how ‘isn’t it a bit like, y’know, ‘Becoming’ in Nietzsche, or whatever’ (—fuck. …), etc. …

(hmm).

*—I didn’t get what I had hoped for from my doctorate, in terms of producing a work (—an object). …

—I had passed my Master’s degree on the basis of the ‘quality of the writing’ (—the ideas really were misguided shit).—I felt that I had lost that.

—in the process of editing and re-writing (—learning to write a PhD) I had lost the style and the work I wanted to write…

*in terms of reading (breadth and depth) and comprehension (philosophical, literary and (art-)historical)—I got what I wanted, but felt that that was compromised in (by) the writing *(precisely not compromises, but (involuntary) concessions. …).
and so that is the nature of this experiment now.

—if I can’t escape the ‘idiosyncratic’ and/or the ‘intemperate’, then perhaps there is still a chance, in a way, that I might be able (—capable, somehow) to turn them to account…

*and so, then. …

—this blog—this experiment *(about which I am genuinely anxious)—will represent a development of what became the central concern of my doctoral thesis. …

*—I will focus on a close-reading of Nietzsche’s The Birth of Tragedy (though drawing on his earlier and later writing) as an account of artistic inspiration and creation.—this will form the heart of what I want to do here…

—I will draw a comparison between the terms of this account and those of the (consecutive) incarnations of Stephen’s aesthetic theory in Joyce’s fiction (—Stephen Hero A Portrait of the Artist as a Young ManUlysses) and critical writing, and the critical writing of T.E. Hulme and Ezra Pound.

—I want to draw out a full close-reading here, of the term or concept which becomes crucial to both Nietzche and neo-classical Modernism’s accounts:

*—the ‘classical’. …

—Nietzsche, Joyce and Hulme, in particular, all use the term to distinguish their conceptions of art from (what they dub) *the ‘romantic’ (—indicating the artistic movement, period and figures who became, retroactively, known as Romantic, but also a much broader aesthetic trend)…

*I will argue that, for Nietzsche and for the (self-styled) neo-classical Modernists, the ‘classical’ represented an ironic appropriation of the terms of Romantic accounts of artistic inspiration. …

—that is,… —they seek to maintain the terms of Romantic accounts of an intensely undergone, involuntary aesthetic experience, whilst (however) explicitly, and polemically, rejecting the (oracular,—hyperbolic) register and metaphysical claims (—claims to the metaphysical) of Romanticism.
*(and I’m thinking here of—and will, hopefully grant myself the opportunity to consider in some detail—both the German, ‘Jena’ frühromantik—(in particular) the Schlegels, Novalis and Holderlin, and of British Romanticism… —Coleridge, Wordsworth, Shelley, Keats and Byron
though also of (self-styled) late-Romanticism, like that of W.B. Yeats…).

—where, for the ‘romantic’ (—the Romantics), inspiration presents a transcending of the bounds of the quotidian and of subjectivity,—attaining access to the transcendental, to ‘Nature’ (esp. Novalis and Holderlin), or perhaps some conception of a ‘Platonic’, ‘Ideal’ realm (of the ‘Good’, the ‘True’ and the ‘Beautiful’) (—for Shelley and for Yeats misreading and following him), for the self-styled neo-classicists, by contrast, inspiration remains firmly anchored in, and responsible to, the realm of the quotidian (—the everyday).

*—Nietzsche’s and neo-classical Modernist accounts of artistic inspiration and creation represent attempts to negotiate the legacy of Romanticism,—seeking to redeem it from its late-Romantic fate *(—as I will seek to argue, both philosophically and politically)…
*(and a large part of my reason for having chosen Nietzsche and neo-classical Modernism is to be able to articulate (the tenor or pathos of) the experience I felt I underwent,… —in terms explicitly rejecting the metaphysical (—the Death of God)…).

*…—what I am interested in are accounts of what provokes, or stimulates, the process of artistic creation, and, on the basis of these accounts, how art relates to claims regarding
*epistemology: knowledge.—what we can know and from whence and how that knowledge derives.
*(subsequently)—ontology: —claims to (the nature of) truth,
and what, finally, on the basis of epistemology and ontology (knowledge and truth), can be said about how we ought to conduct ourselves *(—what it means to be honest about we can know and what we can claim, as a result, regarding truth)… *—ethics. …

*in the end, then, this will have been about where I think art needs to stand, the claims it is capable of making (and/or is obliged to deny), and what art is, and has to do
*(—the issues that anyone interested in art or with ambitions or, perhaps, pretensions to being an artist can’t help but address, if they’re honest)
—too lightly (or glibly) treated, or simply elided, by some contemporary figures
*(and, when the time comes, I want to draw on the works of playwright Jo Clifford and popular philosopher Alain de Botton as two examples of the problems I think such treatment or elision can lead to…
*(—and I’m going link all of that to what I see as the problems of the ‘romantic’ and of Humanism).

*—I want to… unpack and to develop a set of claims (epistemological, ontological, and ethical) and a model for art from a (hopefully) careful reading of the works of Nietzsche and the neo-classical Modernists, and to, try to, begin to lay the intellectually thoroughgoing (if still woefully philosophically naïve and shamefully easily contestable) foundations for a larger art project…

—to attempt here what I didn’t seem to be able to achieve in my thesis, and couldn’t hope to do in establishing an (early) academic career, of any particular flavour or hue… —not (necessarily) because it simply isn’t possible, or because I’m not capable,—both may genuinely be the case, but I didn’t really have the opportunity to find out—but because it is actively prohibited: it is not in the nature of the résumé-padding, box-ticking, networking, careerist beast that is contemporary academia…

and so,…
(hell)

this will have been an ‘idiosyncratic’, ‘intemperate’, and subjective piece of polemic, I suppose, and not a scholarly work (in any meaningful sense), and most certainly not a piece of Joyce scholarship *(—the way in which I treat Joyce is, as I have had confirmed, partial and inadequate, and, at best, can be said to join a thread or train that most probably ran out of steam, or became obsolescent, some time in the 1960s…).
*(—though my thesis was, of course, supervised and examined,—this will not have been a peer-reviewed work. … ).

*—I don’t want to be misunderstood here. …

(though, as I indicated, I’ll retain and continue to use scholarly apparatuses where I feel they are useful or necessary for the reader, or where I just bloody well feel like it… ).

*—(in the end,) this will have been, in part, a (much-belated) love letter, in part an autobiography, and, in part,—the fragmented remnants of a doctoral thesis. …
(—three-quarter zoo-chimp…—?).

*—a series of self-contained fragments, playing on the blog and the academic article forms, which—nonetheless—aim to add up to an ongoing work…


*and so then,… —toward a form of general (faltering, provisional) outline…