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.

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One thought on “part II. —toward some sort of (provisional) plan. …

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

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