*my (anti-)metaphysics… —toward an explanation of reading Nietzsche…

*approaching plausibility (at least).
—on my anti-metaphysics…
(—a brief pause-aside before beginning.
(by way of context).).

*so. …

(hell).

 

—I’m aware that, in what follows, I’ve done very (—precious) little to provide an introduction to Nietzsche’s philosophy (more broadly. speaking) and to establish the context of why it is that I am reading Nietzsche at all. …

*(—a friend of mine complained recently of this blog-writing project that he would now have to go away and read Nietzcshe before reading the posts…

—I hope that that’s not actually the case…).

—in a way this will (itself) have been (a sort of) an introduction to Nietzsche: …

 

—in what follows here, I will discuss some of his juvenilia alongside his earliest published text—The Birth of Tragedy—and some of his early unpublished writing (—the ‘On Truth and Lies in a Nonmoral Sense’ essay) and try to demonstrate the way in which these, in fact, contain the seeds (so to) of his later, mature (?) works—especially his later formulation of ‘the will to power’

(and the way in which to read these earlier and later Nietzschean ideas-formulations side-by-side illuminates a… what? a—thread (for want), running through the whole of Nietzsche’s corpus, of an opposition to, and qualification of, the philosophy of Arthur Schopenhauer, and in particular Schopenhauer’s metaphysics) . …

…and this is, in essence, actually why I’m starting where I am (—in this way): …

—.

—I want to be able to draw out the anti-metaphysical (—anti-Schopenhauerian)… nature (?—sic) of a text all-too-often read as metaphysical and Schopenhauerian (—of The Birth of Tragedy). …

—in order, when the time comes, that when I turn my focus to the neo-classical Modernists (—to Joyce, T.E. Hulme, Ezra Pound,—the Imagists…) that I’ll be able to demonstrate (in a way approaching plausibility) that this same anti-metaphysics is at stake in, and extremely important to any understanding of, the way (ways?) in which they frame and discuss art and artistic inspiration…

but this is not (simply) the act of open-hearted, devil-may-care intellectually generous scholarship that it may at first naturally appear,—oh no my rightly, if slightly gratingly, cynical reader…

oh dear me, no.

no.

(good Christ!)

by way of a sort of a (what?)—flimsy confession here: …

—I do have an agenda…

in the first fragment I posted here *(—*’the fold of the artist — by way of context’… ) I laid out, broadly, the wider context for all of this—this project

(—flogging the increasingly dulled, cold corpse of the inadequate, work-shy nag that was my—to me—failed doctoral thesis…). …

 

 

—I want to go back to that here (—briefly.—to explain (to you)…). …

 

 

*—in the end, the anti-metaphysics here is my anti-metaphysics…

—when I was young

(—too young,—and far too naïve, sensitive, and sheltered to understand—to appreciate—what was truly going on, and (perhaps) how truly (heart-breakingly)—small. … —how ordinary and… insignificant it actually was (and isn’t that always one of the hardest, most uncomfortable portions of grief—?…)),

—I lost (no. … —I didn’t lose… —she died) someone who, to me, represented everything that faith was meant—ought—to be (—have been)…

 

 

and when she died (when she was gone),… —I realised that I had never (truly) had faith—in God.

(—no real, substantial (meaningful) faith-belief in an—‘other world’…

(beyond, perhaps, a vague and quietly nagging ingrained remnant of speculative superstitious anxiety)…).

 

—that I had had (a sort-a form of) faith (if any) in her. …

 

 

—that my experience of the… religious (sic.—the Christian—protestant-Anglican (—High Church),… —of God, had, in essence (in reality) been of the experience (—the pathos, for want.—the effect) of the music. …

—of art. 

 

(and, after she was gone, the attempt—to have faith.—to correspond (to be: … —orthodox (?—sic.—the ritual-the motions))… —fell away, and appeared as… low, and stupid, and contemptible even (in a way)… —from the position of the after (outside-outwith) (—to me)… ).

 

 

and so, …

 

—in part this will have been about (—to articulate) that always already absence, then, of faith (for me) *(—the death of God)…

*and, in part (—but,—in the greater part (—?)),…

—this will have been an attempt to liberate myself from the (ingrained-seeming) prejudice (—prejudices).—the bias (?).—,… —the… loaded, melodramatic (histrionic?) desire to believe that that event truly did bear some sort of broader,—universal,… *—moral (?) siginificance(-meaning). …

(…

—to elevate it (have elevated), then, to a transcendent status

(via-by a—semi-conscious—effort). …

—and to resent the rest of the living world for not recognising (—cognising),—having recognised that significance, and altering its self-perception (—world-view), and bearing (—demeanour) accordingly…

*(—to have to stop-to pause. and mourn. and to understand—to appreciate its significance and meaning (—for me)…

(—and I (still) think that you will understand that (—that feeling-sentiment), em… )

… ).

 

*… —the elevation, then, and (that) strange moral claim…

(—moral outrage. … (—?).). …

 

*—my ‘metaphysics’.

(—the prejudice.

—of the *metaphysical foundation (truth) of my desire to have felt that her death carried absolute (—undeniable) meaning and significance, and of my resentment against the seeming incomprehension (ignorance) of the living world…).

and I found all this in Nietzsche.—explained (—clarified.)…

the death of God. … (—the always already absence of faith). …

 

—the integrity of the intellectual conscience necessary in its wake. … —to bear its wake, and to respond honestly (truthfully) to it (—without turning away, or seeking solace or substitution for the religious object lost )…

 

—the denial of plausible (legitimate) metaphysical grounds for-to objects—matter,… —the spirit (—soul),—the subject,… —the human… in the wake of the loss of the metaphysical (—of God)…

 

—the experience of music. …

—all articulated there,—in Nietzsche’s works…

 

and all that was needed was to fully grasp and comprehend his works(-ideas-philosophy)…

*—my anti-metaphysics…

(a… violence against myself, then.

—against being at the mercy of my prejudices…).

 

*            *            *

 

and so,…

 

this will have been an attempt to ground,—to (begin to try to) build an intellectual foundation for my anti-metaphysics

(—for my doubt-cynicism and scepticism (as I see them)…).

 

… —to understand (have understood) Nietzsche’s anti-metaphysics, and to demonstrate that it is already at stake in one of the most crucial and (to-for me) misinterpreted concepts-terms in The Birth of Tragedy

*(what follows represents a lot of sarcastic damage done to the first chapter of my doctoral thesis (as was)…

—I’ve made changes, but the original argument remains, in its substance…).

 

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*a plan, then…

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

*an… outline for the project, then. …

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

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

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

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

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

*II.— *(the core of the thing). …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

*(II(a).—…).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(hmm).

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

*in conclusion. …

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

*’the fold of the artist’ – by way of context…

FOLD3

the fold of the artist.
—artistic inspiration and the artist in Nietzsche and Modernism
Dr. M.D. Bolsover

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.
*(Friedrich Nietzsche, ‘Thus Spoke Zarathustra’ in Ecce Homo, 295-307; §3, 300-301.—300).

*indeed. …

PART FIRST – in which (by way of introduction)
the author apologises, falters, begins…

*notes.

all this will appear fragmentary—disjointed, structureless, abrupt, and arbitrary—for which, I suppose, I owe an apology…

*(—I need to crave the indulgence, and the patience, of any and all of my would-be readers…

—I need to crave your indulgence…).

*—I want to use this as a sort of an experiment. …

about which I am genuinely anxious.
—to present a single work (of sorts) as (in. through.) a series (—ongoing.—indefinite) of posts. …

—to play on the ‘blog’ form…
*—what I want to do is to try to set down a complete account—a complete theory—of artistic inspiration: of what I’ll define as an intensely undergone aesthetic experience, in which a change in the disposition of an observer (—of the eventual artist), coincides with a change in the disposition of the thing observed, revealing (—rendering sensible/knowable/apparent) a *quality—in the thing,—in the observer, which had always been (implicitly) present, and yet which had remained hidden, veiled, or somehow repressed, up until the moment of its revelation.

…in essence,—the experience of an *ironic inversion, in which a shape of consciousness—the thing as-had-taken it to be (—the ‘self’ as-had-taken it to be)—is undone and is revealed to be the very opposite of that which it had been taken to be; this revelation then going on to form the foundation for a new shape of consciousness, liberated from the former self-misapprehension.

—and this revelation, undoing, inversion and reformation are what inspires, and what are captured in, the work of art. …

and it is this process—in its entirety—that I’ll seek to define in what follows as—
*the fold in the self-creation of the artist. …

*before I begin with all of that, though, I want to (try to) explain myself, at least a little…

*(and this means, at times, I’m aware, that I’ll be obliged to take myself too seriously, and that my writing will remain, despite any of what might be my best intentions, I fear, far too self-indulgent.—precious and purple…).

this will have been, in part, an autobiography (—of sorts). …

and I want to lay out the context of all of this:… —all of the (pertinent) details, as it seems to me,—as coldly, cleanly and precisely as I can.—and why it constitutes, for me, precisely an experiment…

*—I will focus on a comparison of the accounts of artistic inspiration in the works of Friedrich Nietzsche and some of the most famous and influential, self-styled, neo-classical Modernist writers and critics,—in particular, James Joyce, T.E. Hulme and Ezra Pound.

(—why?)

(hmm).

—in essence, because (in the more distilled form of a comparison of Nietzsche and Joyce) this formed the focus of my doctoral thesis, which I completed at the University of Edinburgh,—a couple of years ago now…

—in part, I’m simply too lazy and far too anxious to start, from scratch (as is said.—for want), with an entirely new work. but, mostly, I feel, I’m just not really finished with all of this quite yet…

and so, (and hell,—why not?)… —I‘m going to use the mass of that thesis material here, in what will be a substantially re-arranged and (heavily) edited form, with some restored excised material, some further explicatory and exploratory notes and asides, and what I hope will represent a further and deeper development of my thesis, couched in language that actual human beings and readers (it is fervently hoped) might actually stand a chance of being able to follow…

*to begin,—by way of some sort of an introduction—it seems important (—vital?) to me to try to offer an explanation as to why. … —as to what I was originally attempting in my thesis (both personally and intellectually) and of all that led up to it.

and why it failed. …

and why it is that now I want, or feel drawn, to take advantage of the… (what?)—the space and/or the opportunity that this forum provides to conduct this experiment…

most of all, I want to write, I think, to the person who was always at the centre of all this,—of everything to(-for) me, and for whom it was intended. (—for you…).

*(I remember reading Kurt Vonnegut’s advice to writer’s, in his author’s ‘Introduction’ to the collection of his early fiction, Bagombo Snuffbox, to always write for one person.

Vonnegutt always wrote to his sister…

—my ‘ideal reader’ (?), I suppose, is always partly me, but mostly you, I think…

—I write to be recognised and to be understood (and pardoned)—by you…).

…—to redeem (—to retrieve) all of my failed (disappointed,—frustrated) ambition.—to turn all of this… material (? for want) to account, and to make it, now, here, accomplish (in some as yet undefined, unqualified, measure) all that I still seem to feel I need to accomplish. (still feel that dull, persistent aching in the chest for…).