*on the ‘classical’ vs. the ‘romantic’ in Joyce, Nietzsche, and T.E. Hulme

*(—follows on from ‘Art and Life’ (from the ‘epiphany’ to the ‘esthetic image’), ‘a paean’, ‘the image.—vs. Platonic ressentiment’, and ‘—toward a disruptive, anti-transcendental “classicism”’. …)

 

 

*on the ‘image’.—vs. Platonic ressentiment.
—part (ii)…

*—the ‘classical’.—vs. the ‘romantic
(—in Joyce, Nietzsche, & T.E. Hulme.) …

 

 It would lead you to believe that he had in mind symbolism or idealism, the supreme quality of beauty being a light from some other world, the idea of which the matter is but a shadow, the reality of which it is but the symbol. (Joyce, Portrait, *—230).

 

(Hmm.).

 

 

*—In the ‘Art and Life’ ‘paper’ which Stephen delivers to the Literary and Historical Society of his college in Stephen Hero, he defines literature in terms of two contrasting and competing artistic ‘tempers’: *—the ‘romantic’ and the ‘classical’.

*(SH, 83. *—See also, Joyce’s own ‘James Clarence Mangan’ article (—of 1902),—CW, 53-60, where he refers to ‘the classical and romantic schools’ [53.—emphasis added here.]).

 

 

—In terms, of which I’d maintain (at least) the later rejection of: ‘a light from some other world, the idea of which the matter is but a shadow, the reality of which it is but the symbol’ in-of Portrait forms (-represents) an… echo, or a reiteration, Stephen (in his earlier textual incarnation in Stephen Hero) defines the ‘romantic’ as an—*‘unsatisfied, impatient temper which sees no fit abode here for its ideals and chooses therefore to behold them under insensible figures’. …

(—SH, 83. And I’d argue that this represents a clarification of sorts of an almost identical and yet perhaps more intemperate passage in ‘James Clarence Mangan’… —

The romantic school is often and grievously misinterpreted not more by others than its own, for that impatient temper which, as it could see no fit abode here for its ideals, chose to behold them under insensible figures, comes to disregard certain limitations, and, because these figures are blown high and low by the mind that conceived them, comes at times to regard them as feeble shadows moving aimlessly about the light, obscuring it. [53]

… ).

 

 

*Stephen, then, castigates what he calls the—*‘romantic temper’ in art, for its idealism:

… a seeking after an ideal-ideals,—a disappointment with life’s inability to furnish that ideal (—those ideals), frustration and dissatisfaction with, and a (subsequent-resultant) renunciation of, lived experience *(—of life): ‘no fit abode here’…, and a presentation of its ‘ideals’ through ‘insensible figures’: —I’d argue intentionally reminiscent of Yeats’s definition of the symbol as the ‘expression of some invisible essence, a transparent lamp about a spiritual flame’, and what Chadwick lucidly and concisely dubs the ‘built in obscurity’ of (transcendental) Symbolism *(—on this, see: *‘on the image vs. the “symbol”’).

 

 

And so,… (why ever not?) …

 

*—Following (on from) my reading of Joyce’s ironic appropriation of the terms of Aquinas’s account of ‘Beauty’ in the evolution of the concept of the ‘epiphany’ (—in-of Stephen Hero) to the (‘esthetic’) *‘image’ (of Portrait) *(see: ‘on “Art & Life”.’ [—link].), I’m now in a position, I feel, to argue that it’s the terms of this castigation of the ‘romantic’ which are (implicitly) at stake in Stephen’s rejection of the ‘Platonic’ metaphysics in-of ‘symbolism and idealism’ in his definition of the ‘image’ in his later textual incarnation in Portrait.

 

—I’ve already argued that Stephen’s interpretation of Aquinas’ claritas and definition of the ‘image’, represents the refinement of the earlier concept of the ‘epiphany’. …

 

*—I want to go further here, and argue that, although the terms may not appear explicitly in Portrait,… his rejection of a ‘Yeatsian’ (or, at perhaps at the very least,—‘Yeats-esque’ (?—sic)) ‘Platonic’ aesthetical metaphysics, represents the synthesis (so to) of the ‘epiphany’—or, perhaps rather,—its *incorporation … —with the terms of Stephen’s rejection of the ‘romantic’, and subsequent definition—and championing—of the ‘classical’, in-of Stephen Hero (—these terms being drawn from Joyce’s own early critical writing).

 

 

*—To conceive of the ‘image’ in-of Portrait as the refinement of the ‘epiphany’, and its implicit incorporation with the earlier material on the ‘classical’ (—vs. the ‘romantic) in this way, I’ll argue, places the text—intellectually and philosophically—in a close relationship to the terms of Nietzsche’s writing on art, T.E. Hulme’s writing on Modern art and Bergson’s philosophy, and to (/as well as) the terms and manifestoes of self-styled neo-classical Modernism more broadly.

 

 

* … —To read the terms of Nietzsche’s writing on art, Hulme’s conception of Modern art and reading of Bergsonian philosophy, and the Modernist manifestoes and works, can reveal a parallel, or (perhaps rather) parallels, that can help define what’s at stake, philosophically, in the ‘romantic’ and the ‘classical’,… *(that is)—the philosophical underpinnings (foundations) and consequences for art *(—form, style, and its proper subject matter) of the ‘image’. …

 

 

 

*—In Stephen Hero (and this is also true of Joyce’s own early critical writing),—it’s specifically over—and against—the… otherworldly life-renunciation, at stake within what he defines as the ‘romantic’, that Stephen offers his definition of the ‘classical’. …

 

*—‘The classical temper on the other hand, ever mindful of limitations, chooses rather to bend upon these present things and so to work upon them and fashion them that the quick intelligence may go beyond them to their meaning which is still unuttered.’ (283) …

*(Cf. ‘James Clarence Mangan’, 53.—Also Stanislaus Joyce, My Brother’s Keeper. …

 

—Stanislaus cites Joyce’s rejection of ‘poets for whom only what is imaginary possesses poetic value’, against which he posits Joyce’s conception of poetry that seeks ‘to capture moods and impressions, often tenuous moods and elusive impressions, by means of verbal witchery that magnetizes the mind like a spell, and imports a wonder and grace’. [—166]. …).

 

 

*—For Stephen,… —the ‘classical’ artist, in contrast to the ‘romantic’, retains an ineradicable consciousness, then, of their finitude,—their… rootedness (sic—so to) in-within the everyday. …

 

—They don’t seek, then, as does the ‘romantic’ artist, to exceed or to escape these bounds. …

 

 

—Instead,… the ‘classical’ artist focuses (—‘bends’…) upon the ‘here’ (and the now) of contemporaneous experience, and upon ‘present things’, in order to present experience and the objects of experience in such a way as to communicate their ‘meaning’…

 

*—the ‘proper conditions’ of the (‘esthetic’) image. …

 

*… —‘Art is not an escape from life. It’s just the very opposite. Art, on the contrary, is the very central expression of life. An artist is not a fellow who dangles a mechanical heaven before the public. The priest does that. The artist affirms out of the fullness of his own life, he creates…’. *(SH,—90-91)

 

 

*And the terms of this—rejection of the ‘romantic’ (—of the ‘romantic temper’)—of its… ‘idealism’ and (thus concomitant) incapacity to find what it’s looking for in(-within) life, and its (subsequent) desire, then, to *escape from life (—into the supposéd: ‘infinite’…)—and championing (by direct contrast) of the ‘classical’, it seems clear to me (at least) anyway, provide the foundation for a direct and a mutually illuminating comparison between the terms of Stephen’s aesthetic theory and those in-of Nietzsche’s later writing on art. …

*(though, as I said in *‘a paean’,… —I’m aware that the terms themselves, and the debate between the differing and often opposed artistic schools or movements they inspired (—who may have rallied, so to, at one time or another, beneath their respective banners), goes back much further than Nietzsche. …

*—Hegel, for example, had used the terms in his ‘Aesthetics’ (which I want to write about elsewhere. eventually…), and they go back at least as far as Pope’s Augustan neo-classicism in the C18th (which Wordsworth later vociferously criticised and rejected in ‘The Preface to the Lyrical Ballads’), and to Goethe and Schiller…

—There is, in essence, far more to be said then about the (terms) ‘classical’ and ‘romantic’,… but I’m going to focus here on their use by-within, and thus the mutually illuminating parallel between, Nietzsche and neo-classical Modernism, and try to demonstrate the place of Stephen’s aesthetic theory and Joyce’s writing in relation to both… ).

 

 

*—The terms of Stephen’s rejection of the ‘romantic’ and championing of the ‘classical’ correspond *(—exactly) to those of Nietzsche’s much earlier opposition of ‘classical’ to ‘romantic’ art and aesthetics,—first formulated in Human, All Too Human… —

 

Classic and romantic. – Both those spirits of a classical and those of a romantic bent – these two species exist at all times – entertain a vision of the future: but the former do so out of a strength of their age, the latter out of its weakness.

*(—‘The Wanderer and His Shadow’ (hereafter HH IIb) in Human, All Too Human, §217, 366)

 

*For Nietzsche,… —the ‘classical’ and the ‘romantic’ aren’t intended, then, to denote the art of any given (—any specific) historical era, but, instead, represent (artistic-aesthetic) *tendencies,… —present, and coexisting, in(within) the artistic works of all ages,… —aimed toward the future, and marked: —by either all that which is affirmative and strong in a given age (as is the case in Nietzsche’s delineation of the ‘classical’), or by all that is reactive and weak (—the ‘romantic’. …).

 

 

*—In The Gay Science, Nietzsche develops this conception of the reactivity and weakness of ‘romantic’ art, and defines the romantic type as they—‘who suffer from the impoverishment of life and seek rest, stillness, calm seas, redemption from themselves through art and knowledge, or intoxication, convulsions, anaesthesia, and madness.’

*(—in The Gay Science, trans. Walter Kaufmann [New York: Vintage Books, 1974] (—hereafter GS),… —V, §370, 327-331 [328]. … —Nietzsche here names both Schopenhauer and Wagner as quintessential ‘romantic’ types…).

 

… —For Nietzsche, ‘romantic’ art is distinguished by a psychological-physiological need to escape from, and to renounce life. …

 

*… —It names a need for a remedy from life—(—a need (felt)) to be anaesthetised,—seemingly paradoxically accomplished through the attainment of states of intoxication (or rapture), convulsion, and madness,… —all framed here as alleviations from life-existence. …

 

 

*… —And I want to argue here that the terms of Nietzsche’s critique of ‘romanticism’, as these are laid out in The Gay Science, corresponds to, and can be usefully read and understood through, those of his later critique, in On the Genealogy of Morality (—expanded upon, to some extent-degree, in Beyond Good and Evil), of what he calls… *—ressentiment (—OGM, 1, §10, 21-25, [esp. 23]), in a way which will help make clear what I feel to be at stake in Joyce’s writing and in neo-classical Modernist definitions of art and Manifestos (more generally). …

 

 

—As an important aspect of his broader critique of the origins, birth, and historical legacy of Christian morality, ol’ Fritz defines ressentiment (retaining the original French term) as belonging to ‘those beings who, being denied the proper response of action, compensate for it only with imaginary revenge.’ (21) …

 

*… —Ressentiment stems (-emerges), then, from an *incapacity to act in response to external stimuli, resulting in a further incapacity to fully discharge the emotional-psychological responses stimulated by them.

 

 

—Instead, such responses become… suppressed, and frustrated, and continue to be harboured, long after any opportunity to fully (meaningfully) purge them has passed. …

 

Nietzsche locates ressentiment at the root of what, in the Genealogy, he calls: ‘slave morality’. … —

 

[S]lave morality says “no” on principle to everything that is “outside”, “other”, “non-self”: and this “no” is its creative deed. This reversal of the evaluating glance – this inevitable orientation to the outside instead of back onto itself – is a feature of ressentiment: in order to come about, slave morality first has to have an opposing, external world. (Ibid.)

 

The ‘reversal’ pointed to here, is that of what Nietzsche calls ‘Master morality’, which, in opposition to modern liberal and humanist politics, he argues, derives its notion of the ‘good’ not from altruism—that is, (for Nietzsche) from those to whom good is done—but, instead, from its own superabundance of life and energy *(that is,… —from within its own capacity to do ‘good’, so to speak…), in contrast to that which it deems lowly and plebeian *(—that which/those who are unable to act…). (—Cf. 1, §2, 12-13).

 

 

—In Beyond Good and Evil, Nietzsche defines the ‘noble’ type who creates values out of a ‘feeling of fullness, of power that seeks to overflow, the happiness of high tension, the consciousness of wealth that would give and bestow’ (BGE, IX, §260, 205), and in the ‘Attempt at Self-Criticism’ preface to Birth *(importantly, at least for my current, broader  purposes here,—written during the same year as BGE),—the ‘joy, strength, overflowing health, [and] overgreat fullness’ which underpin the birth of tragedy. *(—See BT, ‘ASC,’ §4, 21) …

 

 

—In (within) ‘slave morality’, the direction of this ‘evaluating gaze’, then (for ol’ Fritz), is *—inverted. …

 

 

—The ‘slave’ must rely on an opposing ‘external world,’ which it can judge as ‘evil,’ in order to establish itself, then,—*negatively—as ‘good’…

 

*—‘its action is basically a reaction’. (—OGM, 1, §10, 22. Cf. 21-24)

 

 

—Unable to act, ‘slave morality’ transforms impotence to retaliate (—to act) into ‘goodness’, … —‘timid baseness’ into ‘humility’, and its forced submission to those it despises into ‘obedience’… —especially obedience to God. (—§14, 29-31 [30])

 

—‘Slave morality’, and (by extension) *‘the man of ressentiment’, Nietzsche argues, yearn for revenge and seek ‘consolation for all the sufferings of the world’ in the *—‘phantasmagoria of anticipated future bliss’. (31) …

 

*—Nietzsche identifies this—‘phantasmagoria’ with the Christian conception of ‘“the last judgment”, the coming of their kingdom, the “kingdom of God”’,… and argues that ressentiment lies at the root of the need for, and creation of, all ‘other worlds’.  … (Ibid.—emphasis added here. … —and see Deleuze, Nietzsche and Philosophy, 104-138)

 

 

*—Stephen’s rejection of ‘romanticism’ (in Stephen Hero), refined and incorporated (even as it’s rendered far more compact, far less explicit, and far more allusive, perhaps) in the ‘esthetic image’ of Portrait, can thus be understood in terms of a rejection of the ressentiment implicitly at stake in (the example here) of a Yeatsian/Yeats-esque—‘Platonic’—transcendental Symbolism. …

 

 

*The ‘classical,’ by contrast, for Nietzsche, is marked by ‘[r]igorous reflection, terseness, coldness, simplicity, deliberately pursued even to their limit, self containment of the feelings and silence in general.’ (HH I, §195, 93-94.—Cf. HH I, §171, 90)

 

 

*—Nietzsche privileges (—champions) ‘classical’ over ‘romantic’ art. …

 

—In contrast to the ‘romantic’ poet’s frustrated, life-renouncing, other-worldly intoxication, Nietzsche argues that— (…)

 

[T]he good poet of the future will depict only reality and completely ignore all those fantastic, superstitious, half-mendacious, faded subjects upon which earlier poets demonstrated their powers. Only reality, but by no means every reality! – he will depict a select reality! (HH IIa, §114, 239-240)

 

The ‘classical’, for Nietzsche, then, is founded on a metaphysical scepticism (or,—mistrust), and on a form of stoical pragmatism,… *—a refusal of the ‘spiritual’,—rejecting the ressentiment, other-worldly consolation, and anaesthetisation characteristic of the ‘romantic’. …

 

*—It focuses on the ‘reality’ surrounding the poet. …

 

*This ‘reality’ is then subject to a disciplined process of reflection, selection, and refinement.

(—Nietzsche lays emphasis, particularly, on the accuracy, and the simplicity in-of the depiction of the selected reality). …

 

 

 

 

*—completing my reading of The Birth of Tragedy, then.
(a sort of an—aside…). …

 

 

 

*—The terms of Nietzsche’s rejection of the metaphysics, the ressentiment of (at stake within) ‘romanticism’, and definition of the ‘classical’ in the ‘free-spirit trilogy’ of his ‘middle period’ are, I’d argue, already at stake in the—ostensibly—Schopenhauerian and late-Romantic The Birth of Tragedy. …

 

—To take the liberty, then, of recapitulating (at some length.—bear with me, if you would). …

 

 

—In my reading of Birth,… under the rubric of what I (somewhat hesitantly) dubbed Nietzsche’s nascent ‘naturalism’,… —I argued that in Birth the Apollinian—as a mode of the sublime—forms the artistic correlate to, or manifestation of, the (necessary, physiological-existential) drive for-to the *incorporation of lived experience. …

 

By contrast, I argued that the Dionysian forms the correlate-manifestation of the equal but opposite drive to-for the *purgation of lived experience (—a lethargic forgetting). …

 

—The Apollinian finds expression in (—gives rise-birth to) the plastic arts: … —discrete forms…

 

*—(‘heroic’) individuation.

 

 

—The Dionysian, in-by contrast, represents the—intensely undergone—experience of the laceration of individuation (…—of the *discretion of form. …): …

 

*—a form of access (so to) to the undivided continuity of flux (what Nietzsche calls—the ‘primal unity’) beneath the ‘individual’,… —directly captured in the immediate, physical and emotional expression of music and dance.

 

 

—In tragedy, these two drives,—these two modes, then,—of the sublime,… —are conjoined.

 

 

*(…)—In tragedy, the divestiture of (the quotidian) ‘self’, identity with the ‘primal unity’, and the Dionysian-musical ecstasy which embodies this experience, necessarily, spontaneously and organically (—that is, without, or, rather, independent of the volition of the poet) generate mythic or imagistic representations.

*—from within themselves. …

 

*—The individuated,…-discrete (—empirical) ‘self’ is divested in the Dionysian (—the Dionysian is the experience precipitated by its divestiture), only to return—as an image,—(re-)born in-of music, to embody that experience.  …

 

 

*—For Nietzsche, the ‘union’ (so to) of the Dionysian and the Apollinian is not a moment in which the two drives are… —‘synthesised’ to form a third, separate, single phenomenon. …

 

*Instead, it takes the form of a *process in which the two drives are conjoined, and yet remain distinct. …

 

 

*—A temporal hierarchy (priority) subsists, in which the purgative Dionysian mode of the sublime—as first moment,—necessarily engenders the Apollinian sublime mode of incorporation. …

 

*However,… —this is neither a qualitative, nor is it an ontological hierarchy, but the resulting conjunction represents the highest manifestation-incarnations (for ol’ Fritz) of both modes of the sublime…

*—‘the Dionysian in the experience of identity with primordial pain and contradiction, and the primordial pleasure in appearance in the recreation of its effect in music,—the Apollinian in its symbolisation of the Dionysian itself.’ (Birth,—§5, 49)

 

 

*—The process at stake is that of a double transposition… —from the ecstatic divestiture of self and identity with the ‘primal unity’ in the Dionysian into its ‘reflection’ and re-creation in music, and the generation from this in turn of images in the Apollinian whose purpose is the incorporation of the experience of the Dionysian.

 

*—Laceration and self-destruction (—the laceration of individuated subjectivity) in the experience of the Dionysian sublime, constitute the ‘objectivity’ of the artist.

 

—They are the condition of the possibility of-for the revelation of the ‘primal unity’ and the condition of the possibility for the creation of art. …

 

*For Nietzsche, only through undergoing laceration in the experience of the Dionysian can the artist-poet attain to the purgation and the redemption of the drives, and the (subsequent) incorporation of this experience of redemption in the mythic-symbolism of the ‘passions’ and ‘feelings’…

 

*—This is the ironic self-(re-)creation of the ‘I’ of the artist. …

 

—The process of the Dionysian-Apollinian sublime transposition can be understood, then, as a whole, as the process—the *shape—of a *fold… —

*

 

the fold (ii)

 

 

 

 

*… —from the (apparent) empirical (—the quotidian) ‘self’… —this ‘self’ divested in(-by) the intensely undergone Dionysian-musical experience of purgation…

 

released into the flux of the undivided continuity of states in-of the ‘primal unity’ (—the Ur-Eine) behind-beneath the ‘self’ (as felt-as lived). …

 

—prompted (spurred.—sic-so to), then, by the Apollinian drive to individuation,—to the incorporation of experience,…

 

*… —a drive (driven), then, to ‘return’ (so to), to the empirical self—as a register from which to draw words and images that can embody and articulate the experience of purgation. *(—the image… —the ‘I’ of the artist. … ).

 

 

In my reading of Birth, I argued that what underpinned this fold in the ironic self-(re-)creation of the artist was a nascent philosophical naturalism: that ol’ Fritz is concerned to identify a play of natural drives at the heart of artistic inspiration and creation, carefully eschewing recourse to the metaphysical by way of explanation. …

 

—In the preceding fragment—‘toward a disruptive, anti-transcendental “classicism”’ —I cited Lacoue-Labarthe and Nancy’s argument in The Literary Absolute that Romanticism (—the ‘Romantic’) present an account of artistic inspiration and creation (—an ‘aesthetic activity of production and formation’) ‘in which the absolute might be experienced and realized in an unmediated, immediate fashion […] a presentation of what in Kant remained unpresentable’, linking this to the attempted (or—staged)… over-leaping (so to) of Kant, and of the (Kantian) limits of the transcendental, in Schopenhauer’s conceptions of the ‘Will’ (—as thing in-itself/=X), and—more particularly—the (Platonic) Idea. (ix) …

 

*In *‘the fold in the self-creation of the artist’, I cited Nietzsche’s later account of ‘inspiration in Ecce Homo, in the context of Birth:

Has anyone at the end of the nineteenth century a clear idea of what poets of strong ages have called inspiration? […T]he idea that one is merely incarnation, merely mouthpiece, merely a medium of overpowering forces. The concept of revelation—in the sense that suddenly, with indescribable certainty and subtlety, something becomes visible, audible, something that shakes one to the last depths and throws one down—that merely describes the facts. One hears, one does not seek; one accepts, one does not ask who gives; like lightning, a thought flashes up, with necessity, without hesitation regarding its form—I never had any choice.

(Nietzsche, Ecce Homo, §3.,—300)

 

 

—Nietzsche describes ‘inspiration’ as the effect of forces that (seemingly) enter the subject from without—as an overpowering ravishment. …

 

Conscious volition, then, (for Nietzsche), can never engender a state of inspiration. …

 

*… —Inspiration is precipitated precisely by the overwhelming, and temporary suspension, of subjective willing.

 

 

*The terms of Nietzsche’s definition of inspiration here echo those of Romanticism—the Romantics. …

 

*I cited Shelley’s account of artistic inspiration in A Defence of Poetry as my example: …

 

A man cannot say, “I will compose poetry”. The greatest poet even cannot say it: for the mind in creation is a fading coal which some invisible influence, like an inconstant wind, awakens to transitory brightness: this power arises from within, like the colour of a flower which fades and changes as it is developed, and the conscious portions of our nature are unprophetic either of its approach or its departure.

(Shelley, A Defence of Poetry, 696-697)

 

 

*—Whilst Nietzsche’s conception of inspiration shares (or,—retains —?) the notions of spontaneity and involuntariness crucial to Shelley’s account, in line with his ironic appropriation of the terms of Schopenhauer’s aesthetics in Birth, Nietzsche rejects the Platonism at stake within it, and, particularly, the claim, later in Shelley’s account, that inspiration affords the poet access to Platonic Forms or Ideas… —*‘to be a poet is to apprehend the true and the beautiful, in a word the good’. (Shelley, 677.— See Clark, The Theory of Inspiration,—143-169)

 

 

*And so, …

 

—I want to conclude my reading of artistic inspiration and creation in Birth here by arguing that Nietzsche’s (nascent) philosophical naturalism, and the fold itself, reject the claims to the transcendental (—the ‘absolute’) within the Romantic, whilst appropriating its conception of the overwhelming of subjectivity in artistic inspiration to an anti-transcendental aesthetic.

 

*—In this sense, Birth can be seen to anticipate (if obliquely) the contrast and the opposition of the ‘classical’ of-to the ‘romantic’, staged explicitly in his later writing on art (and examined above).

 

*—That is,… —Birth represents the first, perhaps faltering articulation of a disruptive anti-transcendental classicism. …

 

*—In *‘on the “artists’ metaphysics”’,—using Henry Staten’s definition of ‘the classical reference-points of what is called Romanticism’ *(that is—‘Rousseauistic primitivism, recourse to a transcendental subject, doctrines of genius and inspiration, idealization of the Greeks, [and] antipathy to the rationalisation of nature’.—Nietzsche’s Voices, 187),… I opposed my reading to:

(i). Jürgen Habermas’s argument that Birth represents a dangerous ‘metaphysically transfigured irrationality’, to which, he suggests, Romanticism offers some sort of preferable alternative (Habermas, The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity, 92-96 [94]);

(ii). —to Aaron Ridley’s argument that the text represents ‘an arresting example of German Romanticism at its headiest’ (Ridley, Nietzsche on Art, 9),

(iii). and to Adrian Del Caro and Judith Norman, both of whom argue that Nietzsche’s position represents a form of (straightforward) anti-Romanticism (—Del Caro, Nietzsche contra Nietzsche, Norman, ‘Nietzsche and Early Romanticism’).

 

 

—In contrast to those readings which would characterise Birth as either simply and straightforwardly Romantic, or anti-Romantic,… it seems clear to me that Nietzsche’s relationship to Romantic metaphysics, aesthetics and conception of artistic inspiration in Birth, represents the creation of an ironic *Romantic–anti-Romanticism,—one which reflects his ironic appropriation of Schopenhauerian metaphysical and aesthetic vocabulary (and, indeed, his attempt to redeem Schopenhauer’s aesthetics from his metaphysics…).

 

*… Thus (—so,). …

 

—Whilst, apparently, an ostensibly late-Romantic text (—under the obvious influence of both Schopenhauer and Wagner),… —the ‘naturalism’, anti-metaphysics, and ironic Romantic—anti-Romanticism in-of Birth serve to align the text far more closely to the explicit outlining-definition of ‘classical’ art *(—of the ‘classical’)—in a deliberately staged, and incredibly stark, contrast to the ‘romantic’—in both the early incarnations of Stephen’s aesthetic theory, and in Nietzsche’s own later writing on art. …

 

—Indeed, the text, I feel (—I’d argue), stages, in-through the shape of the fold (—in-through an awkward and (perhaps) an unready voice, to paraphrase Nietzsche’s own later assessment of Birth in the ‘Attempt at Self-Criticism’), precisely this contrast or opposition (—of a ‘classical’ aesthetic to the ‘romantic’/Romantic), though (as yet) without the resources, and(/or) the vocabulary, to clarify it. …

 

 

*Hulme. … —the finite-finitude in (-of) the ‘classical’.
*—against the false, thwarted ‘infinities’ of the ‘romantic’. …

 

 

*The terms of the opposition of the ‘classical’ to the ‘romantic’, so crucial, then, to both iterations of Stephen’s aesthetic theory,—to Joyce’s own writing on art, and to that of Nietzsche… lie at the heart of, and are clarified and developed within, the theory and criticism of the self-styled neo-classicist ‘Modern’ writers. …

 

—In particular they lie at the heart of, and are (I would argue) expanded and clarified within, what T.E. Hulme was attempting in his writings on Modern Art and on Bergson’s Philosophy. …

 

—I’ve made (fleeting) contextual mention of Hulme’s centrality and importance to ‘Imagism’, to Ezra Pound’s theory and criticism, and to the neo-classical Modenrist nexus of the ‘image’ already here, and his name, and reading of Bergson, came up in connection with my reading of Nietzsche’s ‘On Truth and Lies in a Nonmoral Sense’, its links to Birth, the parallel between its key terms and those of Bergson’s philosophy, and its ties (so to) to Nietzsche’s later formulation of the will to power *(… —on all this, see: *[links]. …).

 

To read Hulme’s art criticism can help, then, I want to argue, in understanding what is at stake in the opposition of the ‘classical’ to the ‘romantic’ in both Joyce and Nietzsche, and to draw this parallel with (what I’ve dubbed here) Nietzsche’s *Romantic—anti-Romanticism, can help better understand the philosophical and art-historical stakes of neo-classical Modernist art-theory and criticism.

 

 

*In his writings on Bergson, and on Modern art, in particular, Hulme clearly lays out the ‘classical’ and the ‘romantic’, in terms which, frankly, look as though they could have been straightforwardly cut and paste from Nietzsche…

 

 

—In his essay of 1911, ‘Romanticism and Classicism,’ T.E. Hulme draws on Nietzsche’s earlier critique of the ‘romantic’ and privileging of the ‘classical’. (—Hulme, ‘Romanticism and Classicism’ in Speculations, 111-140)

 

—Hulme effectively qualifies Nietzsche’s conception of the ‘romantic’ by identifying it with what he argues constitutes the conception of the ‘human’ propagated during the French revolution.—This, in turn, he argues, derives from the work of Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

*(Cf. ‘A Tory Philosophy’.—Hulme, Selected Writings, 61…)

 

—He summarises the ‘romantic’ conception of the ‘human’ as one which claims that ‘man was by nature good, that it was only bad laws and customs that had suppressed him. Remove all these and the infinite possibilities of man would have a chance.’ (‘Romanticism and Classicism’,—116)

 

Hulme argues that the ‘romantic’ conceives of culture as inherently corrupt and corrupting.

 

*… —In a ‘natural’ state, ‘man’ is innately ‘good’ and it is only the false finitude of legal and cultural constrictions which serve to corrupt ‘man’.

 

Remove these constrictions and ‘man’ would be capable of realising ‘his’ innate goodness and infinite possibilities.

(Hulme’s rejection of the ‘romantic’ then, if it doesn’t indeed borrow directly from it, at the very least shares a great deal in common with (to borrow Staten’s formulation) Nietzsche’s rejection of ‘Rousseauistic primitivism’: represents a forthright rejection of culture and a ‘return’ to a state of nature, such as is promoted in Rousseau’s Émile.

In *‘the fold in the self-creation of the artist’, I referenced Keith Ansell Pearson’s argument, (for example), that in his early writings, ‘Nietzsche criticizes Rousseau’s paean to nature, and his belief in man’s natural goodness, which have their basis in romanticism.’ Nietzsche is critical of the ‘modern’ conception of the artist in terms of Émile and its corresponding idealisation of nature…

Rousseau’s portrait of Émile’s realization of his fundamental human nature and the achievement of oneness with nature, achieved by withdrawing the child and adolescent from the degenerative effects of corrupt social institutions and allowing his natural goodness to flourish, fails to recognise the dark and terrible forces of nature which must be overcome.

[Ansell Pearson Nietzsche contra Rousseau, 25]

In a series instalments first published in The New Age, December 1915—February 1916, and reprinted, in an abridged version, by Read as: ‘Humanism and the Religious Attitude’ (— Speculations, 1-71.—See Patricia Rae, The Practical Muse: Pragmatist Poetics in Hulme, Pound, and Stevens [London: Associated University Presses, Inc., 1997], 49, Hulme expands on his conception of the illusory infinitude of Romanticism, and ties it particularly to the politics of Humanism and to the artistic portrayal of sexual relations:

*—‘Romanticism […] confuses both human and divine things, by not clearly separating them. The main thing with which it can be reproached is that it blurs the clear outlines of human relations – whether in political thought or in the literary treatment of sex, by introducing in them, the Perfection that properly belongs to the non-human.’

[—‘A Notebook’, Selected Writings, 180-222 (189)].

*—Hulme’s rejection of ‘romanticism’s’ confusion of the human and the divine, treating of the human as if it were itself the divine, for me, establishes a clear parallel with Stephen’s rejection of  the Platonic projection of a false, and—‘otherworldly’ ideal in Yeats’s formulation of transcendental Symbolism.

*[—on Hulme’s own rejection of Plato, Yeats and the ‘“mystical” account of the creative process, see ‘Notes on Language and Style’ (c. 1907), Selected Writings, 57, and Rae, Practical Muse, 33 … ]. ).

 

 

In essence, Hulme defines the contrast between the ‘romantic’ and ‘classical’ as stemming from the contrast between opposing conceptions of the ‘infinite’ (—?), and of the finite (—finitude). …

 

 

—Echoing Nietzsche (in a sense),—he identifies a fundamental resentment against life in romanticism, emerging from the perspective of the false politics of the infinite capabilities of ‘man’… —

 

The romantic, because he thinks man infinite, must always be talking about the infinite; and as there is always the bitter contrast between what you think you ought to be able to do and what man actually can, it always tends, in its later stages at any rate, to be gloomy. (‘Romanticism and Classicism’, Speculations, 119)

 

 

*—For Hulme, because the romantic attitude emerges from this perspective of the false politics of the infinite capabilities of ‘man’ (—‘what you think you ought to be able to do’), it must (—inevitably-ineluctably) run up against the limitations of ‘man’s’ undeniable and inescapable finitude. …

 

—As such, it becomes motivated by the resentment that its inevitable frustration engenders…

 

*—In terms which again echo those of Nietzsche and those of Stephen, Hulme contrasts the attitude of the classical artist-poet to the gloom of this thwarted idealism of the ‘romantic’… —

 

[E]ven in the most imaginative flights there is always a holding back, a reservation. The classical poet never forgets this finiteness, this limit of man. He remembers always that he is mixed up with the earth. He may jump, but he always returns back; he never flies away into the circumambient gas. (119-120. Cf. 126-127)

 

 

—In contrast to the imaginative ‘flights’ of romanticism,… —away from life and into the rarefied atmosphere-aether of—‘circumambient gas’. … —Hulme defines the ‘flights’ of the classical artist as *leaps, which ineluctably return the artist to their finiteness-finitude,—their ‘limit’,… and to the earth, with which they are (inextricably)… ‘mixed up’ (—read: bound to…), and which forms their proper subject matter.

 

 

*—In contrast to what he characterises as the quasi-mystical, life-abnegating flights of romanticism, then, Hulme posits the—‘dry hardness’ of classicism (and the ‘classical),— ‘strictly confined to the earthly and the definite […] always the light of ordinary day’. (126-127). …

 

*—In opposition to what he sarcastically dubs the ‘abysses’ and ‘eternal gases’ of the ‘romantic’,… ‘classical’ art is concerned with the transposition of quotidian experience.

 

 

*—To the ‘romantic’s’ false politics of ‘man’s’—‘infinitude’,… Hulme opposes what he defines as ‘classicism’s’ conception of *‘original sin’…

Man is by his very nature essentially limited and incapable of attaining any kind of perfection, because either by nature, as the result of original sin, or the result of evolution, he encloses within him certain antinomies. There is a war of instincts inside him.

(—‘A Tory Philosophy’, Selected Writings, 160).

 

—In the later ‘Humanism and the Religious Attitude’, Hulme defines this position as the ‘religious attitude’, in contrast to the politics of ‘humanism’, from which, he argues, the ‘romantic’ itself originally emerged. (Speculations, 1-71 [esp. 47].—Cf. ‘A Notebook’, Selected Writings, 180-222 [208-209]) …

 

He argues that the ‘classical’ attitude begins from a conception of the political and artistic expediency of the concept of ‘original sin’. …

 

*(That is,…) —‘Man’ is essentially a chaotic flux of warring instincts, and the only way in which to extract anything of value(-worth) from ‘man’ is through the imposition of an artificial order… —‘The best results can only be got out of man as the result of a certain discipline which introduces order into this internal anarchy’. (‘A Tory Philosophy’, Selected Writings, 160)

*(… —Elsewhere in ‘A Tory Philosophy’, Hulme alludes to the terms of Nietzsche’s conception of the ‘classical’ (which clearly exercised an influence on his own), but rejects Nietzsche as a closet ‘romantic’, and seeks to distance himself from him… —

Most people have been in the habit of associating these kinds of views with Nietzsche. It is true that they do occur in him, but he made them so frightfully vulgar that no classic would acknowledge them. In him you have the spectacle of a romantic seizing on the classic point of view because it attracted him purely as a theory, and who, being a romantic, in taking up this theory, passed his slimy fingers over every detail of it. (—Hulme, Selected Writings, 61)

Although his own definition so closely echoes Nietzsche’s rejection of the ressentiment at stake in ‘romanticism’, Hulme goes on in particular to reject the terms of On the Genealogy of Morality. (Ibid.)

—Hulme’s ostensible rejection of Nietzsche (perhaps wilfully here) elides the importance and centrality of the ‘classical’ in Nietzsche’s definition of his own philosophical and aesthetic project.

—Hulme’s refutation, I’d suggest, should be taken then, perhaps, as a desire to lay claim to intellectual independence, rather than as a legitimate or thoroughgoing critique of Nietzsche. *(—?)… ). …

 

*—For both Nietzsche and for Hulme, then, just as in Stephen’s rejection of ‘symbolism’ and ‘idealism’ on the grounds of the artificiality of the ‘Platonic’ (hmm) ‘light from some other world, the idea of which the matter is but a shadow, the reality of which it is but the symbol’,… *—the ‘romantic’ attitude is distinguished by its incapacity to reconcile itself with its own finitude and limitations. …

 

 

*Insofar as his interpretation of claritas is conditioned by its implicit satirical caricature and critique of the Platonic aesthetical metaphysics at stake (for example) in Yeats’s ‘transcendental’ Symbolism, Stephen’s definition of ‘artistic apprehension’ and the ‘esthetic image’ in Portrait are therefore firmly located in the philosophical and aesthetic rejection of the ‘romantic’ and championing of the ‘classical’,—stretching from Nietzsche’s writings of the late eighteen seventies to Hulme’s writing on aesthetics. …

 

*And, as such,… *—a strong parallel thus also exists, I’d argue, between the terms of Stephen’s exposition of claritas, the ‘esthetic image’, and of the ‘classical’, and the principles of the later Imagist movement, of which Hulme is regarded to be both one of the original founders/inspiration, and the ‘philosopher’ *(—See Patricia M. Rae, ‘T.E. Hulme’s French Sources: A Reconsideration’, Comparative Literature, 41 (1989), 69-99 *[69]),… and so it’s worth pausing to (briefly) outline the key terms and artistic principles/conditions of Pound and the Imagists on the way to clarifying Dedalus’s conception of the image. …

 

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*the fold in the self-creation of the artist…

*(… —follows on from *the artist’s metaphysics, —on “incorporation”, & the Apollinian sublime, —on “purgation”, & the Dionysian sublime, the Lyric Poet, and *on the Rapture, then, and the Nausea.*—the… root, & the nature, of artistic inspiration. …).

 

*(the… —crux. …).

 

*so, … (hmm)… —this is the central… cruxgambit of my project here. … —the central concept that I had wanted to… put across (—to focus-centre on) in my doctoral thesis, and the core of my own theory of artistic inspiration and creation… —derived, of course, from that of Nietzsche’s (—the way I read Nietzsche and Birth here), and, moving outonto the terms of the self-styled neo-classical Modernist’s conceptions of the… epistemological, ontological, and ethical… grounds (—limits)… … the—domain (that is, I suppose) of *art. (—properly conceived,—from their, (shared), neo-classical, point of view… ). …

 

 

 … —I’ve struggled to re-write and to edit the material here…

 

 

—It’s still neither as—clean, nor as… intestinally fortified, and punchy, as I’d really like. …

 

*—there’s more I’d like to do on, especially (for example) Feuerbach, Hegel, Lacan, and (the concept of) *self-alienation, but—lest this all get carried away in pretension and in a proliferation of terms and names here—I’ll leave that (for now) until some other (—appended) time. …   

 

 

—there still needs to be more to the delivery of the central concept here, than I feel I’m capable of (or, at least,—capable of making this—extant—material do), and, frankly, I wonder if all this is (still) not too repetitive, but,—in the main, I stand by the substance of what is here, and I still get a (sort of) nervous-exhilarat rush at the idea of the fold and all the possibilities it seems to present, and demands *(—artistic, philosophical,—ethical) that it seems to make…

 

so,… —I present it here, in the hopes that it will find an audience-readership (—one sympathetic to, and , hopefully, moved by the argument-reading here),—to whom I’ll leave the question of whether any of this has any intellectual—scholarly—value (worth).

 

 

*—this will have been a long post, but I’ve tried my best to… break the material here (further) down into (sub-)sections-fragments,—for the hard of caring. …

 

 

*on—the ‘artists’ metaphysics’…
*—the fold in the ironic self-(re-)creation of the artist
& Nietzsche’s Romantic—anti-Romanticism. …

 

For thinking over: the various sublime states I have experienced as the basis for the various chapters and their materials—regulating the expression, presentation, pathos at work in each chapter—and in this way to obtain an illustration of my ideal, as it were through addition. And then to go still higher!

*(… —from Nietzsche’s notebook MIII 1, 11[141], in Nietzsche, Sämtliche Werke: Kritische Studiensgabe, ed. Giorgio Colli and Mazzino Montinari, 2nd edn, 15 vols [Berlin and New York: de Gruyter; Munich: dtv, 1988; CD-ROM 1995], vol. 9, 527,… —trans. Duncan Large with Keith Ansell Pearson in Nietzsche, The Nietzsche Reader ed. Keith Ansell Pearson and Duncan Large [Oxford: Blackwell Publishing Ltd., 2006],—in ‘16. Notes from 1881’, 238-241 [—239]

*—The fragment comprises part of Nietzsche’s first record of the revelation of—‘the eternal recurrence of the same’, and represents his plans and attempt to articulate and to—‘incorporate’ this thought. …)

 

So, …

 

*—The need to redeem existence from the nausea inspired-precipitated by the—ineluctable—fall (back.—down) into the smallness of quotidian experience from the rapture of the Dionysian state, is what inaugurates the Dionysian-Apollinian conjunction and(-*in)—the birth of tragedy. …

 

 

—I’m going to try, here, to unpack the stages of the process of that conjunction,… —returning to the notion that in his account of the birth of tragedy, Nietzsche is concerned (primarily) with the (philosophical) nature of artistic inspiration, and with the movement from inspiration to the creation of the artwork.

 

*And so,…

 

—I’ll seek to tie together here all the terms of my argument—my reading— thus far… —the Apollinian sublime as incorporation,—the Dionysian sublime as purgation,—the nausea of the return from the rapture of Dionysian purgation in-to the everyday and the need to overcome that nausea and to incorporate the rapture of purgation—as artistic inspiration,… and I’ll complete my reading of the Lyric Poet as the figure who conjoins both modes of the sublime in the fold of their self-creation as artist-poet. …

 

*… —I’ll read the shape of this fold against a ‘dialectical’ conception of Birth, and argue that, while Nietzsche can be seen to engage with, and even to appropriate, the terms of Romantic accounts of artistic inspiration *(and I’ll chose Shelley’s as an example (—for very good reasons)…),… —the naturalism and anti-metaphysics at stake in Birth serve to render this an ironic appropriation of those terms to a fundamentally anti-Romantic aesthetic…

 

 

on Archilochus—vs. Homer…
*(—the Dionysian-Apollinian artist). …

 

*Nietzsche argues that the nature (—constitution, and execution) of the conjunction of-between the Dionysian and the Apollinian can be understood through the (contrasting) figures of two poets, to whom homage was paid within, and who Nietzsche argues were central-crucial to, Hellenic culture…

 

*—The first is Homer, who, for Nietzsche, represents the archetype of the purely Apollinian poet. (See §3, 44 and §5, 48)

 

*—The second is Archilochus, whose face, Nietzsche claims (at least), was placed side by side with Homer’s, ‘on gems, sculptures, etc.’, by Hellenic culture, and who stands, for Nietzsche, as the archetype of the lyric poet. (Ibid.) …

 

*… —I want to argue here that, for Nietzsche (in Birth), it’s the figure of the lyric poet (—with Archilochus, thus, as its archetype), that represents the embodiment (for want, perhaps) of the Dionysian-Apollinian conjunction. …

 

*—in-through process of the ironic self-(re-)creation of the artist.

 

 

—This is in strict contrast here to Homer, who represents a *(purely) Apollinian poet…

 

 

*That is,… —In §5 of Birth, Nietzsche is very definitely not identifying Archilochus, thus, as the archetypal purely Dionysian poet, as more… orthodox readings of the text would have it…

*(… (hmm)…

 

—Silk and Stern, for example—I believe falsely—identify Archilochus and lyric poetry as purely Dionysian: *—‘the Dionysiac lyric with its progenitor Archilochus […]’ (135-136),—reducing Archilochus to the status of the ‘drunken reveller’. (231-232) …

—They thus elide Nietzsche’s crucial qualification, in which Apollo appears to inspire the Dionysian ecstatic to create poetry. (Ibid.—See esp., BT, §5, 49-50)

 

—Allison also stresses what he (again, I believe mistakenly) dubs the—‘singularly Dionysian cast’ of Archilochus, (45-46. *—emphasis added for dramatic effect here…), misidentifying him as the ‘prototype of the lyric poet’. (49. again, the emphasis is somewhat patronising and histrionic…)

 

*—Nietzsche in fact argues that he was the first lyric poet, and not merely a prototype. …).

 

*—What’s at stake, here, then (I’d argue),—in Nietzsche’s staged comparison of Homer and Archilochus—is, in fact, the contrast of the two forms of poetry to which they… gave birth (so to), and not an argument concerning their… polar embodiment of the Apollinian and of the Dionysian (respectively). …

 

*… —Their originality, and corresponding archetypal status, enables Nietzsche to use them to frame the aesthetic problem he sees at the heart of the attempt to understand the conjunction of the Dionysian and the Apollinian. …

 

—Nietzsche argues that this problem arises within what he dubs ‘Modern aesthetics’ as the misunderstanding of, and false distinction between, the ‘“objective” artist’ and the ‘“subjective” artist’,… —with Homer standing as the archetype of objectivity, and Archilochus, thus, as the archetype of subjectivity. (§5, 48)

 

Nietzsche seeks to overcome this opposition:

*—‘because we know the subjective artist only as the poor artist’. (Ibid.—emph. added here…) …

 

 

(hmm).

 

… —The ‘we’(?) here forms a tacit assumption, on Nietzsche’s part, of an agreement with his position, on the part of his reader, in rejecting the categories and conclusions of ‘Modern aesthetics’ (again,—?), and in pursuing the argument that what is necessary to the creation of art is ‘the conquest of the subjective, redemption from the “ego,” and the silencing of the individual will and desire’. (Ibid.)…

*(—and I’ll be giving ol’ Fritz the benefit of the (equally ol’) doubt here,… —it just felt important to point that tacit assumption out…).

 

*—Art and (more particularly) poetry, Nietzsche argues, are essentially impossible if the artist remains subjectively entrenched in their own personal concerns and desires, and fail to attain objectivity…

 

—In the outpouring of his own vehement passions through his poetry, Archilochus, Nietzsche argues, would be defined under the rubric of ‘Modern aesthetics’ as a ‘subjective’ artist (—an artist, that is, concerned—exclusively—with their own subjectivity (—with themselves)… ).

 

 

*By contrast,—Nietzsche seeks to define the way in which Archilochus, standing (as he does, for ol’ Fritz) as the archetype of the lyric poet,—*transcends the (supposéd) opposition between the objective and subjective,—precisely through conjoining the Dionysian and the Apollinian. …

 

*The problem, for Nietzsche, becomes to understand how the lyric poet is possible as both a true and an objective artist—(that is,—) freed from what he portrays as the poverty of merely ‘subjective’ art—when the archetypal lyric poet, Archilochus, who, though so esteemed by the Hellenes as to be granted equal honours with Homer, ‘is continually saying “I” and running through the whole chromatic scale of his [subjective] passions and desires’ in his poetry. (Ibid.) …

 

—The solution, Nietzsche argues, lies in Schiller’s ‘psychological observation’ on the ‘poetic process’ that ‘before the act of creation he did not have before him or within him any series of images in a causal arrangement, but rather a musical mood.’ (49)

 

*—Nietzsche alludes here to—borrows (sic) from—a letter from Schiller to Goethe,*—of the 18th March, 1796. …

The preparations for so complicated a work as a drama set the mind in a strange state of motion. Even the very first operation of seeking a certain method in the work—so as not to grope about aimlessly—is no trifling affair. I am at present engaged with the skeleton and find that a dramatic structure, as in the case of the human body, is the most essential part. I should like to know how you set to work in such matters. With me the conception has at first no definite or clear object; this comes later. A certain musical state of mind precedes it, and this, in me, is only then followed by the poetic idea.[1]

 

 

*For Nietzsche, following Schiller, then, there is no (visible (sic),—sensible,… —definite) *content in the mind of the poet, prior to the creation of poetry. …

 

*… —What precedes, and in fact acts as the motivation of, the act of poetic creation is a*‘mood’ (—stimmung). *—a (musical) ‘state of mind’. …

 

—Nietzsche interprets, and—appropriates, Schiller’s… formulation of the ‘musical mood’, I’d argue, as corresponding to his own conception of the Dionysian sublime as the laceration of individuation and descent into the undivided continuity of the flux of the ‘primal unity’. …

*(and, in this sense,… —the ‘musical mood’, in the terms in which Nietzsche appropriates it,  can thus also be seen to correspond to his subsequent definition of ‘intuition’ in ‘On Truth’, and to Bergson and Hulme’s conceptions of the ‘aesthetic intuition’, as I’ve already sought to define these in the previous thread-string of fragments *(—On Intuition,  flux, & anti-metaphysics onwards…)…).

 

*—In the Dionysian, Nietzsche, following Schiller, is concerned with defining the nature of artistic inspiration. …

 

 

Has anyone at the end of the nineteenth century a clear idea of what poets of strong ages have called inspiration? […T]he idea that one is merely incarnation, merely mouthpiece, merely a medium of overpowering forces. The concept of revelation—in the sense that suddenly, with indescribable certainty and subtlety, something becomes visible, audible, something that shakes one to the last depths and throws one down—that merely describes the facts. One hears, one does not seek; one accepts, one does not ask who gives; like lightning, a thought flashes up, with necessity, without hesitation regarding its form—I never had any choice.

(Nietzsche, ‘Thus Spoke Zarathustra’, in Ecce Homo, §3.,—300)

 

*So. …—In the self-styled autobiographical work Ecce Homo, written toward the end of his productive career, and with reference to his own works,Nietzsche describes ‘inspiration’ as the effect of forces that (seemingly) enter the subject from without—as an overpowering ravishment. …

*( … —see… —the ‘rapture’—in-of the Dionysian. …).

 

 

Conscious volition, then, (for Nietzsche), can never engender a state of inspiration. …

 

*… —Inspiration is precipitated precisely by the overwhelming, and temporary suspension, of subjective willing.

 

 

*The terms of Nietzsche’s definition of inspiration here, therefore echo those of Romanticism—the Romantics. …

 

*In particular, I want to cite the example of Percy Bysshe Shelley’s account of artistic inspiration in A Defence of Poetry… —

A man cannot say, “I will compose poetry”. The greatest poet even cannot say it: for the mind in creation is a fading coal which some invisible influence, like an inconstant wind, awakens to transitory brightness: this power arises from within, like the colour of a flower which fades and changes as it is developed, and the conscious portions of our nature are unprophetic either of its approach or its departure.

(Percy Bysshe Shelley, A Defence of Poetry.—in The Major Works, ed. Zachary Leader and Michael O’Neill [Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003], 674-701 [696-697])

 

 

*—I want to return to Shelley, and to look at the terms of his account of artistic inspiration in far more detail as an (incredibly) important, artistic and philosophical touchstone in relation to Joyce, Yeats, and neo-classical Modernism. …

 

*… —Suffice it here to emphasise that, whilst his conception of inspiration shares (—retains?) the notions of spontaneity and of involuntariness crucial to Shelley’s account *(—‘this power arises from within […] the conscious portions of our nature are unprophetic either of its approach or its departure’),… —in line with his ironic appropriation of the terms of Schopenhauerian aesthetics, Nietzsche the Platonism at stake within it, and, particularly, the claim, later in Shelley’s account, that inspiration affords the poet access to Platonic Forms or Ideas… —*‘to be a poet is to apprehend the true and the beautiful, in a word the good’. (677)[2] …

*(… —on Schopenhauer and the ‘Platonic’,—see *on “purgation”, & the Dionysian sublime. … ).

 

*—(By contrast,) in terms which serve to bind his definition to his early accounts of the ‘primal unity’ and ‘intuition’, and his later doctrine of ‘the will to power’,—in Ecce Homo, Nietzsche lays emphasis on the plurality of the forces overwhelming the (eventual) artist in-within inspiration.

 

 

*—Inspiration, for Nietzsche, is not, then, a ‘visitation’(—?) by a gentle, invisible ‘influence’, as it is for Shelley, but, instead, a violent experience of ravishment—… *‘something that shakes one to the last depths and throws one down’. …

 

*—He defines inspiration as a discovery,—an uncovering

*… —‘The concept of revelation—in the sense that suddenly, with indescribable certainty and subtlety, something becomes visible, audible.’

 

*Just as in the definition of ‘intuition’ in ‘On Truth’ *(—already at stake, as I’ve sought here to argue, in the Dionysian and Apollinian of Birth), and the revelation of the ‘sense’ and ‘Essence’ of a quantum of reality in the doctrine of the will to power,…

 

*—something previously veiled or repressed is revealed in the experience of inspiration.

*(—see *‘the will to power’. and, in particular (especially)—I want return to, and expand on, this in my reading of the aesthetic theory in Joyce’s earlier fiction and neo-classical Modernist aesthetics. …)

 

*Nietzsche’s later account of inspiration,—*already implicitly at stake (I’d argue, at least) in Birth—… represents an ironic appropriation of the Romantic conception of artistic inspiration, then, to an anti-Romantic philosophical project. …

 

 

*For Nietzsche, following Schiller, the experience of the involuntary influx of overpowering forces in artistic inspiration is analogous to that experienced in music.

 

However,… —He qualifies Schiller’s insight by indicating what he argues is ‘the most important phenomenon of all ancient poetry’:

*—‘the union, indeed the identity of the lyrist with the musician.’ (§5, 49)

 

 

—For Nietzsche, the experience of music lies at the heart of artistic inspiration and ‘the poetic process’. …

 

At the point of their birth (so to), lyric poetry and music—the poet and the musician—are identical…

 

*Nietzsche seeks to define this experience of music, inspiration and the ‘poetic process’ through reference to the ‘aesthetical metaphysics’ established in his analysis of the Dionysian and Apollinian modes of the sublime in §§1-4. (Ibid.—Cf. §4, 45)

 

—It’s significant that, at the outset of §5, Nietzsche actually inverts the order of the two drives in the hyphenation symbolic of their conjunction: *—‘Dionysian-Apollinian’. (—§5, 48) …

 

—This inversion indicates the priority of the Dionysian and thus establishes a temporal, though (it’s important to clearly emphasise), not an ontological, hierarchy between the two drives. …

 

Thus,… in the first instance (—‘the first place’), ‘as a Dionysian artist,’ the lyric poet ‘has identified himself with the primal unity, its pain and contradiction.’ (49) …

 

—Through the experience of—undergoing—the Dionysian sublime state, the poet is divested of their empirical, subjective existence.

 

This experience is what is intended by Nietzsche (I’d argue) in his invocation of Schiller’s ‘musical mood’ and the revelatory influx of forces which precipitates poetic inspiration, and is that which underlies the identity of the musician and the poet…

 

For Nietzsche, the lyric poet, as musician, transposes this experience of ‘identity’ with the ‘primal unity’ in the Dionysian into music, which thus forms its ‘repetition’ or ‘copy’. (Ibid.)

 

This transposed ‘copy’ of the ‘primal unity’, now, ‘under the Apollinian dream inspiration’ which seeks to render intelligible and to incorporate all lived experience, ‘reveals itself to [the lyric poet] again as a symbolic dream image.’ (Ibid.)

 

 

*… —The experience of the divestiture of the empirical self and identity with the ‘primal unity’ in the Dionysian, for Nietzsche, inexorably engenders a need to express this ecstatic state in music…

 

—In turn, in the same way that the need to incorporate experience precipitated dreams, in order to capture, articulate and thereby to *incorporate the experience of music,—the Apollinian is called upon to render it intelligible through the spontaneous generation of images. …

 

*—The conjunction of the Dionysian and Apollinian occurs as the series of stages in the self-engendering ‘process’ of the becoming of the lyric poet…

 

*—The process is precipitated by the physical and psychological need to react to the powerful ecstatic experience of the Dionysian…

*—‘The inchoate, intangible reflection of the primordial pain in music, with its redemption in mere appearance, now produces a second mirroring as a specific symbol or example.’ (Ibid.)

 

For Nietzsche, music—as ‘mere appearance’—embodies the ecstasy of the Dionysian state.

 

—This reflection itself, however, remains ‘inchoate’ and ‘intangible’… —is only felt, and, therefore, remains formless and frustratingly ungraspable, inarticulate, and—distant. …

 

*—The need to comprehend and to articulate the ‘musical mood’ precipitates the call upon the *—‘Apollinian dream inspiration’, to embody the experience in ‘specific’ images. …

 

*The Dionysian-Apollinian conjunction thus results from a double transposition, arising from the need to comprehend, articulate, and to incorporateDionysian purgation. …

 

—First music is engendered as its emotional and physical expression through the ‘symbolic faculties [. … —T]he entire symbolism of the body’ (Cf. §2, 40) …

music

*(and I’d emphasise here (—as I ought to have done, I suppose, already,—in my reading of the Dionysian) the… spontaneity *(—unscripted, involuntary), and the special emphasis on the performance and the reception *(—the experience of the audience), in Nietzsche’s account of music here (—in Birth). …).

 

*Through… bodily symbolism, then,—the Dionysian is… bodied-forth, and thus finds… —(a form of) release. …

 

 

*—Nietzsche argues that a deeply felt need to comprehend and to incorporate the experience of the ecstasy of the Dionysian and its release in music now arises. …

 

This need engenders a call upon the Apollinian artistic drive, effectively sublimating the drive to (—the need for) individuation. (—Cf. §4, 45) …

 

The Apollinian generates a ‘specific symbol or example’ intended to encapsulate the universal experience of the Dionysian and of music: *—transposing and projecting it, organically and spontaneously, into images…

 

The process of the Dionysian-Apollinian conjunction is one of transposition from the purgative Dionysian to Apollinian incorporation:

*—a process, then, of *sublime transposition. …

 

 

—This process (thus) suspends the subject/object distinction.

 

 

*—In the fragment ‘On Music and Words,’ written at the same time as the latter sections of Birth  (—1871) and, originally, intended to form a part of the text, but which Nietzsche later omitted, he defines the ecstatic experience of music, defending it against what he argues is the misapprehension that it arises from an excitation of emotion or ‘feeling’: …

*—‘the whole realm of drives, the interplay of feelings, sensations, emotions, and acts of will’, he argues, ‘is known to us […] only as representations and not according to its essence’.[3]

 

Nietzsche argues that drives, feelings, and emotions are only appearances, —are only ‘representations’ of the ‘will’ *(—which I am, it’s true choosing to understand here as synonymous with the flux of the undivided continuity of states in-of the ‘primal unity’ in the final, completed text), which, bowing to ‘rigid necessity,’ we cannot get beyond. (Ibid.—Cf. BT, §4, 45)

 

 

*He argues that within empirical experience we can know the ‘will’ only through these conscious and unconscious representations—only in sublimated form through Apollinian appearances—but we cannot know it as it is in-itself. …

 

Within the ecstatic experience of music, however, this veil of representations is torn aside and the ‘will’ and the ‘whole realm of drives’ is experienced directly—that is,—im-mediately…

 

 

*—Nietzsche argues that those who feel music merely in the form an effect on their emotions gain access only to *(—remain irremediably anchored within) the sphere of the representations: —an ‘intermediate realmin-between the listener and that which the (true) ‘musical mood’ reveals. …

 

That is,… *—feelings can only ever translate and symbolise the experience of music, but can never themselves generate music. (111-112) …

 

—The feelings, images and concepts that constitute our experience of the ‘will’ are already (always—ineluctably) permeated by conscious and unconscious representations in that they are related to, and arise from, relations to the (particular) objects of empirical experience. …

 

*—They are, (in fact.—for Nietzsche) subject to the principle of individuation. …

 

*—For Nietzsche, the ecstatic experience of music suspends the subject-object relation arising from individuation, and this gives rise to a new form of experience in which ‘the object of music […] is given to us as the content (Inhalt) of our own intensely undergone aesthetic experience.’ *(—see Allison, Reading the New Nietzsche, *—65.) …

 

According to Nietzsche this… —‘object’ is experienced directly,—without the mediation of ‘representations’. …

 

…—What is experienced is not, then, an excitement, or a… heightening of emotional relations, but, instead,—proceeds from the ‘altogether different regions’ of the ‘primal unity’,—released from the constrictions of individuation. (—in Dahlhaus,—112) …

 

*—It is, then, an experience of ‘dithyrambic world redemption jubilation’… *—the experience of the release, free play, and exaltation of fundamental creative drives and energies emancipated and redeemed from the constraints of quotidian finitude. (Ibid.)

 

This experience of the Dionysian ‘redemption’ of the ‘will’ and the suspension of individuation, then, is what the lyric poet strives to symbolise through recourse to the Apollinian.

 

*Nietzsche names Archilochus as ‘the first Greek lyrist’ and, thus,—the archetypal embodiment of the Dionysian-Apollinian conjunction…

*—‘it is not his passion alone that dances before us in orgiastic frenzy; but we see Dionysus and the Maenads, we see the drunken reveller Archilochus sunk down in slumber.’(BT, §5, 49)[4]

 

*…—Nietzsche argues that it’s not simply his subjective passion which Archilochus portrays in his poetry, but, in fact, it’s his Dionysian experience which is embodied and expressed in the mythic form of the figure of Dionysus himself, and those of his female devotees,—the Maenads.

 

 

*—Apollo now approaches the ‘sleeping’ Archilochus,… ‘and touches him with the laurel. Then the Dionysian-musical enchantment of the sleeper seems to emit image sparks, lyrical poems, which in their highest development are called tragedies and dramatic dithyrambs.’ (§5, 49-50)

 

*The ‘Dionysian-musical enchantment’ only seems to emit ‘image sparks’, for—as I’ve argued—the physiological-psychological need to comprehend, articulate, and incorporate this ‘enchantment’ is what gives rise to the call upon Apollo. …

 

*In contrast to the purely Apollinian ‘plastic artist’ and the ‘epic poet’, then,—‘absorbed’ in ‘the pure contemplation of images,’ and the (purely-solely) Dionysian artist-musician who is ‘without any images, himself pure primordial pain and its primordial re-echoing’, —the lyric poet represents a new, distinct,—third type of artist…

*—the conjunction (and the ‘highest development’) of the Apollinian and Dionysian. (50. Cf. §1, 37) …

 

*—The lyric poet, then, is neither solely absorbed in the pure contemplation of images, nor are they without images, but, instead, they’re—‘conscious of a world of images and symbols—growing out of his state of mystical self-abnegation and oneness.’ (§5, 50)

 

…—The Dionysian origin of these images means that the ‘world’ the lyric poet creates ‘has a coloring, a causality, and a velocity, quite different from those of the world of the plastic artist and the epic poet.’ (Ibid.)

 

—Whereas these latter derive their images from a purely Apollinian source, those of the lyric poet ‘grow’ from his initial Dionysian intoxication and ecstasy.

 

And this accounts for the variance in the ‘causality’… —the differing courses of the development of the two types of imagery.

 

In addition, whereas the ‘velocity’—the rhythm and tempo, and ‘coloring’ (—pathos?)—of the Apollinian artist’s images is one of calm serenity and ordered delineation, those of the lyric poet embody the ecstatic energy of the Dionysian. …

 

*—The ‘plastic artist’ and the ‘epic poet’ live in their images and ‘onlyin them’. (Ibid.)

 

The nature of these images—as a transfiguring ‘mirror of illusion’…—creates, and maintains, a distance between the artist and their images

—‘he is protected against becoming one and fused with his figures’. …

 

*—the images are interposed (in-)between the artist and reality. (Ibid.—Cf. §3, 43) …

 

*By contrast,… —the images of the lyric poet, having evolved as the embodiment and incorporation of the Dionysian divestiture of the empirical self and its recreation in music, ‘are nothing but his very self.’ (Ibid.) …

 

And it’s here, for Nietzsche, that the subject/object distinction is suspended. …

 

—The ‘self’ of the lyric poet is the embodiment of identity with the ‘primal unity’ and its recreation in music…

*—‘the “I” of the lyrist therefore sounds from the depths of his being: its “subjectivity” is a fiction.’ (49)

 

*—The ‘self’ of the lyric poet is an *image through which the experience of identity with the ‘primal unity’ gains utterance. …

 

The ‘the whole chromatic scale’ of the lyric poet’s ‘passions’ are appropriated as images with which to articulate their intense aesthetic experience, ‘so he, as the moving centre of this world, may say “I”’…

*that is… —may refer the ecstasy to an intelligible and known register of experience. (50) …

 

 

*In the ‘On Music and Words’ fragment, Nietzsche refers to the ecstatic Dionysian experience of identity with the ‘will’ (sic.—see above…), and defines its comprehension and articulation by the lyric poet in terms of ‘feeling’…

[T]he feelings of love, fear, and hope: [….T]hese feelings can serve to symbolise the music, which is what the lyric poet does when he translates this realm of the “will,” which cannot be approached by means of concepts and images and yet is the real content and subject of music, into the metaphorical world of feelings. (111)

 

—As immediately physiologically and psychologically moving, empirical feelings are employed by the lyric poet as representations… —provisional metaphors (so to)—in order to transpose the otherwise ungraspable and incomprehensible experience of identity with the ‘will’. …

 

*—The ‘self’ (so to.—sic)… —*the ‘I’ articulating this experience—is thus ‘not the same as that of the waking, empirically real man, but the only truly existent and eternal self resting at the very basis of things, through whose images the lyric genius sees this very basis.’ (§5, 50) …

 

*—The images of the lyric poet are ‘projections’ which reveal the experience of identity with the ‘will’ and allow it to be comprehended and articulated…

 

*—And this is the birth of tragedy.

 

*… —out of the spirit’(then,) of music. …

 

 

*—For Nietzsche, the—‘empirically real’ ‘self’ of the lyric poet, as it returns *(—is… recuperated) in their poetry, is itself an image.

*(that is,)—merely a (form of) cipher. …

 

—The feelings (—‘love, fear, and hope’,—&c. …) of empirical experience are accessed (in memory?—memorial) and are grasped by the lyric poet as a register by or into which to translate the Dionysian-musical ecstasy. …

 

*—The poet (as poet. …—as poetry, I suppose), however (nonetheless), remains detached from this ‘world of willing’…

*—‘as Apollinian genius [the lyric poet] interprets music through the image of the will, while he himself, completely released from the greed of the will, is the pure undimmed eye of the sun.’ (Cf. §6, 55.—emphasis added.) …

 

*… —Released from the bonds of the empirical ‘self’ by the Dionysian-musical ecstasy, the lyric poet is free, Nietzsche argues, to interpret this experience through the most immediate and appropriate images gleaned from phenomena, which emerge as ‘image sparks’ suggested by the poet’s state of inspiration. …

 

 

*For Nietzsche, then, Archilochus,—…

[the] passionately inflamed, loving, and hating man, is but a vision of the genius, who by this time is no longer merely Archilochus, but a world-genius expressing his primordial pain symbolically in the symbol of the man Archilochus—while the subjectively willing and desiring man, Archilochus can never at any time be a poet.’ (§5, 50)

 

*—The ‘Archilochus’ who thus says ‘I’, is no longer simply the quotidian, individuated man Archilochus, who is, (in fact), incapable of composing poetry…

 

* …—This—quotidian—‘self’ (—a linguistic fiction, then, of ‘Apollinian’ individuation) has been… —lacerated (undone) in the experience of artistic inspiration, and now returns solely as the ‘symbol’, or, rather, symbolic register, by which the ‘primal unity’ (—the ‘world-genius’) can express the ‘primordial pain’ in-of chaotic, undivided flux. …

 

*—The empirical self, Nietzsche argues, becomes a mere *mask for the Dionysian-musical ecstasy. …

 

*—It’s separated from the artist—as ‘world-genius’—by the… lacuna (—the stations…) of the process of sublime transposition. …

 

*—The empirical ‘subjectively willing and desiring’ self can never be a poet. …

 

—The lyric poet must have undergone the experience and process of ‘inspiration’ *(the—‘musical mood’…) in order to have become identical (so to) with the ‘world-genius’ which retrieves—and (effectively, in essence) redeems—the empirical self as an image-images.

 

 

*It’s not necessary, however, for the lyric poet to use only their empirical self. …

 

—Indeed, for Nietzsche, it’s even not a matter of choice (—volition). …

 

 

*—The divestiture of (the quotidian) ‘self’, identity with the ‘primal unity’, and the Dionysian-musical ecstasy which embodies this experience, necessarily, spontaneously and organically (—that is, without, or, rather, independent of the volition of the poet) generate mythic or imagistic representations.

*—from within themselves. …

 

*—The lyric poet’s empirical self functions as a projection and as a mask for their experience.

 

However, ‘tragedy shows how far the visionary world of the lyrist may be removed from this phenomenon’. (50-51) …

 

—The mythic personages in-of tragedy may equally well function as expressions and masks of the Dionysian-musical ecstasy.

 

—The empirical self of the poet is, in the end, merely that phenomenon which lies—‘closest at hand’. (51) …

 

*—The empirical self is divested in the Dionysian only to return as an image,—born of music, to embody that experience. …

 

*For Nietzsche, the union of the Dionysian and Apollinian is not a moment in which the two drives are… —‘synthesised’ to form a third, single phenomenon. …

 

*Instead, it takes the form of a process in which the two drives are conjoined, and yet remain distinct. …

 

*—A temporal hierarchy (priority) subsists, in which the purgative Dionysian mode of the sublime—as first moment,—necessarily engenders the Apollinian sublime mode of incorporation. …

 

*However,… —this is neither a qualitative, nor is it an ontological hierarchy, but the resulting conjunction represents the highest manifestation-incarnations (for ol’ Fritz) of both modes of the sublime…

*—the Dionysian in the experience of identity with primordial pain and contradiction, and the primordial pleasure in appearance in the recreation of its effect in music,—the Apollinian in its symbolisation of the Dionysian itself. (—§5, 49) …

 

*—The process at stake here, then is that of a double transposition… —from the ecstatic divestiture of self and identity with the ‘primal unity’ in the Dionysian into its ‘reflection’ and re-creation in music, and the generation from this in turn of images in the Apollinian whose purpose is the incorporation of the experience of the Dionysian.

 

*Laceration and self-destruction in the experience of the Dionysian sublime, Nietzsche argues, constitute the ‘objectivity’ of the artist.

 

—They are the condition for the revelation of the ‘primal unity’ and the condition of the possibility for the creation of art. …

 

*For Nietzsche, only through undergoing laceration in the experience of the Dionysian can the artist-poet attain to the purgation and the redemption of the drives, and the (subsequent) incorporation of this experience of redemption in the mythic-symbolism of the ‘passions’ and ‘feelings’…

 

*—This is the ironic self-(re-)creation of the ‘I’ of the artist. …

 

*And so,—… —I want to argue here, then, that this process of the Dionysian-Apollinian sublime transposition can be understood, as a whole, as the process—the *shape—of a *fold… —

 

 *(—the fold. …)

 

* —

the fold (ii)

 

*—. In his reading of ‘On Truth’ in Nietzsche’s Philosophy, Eugen Fink provides a useful foil for… unpacking, and articulating this— *self-unfoldingself-enfolding process. —…

The will comes to itself, becomes conscious of itself, takes possession of itself through consciousness and redeems itself in beautiful “semblance”

[. …]

*—

The will must alienate itself in order to own itself and reunite itself from this alienation in order to realise its own self-consciousness.[5]

 

*—According to Fink, the ‘will’ alienates itself from itself through the process of individuation in order to redeem itself: …

*—to know itself through the individual, and to be transfigured (again) into art…

 

*—The fold in the (ironic) self-(re-)creation of the artist follows an analogous pattern…

 

 

… —both… —zenith (height) (so to). *—of feeling (—positive pathos… —release-full power-play—intoxicat-rapture—of the drives…),… *—and (also always) the nadir *(—the lowest point,—of pessimism-nihilistic in-at the impossibility of attaining full, lasting identity—with the ideal. … … —broken-hearted,… —nauseous (—bilious resent)…)…

 

*—coupled-conjoined.(—co-exist…).

 

—the one (—the ‘zenith’),… —revivified from-(with-)in the other (‘nadir’). …

 

 

*—the ironic revivification of pathos.

 

—from… without. … —outwith that pathos…

 

—feeling without feeling. …

 

*—as an aesthetic phenomenon. … *—brought back—as art. …

 

*… —an ‘I’ without (that is,… —no longer constrained-wrapped within… —within the stakes,… —the concerns-prejudices of) an-the I (—that was). …

 

 

*… —The—*apparently—unified, stable, and self-identical empirical self of the artist
is lacerated (undone) in the ecstasy of the Dionysian state *(—‘rapture’).
*(ecstasy.—ek stasis (Gr.): *—stands – outside. …). …

 

Now,… —the artist attains a unity-identity with, and consciousness of, the super-abundance, power, and free-play of the drives and forces *(—the undivided continuity of flux of the ‘primal unity’), unfettered from their repression within-under Apollinian individuation.

 

*The artist expresses, recreates, and communicates this ecstatic state in-through the immediate medium of music and the symbolism of bodily expression (—dance).

*(—the ‘musical mood’…).

 

 

*Through its sheer intensity, the ‘rapture’ of the Dionysian state quickly exhausts itself, and is lost in the ineluctable fall (back.—down) into individuated, empirical consciousness, and this loss is greeted with—*nausea (and with the threat of a potentially self-destructive nihilism…).

 

 

*—The need to comprehend(-to grasp).,… —to sustain… —preserve,…and to—*incorporate the experience of the ‘rapture’—to (meaningfully) uplift the Dionysian into everyday lived experience *(—artistic inspiration), generates images—… ironically recuperating the empirical self of the artist—with which to embody that experience.[6]…

 

 

*—the Dionysian ‘rapture’, already expressed in-through music, is figured forth (again) (so to) in-within the (—Apollinian) image.

 

*—(the creation of) *the ‘I’ of the artist. …

 

*—the self-creation of the artist, then,—as artist. …

 

*(between the sublime and sarcasm. …)

 

 

*—conjunction & self-alienation (Hamlet)
vs., then,—the dialectic. …

 

*The Dionysian and the Apollinian, then, are fused-conjoined here, but (and yet) remain irresolvably distinct *(—music. and image.). …

 

 

*The process (—the artist) moves, then,—from one to the other… *—the one (—the Dionysian) undoes and then (subsequently) precipitates the (ironic) rebirth of the other,… —but there is no… —cancellation,… —no negation and-or sublimation  here *(though it may certainly look like it…

 

indeed, and as I’ve already mentioned in *‘the artist’s metaphysics’,… —in his… ‘review’ (sic) of Birth in Ecce Homo,Nietzsche goes so (sarcastically) far as to remark that the text— *‘smells offensively Hegelian’  [—270]…).

 

*—the Dionysian remains Dionysian,… —the Apollinian,—Apollinian…

 

and there is no ‘synthesis’,… —no higher unity. …

 

*—The experience,… the (fact,… —the quality) of having experienced the ‘rapture’ fo the Dionysian is incorporated—in-through the (Apollinian) artwork, but (in the end,—as it must) the life-quotidian goes on (sadly), and the gulf between it and the Dionysian ecstatic rapture (—inexorably, irremediably) remains. (—must remain…). …

 

 

*The process of transposition through which the Dionysian and Apollinian are conjoined in the ironic self-(re-)creation of the artist is engendered in order to overcome the ‘nausea’ originally experienced in the return to quotidian reality from the sublime ecstasy *(—the rapture) of the Dionysian. …

 

*—the overcoming of the nausea which (ineluctably) results from the state of self-alienation (felt), which this return (—this… fall) itself engenders, and which finds its… ‘symbolical analogue’ (sic) in the figure of Hamlet. …

 

*—overcoming. … but without—for there’s absolutely (for ol’ Fritz) no possibility of)—dialectically (or otherwise)—resolving that state of alienation. …

 

 

 *—Lethe/Eunoë.

 …

 

*—to complete the Dantean textual comparison, which I began in ‘on “purgation”, & the Dionysian sublime, then. …

 

(hmm).

 

 

*—The overcoming of nausea (—the—(for ol’ Fritz) originalspur to artistic inspiration…) effected by(-through) the conjunction of Dionysian purgation and Apollinian incorporation, can be usefully articulated and clarified through comparison to the relationship between the Lethe (—‘the water of oblivion’) and its counterpart,—the Eunoë…

 

 

*—As I said in ‘on “purgation”’,… —I choose to read Nietzsche’s invocation of the ‘lethargic”, and (therefore) of the Lethe, as a Dantean allusion—to the river that runs through the earthly paradise atop Mount Purgatory—and not, as John Sallis does, as a Platonic one—to river running through Plato’s Hades (—the underworld… (hmm)…).

*(—see Sallis, Crossings, 1-2, 5)…

 

Into the stream she’d drawn me in my faint,

Throat-high, and now, towing me after her,

Light as a shuttle o’er the water went.

Asperges me” *[—‘thou shalt purge me’] I heard, as I drew near

The blissful brink, so sweetly as to drown

Power to recall […—]

Then drew me forth and led me, washed and clean

*(—‘CANTO XXXI’, ll.94-103 [317-318).

 

*—The Lethe, then, purges (—‘“Aperges me”’) both the memory of sin and, with it, the feeling (—the suffering) of guilt. ( to‘drown’—‘the Power to recall’…). …

 

However,…

 

This—‘oblivion’ leaves behind (—in its wake), a very specific, and really quite fraught, (moral?—ethical…) problem. …

 

Here I protested: “But I can’t recall

That ever I estranged myself from you;

For that, my conscience feels no twinge at all.”

“And if thou hast forgotten it – go to,

Remember” – she was smiling as she spoke –

“Thou’st drunk to-day of Lethe; yea, and true

It is, if fire may be inferred from smoke,

From this oblivion we may well adduce

Proof of thy guilt – false will and fealty broke.

*(—‘CANTO XXXIII’, ll.91-99 [333-334]).

 

*—the waters of the Lethe purge not only guilt, but memory of the actions which provoked that guilt. …

 

*However,—this purgation leaves behind itself a… lacuna (a—gap-absence) in experience, which cannot otherwise be accounted for…

 

*(That is,)—the lacuna left behind by purgation itself (ironically) points to (-indicates), then, the absence (of the presence) of something (—of some thing) which needed to be (have been) forgotten. …

 

*—the space left behind. …

—the shape (in the body of experience) left by what has been lost (been purged)…

 

*—a space that cannot, but must be accounted for.

*(—the pilgrim must be able to account, and to take responsibility, for all of his experience… —to (simply) leave the lethargic lacuna—as is—would be dishonest and abortive of the (full)process-jourey of redemption…).  

 

 

*—in order to complete the process of the purging of sin,… —the pilgrim must regain-restore that memory-lost *(—lost time…). … —

 

Look, flowing yonder, there is Eunoë;

Conduct him there, and it, as thy use is,

Restore his fainting powers’ vitality.

 […—]

From those most holy waters, born anew

I came, like trees by change of calendars

Renewed with new-sprung foliage though and through,

Pure and prepared to leap up to the stars.

*(ll.127-129,—142-145 [334-335]).

 

*The Lethe—purges memory of sin and guilt. …

 

—But (and yet)—this is only the first phase. …

 

 

*—The waters of the Eunoë *(—Dante’s own poetic creation. … —see Richard Lessing, ed., The Dante Encyclopedia [London: Routledge, 2010], 357-35, though I prefer, and will draw on here, the terms of Sayer’s reading of the relationship between the Lethe and the Eunoë…), then,… —restores the memory of experience,—lost to the Lethe (—the lethargic)—that the pilgrim might be able to know, and to account, for—all of his experience,… —‘good’ or ‘bad’. …

 

 

This, however, is a restoration after the guilt of-for sin (—having sinned) has been purged. …

 

*That is,… the Eunoë restores the memory of experience,—shorn of the guilt formerly attached to it… —(it) ‘restores remembrance of the sin, but only as an historical fact’ (—see Sayers, ‘Introduction’, 68.—emph. added),—allowing the pilgrim to incorporate the whole of his experience with clarity and with (full,—uncompromising) honesty, but without the burden (now) of guilt…

*(—the name ‘Eunoë’ itself means—‘good-remembrance’ or ‘good-mind’ [—see Sayers.—note. 335. …]).

 

 

*—Purgation,—nausea,… and—incorporation, then. …

 

 

*…—The conjunction of the Dionysian and the Apollinian *(—Dionysian-Apollinian) allows the ecstatic rapture of purgation to be incorporated.

 

 

*—the gulf between the Dionysian and the everyday isn’t here (—because it couldn’t possibly ever be) permanently bridged, or… —erased (?—if one can ever erase a gulf…). …

 

*—The state of Hamlet-esque (—analogous) self-alienation is not undone. …

(—that state… —persists).

 

However,…

 

*—The incorporation of the experience of purgation allows for… knowledge (—an awareness-consc.) of that inexorable divide *(—of the impossibility of attaining identity with the powerful free-play and fulfilment-satisfaction (the—realisation)of the drives, which is, nonetheless, the condition of the possibility of individuation (—itself a—natural—necessity)), without the experience of (experiencing)—nausea.

 

 

*… —Just as in the Dantean pilgrim’s draught of—having drunk from—the oblivion-granting waters of the Lethe having left an uncomfortable consciousness of a gap-lacuna (space),… —of something that needed to have been forgotten,… *—For the Dionysian ecstatic, to return cold to empirical, individuated existence from the rapture of the Dionysian, engenders nausea…

 

So,—… as the Dantean pilgrim’s drinking from the Eunoë restores the memory (—the time) of what was lost to ‘lethargy’,—shornof the guilt formerly attached to it… *—so the recasting of the Dionysian *(—the state, and the musical-physical performance it, initially, engendered) into (Apollinian) *images *(—into the ironically reconstituted construct of the ‘I’, then, of the artist) allows for a return to quotidian-individuated existence, with the experience rapture incorporated (—in-through art and poetry), and, therefore,—not – lost. …

 

 

*an—ironic form—of resurrection, then. …

 

 

*—the psychology of the artist. …
(in which—‘nature’ (—psychology/physiology) clarifies the fold…).

 

*In Twilight of the Idols—in a section concerned with the *‘psychology of the artist’—Nietzsche (appears, at least to me) to return to and to (effectively) qualify and to substantially re-write Birth,… —clarifying what’s at stake in the terms of the fold in the self-creation of the artist in Birth, in an analysis of what he calls the process of *‘idealizing’. … —

Toward a psychology of the artist. If there is to be art, if there is to be any aesthetic doing and seeing, one physiological condition is indispensable: frenzy [….] What is essential in such frenzy is the feeling of increased strength and fullness. Out of this feeling one lends to things, one forces them to accept from us, one violates them—this process is called idealizing.[7]

 

—Nietzsche argues for the foundation of all art in the ‘frenzy’ (Rausch) of natural drives. (Ibid.)

*(—Among the different ‘types’ of ‘frenzy’ he identifies, he includes… —‘sexual frenzy’, ‘the frenzy that follows all great cravings, all strong affects’; ‘feasts’, ‘contests’, ‘feats of daring’, ‘victory’, ‘all extreme movement’; ‘cruelty’; ‘destruction’; ‘meteorological influences’; ‘spring’ and ‘narcotics’. …)

 

Frenzy’, then, is thus, I’d argue, synonymous with, or, rather,—analogous to, what I have called here the laceration of individuation and identity with the ‘primal unity’ in the Dionysian sublime of Birth. …

 

*Nietzsche argues that from the state of ‘frenzy’, the artist returns to the objects of empirical experience *(—in the context of the lyric poet in Birth, to their own empirical emotions, passions and feelings) and forces them to ‘accept’ the essence of this ecstatic experience.

 

*—The artist violates these objects and uses them to embody his experience of ‘frenzy’…

 

*The objects, then,—as images—become ‘ideal’. …

 

 

*In terms which echo his definition of the ‘good poet of the future’ in Human, All Too Human, who, he argues ‘will depict only reality […] but by no means every reality! – he will depict a select reality!’,… —in contrast to what he deems to be the ‘prejudice’ that ‘idealizing’ consists in the mere sloughing off of the ‘petty or inconsequential’ in both the artist and their model, Nietzsche argues that what is ‘decisive’ in ‘frenzy’ is *—‘a tremendous drive to bring out the main features so that the others disappear in the process.’ (Ibid.—See HH IIa, §114, 239-240)

 

 

*—And this, I feel, serves to bind Birth, much more coherently and much more explicitly, to Nietzsche’s later writings…

*(… —not the aberrant, anomalous text of, say, Deleuze’s reading [—See Deleuze, Nietzsche and Philosophy, 1-35]).

 

Further,… —I’d argue that it serves to bind both the Dionysian-Apollinian and to Nietzsche’s definition of ‘intuition’ as the laceration of pre-existing conventional concepts and the formation of ‘forbidden metaphors and in unheard-of combinations of concepts’ in the attempt to ‘correspond creatively to the impression of the powerful and present intuition’ in ‘On Truth’, with its echo in the Bergsonian-Hulmean ‘aesthetic intuition’. (Nietzsche, ‘On Truth’, 122)

 

Nietzsche is thus using this explicitly naturalistic interpretation of artistic inspiration and creation as the process of the transformation of ‘things’ into images,—understood as the fold in the ironic self-(re-)creation of the artist through the process of sublime transposition, to clarify the contrast between the Apollinian and Dionysian artistic drives in Birth, —‘both conceived as kinds of frenzy,’ and their conjunction. (§10, 519-520)

 

 

*—The Apollinian ‘frenzy’ constitutes the drive to incorporation, which, Nietzsche argues, ‘excites the eye above all’, so that its faculty is transformed into a ‘power of vision’ in which the quotidian, as in dreams, is transfigured and redeemed: (Ibid.—emphasis added)

In the Dionysian state, on the other hand, the whole affective system is excited and enhanced: so that it discharges all its means of expression  at once and drives forth simultaneously the power of representation, imitation, transfiguration, transformation, and every kind of mimicking and acting. The essential feature here remains the ease of metamorphosis, the inability not to react. (Ibid.)

 

Whereas, for Nietzsche, the Apollinian sublime affects only the faculty of seeing, the Dionysian sublime affects all the faculties of the body ‘simultaneously’.

 

*The, thus excited, system is impelled to react to and to discharge its frenzy.

 

It *‘drives forth’ first music, and then the Apollinian in order to incorporate the experience of the sublime…

 

*The process of sublime transposition begins with the empirical individuated self of the artist.

 

It then proceeds through a movement of the annihilation of the empirical self into a state of ecstatic ‘frenzy’ in which ‘the whole affective system is excited and enhanced’ and attains a heightened power and potentiality in the free play of the unfettered creative drives (—what Nietzsche terms ‘strength and fullness’. …).

 

At this point, divorced from willing and in their heightened state of mind, the artist enters into disinterested contemplation of the phenomenon of the will.[8]

 

—They interpret and select from the phenomena of the empirical self those which embody and transmit the essence of their experience.

 

The empirical self of the artist is re-created as a mask—an image *(—the ‘I’ of the lyric poet…)—in order to articulate this experience.[9]

 

This is the fold in-of the self-creation of the artist.

 

It is this which is at stake in Nietzsche’s otherwise enigmatic proclamation in ‘The Attempt at a Self-Criticism’, which he defines in a fragment of 1885-1886, that Birth contains an—‘artists’ metaphysics’ (—?). … —

Becoming, felt and interpreted from within, would be continual creating by someone dissatisfied, over-wealthy, endlessly tense and endlessly under pressure, by a god whose only means of overcoming the torment of being is constant transformation and exchange – illusion as the temporary redemption achieved every moment; the world as the succession of divine visions and redemptions in illusion.[10]

 

In terms which are echoed in the later ‘Attempt’ preface and in Beyond Good and Evil, Nietzsche describes the impulsion to art as resulting from (a state of)overfullness’. (BT, ‘ASC,’ §4, 21, BGE, IX, §260, 205)

 

 

*—. Just as the Dionysian ecstasy of Birth gave rise to the feeling of nausea upon the return to the quotidian, ‘overfullness’ generates an extreme tension and dissatisfaction with the stultified surface *(skin. …the—film) of (Apollinian) ‘being’. …

 

*In terms which are echoed in both the account of artistic inspiration and creation in Birth and the aesthetic intuition as the laceration of the conceptual and the dive into underlying flux in order to return with new forms and new metaphors in ‘On Truth’ (and its parallel in Bergson’s philosophy), this state is redeemed through the laceration of the surface of ‘being,’ the purgation of repressed drives and the creation of the artwork: …

*—‘transformation and exchange […] the succession of divine visions and redemptions in illusion’.

 

 

*—The ‘artist’s metaphysics’,—with deliberate irony (I’d argue),…—names the anti-metaphysical conjunction (of the natural drives) of-to the purgation and incorporation of lived experience in the fold of the self-(re-)creation of the artist.

 

*—vs. the ‘romantic’. …
*(—prelude to a reading of neo-classical Modernism…).

 

 

*In Nietzsche’s Voices, Henry Staten argues that Birth ‘focuses on the classical reference-points of what is called Romanticism *… —Rousseauistic primitivism, recourse to a transcendental subject, doctrines of genius and inspiration, idealization of the Greeks, [and] antipathy to the rationalisation of nature’.[11]

 

—I’m going to adopt Staten’s definition of the… significant markers of Romanticism-the Romantic here, taking them, due to their concision and usefulness, for my current purposes, as—accurate. …

*(though far more, it has to be said, needs to be, and, hopefully, will be, done (—I’ll return to doing-having done)—especially in relation to Jena Romanticism *(—the frühromantik) to justify, clarify, and substantiate in terms of textual and figural examples of-from those who came to be known (by ways and means) as—Romantic…).

 

*… —Adopting Staten’s definition, then,… —Nietzsche’s account of artistic inspiration and creation in Birth can be seen to reject each of its key terms…

 

—‘Rousseauistic primitivism’ represents a forthright rejection of culture and a ‘return’ to a state of nature, such as is promoted in Rousseau’s Émile.

 

*—Keith Ansell Pearson argues that in his early writings, ‘Nietzsche criticizes Rousseau’s paean to nature, and his belief in man’s natural goodness, which have their basis in romanticism.’ Nietzsche is critical of the ‘modern’ conception of the artist in terms of Émile and its corresponding idealisation of nature…

Rousseau’s portrait of Émile’s realization of his fundamental human nature and the achievement of oneness with nature, achieved by withdrawing the child and adolescent from the degenerative effects of corrupt social institutions and allowing his natural goodness to flourish, fails to recognise the dark and terrible forces of nature which must be overcome.[12]

 

In contrast to Rousseau’s ‘primitivism’, for Nietzsche what is revealed through the suffering and contradiction of the ‘primal unity’ at stake within the emergence of Hellenic culture is that there can be no possible return to nature without its first having been transformed *(—a trans-formation) through culture, and through art

*(and, therefore,—of course—there can be no realreturn’ at all. …).

 

*—Art is both necessary, and inevitable. …

 

*This conception of the intimate relationship of nature and culture also serves to qualify Staten’s claim to Nietzsche’s ‘antipathy to the rationalisation of nature’. …

 

—Though Nietzsche is antipathetic to such ‘rationalisation’ *(—a-anycapacity to comprehend and to… exhaust ‘nature’ through language, or the concepts of the intellect),… —his conception of nature itself is fundamentally at odds with that in or of Romanticism (I’d argue)…

 

—His ‘idealization of the Greeks’ is founded precisely in (—on) this ironic anti-Romanticism. …

 

 

—Against the Romantic… idyll,… —for Nietzsche, Hellenic culture is defined by the strength of its response to ineluctable pessimism.

 

 

As I’ve argued, implicitly at stake in Birth is a fundamental rejection of the terms of Kantian and Schopenhauerian metaphysics. …

 

What is revealed in the experience of Dionysian ‘intuition’ is the underlying undivided continuity of the flux of natural drives and forces. …

 

*—(What I have called—) *the fold in the ironic self-(re-)creation of the artist, represents the laceration and ironic reconstitution of subjectivity in (through) art

*(—a ‘subjectivity’, then, always already lampooned and undercut-subverted, and, therefore, irremediably distinct from any straightforward *(—uncritical) ‘egoism’. …).

 

*… —whatever the… ‘original’ (sic), empirical ‘self’ (subject,—subjectivity) was, I’d argue that it should be borne in mind (particularly on the basis of my reading of the association of Birth to ‘On Truth’ and ol’ Fritz’s later works…), that it was, only ever, a linguistic—socio-political—fiction in any case

*(—born of the drive—the need—for-of individuation. …)

 

 

*—The ‘naturalism’ of Birth precludes (in advance) any possibility of a ‘recourse to a transcendental subject’. …

(and I’d argue that this ought to be taken into account as an important aspect in any discussion of (heroic) Individualism in Nietzsche’s later philosophy and politics…

and this, perhaps, is why Apollo and the Apollinian don’t make any form of re-appearance in Nietzsche’s later writing on art, until the reboot (sic) of Birth in Twilight of the Idols

… —because what I’ve called the fold (—the conjunction of purgation and incorporation) moves to the centre (so to) of Nietzsche’s conception of art (in the wake of Birth),… *—that Dionysus and the Dionysian always, in later Nietzsche, already imply or takes as read (for granted) the ironic revival of individuation-the individual in-within artistic expression *(—the artwork-poem-… aphorism…). …

 

Apollo—individuation—has already been seen to be (irrevocably,—irredeemably) undone in Birth… *—was only ever a retroactive fiction, applied to (—thrust upon) experience (—from without.—involuntarily) to name what is (was) only ever a fragile-tenuous *(—provisional) arrangement-hierarchy of drives-forces…).

 

*—I’ve already argued that the terms of Nietzsche’s later account of inspiration in Ecce Homo are already implicitly at stake in Birth. …

 

—Both ‘genius’ and ‘inspiration,’ as they occur in text, represent an ironic appropriation of these Romantic ‘doctrines’ to an anti-Romantic philosophical project. …

 

 

(indeed. …)

 

*In contrast to Jürgen Habermas’s argument, then, that the text represents a dangerous ‘metaphysically transfigured irrationality,’to which, he suggests, Romanticism offers a preferable alternative. … *—at the heart of Birth lies a philosophical naturalism and which rejects all forms of metaphysical ‘transfiguration’ and argues, instead, for the necessity of the transformation of nature through culture.[13]

 

 

—In opposition to Aaron Ridley, who argues that Birth represents ‘an arresting example of German Romanticism at its headiest’ (—?), and to Adrian Del Caro and Judith Norman, both of whom argue that Nietzsche’s position represents a straightforward anti-Romanticism,… —his relationship to Romantic metaphysics, aesthetics and conceptions of artistic inspiration in Birth represents the creation of an ironic *Romantic–anti-Romanticism… —one which reflects his ironic appropriation of Schopenhauerian metaphysical and aesthetic vocabulary.[14]

 

 

*This serves to qualify Staten’s argument that Birth represents ‘the hinge between Romanticism and everything post-Romantic, including Nietzsche’s own later work’.[15] …

 

Birth represents a ‘hinge’ in-between the Romantic and the… ‘post-Romantic’ (hmm. … —?), precisely insofar, then, as it ironically appropriates the key aesthetic and metaphysical terms of the early Jena frühromantik project to one which is ineluctably at odds with this movement.[16]

 

—And this effectively problematises any recourse to a notion of the post-Romantic. …

 

*—Birth does not represent a radical break with Romanticism, but rather the ironic inversion of the Romantic project. …

 

 

*So then,…

 

*—Whilst apparently an ostensibly late-Romantic text,—under the influence of both Schopenhauer and Wagner, I want to move on to argue,—in the following thread-string of fragments here—that the anti-metaphysics and ironic Romantic—anti-Romanticism in-of Birth, then, aligns far more closely to, and can be extremely usefully illuminated through a comparison of, the definition of ‘classical’ art *(—the ‘classical’),—in a deliberately staged, and incredibly stark, contrast to the ‘romantic’, in the aesthetics of (self-styled) neo-classical Modernism and in Nietzsche’s own later writing on art. …

 

 

*I’ll begin by offering a close-reading of the evolution of Stephen’s aesthetic theory in James Joyce’s early fiction,—between its textual incarnation in the (aborted-abortive) Stephen Hero draft and A Portrait

 

*…—I’ll trace the evolution of the concept of the ‘epiphany’ into that of the (‘esthetic’) ‘image’ in relation to the use and abuse of Aquinas’s philosophy in both texts. …

 

*I’ll then move to trace the final iteration of this evolution in Stephen’s conception of the ‘image of the artist’ in his ‘Shakespeare Theory’, in (within) the ‘Scylla and Charybdis’ episode of Ullysses

 

 

*—I’ll argue that this generates a theory of the process from artistic inspiration—creation which can be understood through the shape of the fold in the ironic self-(re-)creation of the artist.

 

 

*—Comparing Joyce’s writing on the ‘classical’ with (in particular) the works of T.E. Hulme and Ezra Pound, as well as the terms of Nietzsche’s later writing on art, I’ll argue that the evolution of the aesthetic theory is (that is,—represents) the evolution of the Joyce’s (and Stephen’s) conception of the ‘classical’, and, (therefore), that (self-styled) neo-classical Modernist aesthetics need to be understood to be engaged in philosophical, anti-metaphysical, and anti-Romantic projects analogous to Nietzsche’s. …

 

 

[1] Schiller, Correspondence Between Schiller and Goethe, From 1794–1805, trans. L. Dora Schmitz (London: George Bell and Sons, 1877), 2 vols, vol. 1: 1794-1797, 153-154.—See Helmut Rehder, ‘The Reluctant Disciple: Nietzsche and Schiller’, in O’Flaherty, Sellner and Helm, eds., Studies in Nietzsche and the Classical Tradition, 156-164 (159).

[2] —See in particular,—Timothy Clark, The Theory of Inspiration: Composition as a Crisis of Subjectivity in Romantic and Post-Romantic Writing (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1997), 143-169

[3] Trans. Walter Kaufmann—in Carl Dalhaus, Between Romanticism and Modernism: Four Studies in the Music of the Later Nineteenth Century, trans. Mary Whittall (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1980) 103-119 *(107-108).—The text of the original German appears in KSA,7: 359-69… *—See Allison, Reading the New Nietzsche, 64-68, (esp. 65-66)

[4] Nietzsche alludes here—is referring to—Euripides depiction of this scene in the Bacchae. Euripides, Bacchae and Other Plays, trans. and ed. James Morwood (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999), ll.677, 63(ff).

[5] Eugen Fink, Nietzsche’s Philosophy, trans. Goetz Richter (London: Continuum, 2003) 20-29 *(—23).

[6] Cf. Nietzsche ‘On Music and Words,’ in Dahlhaus, Between Romanticism and Modernism, 115.

*—See also: Untimely Meditations, ‘Richard Wagner in Bayreuth,’ (hereafter UM, IV)…

*—‘[T]o translate visible movement back into soul and primordial life, and conversely to see the most deeply concealed inner activity as visible phenomenon and to clothe it with appearance of a body. All this constitutes the essence of the dithyrambic artist’. (—§7, 223)

[7] Nietzsche, Twilight of the Idols, trans.Walter Kaufmann in The Portable Nietzsche, ed. Walter Kaufmann (London: Penguin, 1982), ‘Skirmishes of an Untimely Man,’ 513-556, §8, 518

[8] Cf. BT, §6, 55 and ‘On Music and Words’ (Dahlhaus, Between Romanticism and Modernism), 112

[9] *—See ‘On Music and Words’,—115, where Nietzsche defines ‘what the lyric poet really is, namely, the artistic human being who must interpret music for himself by means of the symbolism of images and emotions but who has nothing to communicate to the listener.’ —BT, §6, 52-56 (55)

[10] ‘Notebook 2, autumn 1885 – autumn 1886’, Writings from the Late Notebooks, 2[110], 80-82 (81).—BT, ‘ASC,’ §2, 18, §7, 25

[11] Staten, Nietzsche’s Voices, 187. On Nietzsche’s conception of the Dionysian in Birth in relation to its portrayal by the German Romantics and Nietzsche as the ‘culmination’ of Romanticism, see Kurt Weinberg, ‘The Impact of Ancient Greece and of French Classicism on Nietzsche’s Concept of Tragedy’, (89-108 [90, 93]) and Max L. Bauemer, ‘Nietzsche and the Tradition of the Dionysian’, in O’Flaherty, Sellner and Helm, eds., Studies in Nietzsche and the Classical Tradition (Chapel Hill: The University of Carolina Press, 1976), 165-189 (esp. 166, 170, 189).

[12] Keith Ansell Pearson Nietzsche contra Rousseau: A Study of Nietzsche’s Moral and Political Thought (Cambridge, New York: Cambridge University Press, 1991), 25. See also, Katrin Froese, Rousseau and Nietzsche: Toward an Aesthetic Morality (Oxford: Lexington Books, 2001), 86.

[13] Jürgen Habermas, The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity: Twelve Lectures, trans. Frederick Lawrence (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1987), 92-96 (94). On the critique of Habermas’s reading of Birth, see Paul de Man, Allegories of Reading: Figural Language in Rousseau, Nietzsche, Rilke, and Proust (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1979), 85-86; Alexander Nehamas, ‘Nietzsche, modernity, aestheticism’, in Bernd Magnus and Kathleen M. Higgins, eds., The Cambridge Companion to Nietzsche (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), 223-251 (228-230); Daniel W. Conway, Nietzsche & the Political (London: Routledge, 1997), 125-128 (127-128) and Rampley, Nietzsche, Aesthetics and Modernity, 50.

[14] Ridley, Nietzsche on Art, 9; Adrian Del Caro, Nietzsche contra Nietzsche: Creativity and the Anti-Romantic, (Baton Rouge, London: Louisiana State University Press, 1989); Judith Norman, ‘Nietzsche and Early Romanticism,’ Journal of the History of Ideas (University of Pennsylvania Press), Vol. 63, No. 3 (Jul., 2002), 501-519

[15] Staten, Nietzsche’s Voices, 187

[16] See Phillipe Lacoue-Labarthe and Jean-Luc Nancy, The Literary Absolute: The Theory of Literature in German Romanticism, trans. Phillip Barnard and Cheryl Lester (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1988), 1-17

*on the Rapture & the Nausea… —the root & nature of artistic inspiration

*(… —follows on from *‘the artist’s metaphysics’, ‘—on “incorporation”, & the Apollinian sublime, ‘—on “purgation”, & the Dionysian sublime, & ‘the Lyric Poet.
*—the fold in the self-creation of the artist. …).

 

*on the Rapture, then, and the Nausea.
*—the… root, & the nature, of artistic inspiration. …

 

The individual, with all his restraint and proportion, succumbed to the self-oblivion of the Dionysian states, forgetting the precepts of Apollo. Excess revealed itself as truth. Contradiction, the bliss born of pain, spoke out of the very heart of nature. (BT, §4, 46-47)

 

*—‘Excess revealed itself as truth’.

 

Indeed. …

(hmm).

 

*to summarise. (and, hell,—why not? …—)

 

 

*… —Succumbing to the affect of the Dionysian sublime precipitates a… temporary cessation (—a halting) of self-awareness, and of consciousness of time and of space—in short, of subjectivity—and, thus, a corresponding loss of the formal, ethical and spatial relations of the individual to their neighbours and to their surrounding environs….

 

These constraints-limits—necessary to the formation and the perpetuation (maintenance) of culture—are dissolved, then, in the excess of the Dionysian state. …

 

and the—inchoate flux, thus revealed (in the laceration in-of the Dionysian state), is shown to underly—and, indeed, to be prior toall individuation…

 

 

*—and the terror felt in the face of sublime (—the overwhelming suffering of confusion and chaos in the inchoate, ‘primordial’, flux) is revealed as that which precipitates the very need for, and emergence of, the principle of individuation (—principium individuationis)… —repressing the chaos of flux and forging (—fabricating) the individual (—‘restraint and proportion’)…

 

and it’s this, thus, in turn, which reveals individuation to be the provisional and inadequate—artistic—illusion that it (truly) is…

 

*(—‘Excess’, then, as—*truth. …).

 

 

*—The pain experienced in the laceration of the individuated empirical self gives birth to the ‘bliss’ of the purgation—the release—of the drives—identified by Nietzsche as-at—*‘the very heart of nature’,—repressed within individuation. …

 

*What’s at stake here, then, is a fundamentally antagonistic relationship between quotidian existence, which has the Apollinian ‘precepts’ of individuation as the condition of its possibility, and the purgative excess of the Dionysian state:

—‘a chasm of oblivion separates the worlds of everyday reality and of Dionysian reality’. (§7, 59) …

 

*—The Dionysian, through its… moment (sic) of the laceration of the bounds of individuation, achieves-attains a purgative discharge of repressed drives and forces, and a corresponding forgetting of the empirical self:

—‘[T]he rapture of the Dionysian state with its annihilation of the ordinary bounds and limits of existence contains, while it lasts, a lethargic element, in which all personal experiences of the past become immersed’. (Ibid.)

 

—The ‘lethargic’, purgative moment of the Dionysian is what constitutes the ‘chasm of oblivion’ separating it as a fundamentally different mode of experience from the quotidian. …

 

*By the very nature of its extremity and its power, however, the Dionysian state rapidly exhausts itself. …

 

—Nietzsche argues that *the Dionysian ecstatic (—so to) must return to consciousness of time, space and the manifold relations of everyday reality and the self-consciousness these ineluctably engender, but that ‘as soon as this everyday reality re-enters consciousness it is experienced as such with nausea.’ (59-60)

 

*—‘nausea’.

 

—Nietzsche’s definition of the experience of this nausea is crucial. …

 

*—The experience of the finitude and banality of ‘everyday reality’ is now—in the light of the release in-of the Dionysian and the revelation of the inadequate illusion of all individuality—experienced as… absurd and… ignoble.

 

—It’s experienced with revulsion and with nausea when compared to the intoxication—the sublimity—of the experience of the unfettered power of the drives in the Dionysian…

*—‘an ascetic, will-negating mood is the fruit of these states’. (60) …

 

—The—ineluctable—return to the quotidian results in a desire to renounce life. …

 

 

*Nietzsche invokes Hamlet as an artistic analogue for the experience of the return to the quotidian from the rapture of the Dionysian…

 

Through the comparison, Nietzsche both illuminates the experience of post-Dionysian ‘nausea’ and, concomitantly, performs a reading of the play itself…—

*[T]he Dionysian man resembles Hamlet: both have once looked truly into the essence of things, they have gained knowledge, and nausea inhibits action; for their action could not change anything in the eternal nature of things; they feel it to be ridiculous or humiliating that they should be asked to set right a world that is out of joint. Knowledge kills action; action requires the veils of illusion: that is the doctrine of Hamlet, not that cheap wisdom of Jack the Dreamer who reflects too much and, as it were, from an excess of possibilities does not get around to action. Not reflection, no––true knowledge, an insight into the horrible truth, outweighs any motive for action, both in Hamlet and the Dionysian man. (Ibid.)

*Nietzsche’s interpretation of the character of Hamlet is established in contrast to Romantic readings of the text, and, in particular (I’d argue), with that of Coleridge.

 

 

*… —In his lecture on Hamlet, Coleridge argues that Shakespeare’s aim was to ‘portray a person in whose view the external world, and all its incidents and objects, were comparatively dim, and of no interest in themselves, and which only began to be of interest when they were reflected in the mirror of his mind.’[1]

 

For Coleridge, Hamlet represents a type who takes no interest in the outside world until it is significantly reconfigured in his mind.

 

—Apathy and introspection create a stark division between the inner world and the outer world.

 

Coleridge argues that Hamlet is absorbed in ‘endless reasoning and hesitating—constant urging and solicitation of the mind to act, and as constant an escape from action; ceaseless reproaches of himself for sloth and negligence, while the whole energy of his resolution evaporates in these reproaches.’ (Ibid.) …

 

—In contrast to Nietzsche, for whom the revelation of the true constitution of the world renders action futile, for Coleridge, Hamlet’s is a state of procrastination and impotent resolve. …

 

—He is driven by his bad conscience to act, and yet loses himself in internal debate and speculation, failing to implement his resolve. …

 

In response,—he inwardly tortures himself for his failure and procrastination, leading to a deepening of his bad conscience and a renewed resolve to act.

 

This deepening leads (in turn) to further debate and speculation:

—a more profound and pervasive interiority…

 

Coleridge argues that Hamlet’s failure to act stems ‘not from cowardice […] not from want of forethought or slowness of apprehension, for he sees through the very souls of all who surround him, but merely from that aversion to action, which prevails among such as have a world in themselves.’ (Ibid.)

 

*—Hamlet’s inaction (for Coleridge, at least) stems neither from fear, nor from cowardice, but (instead) from a division between the ‘external world’ and the inner world of thought (—the ‘mirror’ of the mind…), founded upon the self-lacerating circularity of the bad conscience.[2]

 

 

—For Nietzsche,—in stark contrast to the ‘Romantic Hamlet’ (—with Coleridge standing as exemplar, here),—the Dionysian ecstatic’s fate is analogous to that of Hamlet: …

*—both have gained insight into the true ‘essence’ and ‘the eternal nature of things’. …

 

—For the Dionysian ecstatic this entails the revelation of the smallness and absurdity of empirical-quotidian existence and its alienation—separated by the ‘chasm of oblivion’—from the profundity of the Dionysian.

 

This knowledge is coupled with the realisation that no action can alter this, even though it must now appear as ‘out of joint’. The demand to amend the ‘nature of things’ appears absurd, humiliating and impossible.

 

The absurdity of quotidian reality when compared to Dionysian reality across the gulf which must, irrevocably, separate them, incites ‘nausea’—‘an ascetic will-negating mood’—in which all action is revealed as futile, for action would require the illusion of the ‘glory’ of individuation, now irrevocably shattered. (§3, 43)[3]

 

—For Nietzsche, then,—the sublime ecstasy of the Dionysian state reveals the powerful chaotic play and contradiction of the ‘primal unity’. …

 

The depth and power of the play of the drives is experienced both with terror and with exultation. (§1, 36)

 

And this ‘state of rapture’ reveals the failure *(—to attain an identity with the ideal which is the full realisation of the potential energy of the drives and forces),—the inadequacy,—the mundanity,… the—infinite replaceability (for want—so to),… *—the   smallness,  of quotidian existence. …

 

*Upon their return to the quotidian, the Dionysian ecstatic gains insight into the true and ineluctable organisation of the Dionysian and quotidian realities (and of the gulf which separates them)…

 

—They… become aware of the profundity and the energy of the drives suppressed within empirical existence in order to render this existence itself possible, and yet,—as an empirically existing individual—they know empirical existence too to be necessary as the redemption of the ‘primal unity’ in-through mere appearance. (§4, 45)

 

—They know, then, that this organisation of realities is itself necessary, and that no effort on their part can alter it. …

 

Nonetheless, the smallness and banality of ‘everyday reality’,—when compared to the exultation in-of the Dionysian, is experienced with incredulity, disappointment, frustration, and resentment (—and with a form of grief (—?), I suppose). …

 

*… —And this reading,—this understanding—of the fate of the Dionysian ecstatic, represents a real, and tenablealternative to what seems to me be the orthodox critical interpretation of the relationship between the Dionysian and suffering in Birth, of which Wayne Klein offers an apposite summary…

[M]usic reveals the essence of the world as eternal contradiction and pain [….] Images, not music, enable one to live on in the face of the knowledge that life is truly abysmal. Images are thus both a prophylactic and a stimulus to life, a necessary antidote to Dionysian music, which if experienced in their absence would cause one literally to expire.

(Klein, Nietzsche and the Promise of Philosophy, 117 *—emphases added here…)

 

Just as Hamlet’s seeing his father’s ghost affords insight into the world’s (the court of Elsinore’s) being—‘out of joint’, so here, the Dionysian ecstatic’s experience reveals the absurdity of quotidian existence, and it is this which precipitates nausea,and not the experience of the Dionysian (—Dionysian music) itself. …

 

*—Both Hamlet and the Dionysian ecstatic are trapped in, what is experienced as, a divided shape of consciousness…

*—in a state of self-alienation. …

 

*—The Dionysian reveller has experienced the ‘feeling of fullness’ which is attained in the ecstatic state of the Dionysian sublime and has ‘gained knowledge’ of the essential nature of existence and ‘the eternal nature of things’.

—Having returned to the absurdity and futility of ‘everyday reality,’ they are now alienated from that essential state of ‘overgreat fullness’ and—‘nausea inhibits action’. …

 

—Quotidian experience and social relations are so constituted as to make it impossible for Hamlet and the Dionysian reveller to express and to realise their ‘true self’ (so to) or ‘character’…

 

—Both are compelled, then, to exhibit a character entirely foreign to them…

How strange or odd soe’er I bear myself;

As I perchance shall think meet

To put an antic disposition on[4]

 

Their essential nature remains irrevocably other, sundered from ‘everyday reality’ by the ‘chasm of oblivion’. They are incapable of expressing and of realising their essential natures, and, so, they suffer…

 

 

*At the heart of Nietzsche’s insight into the nature of ‘nausea’ and resultant pessimism, then, I’d argue, is a fundamental (ironic) inversion. …

 

*—Pessimism, here, is seen to result from a far more fundamental, profound and thwarted optimism…

—a deeply felt experience of the potential for creativity and vitality, inherent in the ‘nature of things’. …

 

—This… ‘optimism’ is, constitutionally, incapable of pragmatic reflection on the chance and finitude in which—‘things’ (—people, places, objects, times, events) are compelled by necessity to exist—to operate-to function…

 

—Disappointment, yearning, frustration and resentment form the ground of pessimism.

 

*… —Quotidian existence fails to attain an impossible perfection…

—‘Now no comfort avails any more; longing transcends a world after death, even the gods; existence is negated along with its glittering reflection in the gods or in an immortal beyond.’ (§7, 60)

 

*Myth is no longer capable of incorporating and redeeming lived experience through its transfiguration into the narratives of the deeds of the gods, for this has been precisely revealed as artifice. …

—Nor can the promise of the immortality of the individuated soul in ‘a world after death’ or ‘immortal beyond’ act as any form of compensation. …

 

—Here, then,—where the danger of the renunciation of life and the threat to the ‘will is greatest’—Nietzsche argues, *—‘art approaches as a saving sorceress, expert at healing.’ (Ibid.) …

 

*That is…

*—The need to redeem existence from ‘nausea’ is what inaugurates-precipitates the Dionysian-Apollinian conjunction and the birth of tragedy from the ironic self-(re-)creation of the artist. …

 

 

[1] Samuel Taylor Coleridge, ‘Hamlet’ in The Major Works, ed. H.J. Jackson (Oxford: OxfordUniversity Press, 2000), 655-659 (—655)

[2] See Charles Mahoney, ‘Coleridge and Shakespeare’, in Frederick Burwick, ed., The Oxford Handbook of Samuel Taylor Coleridge (Oxford: OxfordUniversity Press, 2009) 498-514 (500, 506-509). …

*—On the relationship of Coleridge’s reading of Hamlet to the Romantics see Matthew Scott, ‘Coleridge’s Lectures 1808-1819: On Literature’, 185-203 (187-189).

[3] Cf. ‘Why I am so Clever’, in Ecce Homo: ‘Is Hamlet understood? Not doubt, certainty is what drives one insane.—But one must be profound, an abyss, a philosopher to feel that way.—We are all afraid of truth’. (On the Genealogy of Morals,trans. Kaufmann and Hollingdale, ed. Kaufmann, §4, 246)

[4] William Shakespeare, Hamlet, ed. Ann Thompson and Neil Taylor(London: Arden, 2006), 1.5. ll.168-169, 225

*the ‘end of history’ & reconstructing The Birth of Tragedy—the figure of the Lyric Poet…

*(… —follows on from *the artist’s metaphysics, —on “incorporation”, & the Apollinian sublime, & —on “purgation”, & the Dionysian sublime. …).

 

*the Lyric Poet.
*—the fold in the self-creation of the artist. …

 

 *and so,… —the end of history. …
(—on ‘conjunction‘, & reconstructing The Birth of Tragedy).

 

*…

 

Having summarised his reading of what he defines as the four-fold shape of Hellenic cultural and artistic history, at the end of §4 of Birth (—§4, 47),… Nietzsche proceeds to use his intuition of the central role played by the Dionysian and the Apollinian modes of the sublime in this history as the basis for reaching the ‘real goal’ of his ‘investigation’…

 

*—‘knowledge of the Dionysian-Apollinian genius and its art product.’ (§5, 48)

 

 

—Nietzsche seeks to define the nature of the conjunction of the Dionysian and Apollinian, symbolised in his hyphenation—‘Dionysian-Apollinian’—and of tragedy as the ‘art product’ which is created in-and-by this conjunction.

*—and  I’ll adopt the term ‘conjunction’ here, in preference to that of ‘synthesis’,—used by, for example, Silk and Stern in Nietzsche and Tragedy. (62-89)

 

—In their ‘synopsis’ of Birth, Silk and Stern refer to the ‘synthesis of the tendencies’ of the Apollinian and Dionysian. (63) …

As I’ll argue,—the Dionysian and Apollinian are not cancelled and resolved into a third and separate term, as the (rather loosely) ‘dialectical’ reading implicit in the use of the term ‘synthesis’ would suggest, but, instead, remain distinct and yet in a relationship defined by a form of co-dependence…

—In Crossings: Nietzsche and the Space of Tragedy, John Sallis reaches a similar conclusion that ‘prohibits regarding tragedy as the mere synthesis of the Apollinian and the Dionysian, as a synthesis in which their opposition would be resolved into a higher unity’.

 *—He argues that Birth ought not to be ‘differentiated’ from Nietzsche’s later writings ‘in the manner proposed, for example by Gilles Deleuze’: ‘namely, by its alleged dialectical […] character’. (57[n].—See Deleuze, Nietzsche and Philosophy, [1-35]…).

 

 

—The *conjunction of the Dionysian and Apollinian modes of sublime, then, takes place, Nietzsche argues, in the process of the self-creation of the artist. …

 

*In order to render the self-creation of the artist and the Dionysian-Apollinian conjunction intelligible, it seem to me that it’s first necessary to reach an understanding of the need which motivates them. …

 

To accomplish this, in what follows, I want to (effectively) disassemble Nietzsche’s argument concerning the origins of lyric poetry and the lyric poet and the evolution of tragedy in §§5-7 of Birth, and to reconstruct it in reverse order. …

*And so,… (hmm) —I’ll begin with a reading of Nietzsche’s argument concerning the effect of the Dionysian and its relation to quotidian existence in §7, and then proceed to an analysis of the process of the self-creation of the lyric poet and the evolution of tragedy from dithyrambic poetry and the chorus in §§6-7, returning to the end of §7 to define the nature of tragedy and to analyse Nietzsche’s final comment in the section on the role of the tragic chorus and the definition of ‘art’. …