*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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*—toward the concept of a disruptive, anti-transcendental ‘classicism’. (‘*on the Becoming Actual of the Being of Beauty’ part (iii). & ‘*a paean’ part (ii). …)

*(follows on from ‘from the epiphany to the esthetic image’, ‘a paean’, & ‘*on the ‘image’.—vs. Platonic ressentiment.  …).

 

*—toward the concept of a disruptive, anti-transcendental ‘classicism’.
(—a paean. part (ii). …
—an… amalgamation, of sorts, of all of the gone before…).

 

So. …

 

*In the previous chapter-fragment, I argued that Stephen’s aesthetic theory in Portrait opposes the *image to a conception of art which grants the artist (turned… privileged visionary) and, subsequently, the artwork, a form of access to the transcendental realm (so to) of the (‘Platonic’) Ideas (which I argued was exemplified in Yeats’s early critical writing, and especially in his definition of transcendental Symbolism). …

 

 

At the end of the chapter, I tied this to my reading of the evolution of the concept of the ‘epiphany’ (in-of Stephen Hero) into that of the ‘image’ in Portrait

 

—I suggested that the latter refines the terms of the former, bringing out (or rendering explicit) the—implicit—a-religious anti-metaphysics at stake within it, and incorporates the opposition of the ‘classical’ and ‘romantic’ artistic ‘tempers’ of Stephen’s ‘Art and Life’ paper in Stephen Hero (and in-of Joyce’s own early critical writing).

 

 

*—In ‘Intuition, Flux and Anti-metaphysics’, in discussing Nietzsche’s early rejection of Schopenhauerian metaphysics, I’ve already gone some way to outlining the transcendental (the a priori) in (for) Kant. …

 

—Before moving on to analyse the terms of the opposition of the ‘classical’ to the ‘romantic’ in Stephen’s aesthetic theory (between Stephen Hero and Portrait), and the parallel that I’ll argue that this establishes (reveals, rather) between Joyce and Nietzsche, T.E. Hulme and neo-classical Modernism, I want to pause (briefly) here to recapitulate the substance of my reading of Kant and of the nature of the transcendental, linking this more explicitly to my reading of the terms of Schopenhauer’s aesthetics *(—in ‘*“purgation” and the Dionysian sublime’). …

 

This will allow me (I hope) to go at least some of the way toward clarifying and substantiating the (what Nietzsche, and, following him, Joyce and Hulme, characterise as problematic) relationship of the ‘romantic’, and of Romanticism, to the transcendental. *(—maintaining the capitalisation when referring to the artists and movement-period now, somewhat problematically it must be admitted, identified as Romantic, in distinction to the term’s use by Joyce, Nietzsche and Hulme, for which I’ll maintain the lower case and quotation marks here…).

 

*… That is,—I’ll seek here, by way of introduction, to clarify what I’ve already (somewhat pre-emptively) called the rejection of ‘Platonic ressentiment’ in Stephen’s aesthetic theory, and, thus, to contextualise the philosophical stakes in-of the image and the ‘classical’ as I’m going to seek to lay these out here.

 

 

*And so. … (—to recapitulate)…

 

Schopenhauer followed Kant in distinguishing between the phenomenon and the thing-in-itself:

*—‘Kant’s greatest merit is the distinction of the phenomenon and the thing-in-itself, based on the proof that between things and us always stands the intellect, and that on this account they cannot be known according to what they may be in themselves.’ (‘Appendix: Criticism of the Kantian Philosophy’ in Schopenhauer, WWR, I, 413-534 (417-418)).

 

 

*—For Kant, all that can be known of an object is that which appears within the limits of the human intuition of space and time. *(—on this, see Jacquette, The Philosophy of Schopenhauer, 19).

 

Space and time constitute the appearance’s form: allowing the manifold of appearance to be ordered according to certain relations.

 

They are a priori: constituting the very condition of the possibility of the realm of appearance and sensible knowledge, but have no meaning if applied beyond it.

 

*—They are transcendental.

 

 

—For Kant, the thing-in-itself is conditioned by neither space nor time.

 

Our understanding cannot transcend the limits of sensibility and therefore we can attain no knowledge of things as they are in themselves. *(—Kant, Critique of Pure Reason, A 30/B 45. Cf. 85 A 45/B 62 (—on the ‘transcendental object’), and also A 128. And, again,—see Howard Caygill, A Kant Dictionary— esp. 79-80 and 393).

 

*—That which is not an appearance cannot be an object of experience.

 

*—For Kant, experience remains (and must remain) on this side of the transcendental.

 

 

*In his division of the world into ‘will’ and ‘representation’, Schopenhauer retains Kant’s distinction of the thing-in-itself and the appearance.

 

However, he refutes the method by which, he argues, Kant arrives at his deduction of the thing-in-itself.

 

Kant refutes what he argues is ‘the absurd conclusion that there can be appearance without anything that appears’. *(Critique of Pure Reason, B 27).

 

… —In the criticism of Kant which he appended to The World as Will and Representation, Schopenhauer accuses Kant of contradicting his own idealist distinction, by claiming that the thing-in-itself has an objective foundation,—independent of subjective representation.

 

He argues that Kant reached his account of the thing-in-itself via an erroneous application of the law of causality: that empirical perception and, more fundamentally, sensation, from which the former arises, must have an external (that is, an objective) cause.

 

*In contrast, Schopenhauer emphasises what he argues is the subjective foundation, of causality, and of empirical perception. (—Schopenhauer, 435-436)

 

 

Opposing what he claims is Kant’s attempt to locate the objective foundation of the thing-in-itself, Schopenhauer seeks to derive his own conception from the introduction of the element of self-consciousness… —

 

[Self-consciousness is a] knowledge which everyone possesses directly in the concrete, namely as feeling. This is the knowledge that the inner nature of his own phenomenon, which manifests itself to him as representation both through his actions and through the permanent substratum of these his body, is his will. This will constitutes what is most immediate in his consciousness, but as such it has not wholly entered into the form of the representation, in which object and subject stand over and against each other. (109)

 

Schopenhauer argues that the thing-in-itself lies on the side of the subjective.

 

—The body is that of which the subject is most immediately aware.

 

It represents, for Schopenhauer, the manifestation of the subject’s own ‘inner nature’ (—? h-mm. …), but is also, and at the same time, an object for-to the subject.

 

As both subject and object, it thus constitutes (for Schopenhauer) the most immediate form of representation.

 

—Through the body, Schopenhauer argues, the subject becomes aware of their ‘inner nature’: the force which precipitates their actions. *(—See Magee, The Philosophy of Schopenhauer, 137: ‘The movements of the material object which is my body are known to me not only through external sense, as are the movements of other material objects, but also directly, non-sensorily, non-intellectually from within, as acts of will’, and also Jacquette, The Philosophy of Schopenhauer,—73-74).

 

As this precedes, and is the source of consciousness of the body and its actions, and therefore of the relationship of the subject and the object, for Schopenhauer it must thus exist prior to and outside of representation.

 

He argues that the consciousness of this ‘inner nature’ of the subject’s ‘will’, known both directly and indirectly, can be extended to phenomena known only indirectly,—as representations. …

 

As such, it becomes, for him (at least), the ‘key to the knowledge of the innermost being of the whole of nature.’ (109)

 

This, he argues, allows him to extend his understanding of the ‘will’ (—as the motive ‘force’ underlying subjectivity), to all vegetable and animate life, as well as mineral development and phenomena such as electro-magnetism and gravitation,… —all of which he thus portrays as phenomenal expressions of  a unified and universal (inchoate) striving ‘force’.

 

 

—In contrast to Kant’s attempt to locate its foundation in objectivity, Schopenhauer extends his analysis of the subjective ‘will’ to the thing-in-itself.

 

He argues that the willing of which the subject is conscious is the most immediate and adequate phenomenal expression of the noumenal. As such, he adopts the name of the subjective phenomena of the will in order to name the thing-in-itself.

 

*—The ‘will’ is then, for Schopenhauer, the ‘magic word’ (hmm) that reveals ‘the innermost essence of everything in nature’. (111)

 

 

As I argued in *‘“purgation” and the Dionysian sublime’, Schopenhauer’s aesthetics are grounded in an appropriation of philosophical concepts, not only from Kant’s philosophy, but from that of Plato. …

 

 

*—The third book of The World as Will and Representation is dedicated to his analysis of the Platonic Idea as the (proper) object of art. …

 

—In particular, he appropriates, and attempts to marry, the Kantian ‘thing-in-itself’ and the Platonic ‘Idea’. …

—‘we find […] those two great and obscure paradoxes of the two greatest philosophers of the West—to be, not exactly identical, but yet very closely related, and distinguished by only a single modification.’ (WWR, I, §31, 170) …

 

*As I’ve argued,… —as far as Schopenhauer is concerned, the ‘will’ (the—Will) is the thing-in-itself. …

 

—Following Kant, he argues that time, space and causality *(—the principle of sufficient reason), are the forms of our knowledge, which is knowledge only of the phenomenal realm, constituted by ‘plurality and all arising and passing away,’ to which the thing-in-itself (—the Will) is not subject. (171) …

 

Schopenhauer uses his refutation of Kant’s claim to the objectivity of the thing-in-itself to draw a distinction (—his ‘modification’…) between the thing-in-itself and the (‘Platonic’) Idea. …

 

—He argues that, for Plato, the phenomenal realm represents the realm of becoming.

 

*That is,… —The objects of the phenomenal realm (for Schopenhauer) can be considered only as the imperfect shadow copies of the ‘real’ ‘archetypes’ of the Ideas, which ‘always are but never become and never pass away’ and are thus not subject to time, space and causality. (Ibid.)

 

Schopenhauer argues that, for Plato, The Idea is nevertheless ‘necessarily object’,—‘something known, a representation’, and not the thing-in-itself. (Ibid.)

 

 

*—The Idea, then,—as Schopenhauer appropriates and deploys the ‘Platonic’ term-concept *(and I’m being careful, as I was in my reading of Yeats and Plato, to maintain the quotation marks here)—represents the level, or grade, of the will’s most immediate objectivity. …

 

—It’s not subject to the principle of sufficient reason, and is, therefore, independent of the ‘subordinate forms of the phenomenon’. (175—emphasis added.) …

 

However,—‘it has retained the first and most universal form, namely that of representation in general’,… *—‘that of being object for a subject.’ (Ibid.)

 

 

*—The phenomenon, for Schopenhauer, can only ever constitute the indirect objectification of the will. …

 

*… —(In-)between, then, the phenomenon and the will, stands the Idea—‘as the only direct objectivity of the will.’ (Ibid.—and, again,—emphasis added here).

 

 

*The Idea, under the aegis of Schopenhauer’s self-styled Kantian-Platonic conjunction (synthesis), represents ‘the most adequate objectivity possible of the will or of the thing-in-itself; indeed it is even the whole thing-in-itself, only under the form of the representation’, of which the (spatiotemporal) representations are only so many plural copies,—‘multiplying the Idea in particular and fleeting individuals’. (175)

 

 

*Schopenhauer argues that it’s possible to be raised from knowledge of particular things to knowledge of the Ideas through a change in the subject’s apprehension of the object: —from its imperfect extension in(to) space and time, to its timeless Idea. …

 

In order to attain to knowledge of the Ideas, the elevation of the object,—from (mere) representation to the Idea, must be accompanied (—must be matched) by a corresponding elevation of the subject,—above (mere)—individuality. (§33, 176) …

 

—And this,—elevation, consists, for Schopenhauer, in the tearing free of knowledge from service to the striving, suffering and interestedness of the will…

*—‘we no longer consider the where, the when, the why and whither in things, but simply and solely the what.’ (§34, 178)

 

And this elevation occurs (according to Schopenhauer) in—*aesthetic contemplation. …

 

 

*—In aesthetic contemplation, then,… —just as the object is no longer the particular, individuated spatiotemporal object, but (instead)—the ‘eternal form’ of the Idea,… —the subject is no longer (simply) an individual, and ‘[w]e lose ourselves entirely in this object’. …

 

*—The subject becomes *the ‘pure will-less, painless, timeless subject of knowledge.’ (-179)

 

 

And, for Schopenhauer, the type of knowledge (so to) which continues to exist outside and independent of phenomenal objectivity and individual subjectivity is *‘art

*(—‘the work of genius’. …) (—§36, 184) …

 

*… —Art ‘repeats’ the Idea, apprehended through pure contemplation.

*(and, again,… —for readings of Schopenhauer’s use of the Platonic Forms or Ideas and their place in his aesthetics, the reader is advised here to consult Julian Young, Schopenhauer, 77-78, 129-134, and Jacquette, ‘Introduction’ (8-9) and Paul Guyer, ‘Pleasure and Knowledge in Schopenhauer’s Aesthetics’, in Jacquette, ed., Schopenhauer, Philosophy, and the Arts (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), 109-132 (109).

 

 *            *            *

 

 

So then, …

 

—Kant seeks to outline the impossibility of gaining access to (and beyond) the transcendental

*(—the a priori.—the very condition of the possibility of experience. …).

 

 

—Schopenhauer, then, in his metaphysics and aesthetics,… in effect seeks-attempts to over-leap (so to—sic) Kant,… —the bounds of experience and of the transcendental—in naming (and in claiming knowledge of) the thing-in-itself, and in seeking to define art as granting a form of access to the—‘eternal’, immutable,… transcendental—(‘Platonic’) Ideas…

*(—In ‘early Nietzsche vs. Schopenhauer’, I presented my reading of the terms of Nietzsche’s rejection of Schopenhauer, and what (the young) ol’ Fritz saw as the Schopenhauer’s attempt, in-and-through his conception of the ‘Will’ (—single, self-identical, metaphysical), to drape the thing-in-itself in the vestiture of the appearance(-representation). …).

 

*… —And I want to argue here that it’s this—Schopenhauer’s (attempted-staged) over-leaping of Kant and of the limits of the transcendental through his conceptions of the ‘Will’ (as thing-in-itself) and, more particularly, the Idea—which is at stake in Romanticism and the Romantic conception of art (—bearing in mind that Schopenhauer represents one of the most obvious and direct inheritors of the Romantic tradition…). …

 

*That is. … —In (or for) Romanticism and, by extension, the ‘romantic’, as it will be cast in Joyce, Nietzsche, and Hulme,—artistic inspiration grants the artist a form of access to (or—beyond) the transcendental (—to the ‘Idea’) (—as I’ve Yeats, and this will be seen to be true, in the sequel, also of Shelley—as a sort of Romantic model (that is,—a model for the Romantic conception of artistic inspiration) here…).

 

 

*In their translator’s introduction to Lacoue-Labarthe and Nancy’s brilliant text on ‘philosophy’ and ‘literature’ in the early period of the ‘romantic’ movement (—the Jena frühromantik),—The Literary Absolute, Barnard and Lester clearly and lucidly summarise the authors’ reading of the ‘romantics’ attempt to move beyond Kant (and, by extension—to exceed the limits of the transcendental). … —

 

Following this genuinely radical insistence on the incompatibility of sensible presentation and the ideas of pure reason, on the impossibility of an adequate presentation of ideas, Kant’s successors in idealism and romanticism, albeit in quite distinct but ultimately related ways […] will reinvest the concept of presentation in such a way as to transform it into the kind of adequate and ever more perfect operation they perceive to be lacking in Kant.

[… —]

In the romantic theory of literature and art, what is perceived as both the dead end and the most formidable challenge of the Kantian of presentation is transformed into a model of art as the 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.

*(—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].—ix.).

 

hmm.

 

*… —‘ in which the *absolute might be experienced and realized in an unmediated, immediate fashion’.

 

 

*—And it’s precisely this claim—to the transcendental,—to the absolute,—to the ‘sensible actualisation of the Idea in the realm of the aesthetic’ (Ibid.—emphases added here…), that, in their definition and championing of the ‘classical’ over (and against) the ‘romantic’, Nietzsche and the self-styled neo-classical Modernists, I will argue, seek to reject

*(here: —under the rubric of Joyce’s/a ‘Joycean’ realism, Nietzsche’s conception of the structure of ressentiment, and Hulme’s rejection of a ‘Rousseauan’, Humanist politics in particular. …).

 

… —Rejecting the (supposéd) exceeding of experience (—that experience has, as yet, indeed been something known,… —been known well enough (—an exhaustive knowledge-knowing),… —has indeed been something whole, controlled, and self-identical that it could be ‘exceeded’ …),—the exceeding of (the limits of) the transcendental *(—to the perfect, immutable, unchangeable Idea, if not so far as the thing-in-itself (=X)…).

 

(… —Building, then, on my conception of the fold in the ironic self-(re-)creation of the artist in Nietzsche’s The Birth of Tragedy, and on the notion of a sudden and uncanny ironic inversion in-of quotidian experience in the ‘epiphany’–the image in Stephen’s aesthetic theory between Stephen Hero and Portrait. …)

 

*—toward a disruptive, anti-transcendental ‘classicism’.

 

*on the Becoming Actual of the Being of Beauty (—the ‘classical’ vs. the ‘romantic’).—part I: a paean…

*(—follows on from ‘on “Art and Life”.’ …).

 

 

a paean to the ‘classical’. (—a pinch of salt). …
(—legitimate criticism part II.).

 

 

I’ve struggled to edit and to rewrite this material…

 

*            *            *

 

This all contains, and is motivated by, a prejudice. …

 

*            *            *

 …

 

—All of this grew, originally, out of my reading (having read) Joyce’s Portrait (—the theory of art) and my attraction, in particular, to the concept of the ‘epiphany’ in-of the aborted Stephen Hero draft…

*—the experience of a sudden revelation of what had been the case (—in-within the ‘thing’,… —in-within the ‘self’), but which had remained… unsensed,—unseen,… —unknown, until the moment of that revelation *(the ‘epiphanic’ moment.). …

(—what I’ve attempted to analyse and to define in ‘on “Art and Life”’, in my reading of the ‘epiphany’ and (—to) the image, from Stephen Hero to Portrait. …).

 

But,

 

(hmm).

 

Stemming, I think (it seems to me), from my, in the wake of the death of someone I regarded as a kind of mentor, having come to realise or to understand that I’d never had a genuine, heart-felt (so to), or abiding faith, my… abandonment (so to) of the church, and a still quite adolescent, if maturing, dislike-distaste for the ‘metaphysical’ and of the faux-lyrical, pseudo-profound, slightly prating, platitudinous ‘mystical’/‘spiritual’ tone and philosophical claims that it is used to support/gives rise to,…

—I wanted (and it was (is) a desire and a deliberate purpose… agenda in studying and in writing the chapter of my doctoral thesis that this material is adapted from…) to starkly differentiate the ‘epiphany’ (—the image) from the… almost (what?)… shamanistic (?—sic), prophetic, self-aggrandising, life-renouncing mysticism and otherworldliness of what will here be referred to as the ‘romantic’.

 

 

*… —In particular, I read Stephen’s rejection of ‘symbolism’ and ‘idealism’ in Portrait as an incorporation and revision of the definition of the ‘classical’ (—vs. the ‘romantic) in his earlier textual incarnation in Stephen Hero (which Joyce seems to have appropriated and adapted directly from his own early critical writing), and I link this to Nietzsche and his definition (in what is referred to as his ‘middle period’—the ‘free spirit trilogy’: Daybreak; Human, All Too Human, and The Gay Science) of the ‘classical’ and rejection of Romanticism (—the ‘romantic’) and Christianity (—particularly in On the Genealogy of Morality).

 

 

And therein, I think, lies the-my problem here (and why I’ve found it quite so difficult, awkward and… anxious to revisit and to revise this material). …

 

*            *            *

 

*… —Though I reference Percy Bysshe Shelley (whom I’ve already used as a touchstone (so to) or exemplar of-for Romanticism-the Romantic in my reading of Birth)—particularly as Stephen explicitly references Shelley’s account of artistic inspiration (in A Defence of Poetry) in his exposition of aesthetic theory in Portrait—I read Stephen’s rejection of ‘symbolism’ and ‘idealism’ as a (somewhat coded) rejection of Yeats’s early critical writing and, in particular, his definitions of the ‘symbol’ and of Symbolism, and , in effect, treat of Yeats as a kind of synecdochal  representative of the ‘romantic’ itself. …

 

—in effect, that is, I turn Yeats (who I here confess I don’t like, either as a poet or a theorist —for his characterisation of the artist as a kind of mystic visionary, somehow elevated above or beyond the common run by what would become that odious sixties cliché of the ‘expanded’ consciousness… ; his naïve (deluded), unsettling—and not unconnected—occultism-mysticism; and for all of those strange, culturally essentialist, pseudo-mythic, nationalist political claims that these lead him into…)

… —I turn Yeats into a sort of straw man and arch- artistic and philosophical criminal here…

 

*            *            *

 …

—In the hardness, concision, and clarity of the ‘classical’, as Joyce, Nietzsche, and T.E. Hulme all seek to define it, I see an honesty, integrity, and adherence to life-as-lived (to the quotidianness of the quotidian (so to),—without it’s being characterised or employed as a strait gate to the transcendental, or the otherworldly…),—a making art about those moments of (uncanny) ironic inversion, and what they give or can tell us about the nature or (faulty, provisional, always—ineluctably—incomplete and inadequate) process of self-knowledge. …

 

*That is,… —In the conception of art and the artwork (—of the image) that Joyce, Nietzsche, and Hulme’s definitions of the ‘classical’ and rejection of ‘romantic’ seek to establish, I see, I confess, the embodiment of what I think art is (—ought to be, and to do…).

 

*            *            *

 

*And so,…

 

—This will be (have been), in the end, a kind of a paean to the ‘classical’, then. …

(partial, prejudiced, loaded,… bereft of a seemingly necessary—distance, and balance (&c.), then, I suppose…)

 

—I pay no mind, really, here to the problems that this throws up…

 

*—For example, in ‘The Modern Mind’, an essay of 1933 (so, not insignificantly, later than the works I’m focussing on here), T.S. Eliot, in reaction to Jacques Rivière’s characterisation of ‘Romanticism’ as (what Eliot sarcastically dubs—good man): ‘a new literary disease’, Eliot rejects the ‘classical’ and ‘romantic’…

*—‘I wish myself to avoid employing the terms Romanticism and Classicism, terms which inflame political passions, and tend to prejudice our conclusions’… (in The Use and Abuse of Poetry and The Use of Criticism [London: Faber and Faber, 1970], 121-142 *[128-129]).

 

—Their use, then, (it’s safe to say) is not without problems.

 

 

More importantly perhaps,… the history of the use of the terms goes back at least as far as Schiller and Goethe, through Romanticism (the Romantic) itself, into the aesthetic of Hegel, and so on, and, again, I pay no real mind or homage to that history here, focussing instead, solely on their use by Nietzsche, Joyce, and Hulme (as if, in effect, this/these were somehow apropos of nothing, I suppose)…

*(—I would like to say, however, that I do plan to do more toward this end in this BLOG and have already done so to some extent, having written on Hegel’s aesthetics and Tragedy and used this as a basis for lecturing on them during my tenure as Visiting Lecturer on the Drama degree at Queen Margaret University, both of which I intend to revisit, and to publish here…).

 

 

—There is not nearly enough here, still, really, on the Romantic—Romanticism—and its relation (if such does truly exist) to the ‘romantic’ (as it’s figured here) and to the Romantics (beyond Shelley and Yeats), to justify what I do with-to the terms. …

(though, again, I do hope to remedy this as the material in-of this BLOG develops-continues…).

 

*            *            *

 

*—The agenda (and, hell,… —let’s go right on ahead and call it that) here is to fully lay out and to define the ‘classical’ and its artistic and philosophical implications. … —to tie together (—to clarify the parallel between) Jimmy J., ol’ Fritz, and Hulme…

 

*—Between Nietzsche, then, and Modernism. …

 

 

So,…

 

*—What follows hereafter dear readers, then (and, if you’re reading this, I would like you to know that you truly are dear to me), is a (frankly unrepentant), prejudiced, paean, and ought (as such) to be taken, ideally, with a (really fairly generous) pinch of salt (to coin a very lazy cliché). …

 

 

*on the Becoming Actual of the Being of Beauty…
*—anti-metaphysics & ironic anti-romanticism
in the definition of the ‘classical’ in Joyce, Nietzsche, & neo-classical Modernism

 

 

The mind of the artist in that mysterious instant Shelley likened beautifully to a fading coal. The instant wherein that supreme quality of beauty, the clear radiance of the esthetic image, is apprehended luminously by the mind which has been arrested by its wholeness and fascinated by its harmony is the luminous silent stasis of esthetic pleasure. *(Portrait, 231)

 

In the first part of this chapter, I argued that Stephen’s aesthetic theory between Stephen Hero and Portrait represents an ironic appropriation of the terms of Aquinas’s theory of beauty to an ironic, implicitly anti-Thomist—anti-metaphysical aesthetic project. …

 

*My comparative close reading of the (pertinent) analogous extracts from Stephen Hero and Portrait revealed what I’ve called here the *refining (refinement) of the concept of the ‘epiphany’ in Stephen Hero—as being concerned with experience in general—into the (‘esthetic’) image in-of Portrait,—with its far more specific analysis of artistic inspiration and creation. …

 

 

*—In what follows (here), I’ll focus particularly on Stephen’s final definition of claritas in Portrait. …

 

*…—I’ll argue that it constitutes an implicit critique and rejection of Platonic metaphysical aesthetic at stake in W.B. Yeats’s early critical writing, and, in particular, in his definition of Symbolist poetry *—the ‘symbol’. …

*(and I’ll be focussing in particular here on Yeats’s definitions of ‘Symbolism’ in his early critical writings, dating from the period 1895-1903.

—W. B. Yeats, Selected Criticism and Prose, ed. Norman Jeffares [London: Pan Books, 1980] *(hereafter SCP for convenience).—See George Bornstein, Yeats and Shelley [Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1970],—xi, 41.

*—What interests me here is the extent to which Yeats and (more particularly) the ‘symbol’, as he defines it, can be seen to represent or to embody precisely what it is that Dedalus seeks to reject, and so I won’t be taking Yeats’s own poetry, nor Joyce’s treatment-quotation-allusions to-from it elsewhere in his writing, into consideration here. …

*—The question of the relationship between Yeats’s poetical output (so to) and his (early) critical writing—to what extent the former embodies, perhaps, the principles of the latter (—?)—is best left, I feel, for another time. …

… —All I want to do here, for my current purposes, is to establish the terms of Yeats’s definition of the ‘symbol’—of Symbolism—and the relationship of this to what I will argue is his establishment of  a form of late-Romanticism. … )

 

—I’ll argue that Stephen’s definition of claritas represents the incorporation and refinement of the earlier opposition of the ‘classical’ and ‘romantic’ artistic ‘tempers’, and privileging of the ‘classical’ in Stephen’s ‘Art and Life’ paper in Stephen Hero. …

 

*Further,… —I’ll argue that the terms of this opposition of the ‘classical’ to the ‘romantic’, are identical to those established by Nietzsche, in his writing on art *(—from Human, All Too Human onward…), and those of T.E. Hulme. …

 

 

*This parallel will form the foundation of a larger comparison of the terms of Stephen’s exposition of the ‘esthetic image’ in Portrait with those of Hulme’s writings on Bergson’s philosophy and Modern art and, in turn, Hulme’s influence on, and relationship to, Ezra Pound’s writing on Modern art, the ‘image’, and the ‘vortex’, and (as well as) the Imagist movement in poetry).[1]

 

And this will, in turn, allow me to argue that Stephen’s adoption of the terms of Shelley’s definition of artistic inspiration in A Defence of Poetry, in his definition of the ‘esthetic image’, represents an ironic appropriation of Romantic aesthetics to an implicitly anti-Romantic project.

 

*… —So,… —The ‘image’, then, will be seen to represent an attempt to forge a new trajectory for the legacy of Romanticism through a rejection of the aesthetics and metaphysics of (what I’ll refer to here as) late-Romanticism, in particular that exemplified by Yeats, and to lie at the heart of an attempt to forge a Romantic–anti-Romantic classicism. …

 

 

 

[1] Though I’ll draw on Hulme’s more explicitly political writing, in particular ‘A Tory Philosophy’ (first published in five instalments in The Commentator, 1912. T.E. Hulme, T.E. Hulme: Selected Writings, ed. Patrick McGuinness [Manchester: Carcanet Press, 1998] [hereafter Hulme, Selected Writings], 157-172) and on Sorel’s Reflections on Violence (‘Translator’s Preface to Georg Sorel’s Reflections on Violence’, first published in The New Age 17/24 [1915], Hulme, Selected Writings, 173-179. ‘Reflections on Violence’, Speculations, 249-260), insofar as these bear on the terms of his aesthetics, I won’t be discussing Hulme’s politics, or their relationship to his aesthetics, at any length here…

*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

*the ‘core’,—JANUS,… *—the ‘artist’s metaphysics’ (an introduction).

*—the ‘core’. …

 *and so, then, … (hmm).

—I’ve gone some way already, I suppose, in trying to… contextualise all of this. —in *‘the eventual artist’.

none-the-less. … (why not?)

… *—what follows represents, for me, the core (so to. …—the heart.—? (sic)) of what it is that I want to do here, and I want to go some way to explaining how (and from where) all of this came about. …

(—in a way, for my own (dubious) edification,—so that I remember how all this developed and where it was intended to go…).

 

—originally, this all (—this project-my thesis) grew out of two… interests (for want). …

*—between the sublime and the aesthetic theory in Joyce’s early fiction. …

  

*JANUS. …

*(with the caveat, carried here (again), of not wanting to become too—self-indulgent. (hmm.) …).

—I’ll go into, and define (as best I can-‘m able), the sublime, in-for Kant and Schopenhauer, in the course of this thread-string of fragments-chapter here, but I remember that my first… impression of the sublime came toward the end of a course on Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason on my Master’s degree…   

the sublime.

*—the-a sense, then, (sic)—of something (some thing,—an object, scene, event…) that overwhelms through its (sheer) scale. … —which heightens (I suppose) the-an awareness of own smallness—finitude and vulnerability (—powerlessness)—in the face of scale-forces which threaten to overwhelm-to… (what?)—to lacerate the individual…

—strange blend-admixture of a terror and an… —exhilaration in the face of the scale-laceration. …

*—something,—a concept—which seemed to offer a way of grasping and articulating my experience of music in my early musical and religious… career (sic). …

—terror *(vertiginous) and an exhilaration, in the face of a vast, overwhelming, otherness. …

*—seemed (somehow—in that intuited (felt) way that is never clear at the moment of inception) to… link-be bound (somehow) to (the concept of) *—self-alienation.

… —I remember,—…

—sitting in the ‘Green Room’ café, in the Mable Tylecote building at Manchester Metropolitan

(—a large, slightly sprawling, open L shaped space, decked out-bedecked with nineteen sixties-looking furniture (—light Formica. tables and chairs).—in the semi-booths that lined the walls (a pale, watery, institutional aquamarine, I seem to remember) and the large, broad windows that looked out across at the GeoffreyMantonBuilding…). …

—the Hegel (—Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit) PhD reading group that Simon (Dr Simon Malpas) had invited me to join…

*—reading ‘The Unhappy Consciousness’…

(Hegel introducing his reading of the emergence of self-alienation (—of the self-alienated consciousness, thus),—from Stoicism and Scepticism…

and Simon said (—d’y’see)… —that the passage evoked the image of two gods staring into one another across an abyss…

…—* ‘This unhappy, inwardly disrupted consciousness, since its essentially contradictory nature is for it a single consciousness, must for ever have present in the one consciousness the other also; and thus it is driven out of each in turn in the very moment when it imagines it has successfully attained to a peaceful unity with the other [. …]

—* ‘The Unhappy Consciousness itself is the gazing of one self-consciousness into another, and itself is both, and the unity of both is also its essential nature.’

*(Hegel, The Phenomenology of Spirit, trans. A.V. Miller (Oxford: Oxford Univeristy Press, 1977). —’Freedom of Self-Consciousness: B. Stoicism, Scepticism, and The Unhappy Consciousness’, pp. 119-138,—*§207., p.126)

*—two gods (—faces), staring into one another (each the other), across the abyss in-between…

(—‘the gazing of one self-consciousness into another’).

—one consciousness,—labouring under the delusion-illusion if its separation (—its sundering-having been sundered) from its essential nature-essence.—taking its essence for a terrifying and exhilarating other (—sublime)…).

*… —JANUS.

JANUS (gods-abyss)

*while I was at Warwick, I was lucky enough to get the chance to attend courses run by Prof. Christine Battersby,—first on Kant’s first Critique, and then on ‘Modes of the Sublime’, studying the sublime in the works of Longinus, Edmund Burke, Kant, Schopenhauer, and Nietzsche. …

*—that the sublime seemed to be the key to my (early-earlier) musical – religious experiences (and whatever the link between those two was), and that Nietzsche prioritised music, and music as the Dionysian art par excellence, in The Birth of Tragedy, was the reason I chose to write my dissertation (which, as I’ve already taken the dubious liberty of indicating in the introduction to this project, was—largely pish) on the sublime (in music-art) in Birth. …

*(—I was trying to do something I didn’t have the knowledge, experience, or resources (then,—as yet?) to do…).

at around the same time (mid-late-summer, in my room on campus, overlooking the lake),… —I was reading Joyce’s early fiction,—in particular, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. …

*and I was drawn (I remember) to (the terms of) Stephen Dedalus’s theory of art. …

… *—the intensely undergone (aesthetic) experience of the artist,—in relation to an object of everyday experience, and the attempt, then, to grasp—to capture and to… incorporate it—in the ‘esthetic image’…

*(—and the (clearly deliberately ironic) relation of the text to the details of Joyce’s own life, and the apparent realisation of the aesthetic theory in the structure and style of the text. …).

and it was this that drew me on, at the time, into researching Joyce, the earlier incarnation of the aesthetic theory in the Stephen Hero draft fragment, and the concept of the ‘epiphany’. …

(and also Lucia Joyce, when I discovered the details of her later fate whilst researching Joyce’s writing…).

*… —and (to me at least) there were… —intimations (so to (sic)) of (some sort of) a… —connection (somehow)—between the two (perhaps),…

—something in the nature of the intensely undergone aesthetic experience and the terror and exhilaration of the sublime…

*(hmm.) and it was working back through my reading of the sublime in The Birth of Tragedy, to develop it in-for my doctoral thesis

(over, I remember, strange and (slightly) nervous evenings in mid-winter, at the beginning of my second year in Edinburgh, making and revising strange, slightly… feverish(—?) notes,—on that rather gaudy and tasteless sofa in my small flat on the edge of Holyrood Park,—in the tower of the old school building, perched on St Leonard’s Crag),

that led me to understand that what I had been interested in, in both Birth and early Joyce (and what I felt was the link between them,—between the sublime and the ‘epiphany’)—what would help me to articulate what had, originally, sparked my interest—was, in fact,—artistic inspiration. …

and so,…

*—all this, then, will have been an attempt to reproduce, re-structure, and revise my reading of Birth and Joyce’s early fiction in my thesis…

—to bring together, and to turn to account, my early experience(s) of music and (Anglican, High-Church, Christian) religion, anti-metaphysics, the sublime, art, and literature,…

and, most of all,—to lay down the philosophical-intellectual terms of my own theory of artistic inspiration. …

*            *            *

*II. —on the ‘artist’s metaphysics’:
—Romantic–anti-Romanticism and the fold of the self-creation of the artist in The Birth of Tragedy. …

 

(*On ‘incorporation’, and the Apollinian sublime…

*On ‘purgation’, and the Dionysian sublime…

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

*—the end of history.

*on the Rapture and the Nausea.—artistic inspiration.

*Nietzsche’s ‘Classicism’. *—the ‘artists’ metaphysics’
(the self-creation of the artist)…

…).

 

*            *            *

Discussion of the nature of the Apollinian, the Dionysian, and of their relationship in The Birth of Tragedy, of course (oh, but of course…), constitutes (extraordinarily) well-trodden ground within Nietzsche criticism. …

However (—Nonetheless—?) (why not?),… —in what follows here, I want to build on my reading of Nietzsche’s early anti-Schopenhauerianism and anti-metaphysics in the previous string-thread of fragments *(—in *‘Intuition, Flux, and anti-metaphysics’, onward…), in re-examining the Apollinian, the Dionysian, and the relationship between them. …

(hmm).

*—I want to argue against the prevalent critical argument, typified (for example) by Julian Young, that the Dionysian provides access to the ‘thing-in-itself’ and that in Birth Nietzsche is simply an uncritical disciple of Schopenhauer and of his philosophy (and especially his philosophy of art):

—that Nietzsche is (simply and uncritically)—Schopenhauerian.[1]

—this misreading of Nietzsche’s relationship to Schopenhauerian metaphysics, and thus of the Dionysian, inevitably (it seems to me) leads to the further misreading, exemplified by David Allison, that the Dionysian is both ‘more primal’ and ‘more natural’(—?) than the Apollinian.[2]

By contrast, I’ll argue here that Nietzsche’s early anti-metaphysics and anti-Schopenhauerianism underpin the nascent and idiosyncratic form of philosophical naturalism which emerges in the text, attributed in contemporary critical debates exclusively to his later philosophy (—from Human, All Too Human onwards), and that this undermines any attempt to attribute an ontological or temporal priority to the Dionysian.[3]

Rather. … —the Apollinian and Dionysian embody the antagonism between two distinct and fundamental natural drives (Triebe): the drive to the incorporation of lived experience and the (apparently antithetical) drive to the purgation of lived experience, respectively…

—Nietzsche argues that these drives find their most fundamental expression in the physiological phenomena of ‘dreams and intoxication’. (§1, 33)

in Hellenic culture, he argues, the appropriation of the drives of incorporation and purgation into art was represented in the form of mythological analogy:

*—‘in the intensely clear figures of their gods’.[4]

in the first part(-fragment) of what is to follow here, I’ll begin by arguing that the harnessing of (the drive to) the incorporation of lived experience into the pre-existing plastic artistic forms was embodied in the figure of the god Apollo. Nietzsche dubs this artistic drive—analogous to the physiological phenomenon of dreams—the Apollinian…

I’ll then move on to argue that the harnessing of the (apparently antithetical) drive to the purgation of lived experience into non-imagistic art-forms—analogous to the physiological phenomenon of intoxication—was embodied in the figure of the god Dionysus and the artistic drive which Nietzsche dubs the Dionysian.

… *—I will argue, then, that the Apollinian and Dionysian represent the expression (and the fulfilment) of the two fundamental and antithetical natural drives in analogous

*—modes of the sublime.[5]

(and I’ll go into as much detail as I can here to define what I think is Nietzsche’s conception of the sublime in the text (—at this point in his thinking and in his writing career),—particularly in relation to both Kant and Schopenhauer’s definitions of the sublime).

*and so,…

—having established my reading of the Apollinian and the Dionysian, and of the (apparent) antagonism between them,… I’ll move on to argue that Nietzsche’s account of the birth of tragedy represents the process from artistic inspiration to creation through what I’ll characterise as the *conjunction of the Dionysian and Apollinian:

*—the incorporation of the experience of purgation. …

—understanding the Dionysian and Apollinian as the harnessing of the natural drives to purgation and incorporation respectively will allow me to read their conjunction against the prevalent trend in Nietzsche criticism to view their relationship in Birth as simply dialectical.[6]

—by contrast, and in line with my claim to the text’s implicit anti-metaphysics, I will argue that Nietzsche’s account of the Dionysian-Apollinian conjunction is ranged against the (Hegelian) dialectic, denying any possible synthesis, and, through a reading of Nietzsche’s parallel of the fate of the one who experiences the Dionysian to that of Hamlet, is incommensurate with any possible resolution of (the state of) *self-alienation. …

—I will argue that the Dionysian-Apollinian conjunction, exemplified in the phenomenon of the Hellenic Lyric Poet, embodies what I will define as

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

Although the text appears (—is, effectively,) ostensibly Schopenhauerian and late-Romantic, I’ll argue that the naturalism of Nietzsche’s conception of art in Birth aligns the fold in the self-creation of the artist with his later definition of ‘classical’ art, and rejection of ‘romantic’…

—I’ll argue that Nietzsche’s conception of artistic inspiration and creation in Birth represents an ironic appropriation of the terms of Romanticism to an anti-Romantic aesthetic, in contrast to the prevalent critical trend—concomitant with the misreading of the Dionysian and Apollinian—to conceive of the text as straightforwardly Romantic.

* … —and it’s this, then, that’ll lead into the comparison I want to draw between Nietzsche’s theory of art and artistic inspiration in Birth and neo-classical Modernist aesthetics. …

*I’ll begin by offering a close reading of the terms of Stephen’s aesthetic theory in Joyce’s fiction, in its development between the early draft fragment Stephen Hero, Portrait and Ulysses, and, in particular,—a comparative close-reading of the Stephen’s presentation of the concepts of the ‘epiphany’ and the ‘esthetic image’ in the incarnations of the aesthetic theory in Stephen Hero and Portrait (respectively). …

—I’ll argue that, between Stephen Hero and Portrait, rather than being abandoned,—the concept of the ‘epiphany’ evolves (in effect) into that of the (‘esthetic’) image. …

*in the later (—the last) incarnation of Stephen’s aesthetic theory, in the ‘Shakespeare theory’ of Ulysses, I’ll argue that the whole evolves again,—into (the concept of) *the image (‘of the artist’. …).

and, in its final evolution, I’ll argue, Stephen’s aesthetic theory binds the ‘image’ to a conception of artistic inspiration and the figure of the artist analogous to Nietzsche’s in Birth. …

*—in Ulysses, I will argue, —the process of the creation of the ‘image of the artist’ represents    

*—the foldin the ironic self (re-)creation of the artist. …

—what is at stake in, and what ultimately underpins, this evolution of the concept of the

‘epiphany’ into that of the image, I will argue, is the conception of the ‘classical’, very explicitly at the heart of the Stephen Hero (though—apparently—excised from Portrait) and Joyce’s own early critical writing. …

*—the ‘classical’, then,—vs. the ‘romantic’ (—Romantic).

and this will, in effect, allow to segue (quite neatly I think (hope)) into the reading of the wider context of neo-classical Modernism and aesthetics that I want to conduct here…

*—I’ll draw out the parallels between the key terms of the definition of the ‘image’ and the ‘classical’ in Joyce’s works and those T.E. Hulme’s writing on art (and especially in his readings of Bergson’s philosophy and the ‘aesthetic intuition’,—which allow me to draw on my argument in the first string-thread of fragments here), and Ezra Pound’s definition (with Flint) of the ‘image’ (and key role in the creation of Imagism) and the *vortex (and founding, with Wyndham Lewis, of Vorticism). …

and I’ll draw particularly on Stephen’s allusion to Percy Bysshe Shelley’s conception of artistic inspiration ( in A Defence of Poetry) in arguing that (throughout its textual incarnations) Stephen’s theory represents an ironic appropriation of Romantic conceptions of artistic inspiration and creation to an *anti-Romantic,—anti-metaphysical aesthetic…

and, openly using Yeats—and especially his definition of the ‘symbol’ and ‘Symbolism’ in his earlier critical writing—as a kind of ‘straw man’, I’ll argue in particular that it represents a rejection of the ‘Platonism’ of (self-styled) late-Romanticism and an attempt to redeem the legacy of Romanticism. …

*—on the basis of this, then, I’ll attempt to show that this opens up new possibilities for a critical comparison between Nietzsche’s philosophy and the aesthetics of neo-classical Modernism.

—In my reading of neo-classical Modernism, I’ll draw on the conception of the ‘classical’ in Nietzsche’s later writing, and, to conclude, I’ll use my reading of the ‘classical’ as well as my own conception of the fold in the ironic self-(re-)creation of the artist to read Nietzsche’s argument on the purpose and the affect of tragedy in Birth.


[1] See Julian Young, Nietzsche’s Philosophy of Art (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992). …

—as I argued in the previous thread of fragments, this conception is shared, for  example, by Bowie, in Aesthetics and Subjectivity, 261 (see also 282, 288, 296) and Soll, ‘Pessimism and the Tragic view of Life: Reconsiderations of Nietzsche’s The Birth of Tragedy’ in Solomon and Kathleen M. Higgins, eds., Reading Nietzsche (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988), 104-107.

[2] David B. Allison, Reading the New Nietzsche (Oxford: Rowman & Littlefield, 2001), 40-42

[3] See Leiter, Nietzsche on Morality, 3-7. Green, Nietzsche and the Transcendental Tradition, 4. See also Christoph Cox, ‘Nietzsche, Dionysus, and the Ontology of Music’ in Ansell Pearson, ed., A Companion to Nietzsche (Oxford: Blackwell, 2006), 495-531.

Cox argues that the Apollinian and Dionysian are not concerned with the thing-in-itself and the appearance and that Nietzsche is not reverting ‘back to metaphysical, anti-naturalist distinctions – ontological distinctions between a “true” and an “apparent” world or epistemological distinctions between an unknowable given and ordinary experience or knowledge.’ (499)

[4] Ibid. As I argued in the first chapter-thread, the contrast of the ‘intensely clear figures of the gods’ to ‘concepts’ at the outset of Birth is clarified in the contrast of the individuated concepts of the intellect to ‘intuition’ in ‘On Truth’.—Cf. Klein, Nietzsche and the Promise of Philosophy, 96-99 and Jason Kemp Winfree, ‘Before the Subject: Rereading Birth of Tragedy’, The Journal of Nietzsche Studies, 25 (Spring, 2003), 58-77 (68).

[5] In Nietzsche’s Voices, Henry Staten differentiates between the *‘state’ of the Dionysian (—rapture), the *‘art’ of the Dionysian (—music and dance), and the *‘reality’ of the Dionysian, which he attempts to identify with the ‘metaphysical’. He argues that the ‘art’ and ‘state’ of the Dionysian remain at a distance from the (metaphysical) ‘reality’. …

—Whilst I’ll aim to refute Staten’s attribution of a metaphysical reality to the Dionysian, his insight into the importance of differentiating between the (physiological/psychological) ‘state’ and the ‘art’ which seeks to embody, prolong and to communicate it, will prove invaluable to my own argument and I’ll seek to extend it also to the Apollinian.

—I’ll also adopt Staten’s qualification of Kaufmann’s translation of the German Rausch as ‘intoxication,’ for what he argues is the preferable translation of *‘rapture’. (194)…

[6] See Cox, ‘Nietzsche, Dionysus, and the Ontology of Music’ in Ansell Pearson, ed., A Companion to Nietzsche, 498.  …

—Cox argues that the relationship between the Dionysian and Apollinian is not Hegelian. … Nietzsche himself is partly responsible, however, for the emergence of the trend to read it in this way… —In his retrospective critical appraisal of Birth in Ecce Homo (1888,—published 1908), he goes so (sarcastically) far as to remark that the text ‘smells offensively Hegelian’ (—On the Genealogy of Morals and Ecce Homo, trans. Walter Kaufmann and R. J. Hollingdale, ed. Walter Kaufmann [New York: Random House, 1967], 270): …

An “idea”––the antithesis of the Dionysian and the Apollinian––translated into the realm of metaphysics; history itself as the development of this “idea”; in tragedy this antithesis is sublimated into a unity; and in this perspective things that had never before faced each other are suddenly juxtaposed, used to illuminate each other, and comprehended. (271)

*in the notes to his translation, Kaufmann is at great pains to demonstrate the passage’s thinly veiled Hegelian allusions.

—He lays emphasis upon Nietzsche’s appropriation of Hegelian vocabulary such as Aufgehoben (which he translates as ‘sublimated’: negated, preserved, and elevated), points to the use of the term ‘“idea”’ (Idee) as of Hegelian origin and to Nietzsche’s use of the term Gegensatz, which he translates as ‘antithesis’. (ibid.)

—It’s important to stress the irony of Nietzsche’s Hegelian reading of Birth.

—His use of Hegelian terms, I would argue, is intended to parody such vocabulary as much as Birth itself. Nietzsche refers to a ‘translation’ of the opposition of the Dionysian and Apollinian into the ‘realm of metaphysics’. The drives themselves are not metaphysical. The meaning of the allusion to their ‘sublimation’ into a ‘unity’ remains vague and open-ended in this passage, and the reference to their juxtaposition suggests that the opposition remains, in spite of whatever it is that this sublimation might entail.

—In essence,… the Hegelian here remains only a vague, if somewhat threatening odour. …

*on the ‘eventual artist’. …

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

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

and so then,…
(hmm).

*I was in love. …

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

—she was-is (you are)—perfect.

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

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

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

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

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

for Nietzsche, God ‘lived’. …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

she had a formal, quiet grace and refinement.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

hmm.


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

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

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

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

but,—nothing happened.


I was too late. …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

hmm.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(—(h)wh-ettpro fi lactick-ss…).
hmm.

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

*(apologies for that digression…).

 

 

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

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

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

that one night in particular…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

and I found that coincidence strange, and uncanny. …


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

—anxiety, embarrassment, frustration…

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

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

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

—a moment of (a sort of) revelation.

uncanny. …

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

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

involuntary.

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

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

—an ironic inversion. …

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

—a sort of a disconnect.

*(a strange sensation. …

sudden.

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

a cool, fibrous, empty electric aching surge…

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

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

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

—a strange sort of displacement

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

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

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

—that I was not that anymore…).

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

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

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

—a (nervous)… thrill. felt.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

—companion pieces, then.

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

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

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

*(as (for) an example,… —

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

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

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

…).

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

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

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

(hmm).

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

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

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

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

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

*and so, then. …

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

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

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

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

*—the ‘classical’. …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

and so,…
(hell)

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

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

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

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

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


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