*’image’. ‘complex’. ‘VORTEX’. part (ii): *the image,… —the fragment. …

*(… —follows on from *‘the image.—vs. Platonic ressentiment’, ‘—toward a disruptive, anti-transcendental “classicism”’, *‘the “classical”.—vs. the “romantic” (in Joyce, Nietzsche, and Hulme.)’, and *‘“image”. “complex”. “VORTEX” (i): the exact word.’).

 

—As I wrote in the nervous and slightly rambling introductory comments to my last post, … I’ve had (I’ve felt) a great deal of difficulty in revising and restructuring this portion of what I want to in-with this blog project. … —I still have a vague anxiety over the quality and depth of my engagement with Pound and the Imagists here, and the… justice I feel I’m not really doing to the material. …

 

—What follows here is new material: pieced together from notes and from excised-discarded fragments of proposed chapters and portions of my doctoral thesis. …

 

*—It’s an attempt to read Imagist poetry, in light of my reading of the key philosophical and aesthetic claims of their ‘manifestoes’ and against what I see as the prevailing tendency amongst critics and Modernist scholars to dismiss the poetic output of the Imagists as a disappointment, when weighed against the force and potential of their creed. …

 

So then, …

 

*the image,… —the fragment. …

 

 

*I want to move on now to take a few examples from the Imagist canon (so to).

 

 

*The most obvious… move here would be (I feel) to take the tried and tested route (so to) of, first, reading Pound’s ‘A Station of the Metro’—by far the most famous and instantly recognisable of the Imagist poems, and then to move on to take examples from H.D.’s work (—for example, ‘Oread’)—again, one of the most famous and widely acknowledged and quoted of the participants in Imagism, and examples of Imagist poems.

 

 

*Instead, I’ll take two poems from John Gould Fletcher, and one from Amy Lowell, in order to examine the execution of the aesthetic demands-dicta of the manifesto(es)… and, in particular (especially), their relationship to *the form of the fragment. …

 

 

John Gould Fletcher

The Skaters

To A.D.R.

Black swallows swooping or gliding

In a flurry of entangled loops and curves;

The skaters skim over the frozen river.

And the grinding click of their skates as they

     impinge upon the surface,

Is like the brushing together of thin wing-tips

     of silver.

*(S.I.P. 1916; I.P., 70).

 

 

*—I want to draw attention first to the stasis, isolation and the—detachment of the poetic ‘voice’ or ‘person’, created here,… —a voice nonetheless implicated to be present in-to the scene. …

 

The poem presents a simple scene: a voice, seemingly detached from and observing the scene, simply indicates the detail of black swallows flying over a group of skaters, skating over a stretch of frozen river.

 

*—‘Skaters’ is marked by an exclusive focus on the (‘objective’) detail of scene *(that is,… —a scene evoked precisely through this focus on detail… ), without obvious (ostentatious) reflection. … —no description, allusion, or reaching for significance,… *—merely (so to) a kind of staged transposition. …

 

*The poem is… spartan. … —There is a cleanliness and concision to the presentation of the cold,… —empty(?), quiet pathos of the scene (—a spare-ness, so to, of economy).

 

The observation and description are simple, definite, and atomic, and yet not without rhythm:… ‘Black swallows’. … —they are simply that: black.—There is nothing more here to them,… —they are merely a part of a scene, or view (—a detail). …

 

… —Strangely and beautifully cleanly geometric—angular—and static (staid, cool, reserved), even in its description of movement. … *—an impression of (made by) movement: ‘swooping’, ‘gliding’, ‘skim’… *—‘loops and curves’.

 

There is a sort of sharp, clean staccato (—onomatopoeic) to the transposition of sound (sense): ‘grinding click’, and, again, a solid geometry: *‘impinge – upon – the – surface’. …

 

And, again,… —the attempt at an exact transposition of the impression of the… sharp,—thin, and slight … powdery and rasping (fibrous?) sound of metallic contact, that sparks off the (admittedly perhaps somewhat precious) simile-image of the brushing silver wing-tips.

 

 

*(—From Irradiations: Sand and Spray [Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1915])…

VII

Flickering of incessant rain

On flashing pavements:

Sudden scurry of umbrellas:

Bending, recurved blossoms of the storm.

[…]

And the rustling of innumerable translucent leaves

(I.P., 72).

 

 

*Again, …

 

The scene (so to) of the poem here is the simple capturing of mundane everyday moment,— from the perspective or location of an isolated poetic ‘voice’, in a position or, perhaps (rather) a—demeanour of (cool, reserved) detachment, and yet nonetheless implicated to be in, or to be present to-for the scene.

 

And what is presented is simply the (sensuous) details of the scene …

 

*—The sense-impression(s) of the rain: … —its ‘flickering’,

 

… —the (intermittently) shining reflective surface *(and, again, for Gould Fletcher, there is an emphasis on the solid geometry of surface here … )… —that strange illusory quality of seeming depth (of the reflected space above) and seeming translucence—created on the (damp) stone of the pavements by reflected light.

 

—The slightly hurried (and again, almost onomatopoeic description of the) movements of pedestrians: *‘Sudden scurry’. …

 

And, finally, the umbrellas,… —seemingly tilting into (—against) the incessant rain, which evokes (for the poetic voice) the image of the ‘Bending, recurved blossoms’ in a storm. …

 

Amy Lowell

Spring Day

(extract)

Midday and Afternoon

Swirl of crowded streets. Shock and recoil of traffic. The stock-still brick façade of an old church, against which the waves of people lurch and withdraw. Flare of sunshine down side-streets. Eddies of light in the windows of chemists’ shops, with their blue, gold, purple jars, darting colours far into the crowd. Loud bangs and tremors, murmurings out of high windows, whirling of machine belts, blurring of horses and motors. A quick spin and shudder of brakes on an electric car, and the jar of a church bell knocking against the metal blue of the sky. I am a piece of the town, a bit of blown dust, thrust along with the crowd. Proud to feel the pavement under me, reeling with feet. Feet tripping, skipping, lagging dragging, plodding doggedly, or springing up and advancing on firm elastic insteps. A boy is selling papers, I smell them clean and new from the press. They are fresh like the air, and pungent as tulips and narcissus.

   The blue sky pales to lemon, and great tongues of gold blind the shop-windows putting out their contents in a flood of flame.

*(S.I.P. 1916; I.P., 88).

 

 

Again, in Lowell’s fragment, though there is a greater wealth of detail here, and a more frenetic and peopled energy to the urban scene than in the selections from Gould Fletcher, —what is presented, from the position of a (seemingly) cool, detached, observing poetic voice (or figure: far more ostensibly self-aware here—‘feel the pavement under me’), implicated in (—as present in-to) the scene, is still a focus on a particular time or (rather)—*moment. …

 

*There are, here in ‘Spring Day’, not even the similes and metaphors of Fletcher’s imagistic poems. …

 

Lowell dispenses with grammar and creates an immediate, and still detached poetic voice-person. … —an attempt to create the sense of hitting off the (immediate—im-mediate) impression (so to) with the exact word: ‘Swirl’,—‘Shock’,… —‘Eddies of light’. …

 

There is a focus on movement: as somewhat unnervingly abrupt and staccato, dictated by mechanical (machine-metallic), industrial, and commercial influences … ‘Shock and recoil’, ‘spin and shudder’, and yet also a clean, smooth organic and (almost) geometric rhythm: ‘waves’. …

 

—A proliferation of detail into which the impression of the crowded, active streets breaks down *(—its quanta-constituents).—The sharpness (concision), cleannesss, and definition (exactness) of the capturing and articulation of sense-impressions: … —‘Flare of sunshine’,—‘whirling’, blurring’,—‘metal blue’,… ‘clean and new’,—‘pungent’. …

 

*—But, most of all,… —the transition in-of time that proceeds—indifferently and ineluctably—outwith-beneath(?—around) the plethora of urban activity(/ies), and the way, in particular, in which this is captured and articulated through the effect of the change of the quality of light in-on the urban scene: … *—the change in the quality of the reflected light of the setting sun (moving down the sky, as it pales to a lemon yellow) on the glass of the shop-front windows.

*(—This puts me in mind of Lichtenstein’s ‘Reflections’ series, which I was lucky enough to see in person at the Scottish Gallery of Modern Art recently … ).

 

 

*… There is here then—an economy, precision, and pragmatism (a sort of… stoical (—?) fidelity to (only) the model).

 

*—A focus on simple quotidian detail(s). …

 

*… —No transcendental speculative extrapolation from, or treatment of the thing-model as ‘standing in’ for something (—something essentially ungraspable and (thus) unrepresentable. …).

 

—Only the thing experienced-the experience *(however fictitious or hypothetical) and the impression which sparks off a-the corresponding image. …

 

*…—(For want, then)… —A form of (what I’ll dub here, for my current purposes) *psychological realism. …

Presenting-presentation, without exposition, comment, or judgment. …

 

—Thus evoking, then, a (—hypothetical) thought or psychological process,—the perspective or shape of consciousness (so to)—of the figure (equally hypothetical, but… bound at the very least, if not straightforwardly identical to) the poetic voice.

 

 

—an attempt, then, of sorts, to construct a shape of consciousness of the poetic voice (or, perhaps rather, a consciousness-perspective that the poetic voice occupies—somewhere (in-)between the 1st & 3rd persons, in the manner of ‘free-indirect’ discourse in Modernist prose…), and to evoke an (again,—at the very least) analogous shape of consciousness in the reader,…

—working out, by suggestion or allusion, from the interplay of thoughts (—the intellectual and emotional in the instant of time) to the shape of consciousness for whom that interplay, or ‘complex’ is a possibility:

 

*… —the psychological conditions of-for the image. …

 

(—?).

 

 

*I hope to return to this later (down the ol’ line) in comparing the Romantic concept of the fragment, the ‘Epiphany’, and the ‘image’, and the legacy of the Romantic fragment,… but, on this, I think, it’s worth going into some (repetitive) detail in comparing my earlier reading of Joyce’s early ‘Eat out his eyes’ ‘Epiphany’ fragment. …

 

*—To take the liberty of recapitulating here…

*(I know I do do this quite a lot, but the reading itself is important here, I feel, and the nature of this as an ongoing blog project means I’m… fishing around, somewhat (so to) to connect all the thoughts and form a coherent flow of thoughts ideas across posts. …

And, anyway,… hell.—why ever not, ‘ey(hmm)? … —s’my blog… I promised to be intemperate and idiosyncratic (right at the start there…), ‘n’ I’ll self-indulgently quote m’self back to m’self ‘s’much as I want, damn your eyes. … )

 

 

— “

 

 

pull out his eyes

 

*… —There is a mocking-patronising tone in Mr Vance’s performance of admonishment *(—and there is a quality of a certain—forced—condescending theatricality…). …

 

—What is an ostensible, formal, address to the mother here (—Mrs Joyce), is nonetheless, obviously intended as a direct address-admonishment to ‘Joyce’, reduced here to the status of the third person, framed indirectly through the mother. …

 

—Framed as an indirect address (admonishment.—the detail of the stick…), appealing to the mother, so that Mr Vance can administer discipline-punishment without violating the—unwritten-unspoken—social code, prohibiting disciplining someone else’s child (and thereby adopting the parental role and relegating the parent to the status of a by-stander. … *—an assumption of knowing better how to discipline another’s child… and it’s important, in this regard, that the fragment is framed at the outset in-through the domestic, social context of the parlour of the house…),—the mother thus made complicit in an open secret.

 

 

*—What may seem a fairly obvious *(—innocuous? … —forgettable-inconsequential,… —trivial) moment-exchange, then, in-point-of-fact, reveals the nature, and the inner-workings (sic) of what is actually a quite complexly coded, socially fraught performance… *—the awkward and perpetual negotiation—of social roles *(—for complicity… —for validation and compliance in-of ‘authority’)—rendering all the actors here complicit in an unspoken yet (painfully) present open secret. …

 

*The striking element is the child’s burgeoning awareness-consciousness (—the revelation-manifestation) of the nature and stakes of this performance here… —Mr Vance’s appeal to, and reliance upon, the open secret, as well as the mother’s (necessary) voluntary complicity, in establishing (—performing) the authority to admonish and threaten retribution-punishment… *(—coupled to the child’s intimidation, resentment, and yet powerlessness in the face of the admonishment (—that is,—his inability to step outside the bounds of social and filial propriety implied by the performance, whilst painfully aware of the tenuousness and provisionality of its legitimacy)… *—‘under the table’. …).

 

 

*—… —‘Joyce’s’ attempt to appropriate of the language of (performed) authority,—in-through the accidental-incidental rhyme, and through repetition, in the composition of the short poem, forms an attempt—reveals a capacity—to challenge-confront (irresistible) authority, and to control *(to—master) experience (—‘to himself’. …)  *—through the artwork. …

(and hence the dramatic use to which the fragment could then be put in Portrait, where, in fact, I’d argue (at least), very little is actually added (or—needs to be added) by way of exposition to expand the context, and where (in fact) it could be argued that the fragment is reduced, almost, to the status of a thematic precursor… (—?)).

 

 

*… —The ‘epiphany’, then, is a highly complex, self-contained fragment,—(negatively) pointing out to (—outward toward.—evoking) a larger social-political-linguistic context that informs its structure and the nature of the revelation it represents…

 

…—There need be no more exposition than a few, choice, place indications and ‘stage directions’ *(—the fragment plays out as a ‘scene’ … *—the record of an impression. …).—The effectiveness of the ‘epiphany’ (—as fragment), indeed, relies upon the sparseness, brevity, and cleanliness (—clarity) of this—strict—artistic economy…

 

 

*—The Imagists—images—then, share in common with Joyce’s ‘Epiphanies’ the status of the fragment. …

*—presentation, without (ostensible) judgment, of detail(-details) from which a broader situation-context is evoked, and a tight literary-poetic economy. …

 

*—The pathos of the poems (their mood and tone) derives from the detachment, isolation, and observation of the poetic ‘voice’, and (yet also) its implication in the scene-moment-detail(s) observed, and the sharp, clean economy of selection and presentation. …

 

 

The Imagists, then, I’d argue, share (or, rather,—participate in (—?)) the post-Romantic, anti-transcendental tradition *(yes, yes,… —so to. … *—scepticism, pragmatism) in-of Nietzsche, Joyce (particularly in his early fiction and in the terms of his own critical writings), and T.E. Hulme.

 

 

*—I want to move on now to fully detail the philosophical and artistic stakes in-of the ‘image’, and (what I hope I’ll demonstrate to be) the mutually illuminating parallel between the *structure of (artistic) experience (so to) implicit in Pound’s claims about the ‘image’, the ‘complex, the ‘VORTEX’,… —the poem, and that at stake in Stephen’s aesthetic theory in ol’ Joycey-beards early fiction, linking these more explicitly to my reading(s) of Nietzsche and Bergson. …

 

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*’image’. ‘complex’. ‘VORTEX’. —on Ezra Pound, Imagism, and the ‘image’… *part (i). ‘the exact word’. …

*(… —follows on from *‘the image.—vs. Platonic ressentiment’, *‘—toward a disruptive, anti-transcendental “classicism”’, and *‘—the “classical”.—vs. the “romantic” (in Joyce, Nietzsche, and Hulme.)’ …).

 

*I’ve struggled (again) to write all this. …

 

I know that between the previous two posts here there had been a fairly substantial (and, frankly, unintended) hiatus of sorts. …

 

—I’ve struggled to (re-)write the material on the ‘classical’—working from notes, fresh readings-materials, and fragments—in a way that I hadn’t foreseen (after all,… the parallels between the opposition of the ‘classical’ to the ‘romantic’ in Joyce, Nietzsche, and Hulme are fairly obvious and straightforward, and I had the mass of the material ready prepared from the fragments of my doctoral thesis).

 

Particularly difficult was to re-jig (so to) the conclusion of my reading of The Birth of Tragedy in the light of Nietzsche on the ‘classical’ and the ‘romantic’. …

 

—This actually took place in the reverse order in my doctoral thesis, with the ‘classical’ material preceding my chapter on Birth, and the Birth chapter (perhaps more simply) speaking back to the ‘classical’. …

 

And perhaps this original structure does indeed actually work better. …

 

hmm.

 

More, though, I had wanted in the doctoral thesis to talk more about Pound, and about Imagism,—using them to qualify, clarify, and to use as examples of, the ‘classical’. …

 

—Without ever truly being (absolutely) sure why (or how). …

 

 

—It wasn’t until I went back over my thesis material, notes, and Pound’s and the Imagist texts here *(—in preparation for this), that I had what, at least at the time, felt like (a sort of) a revelation: …

 

* …—of the way in which Pound’s writing on the ‘image’ and the key terms of the Imagist’s ‘manifestoes’, when taken in the light of some of the Imagist poems,… —bring together the philosophical and artistic (aesthetic) ideas and concepts I’ve been concerned with (throughout the various posts-fragments-chapters of this ‘ere ol’ blog project), and how—in turn—these ideas and concepts can help, then, to contextualise and to elucidate the key terms of Pound’s writing on art and the ‘image’ and the Imagist’s key artistic claims. …

 

*—a sort of (quite sweeping, perhaps) assessment, I s’pose of the… (for want of a better term-turn-of-phrase) intellectual (artistic and philosophical) *tradition (—yes, yes,… —I know, I know…) formed between Nietzsche, Bergson, Hulme, Joyce, Pound, and the Imagists…

 

*—of (—toward) a disruptive, anti-transcendental neo-classicism. …

 

And that is what I hope to present here.

 

 

—I’ve struggled to do any real justice to the material, I think. …

(I’m still anxious that all of this is too… superficial. … —too precious and too loaded).

 

I’m aware that there is a fair amount of assumed knowledge—of Pound, Imagism, and the Imagists, without a great of background: historical, biographical (etc.)—in my reader (as there was in my argument on Nietzsche and Birth).

 

I’d refer the reader back to my incredibly cursory and ineffectual ‘brief history’ of Imagism in the context of Joyce’s writing, and I do do so,—at the outset of all this here. …

 

*—My focus here is theoretical: … *(that is,…) I’m interested in the detail of the artistic and philosophical claims (—about poetry, and about the nature, and (the treatment of) the proper subject matter of the poem…) in-of Pound, and of the Imagists. …

 

As such, I focus on a small number of (what seem to me to be) their key collective claims, eschewing wider discussion of the key figures involved in Imagism (and their wider literary output), and—to be honest—I do no real justice to ol’ Ezra (really), focussing on the key terms in the development of his writing on Imagism and the ‘image’, and not discussing his life or wider work.

 

 

*—I’m aware that a lot of the posts I’ve put up here are, really, far too long for the patience of most readers.

 

And so,…        (hell)

 

I’m going to present this as a series of shorter fragments, for the sake of much easier and more comfortable digestion. …

 

(hmm)

 

 

*…—It’s often the case *(a fairly common conception) that the Imagists receive a great deal of (let’s call it) critical – flak for (what even ‘Modernist’ Scholars with an interest in Imagism and its place and importance in Modernism, and Modern Art more broadly, have been known to characterise as) the poor quality (so to) of their poetical output,… —especially when measured against the innovation, (intellectual) integrity, and promise(-potential) of their artistic claims and manifestoes. …

 

 

*—I want here—by(-in) contrast (hmm)—to draw out the fundamental details of the aesthetic  claims promoted in the writings of Pound, and by the Imagists, and (and perhaps more importantly(—?)) to read a small selection of their poems in terms of, and as examples of the practical executions of, those claims. …

 

*In order, in the end,—to… —draw out (then), in effect, the deep-rooted connection between the ‘classical’ and the ‘image’.

 

 

*image. ‘complex’.—‘VORTEX’. …

 

So, …

(hmm).

 

*—The concept of the ‘image’ lies at the very heart (of the evolution-development) of Ezra Pound’s critical writing, as well as (—clearly) the (self-styled) Imagists shared project.

*(For a crude, brief, and largely incompetent history of ‘Imagism’, the reader is pointed toward the last portion of my ‘the “image”.—vs. Platonic ressentiment.

 

—For a more lucid, detailed, and developed history, the interested reader is recommended to consult Peter Jones’s excellent ‘Introduction’ to Imagist Poetry. …).

 

 

*—. I want to pause here (as a sort of an—aside, I s’pose) to dwell on the work of Pound and the Imagists.

 

In particular, I want to examine, and to draw out the stakes of, the close (nay—the intimate (let’s say it)) relationship between the concept of the ‘image’ and that of the ‘classical’. *(—what a ‘classical’ art-poetry might indeed look like. … ).

 

 

So then,…

 

—I’ll read from Pound’s critical writing and the Imagist’s manifestoes in order to draw out their key artistic claims (or demands), as well as the philosophical (so to) characteristics of the ‘image’, before moving on to read some examples of Imagist poetry, in order to analyse the artistic practise and poems (poetry) to which these claims and characteristics gave rise.

 

 

—The aim here, then, is to examine more closely the development of the ‘classical’ in(-within) self-styled neo-classical Modernism (more broadly understood):

*—the intimate connection between the ‘classical’ and (the concept of) the ‘image’, and the impact of this development on literary-poetical theory and practise.

 

*Whilst, as I said in my ‘brief history’(sic) of Imagism, it’s problematic at best to try to regard Joyce himself as, in any way, a practising ‘Imagist’,… examining the ‘image’ (or, rather: images) of Pound and of the Imagists, will help me to clarify what I believe is at stake in Dedalus’s theory of the ‘image’ in Portrait (and its development from the ‘epiphany’ of the Stephen Hero draft),—helping me to demonstrate its (intrinsic) alignment or parallel (for want) with the overall development of Nietzsche’s theory of, and writing on, art and the relevance of an understanding of Nietzsche, his theory of art, and relationship to Romanticism, to an understanding of the intellectual (—philosophical and artistic) underpinnings of (self-styled. ‘neo-classical’) Modernism.

 

 

In particular here, I want to focus, quite liberally and freely actually,  on Pound’s ‘A Retrospect’ (incorporating ‘A Few Don’ts by an Imagiste’, first printed in Poetry, March 1913, and reproduced in ‘A Retrospect’: Pound, Pavannes and Divisions, 93-111)) as well as the prefaces to the 1915 and 1916 ‘Imagist’ anthologies. *(—The two prefaces are reproduced in Jones, ed., Imagist Poetry, 134-140).

 

 

*the exact word. …

 

*—In Some Imagist Poets (1915), Lowell et al. lay out a set of principles for the movement which helpfully (at least for my own current purposes here) form an almost verbatim repetition of Ezra Pound and F.S. Flint’s earlier definition of ‘Imagisme’, and of the image, in ‘A Few Don’ts by an Imagiste’, presenting them in the form of a convenient and easily digestible list, and it’s worth, I think, reproducing it in full here… —

1. To use the language of common speech, but to employ always the exact word, not the nearly-exact, nor the merely decorative word.

2. To create new rhythms—as the expression of new moods—and not to copy old rhythms, which merely echo old moods. We do not just insist upon “free-verse” as the only method of writing poetry. We fight for it as a principle of liberty. We believe that the individuality of a poet may often be better expressed in free-verse than in conventional forms. In poetry, a new cadence means a new idea.

3. To allow absolute freedom in the choice of subject. It is not good art to write badly about aeroplanes and automobiles; nor is it necessarily bad art to write well about the past. We believe passionately in the artistic value of modern life, but we wish to point out that there is nothing so uninspiring nor so old-fashioned as an aeroplane of the year 1911.

4. To present an image (hence the name: “Imagist”). We are not a school of painters, but we believe that poetry should render particulars exactly and not deal in vague generalities, however magnificent and sonorous. It is for this reason that we oppose the cosmic poet, who seems to shirk the real difficulties of his art.

5. To produce poetry that is hard and clear, never blurred nor indefinite.

6. Finally, most of us believe that concentration is of the very essence of poetry.

(repr. in Jones, ed., Imagist Poetry, 135; & cf. Coffman, Jr., Imagism, 28-29. …

—See also, F.S. Flint’s ‘Imagisme’—which immediately preceded ‘A Few Don’ts’ in Poetry—in Pound, Early Writings

1. Direct treatment of the “thing,” whether subjective or objective.

2. To use absolutely no word that did not contribute to the presentation.

3. As regarding rhythm: to compose in sequence of the musical phrase, not in sequence of a metronome. [—209-210]

).

 

*— …

 

‘to employ always *the exact word, not the nearly-exact, nor the merely decorative word.’

 

*… —an absolute (in the sense of uncompromising), sharp, hard (that is,—ruthless) poetic-literary *economy (—‘concentration),—& (an equally absolute) fidelity to the (artist’s) model, & to the impression (so to.—the experience, I s’ppose, of artistic inspiration).

… —an aversion (then) to ‘decoration’: to sentiment, & to metaphor &/or simile. …

*—a commitment to concision: …

—to a fidelity to the model/experience, eschewing (so to) any attempt to add to, or to… inflate the model-experience, or to attach to it(/them) the prosthesis of a transcendental-metaphysical significance *(—a ‘Platonic Idea-Form’) that would surreptitiously serve to lift them out of the sphere of the everyday (in-onto the ‘otherworldly), and, thus, imbue the poet-artist (so to. again,—surreptitiously and ingenuously) with some form of special-elect prophetic-‘mystic’, ‘consciousness expanding’ insight (—as the one who has access to the otherworldly (Platonic), which is why, I’d argue, their terms echo (oh so very closely) those of Stephen’s rejection of ‘symbolism and idealism’ and aesthetical metaphysics *(—the ‘romantic’ …):

—‘To present an image’. … ‘—‘poetry should render particulars exactly and not deal in vague generalities, however magnificent and sonorous. It is for this reason that we oppose the cosmic poet, who seems to shirk the real difficulties of his art.’

 

‘To create new rhythms—as the expression of new moods—and not to copy old rhythms, which merely echo old moods.’

 

… —

 

This echoes ol’ Fritz (in ‘On Truth’, and in Birth) and Henri Bergson on the laceration of the stultified… skin (—a membrane. so to) of linguistic convention (and prejudice),… —down (back)—into flux, through ‘intuition’,… and the need for new words-forms: ‘he speaks only in forbidden metaphors and in unheard-of combinations of concepts. He does this so that by shattering and mocking the old conceptual barriers he may at least correspond creatively to the impression of the powerful and present intuition. (Nietzsche, ‘On Truth’, 118)… —‘new rhythms’,—to capture (—to incorporate) the new ‘moods’ (so to), which result. …

And this is what is meant, I’d argue (at least), by the Imagist’s appeal to: ‘a principle of liberty’: ‘a new cadence means a new idea’.

 

 

*—The ‘Direct treatment of the “thing”’. …

 

direct,… —a pragmatic, detailed, attention, with ‘thing’ notably placed in parenthetical quotation marks: *—the ‘Direct treatment’ and the ‘new mood’ bringing its very ‘thinghood’ (so to) into question. …

 

*…—attention. being brought into focus upon the ‘thing’ in question (—the ‘thing’ itself exciting-eliciting this attention, and thereby becoming the artist’s model … ), which serves to bring into question (to—undo?) the dismissive complacency (—of habit, apparent familiarity,—of (quotidian) prejudice) with which it would, otherwise, have been greeted.

*(—compare on this: ‘A Few Don’ts’… —on ‘sincerity’, and a ‘certain limpidity and precision’ as ‘the ultimate qualities of style’. … *[103: on ‘Technique’, and 132] … ).

 

 

*—This particular iteration of the Imagist ‘manifesto’ (so to) is also important or significant in-through the (self-styled) ‘Imagists’ location of their shared project-interests in relation to (broader) contemporary debates on art and aesthetics. …

 

 

*—. —The reference here to ‘free verse’ (vers libre.—a form of unrhymed verse divided into lines of no particular length and without a consistent metrical pattern, but still recognizable as poetry due to the complex patterns which it employs and that readers are able to perceive to be part of a coherent whole)—represents, at least in part, an allusion to the French Symbolist poets, who popularised the form. …

 

—In their adoption of free-verse, but rejection of it as the only possible method of writing poetry, the Imagists sought both to appropriate what they saw as valuable, and to reject what they saw as restrictive, within Symbolism: opening the potential ( and freedom) to appropriate form and formal experimentation, whilst remaining at liberty to fundamentally reject any metaphysical ambitions or aspirations (—prejudices?) underpinning Symbolist poetry. …

*(—For an extended discussion of the relationship of Imagism to Symbolism, see Wallace Martin, ‘The Sources of the Imagist Aesthetic’ PMLA, Vol. 85, No. 2, [March, 1970], 196-204. …

 

—Martin argues that though they are markedly different, neither Hulme nor Pound’s conception of ‘the image’ ‘is historically derived from or theoretically similar to the aesthetic of the Symbolists.’ [197-198])…

 

 

 

—The rejection of ‘aeroplanes and automobiles’ as (automatically-necessarily) fit subjects for art, and openness to the recuperation-or reclamation (so to) of the past as a fit subject for poetry, form pointed (—implicit, yet, in their specificity, actually fairly arch) allusions to ‘Futurism’,—founded by Filippo Tommaso Marinetti in 1909. …

 

*.—In his ‘Manifesto of Futurism’, Marinetti defined Futurism as the art of (violent) velocity… —

We say that the world’s magnificence has been enriched by a new beauty; the beauty of speed. A racing car whose hood is adorned with great pipes, like serpents of explosive breath—a roaring car that seems to ride on grapeshot—is more beautiful than the Victory of Samothrace.

*(Filippo Tommaso Marinetti ‘Futurist Manifesto,’ La Gazzetta dell’Emilia, 5th February 1909 reproduced in Le Figaro, 20th February 1909. Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, ‘The Founding and Manifesto of Futurism,’ in Marinetti: Selected Writings, ed. R.W. Flint, trans. R.W. Flint, Arthur A. Coppotelli [London: Secker & Warburg, 1972], 39-44 [41])

 

—In obviously intentionally sexualised terms, Marinetti defines Futurism as a celebration of emergent technologies, particularly those of transport, and with(-in) a particularly fervent rejection of the (historical, technological, and artistic) past…

*—‘Why should we look back, when what we want is to break down the mysterious doors of the Impossible? […] We will destroy the museums, libraries, academies of every kind’. (41-42)

 

 

*—In ‘Vorticism’, Pound dismissed Futurism as mere ‘accelerated impressionism,’ dubbing it ‘a spreading or surface art.’ (279.—See also, Jones, ed., Imagist Poetry, 21).

 

*—With what can be characterised as its combination of Impressionist (—particularly the plein air movement’s self-avowed goal of capturing the vitality and flux of the lived-experience *(—the artist’s subject-model) and Cubist (—Picasso’s form of psychological realism) influences, … —Futurism marks, or rather names, the artistic attempt to capture and to articulate the changes in the perception and velocity of daily life opened up with-in the advent of new technologies (—particularly of the aeroplane and automobile… ).

 

 

—The Imagists, then, sought (explicitly and conscientiously) to place their emphasis on (what here could be called) the *stasis, … *—the concision (—exactness), and clarity of images and, thus, the very concept of the ‘image’ (itself), in stark contrast-opposition to Futurism’s (Marinetti’s) emphasis upon technology, velocity, and also (by extension, I’d argue) its violent reactionary politics, which glorified militarism and nationalism, and offered a violent rejection of feminism: ‘We will glorify war—the world’s only hygiene—militarism, patriotism, the destructive gesture of freedom-bringers, beautiful ideas worth dying for, and scorn for woman’ [ibid.]. …).

 

 

Imagism—that is the Imagists—then, are at some pains in their ‘manifesto’ to locate themselves beyond or (perhaps rather) outwith , both the ‘Platonism’ *(the—pseudo-transcendentalism, so to) of, I’d argue, an especially ‘Yeatsian’ brand/derivation of ‘Symbolism’ *( … —in his later essay, ‘Vorticism’, pausing to define ‘symbolism’, Pound again draws out and rejects this pseudo-transcendentalism: … —‘It is not necessarily a belief in a permanent world, but it is a belief in that direction.’ *[—281]), as well as the technologically focussed (and fuelled, so to) obsession with (sheer) *velocity (—of both technology, and (in-)of time) in-of Futurism. …

 

 

In the stead of the ‘Platonic’ otherworld of the ‘cosmic’ symbolist poet, and the brash high-velocity machismo of the Futurist artist, then,… —the Imagists lay an emphasis, echoing the terms of the ‘classical’, as I have laid these out, in Joyce, Nietzsche, and Hulme, on an unflinching, anchored (pragmatic) concern with (fidelity to) lived-experience,… —what could be summarised here, for my current purposes as the experiential stoicism and philosophical scepticism of the ‘classical’,—as evinced by ol’ Jimmy J.., Fritz, and Hulme.

 

*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. …

 

*—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’.

 

*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 Intuition, Flux and Anti-metaphysics

 

 

*(follows on *’my (anti-) metaphysics’…)

*I. – Intuition, Flux and Anti-metaphysics between
‘On Truth and Lies in a Nonmoral Sense’ and The Birth of Tragedy.
—Nietzsche’s early Schopenhauerian—anti-Schopenhauerianism…

(*On ‘intuition’ and the laceration of the concepts of the intellect:
—Nietzsche’s early ironic anti-Schopenhauerianism…

*On the Undivided Continuity of States:
—the ‘primal unity’ & ‘duration’.

*Conclusion. …
*—on the will to power. …).

 

*            *            *

 

*right at the very outset of The Birth of Tragedy, Nietzsche frames his reading of Attic tragedy through a contentious but, I think, absolutely crucial claim. …

—making a characteristically subtle and modest statement about advancing what he dubs ‘the science of aesthetics’

*(‘science’ in that (late-)nineteenth century usage, of course, as any ‘organised system of knowledge’, —‘aesthetics’ as the creation and reception of art. …

—an organised system of knowledge regarding the creation and reception of art. … —and well, hell,—that’s what we’re all about here, after all…),

Nietzsche distinguishes between proceeding, on the one hand, via ‘logical inference’, which he dismisses in flatly pejorative terms, and what he clearly champions on the other as ‘the immediate certainty of vision’. …

Hellenic culture, he argues, represented the ‘profound mysteries’ of its ‘view of art’ in the ‘intensely clear figures’ of its gods.

 

—in particular, he (famously) singles out the figures of Apollo and Dionysus as embodying the two opposing artistic ‘tendencies’ of the plastic and ‘nonimagistic’ arts, respectively.

these, he argues, find an analogy in the physiological phenomena of ‘dreams and ‘intoxication’. …

what I think is crucial here is that Nietzsche (somewhat emphatically) contrasts this physiological and mythological foundation for the comprehension of Hellenic culture to that of (abstract) ‘concepts’.[1]

though, on first appearances, this might seem a,… what?,… —a slightly… —oracular, unsubstantiated and, frankly, at least as I understand it, *Romantic opening gambit,… it seems to me that the clear privileging made here of immediate (and ‘intensely clear’) ‘vision’ over the conceptual and logical inference, underpins the key claims about art (with tragedy as its apogee) that Nietzsche makes in Birth.

these hinge in particular, as I will argue (and go on to consider in detail), on the relationship between art and language and, ultimately, the idiosyncratic philosophical naturalism in the early stages of its formation in the text…

*. I originally read Birth for a course on ‘Tragedy’ on my Masters course, sat, on night shifts, in a small, (too) brightly lit and hot porta-cabin on a Northampton commercial estate. (oh-hh… good God.,—those heady, hal-cyon days (etc.—Christ.)… ).

I had already been introduced to Nietzsche as an undergraduate, by Dr Simon Malpas (who continues to be a personal hero of mine, and for whom I feel a great deal of gratitude…).—I had even attempted to write on him, in that sort of misguided, dismal, pretentious way that undergraduates have of doing that sort of thing (with such naïve and idealistic abandon)… (oh those. … (etc.)…).

in particular, I think, I was drawn to the terms in which Nietzsche discusses music and privileges it as primary among the arts in the text.

over the course of my Master’s degree, I think I began to understand that those terms had something to do with the sublime (particularly as Kant and Schopenhauer define it).

—I wrote a dissertation, shot through with some, honestly, thoroughly pish ideas and misreadings, on the subject. (—it scraped by on the ‘quality’ of the writing, I remember (—mark: yes.—a gen-u-ine proud boast, there)…).

I used that dissertation (—the subject.—shorn of the pish, if that manoeuvre is indeed possible (how does/would one,—sheer pish?)—hmm. …), as part of the groundwork for my doctoral thesis…

over the course of the three hundred years it actually took me to write that bastard thesis,… —of re-drafting and refining my reading—(time well spent.—indeed…), it became clear to me that my reading of Birth—of the relationship between the Dionysian and the Apollinian—was really, in essence, about artistic inspiration and the self-(re-)creation of the artist.

and so, (to get, circuitously, to the point),—that’s how I want to read the opening sections (§§) of Birth:

*—as an account, by an emerging artist, thinker and writer of the process of inspiration and of composition-creation. …

 

I think that Nietzsche, here, at the beginning of his career, is mired in the influence and legacy of Romanticism and of Schopenhauer (certainly not in itself a controversial critical claim).—I think that he is enthralled by the terms of Romantic accounts of inspiration, but struggling to get (intellectually, artistically) free of Romantic concepts (particularly those of ‘Nature’, ‘freedom’ and the ‘Absolute’…).

I think that he ironically appropriates the terms of Romantic inspiration to a philosophically and artistically thoroughgoing anti-Romanticism.

I want to perform (so to speak) what might seem like a quite convoluted and certainly pretentious series of moves in setting up my reading of Birth

*—I want to begin by attempting to unpack and clarify the opening gambit of the text…

—the terms ‘logical inference’ (‘concepts’) and the ‘intensely clear’, ‘immediate’ ‘vision’, that in themselves here, as I say (to me at least) are ambiguous and give off a distinctly incense-scented, dewy-eyed, syphilitic waft of Romantic—fragrance, I want to argue, are echoed and clarified in the later essay ‘On Truth and Lies in a Nonmoral Sense’ (1873).[2]

here, in terms (sharper, cleaner and somehow more caustic-seeming) much more characteristic of his later writing, Nietzsche sets out a critique of language and of the intellect (and its concepts), to which he clearly contrasts a mode of experience he calls—*‘intuition’. (—Anschauung)…

by offering what I hope will be a simple and straightforward reading of ‘On Truth’, in particular drawing out the parallel between Nietzsche’s contrasting of ‘intuition’ (as a projected new philosophical method) to the concepts of the intellect, and the analogous terms of the opening of Birth (—using the latter to illuminate the former),  I want to analyse the terms of Nietzsche’s early rejection of Kantian and Schopenhauerian philosophies, linking ‘On Truth’ to the earlier critique in ‘On Schopenhauer’ (—a fragment from 1868).

thus,… whilst it might appear to be ostensibly Schopenhauerian, the fact that these two texts in particular book-end the composition and the publication of Birth, I will argue, thus effectively implicates the text in Nietzsche’s pre-existing and on-going critique of Schopenhauer’s metaphysics and aesthetics.

this will allow me to argue that Nietzsche’s concept of the ‘primal unity’ (Ur-Eine) in Birth is implicitly anti-Schopenhauerian…

*drawing on a parallel between Birth, ‘On Truth’ and the analogous contrast between ‘intuition’ and the intellect (‘analysis’) and conception of time and ‘duration’ in the works of French philosopher Henri Bergson, I will argue that the ‘primal unity’ points, not, as it might appear, to the metaphysical unity of the Schopenhauerian ‘will’ (—Will…), but to a dynamic, hierarchical arrangement of immanent (natural) forces.

this, in turn, will allow me to argue that the ‘primal unity’ is located in far greater proximity to Nietzsche’s own later formulation of the doctrine of ‘the will to power’, read specifically through On the Genealogy of Morality, the material gathered in Nietzsche’s Late Notebooks, and Gilles Deleuze’s Nietzsche and Philosophy, than to the terms of Schopenhauerian metaphysics.

*it will also serve as a form of philosophical-historical bridge between Nietzsche and the neo-classical Modernists, (and especially T.E. Hulme, upon whom Bergson was an important and a considerable influence).

and so,…

*On ‘intuition’ and the laceration of the concepts of the intellect:
—Nietzsche’s early ironic anti-Schopenhauerianism…

 

 *in ‘On Truth’, Nietzsche criticises what he sees as the arrogance of the human claim to knowledge, through the intellect, of the value of existence.

—he contests what he argues is the conceit of the intellect and the attempt to extend its remit beyond the realm of human experience.

for Nietzsche, the concepts of the intellect are anthropomorphisms.

—in an ironic inversion of perhaps the most obvious and straightforward valuation of the intellect—as some form of vehicle for ascertaining the truth or the value of existence—Nietzsche characterises it as the very paragon of ‘dissimulation’,—‘allotted to these most unfortunate, delicate, and ephemeral beings merely as a device for detaining them a minute within existence.’ (114-115)

The intellect lies as a sort of a veil over existence as a means for the creation and the preservation of the individual (—the subject).

—Without the intellect, Nietzsche argues, existence itself would be unbearable.

Whilst the intellect appears ostensibly as the means to knowledge and to truth, Nietzsche argues that its primary function is to conceal the plethora of phenomena which threaten to overwhelm the individual. It is not, as it might appear, a means to self-knowledge but, instead, to self-deception:

What does man actually know about himself? Is he, indeed, ever able to perceive himself completely, as if laid out in a lighted display case? Does nature not conceal most things from him – even concerning his own body – in order to confine and lock him within a proud, deceptive consciousness, aloof from the coils of the bowels, the rapid flow of the blood stream, and the intricate quivering of the fibers! (115)

For Nietzsche,… —natural existence constitutes a chaotic flux comprised of natural drives and processes.—The intellect is an epiphenomenal, (prosthetic?) artistic creation, appended to this flux in order to repress this flux and thus to render the individual subject (—subjectivity) possible, in order, in turn, to preserve the organism against the suffering that a conscious awareness of, and inability to escape from, the confusion and contradiction this flux would inevitably give rise to.

—By intimation, for Nietzsche, a thoroughgoing knowledge of the effect of physiological drives on consciousness, which the intellect is engendered precisely in order to prohibit, is necessary for any accurate self-perception and self-comprehension to be possible.[3]

This notion (—of the fiction of individuality), shared by ‘On Truth’, and, though in a different manner, as I will seek to demonstrate, by the Apollinian of Birth, anticipates the more thoroughgoing critique of subjectivity in Nietzsche’s later works, which is intimately tied both to his developing naturalism and to his aesthetic conception of what he will later name the ‘classical’. …

*—In a note from a notebook of April—June, 1885, Nietzsche provides an apposite summary of his critique of the concept of the unified subject:

 If I have anything of a unity within me, it certainly doesn’t lie in the conscious “I” and in feeling, willing, thinking, but somewhere else: in the sustaining, appropriating, expelling, watchful prudence of my whole organism, of which my conscious self is only a tool.[4]

The ‘watchful prudence’ of the ‘organism’ equates with the necessity for the formation of the individual in the formation of the intellect in ‘On Truth’ (and, as I will argue, with the inauguration of the Apollinian in Birth).

—the ‘I’ of the (conscious) ‘self’ here appears as a ‘tool’ for the processes of the sustenance of the ‘organism’: of the incorporation of necessary experiences and energies and the purgation of superfluous experience and energies. Nietzsche argues that language represents the means employed by the intellect toward this end. His critique of the intellect represents a theory of the formation of language. It is concerned with the origins and evolution of words and concepts.

 

In The Beginnings of Nietzsche’s Theory of Language, Claudia Crawford argues that Nietzsche’s account of the formation of words and concepts represents their division into two separate languages.

The first constitutes an ‘unconscious formal language arising as the product of the instincts,’ whilst the latter constitutes ‘the translation of this unconscious language into the conscious language of fixity according to convention’.[5] The formation of this first, unconscious and instinctual language is a two-stage metaphorical process. First, ‘a nerve stimulus is transferred into an image [Bild].’—In an unconscious and instinctual reaction to a sensible stimulus the mind forms an image—a mental picture—of that stimulus. This is the ‘first metaphor’…

In the second, ‘the image, in turn, is imitated in a sound.’ (116)—The process evolves from the translation and transposition of a sensible stimulus into a mental image, to the further translation of this image (and not of the original stimulus itself) into a sound.

This is Nietzsche’s naturalistic account of the emergence of language.

—The word is formed as ‘a purely natural reaction to a stimulus, whether a cry, a scream, or any other sound, it is primarily an action which reduces the tension created by the perception of the stimulus.’ (Crawford, 203) The formation of words is an attempt to articulate and discharge the natural reaction to a sensible stimulus.

For Nietzsche, a word becomes a concept at the point at which it transcends its function as referring solely to the unique, original experience ‘to which it owes its origin’:

‘a word becomes a concept insofar as it simultaneously has to fit countless more or less similar cases,’—‘cases which are never equal and thus altogether unequal.’—The word emerges as a response to a particular stimulus (as a vocalisation of the image). It becomes a concept at the point at which a vast field of such experiences are reduced to a small number of similarities and yoked under the aegis of a single word. (117)

For Nietzsche, the concept represents the elision of the differences between diverse experiences (stimuli) and the attempt to equate unequal phenomena.[6]

Utility gives birth to both the word and the concept in response to deeply felt needs.

—The individual word emerges from the need to discharge and articulate a particular sensible experience and stands at two removes from this original stimulus. The concept emerges from a need for this original articulation to be transmitted to and to be understood by others and thus stands at three removes from the original stimulus.

Nietzsche defines this process as the invention of designation: the ‘legislation of language’. It is in this establishment of communal (linguistic) convention, Nietzsche argues, that ‘the contrast between truth and lies arises for the first time.’ In other words, the concept arises from need to reduce the plurality of experience to a finite set of linguistic conventions in order to be able to establish socio-political consensus. (115)

Nietzsche argues that by virtue of their artificiality and elision of difference, all— ‘truths’, or concepts of the intellect, are, in reality, lies. …

—After the advent of the legislation of language, the concept of the ‘liar’ comes to designate the person who misuses the terms sanctioned by consensus for selfish or harmful ends by making ‘something which is unreal appear to be real’. What linguistically enabled human beings avoid, Nietzsche argues, is not deception itself—for this is of the quintessence of language—but being harmed by deception…

‘Truth,’ for Nietzsche, represents ‘the duty which society imposes in order to exist: to be truthful means to employ the usual metaphors’. (117) Language is first engendered in order to suppress the chaotic flux and multiplicity of natural drives in order to render the individual possible as a fictitious unity. The intellect, its concepts, and the notions of truth and lies are engendered as a necessary consequence of this individuation, in order to render communal linguistic consensus and thus society itself, possible.

Like the individual, ‘truth,’ for Nietzsche, is an artifice.—‘Truth’ is art (—an artwork)…

What then is truth? A movable host of metaphors, metonymies, and anthropomorphisms: in short, a sum of human relations which have been poetically and rhetorically intensified, transferred, and embellished, and which, after long usage, seem to a people to be fixed, canonical, and binding. Truths are illusions which we have forgotten are illusions; they are metaphors that have become worn out and have been drained of sensuous force, coins which have lost their embossing and are now considered as metal and no longer as coins. (117)

For Nietzsche, ‘truth’ appears as a projection of epiphenomenal, and purely human, utilitarian physiological, psychological and social fabrications. What is crucial for Nietzsche is that this act of artistic projection, and the subsequent artificial legislation of language to which it gives rise, are not recognised by their human progenitors as works of art. The original linguistic act of creation is inevitably followed by an act of forgetting: ‘Truths are illusions which we have forgotten are illusions’. The forgetting of the artistic origin and nature of language allows for the hypostatisation (the poetic or rhetorical intensification) of concepts and the false belief that they correspond absolutely to things as they are in themselves. Through an ironic inversion, Nietzsche argues that truths are revealed as lies.

The condition of the possibility of ‘truth’, then, is seen to rest on a foundation of falsehood, upon which it is utterly dependent.

For Nietzsche, ‘truth’ emerges from lying, which both temporally and (ironically) ontologically precedes it. It is only through the forgetting of the artistic nature of language, he argues, that the ‘will’ or ‘drive’ to truth (the formation of an intellectual conscience), which he identifies as characteristic of the intellect, is at all possible. It is this which gives birth to the unavoidable structural irony within the will to truth: when the will to truth unfolds itself fully through history (is carried to the extreme limits of what it is able to do) it must inevitably reveal, through its own stringent conscience and integrity, that its own foundation lies in falsehood.

*(and, in essence, it is this account which evolves,—remaining always at stake in Nietzsche’s writings—into his later account of the (fate of the) ‘will to truth’ (—especially in Christianity) in On the Genealogy of Morality. …).

Thus, for Nietzsche, ‘truth’ and the will to truth must, ultimately, inevitably undermine and overcome themselves. It is the unconscious nature of lying which allows for the concepts of the intellect to become ‘fixed, canonical and binding’ and to appear to extend beyond their true anthropological (anthropomorphic?) scope, to a correspondence to things as they are in themselves.

 

*—The object of Nietzsche’s analysis is to demonstrate the artistic genesis of language and the fundamentally artistic nature of the concepts of the intellect. For Nietzsche, language is, in essence, purely metaphorical. It neither corresponds to, nor affords access to things as they are in themselves: ‘we possess nothing but metaphors for things – metaphors which correspond in no way to the original entities.’[7] Nietzsche argues that ‘nature is acquainted with no forms and no concepts and likewise with no species, but only with an X which remains inaccessible and undefinable for us.’ (117) For Nietzsche, knowledge of the thing as it is in itself (the thing = X) is impossible. This claim alludes to, and constitutes a criticism of, Schopenhauer’s appropriation of Kant’s distinction between the phenomenal and the noumenal, and serves as an implicit refutation of Schopenhauer’s concept of the ‘Will’ (as a metaphysical unity). …

 

*—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.’[8] 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.[9] Space and time constitute the appearance’s form: allowing the manifold of appearance to be ordered according to certain relations. They constitute the condition of the possibility of the realm of appearance and sensible knowledge, but have no meaning if applied beyond it. 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.[10] That which is not an appearance cannot be an object of experience.

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’.[11] 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 cause. In contrast, Schopenhauer emphasises what he argues is the subjective foundation of both causality and empirical perception. (Schopenhauer, 435-436) In opposition to 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 ‘inner nature’ (—? hmm…), but is also an object for the subject. As both subject and object it constitutes 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.[12] 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 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, for Schopenhauer, the ‘magic word’ which reveals ‘the innermost essence of everything in nature’. (111)

 

In a fragment of 1868 (thus pre-dating the publication of Birth by four years), and usually now referred to as ‘On Schopenhauer’, Nietzsche offers a critique of what he identifies as the problematic nature of Schopenhauer’s conception of the thing-in-itself.[13]

 

—Nietzsche follows Schopenhauer in refuting Kant’s method of arrival at his conception of the thing-in-itself, but, in his own terms, in a more thoroughgoing way, offers a critique of the deduction of thing-in-itself of both Kant and Schopenhauer.

Nietzsche criticises Schopenhauer for not taking the ‘necessary’ step of going ‘beyond Kant’ and his thing-in-itself. He characterises Schopenhauer’s derivation of the thing-in-itself as will as having been ‘born with the help of a poetic intuition’ and argues that the logical proofs which Schopenhauer offers are, at best, unsatisfactory. (25) For Nietzsche, the Schopenhauerian ‘will’ is a work of art. …

 

At the outset of the fragment, he identifies the fictional, or projected artistic nature of the ‘will’ with what he sees as Schopenhauer’s reluctance or incapacity to ‘feel’ ‘the dark contradictoriness in the region where individuality ceases to be.’ (24)

This point is crucial for Nietzsche’s later argument concerning ‘intuition’ in ‘On Truth’ and also for clarifying the nature of the concept of the ‘primal unity’ (Ur-Eine) in Birth, and I want to return to it in due course…

—What I want to draw specific attention to here is that, for Nietzsche, to use the concept or phenomenon of the ‘will,’ as Schopenhauer does, to characterise the ‘region’ prior to, and beyond, individuation, is to project a false identity onto what is essentially a chaotic and contradictory flux.

 

Nietzsche takes issue in particular with Schopenhauer’s claim that, in order to think the thing-in-itself (and he retains Kant’s expression as what he describes as a ‘standing formula’) objectively, it is necessary to ‘borrow’ (the term is Schopenhauer’s, the emphasis is added by Nietzsche) ‘its name and concept from an object, from something in some way objectively given, and therefore from one of its phenomena.’[14]

Nietzsche argues that Schopenhauer illegitimately drapes what must necessarily remain ‘a completely dark and ungraspable x’ with predicates, drawn from the world of phenomena, which is, ultimately, irresolvably distinct from it.[15] He argues that through his ‘borrowing’ of phenomenal predicates, Schopenhauer effectively (and illegitimately) transforms the thing-in-itself into the ‘will’, which already belongs to the phenomenal realm. Schopenhauer ‘allows himself the human and completely non-transcendental use of the unity of the will, and really only then goes back to that transcendence where the holes in the system present themselves as obvious to him.’ (Nietzsche, ‘On Schopenhauer,’ 27) Both the will and its (metaphysical) ‘unity’ are, for Nietzsche, artistic projections.—The ‘dark drive’ of the Schopenhauerian ‘will’ already belongs to the realm of representation. In contrast to its supposed status as thing-in-itself, Nietzsche argues that the (Schopenhauerian) will is ‘brought about’ through a ‘representation mechanism’. (24)

Claudia Crawford presents the structure of the relationship of the ‘dark contradictoriness’ (in terms of Nietzsche’s later coinage of the Ur-Eine: ‘primal unity’), the ‘will,’ appearance, and representation, diagrammatically:[16]

Crawford (edit)

The ‘primal unity’ (Ur-Eine) is split between ‘Being,’ its intuition of itself (self-Anschauung) as being at rest in its own self-identity, and ‘Will,’ through which it views itself as the perpetual becoming and dissolution of the world of appearances through the ‘representation mechanism’. The realm of appearances constitutes the endless striving of the ‘primal unity’ to form ‘symbols’ by which to represent itself (as will). The human intellect here forms representations much in accordance with the limits of the human intuition of space and time, which constitute the appearance’s form: allowing the manifold of appearance to be ordered according to certain relations, as I discussed above in relation to Kant’s distinction of the thing-in-itself and the appearance. Crawford argues that Nietzsche ‘creates the split nature of the Ur-Eine as being (thing in itself) and will (will acts which create the phenomenal real world of appearances) in order to demonstrate the position that what is real is not the thing in itself, which is no concern of ours, but that reality consists of appearances.’ (218. Cf. 158-178) For Nietzsche, Schopenhauer’s ‘will’ belongs to the realm of appearances, and can tell us nothing of the thing-in-itself, which, to reiterate Nietzsche’s later argument in ‘On Truth,’ constitutes ‘an X which remains inaccessible and undefinable for us.’ (27)

 

Already, in the ‘On Schopenhauer’ fragment, then, Nietzsche can be seen to be positioning himself against metaphysics, the transcendental and what he dubs the ‘otherworldly world’,… —a rejection which he thus reiterates in his critique of the thing-in-itself in ‘On Truth’. These two, patently anti-Schopenhauerian, texts (the one composed four years prior to the publication of Birth, the other, originally intended to form the latter portion of a companion piece, a year later) effectively book end Birth.

 

Paul Swift has argued convincingly that, as such, any attempt to regard Birth itself as unproblematically Schopenhauerian (particularly any account which would seek to argue for an understanding of the ‘primal unity’ as thing-in-itself or for an unproblematic access to the thing-in-itself in the Dionysian) renders the text an unaccountable anomaly in Nietzsche’s bibliography.[17]

Birth is inextricably located within Nietzsche’s existing and continuing critique of Schopenhauerian metaphysics and it is this fundamental and ineluctable anti-Schopenhauerian, anti-metaphysical understanding of Birth which will underpin my own reading of the account of artistic inspiration and creation at stake within the text.[18]

 

In the ‘Attempt at a Self-Criticism’ (appended to Birth 1886), Nietzsche argues that in Birth he attempted ‘to express by means of Schopenhauerian and Kantian formulas strange and new valuations which were basically at odds with Kant’s and Schopenhauer’s spirit and taste!’[19] These ‘strange and new valuations’, I would argue, point to Nietzsche’s naturalism and implicit anti-metaphysical stance in Birth, and establishment of an ironic Schopenhauerian—anti-Schopenhauerianism.

This conception of the ironic appropriation of Schopenhauerian terms and concepts to an ostensibly anti-Schopenhauerian philosophical and aesthetic project refutes the critical position, of which Julian Young can be seen to act as a representative, that Birth ‘incorporates without qualification Schopenhauer’s metaphysics’.[20]

—Young argues that Nietzsche’s career can be divided into ‘four main periods’, ‘distinguished from each other by sharply contrasting attitudes to and about art’, hinging his argument particularly on Nietzsche’s relationship to Schopenhauer’s pessimism. (1)

Describing the ‘circular’ path which he argues the development of Nietzsche’s thought maps out, Young argues that the work of Nietzsche’s early period was uncomplicatedly and uncritically Schopenhauerian and correspondingly pessimistic. Young argues that in his ‘middle period’ (the ‘free spirit trilogy’: Human, All Too Human, Daybreak, and The Gay Science): ‘Nietzsche turned against pessimism and against Schopenhauer. But in the end, reluctantly and making every rhetorical effort to disguise this from us and, more importantly from himself, he came back […] to pessimism.’ (3)

—Reading Birth as implicitly anti-Schopenhauerian undermines the precision of Young’s neatly compartmentalised chronology of Nietzsche’s works. If, from the very start of his published career, Nietzsche was already (ironically) at odds with Schopenhauer’s metaphysical pessimism, and, indeed, was pursuing an implicitly anti-Schopenhauerian project, then this undermines any conception of a straightforward rejection of Schopenhauer in Nietzsche’s subsequent works (whether or not we continue to seek to divide them into distinct periods), for Birth is already engaged in the criticism of Schopenhauer’s metaphysics observable both in earlier (posthumously published) fragments and in his later writings.

In contrast to Young, then, (though the nature of pessimism will play a key role in my reading of Birth) I want to contextualise Nietzsche’s relationship to Schopenhauer, not in terms of pessimism, but in terms of the contrast of his nascent naturalism to metaphysics.

Therefore, though the text may appear ostensibly Schopenhauerian and late-Romantic, acknowledging and foregrounding its anti-metaphysical philosophical naturalism will allow me to argue that, even while Nietzsche can be seen to appropriate the terms of Romantic accounts of artistic inspiration, the aesthetic of Birth is implicitly fundamentally opposed to Romantic and post-Schopenhauerian late-Romantic metaphysics, and that its terms are therefore much closer to Nietzsche’s own later account of the ‘classical’ (from Human, All Too Human onwards). This, in turn, will allow me to argue that the aesthetic of Birth is located in far greater proximity to the claims of neo-classical Modernism (in particular that of Joyce and of T.E. Hulme) than extant criticism of the text has (as far as I am aware) thus far acknowledged.

 

Against the conventional conception of Nietzsche’s early uncritical adoption of Schopenhauer (as typified by Young), and against the terms of, for example, Aaron Ridley’s argument in Nietzsche on Art that Birth does not wholly refute Schopenhauer but must be read as following either a psychological, or a ‘weak metaphysical’ thesis, the quotations and concepts drawn from Schopenhauer in Birth can, instead, be seen to represent an ironic appropriation of Schopenhauer to an anti-Schopenhauerian naturalism.[21]

As Henry Staten argues, the use of the Schopenhauerian concept of the ‘will,’ enters Birth and becomes problematic only in the later sections of the text (§§16ff.), in which Nietzsche attempts to argue for a modern rebirth of tragedy based on the operatic works of Richard Wagner.[22] The ‘primal unity’ (Ur-Eine) of Birth is anti-Schopenhauerian. As Crawford argues, it belongs to the realm of representation: is itself ‘only one appearance among appearances,’ and does not constitute the thing-in-itself. (Crawford, 218) It represents ‘a sign, a linguistic fiction, rather than a metaphysical reality’ and it is this notion of the thing-in-itself as an artistic projection which is at stake in the critique of the intellect and the problem of the thing-in-itself and the supposed metaphysical correspondence of concepts in ‘On Truth’. (Rampley, 79)

*Nietzsche opposes his thesis of the three stages of: …

(i)—the artistic projection,

(ii)—the repression of the memory of act of projection, and

(iii)—the subsequent hypostatisation of the concepts of the intellect,

to what he argues is the false consciousness that they correspond absolutely to a metaphysical reality:

Truths are illusions which we have forgotten are illusions; they are metaphors that have become worn out and have been drained of sensuous force, coins which have lost their embossing and are now considered as metal and no longer as coins. (Nietzsche, ‘On Truth’, 117)

Through the gradual process of their hypostatisation, the concepts of the intellect become stale and dead metaphors, which, Nietzsche argues, no longer retain any connection to, or use value for, experience. They are no longer able to capture ‘vivid first impressions’. (118)—They become little more than the mode of expression of a (Platonic) philosophical and of a moral prejudice.

For Nietzsche, existing concepts, as ‘abstractions’ and petrified prejudices, serve to distort human life. In order to overcome the stultification of the exhausted metaphors of the concepts, and in order to revivify the fundamentally artistic drive of the intellect and grasp ‘vivid first impressions,’ Nietzsche opposes ‘intuition’ (Anschauung) to the conceptual:

[The intellect] will now be guided by intuitions rather than by concepts. There is no regular path which leads from these intuitions into the land of ghostly schemata, the land of abstractions. There exists no word for these intuitions: when man sees them he grows dumb, or else he speaks only in forbidden metaphors and in unheard-of combinations of concepts. He does this so that by shattering and mocking the old conceptual barriers he may at least correspond creatively to the impression of the powerful and present intuition. (118)

For Nietzsche, the intensely undergone aesthetic experience—the ‘impression’—of the ‘powerful’ and ‘present’ ‘intuition’, lies outwith the field of possible experience outlined, sanctioned and policed by the concepts of extant linguistic convention. The intellect, he argues, is driven by the need to articulate—to ‘correspond creatively’ to—this experience. In order for this to be possible, it is necessary to lacerate the petrified or stultified surface of the ‘ghostly’ Platonic abstractions of the concepts (the ‘otherworldy world’ of ‘On Schopenhauer’ and of the thing-in-itself), bereft of life and lacking in both substance and any direct, visceral connection to the reality of lived experience.

*—… In the articulation of the intuition, the intellect becomes enmeshed in a process of the bathetic (—‘mocking’) reanimation of the concepts, smashing the ‘framework’ of the concepts ‘to pieces’, throwing it into a state of confusion, and ‘pairing the most alien things and separating the closest.’ (122) In stark contrast to the ‘distortion’ of life, which he argues is implicitly at stake in the forgetting of the act of creation, and false Platonic reification, of the concepts of conventional linguistic experience, ‘intuition’, as a projected philosophical method of the future, is defined, for Nietzsche, by its capacity for self-conscious ‘dissimulation’, enacted with a good (—a clear) conscience.

 

*—Intuition sets the intellect free, and the liberated intellect in turn ‘copies human life’ in its new bathetic, monstrous, hybridised metaphors…

 

In contrast to the hardened veneer of the extant concepts, inaugurated and preserved as a crutch for the ‘needy man’ (the ‘servant’ who requires the legislation of an uncritically accepted linguistic order in order to be able to function and to—persevere)—‘the means by which weaker, less robust individuals preserve themselves’—the intellect, freed through intuition, is enabled to become the ‘master’ of life and of ‘deception’. (122) Freed from its former ‘slavery’, the intellect ‘copies human life, but it considers this life to be something good’ and no longer needing to be redeemed or justified through falsely hypostatised, artistically projected (Platonic) concepts.

 

 

I want to move on in the next section to examine the parallel between Nietzsche’s opposition of ‘intuition’ to the concepts of the intellect in ‘On Truth’ and Henri Bergson’s conception of ‘intuition’ as providing access to the flux of the undivided continuity of states which he claims precedes and subsists beneath the individuated concepts of the intellect and which he calls ‘duration’.

 

I want to be clear that this will not have been an attempt to seek to identify Nietzsche with Bergson’s conception of metaphysics.

As I have already argued here, from his earliest writings onwards Nietzsche is fundamentally opposed to metaphysics.

—Whatever the differences between their respective relationships to, or conceptions of, metaphysics, however, the opposition between intuition and the intellect of ‘On Truth’ is already at stake in Birth, and as such, the parallel between ‘On Truth’ and Bergson’s conception of duration will allow me to draw out what is at stake in Nietzsche’s concept of the ‘primal unity’ (Ur-Eine) in Birth, understood as fundamentally anti-Schopenhauerian and anti-metaphysical.

Instead, I want to use the Bergsonian parallel I will draw here to argue that the ‘primal unity’ of Birth is located in far greater proximity to Nietzsche’s later doctrine of the will to power, as he defines this in On the Genealogy of Morality and the Later Notebooks, than to Schopenhauerian metaphysics and the metaphysical unity of Schopenhauer’s ‘will’.


[1] Friedrich Nietzsche, The Birth of Tragedy and The Case of Wagner, trans. Walter Kaufmann (New York: Random House, 1967) (hereafter, BT), §1, 33

[2] Nietzsche, ‘On Truth and Lies in a Nonmoral Sense’ (hereafter ‘OTL’), trans. Daniel Breazeale, in The Blackwell’s Nietzsche Reader ed. Keith Ansell Pearson and Duncan Large (Oxford: Blackwell Publishing Ltd., 2006), 114-123.

*—Nietzsche originally intended to form part of the second, ‘theoretical’ half of his projected Philosophenbuch, itself intended as a ‘“companion piece” to The Birth of Tragedy’. (Breazeale, Philosophy and Truth: Selections from Nietzsche’s Notebooks of the early 1870s, trans. and ed. Daniel Breazeale [New Jersey: Humanities Press, 1979], xxv-xxvi. Cf. xliv-xlv). See also Writings from the Early Notebooks, ed. Raymond Guess and Alexander Nehamas (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009), xiii-xiv and Wayne Klein, Nietzsche and the Promise of Philosophy (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1997), 56-58. As such Birth and ‘OTL’ can already be seen to stand in an intimate relationship to one another.

[3] Nietzsche reiterates and expands upon this point in On the Genealogy of Morality, (trans. Carol Diethe, ed. Keith Ansell-Pearson [Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003]. Hereafter OGM):

We are unknown to ourselves, we knowers, we ourselves, to ourselves, and there is good reason for this […] like somebody divinely absent-minded and sunk in his own thoughts, who, the twelve strokes of midday having just boomed into his ears, wakes with a start and wonders ‘What hour struck?’, sometimes we too, afterwards rub our ears and ask, astonished, taken aback, ‘What did we actually experience then?’ or even, ‘Who are we, in fact?’ […] We remain strange to ourselves out of necessity, we do not understand ourselves, we must confusedly mistake who we are, the motto ‘everyone is furthest from himself’ applies to us forever,—we are not ‘knowers’ when it comes to ourselves… (‘Preface,’ §I, 3-4: emphases Nietzsche’s own)

Nietzsche argues that by virtue of the nature of our conception of ‘knowing’; that is, the nature of the intellect and its repression of the flux of natural drives, we must remain unknown to ourselves and alienated from ourselves.

In this passage Nietzsche implicitly reiterates the notion of the necessity of this alienation. True self-knowledge and self-identity must remain impossible if the individual (the subject), and thus morality, are to be maintained. It is possible, at least to a certain degree, to read Nietzsche’s claim that no genealogist prior to himself has yet enquired as to the true origins and evolution of morality, as a claim that each has had an ineluctable stake in the maintenance of the illusion of subjectivity.

[4] Nietzsche, Writings  from the Late Notebooks, trans. Kate Sturge, ed. Rudiger Bittner (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 2003), 34[46], 2-3 [2]. As I will argue, this conception of the fiction of the ‘I’ is crucial to understanding Nietzsche’s analysis of the process of artistic inspiration and creation in what I will call the fold of the self-creation of the artist in Birth. The philosophical naturalism of the notion of the selection, incorporation and purgation of reality underpins Nietzsche’s later definition of the ‘classical’ poetry of the future:

[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! (‘Assorted Opinions and Maxims’ (hereafter HH IIa) in Human All Too Human, trans. R.J. Hollingdale [Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996], §114, 239-240)

—I’ll return to Nietzsche’s definition of the ‘classical’ both in defining the nature of the conjunction of the Dionysian and Apollinian artistic drives in Birth and in analysing the terms of self-styled neo-classical Modernist criticism. For now, what I want to note is that I believe that the ‘fantastic, superstitious, half-mendacious, faded subjects’, which Nietzsche derides here, equate to the late-Romantic, and particularly Schopenhauerian and Wagnerian metaphysical aesthetics from which Nietzsche sought to emancipate himself.

—The ‘selection’ of reality, it seems to me at least, equates to the naturalism and ‘classicism’ that Nietzsche is beginning to establish in Birth, and which I will argue are intimately intertwined.

What is significant here is the demonstration that these later categories are already at stake within Birth and ‘On Truth and Lies’. Unfortunately, there will not be sufficient room to address the development of this theme in Nietzsche’s writing in the depth that it deserves. On the ‘self’—the ‘I’—as a fiction, especially in relation to the doctrine of the will to power, the reader is directed to the following material in the Late Notebooks: 34[54]-34[55], 4; 34[131], 9-10; 35[35], 20-21; 37[4], 29-30; 38[8], 36-37; 40[42], 46; 1[58], 59-60; 1[87], 61; 2[91], 77; 2[152], 91; 2[158], 92; 2[193], 96-97; 5[3], 106; 7[1], 127-129; 7[63], 140; 9[91], 154-157; 10[19], 178-179; 11[73], 212-213; 11[113], 221-222; 11[120], 223-224; 14[79], 245-247).

[5] Claudia Crawford, The Beginnings of Nietzsche’s Theory of Language (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 1988), 202

[6] 117. Nietzsche gives the example of the concept of the ‘leaf’. In a parody and rejection of the Platonic Idea or Form, he argues that the concept of the leaf is formed by arbitrarily discarding—by forgetting—the differences between individual leaves:

This awakens the idea that, in addition to the leaves, there exists in nature the “leaf”: the original model according to which all the leaves were perhaps woven, sketched, measured, colored, curled, and painted – but by incompetent hands, so that no specimen has turned out to be a correct, trustworthy, and faithful likeness of the original model. (ibid.)

For Nietzsche, the claim to know that such a self-identical Idea or ‘original model’ (the concept) inheres in things is a projection and false hypostatisation.

[7] 116 (cf. Crawford, 203). On Nietzsche’s rejection of the ‘metaphysical correspondence theory’, see Maudemaire Clark, Nietzsche on Truth and Philosophy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990), esp. 22. Clark argues that Nietzsche (in the works of his early and middle periods) commits himself to a rejection of metaphysical truth because he ‘accepts a theory of truth such that all truth is metaphysical, that is, is correspondence to things as they are in themselves’ (emphasis added).

[8] ‘Appendix: Criticism of the Kantian Philosophy’ in Schopenhauer, The World as Will and Representation, 2 Vols, trans. E.F.J. Payne, (New York: Dover, 1966) (WWR), I, 413-534 (417-418).

[9] See Dale Jacquette, The Philosophy of Schopenhauer (Chesham: Acumen, 2005), 19

[10] Kant, Critique of Pure Reason, trans. Norman Kemp Smith (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003) A 30/B 45. Cf. 85 A 45/B 62 (on the ‘transcendental object’), and also A 128. See Howard Caygill, A Kant Dictionary (Oxford: Blackwell, 1995), esp. 79-80 and 393.

[11] Kant, Critique of Pure Reason, B 27.

[12] See Bryan Magee, The Philosophy of Schopenhauer, Revised Edition (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1997): ‘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.’ (137) See also Jacquette, The Philosophy of Schopenhauer, 73-74.

[13] Nietzsche, ‘On Schopenhauer,’ in The Blackwell’s Nietzsche Reader ed. Ansell Pearson Large, 24-29. An alternative translation is provided in Christopher Janaway, Willing and Nothingness: Schopenhauer as Nietzsche’s Educator (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1998), 258-265.

[14] Nietzsche, ‘On Schopenhauer,’ 27. See Schopenhauer, WWR, I,  §22, 110.

[15] Nietzsche, ‘On Schopenhauer,’ 27.  Schopenhauer, WWR, I, 112

[16] Crawford, Beginnings, 161-162(n).

[17] Paul Swift, Becoming Nietzsche: Early Reflections on Democritus, Schopenhauer, and Kant (Oxford: Lexington Books, 2005), 43-50. 

[18] This reading is positioned against the claim to Nietzsche’s early uncritical adoption of Schopenhauer. See Bowie, Aesthetics and Subjectivity, 261 (see also 282, 288, 296); and Ivan Soll, ‘Pessimism and the Tragic view of Life: Reconsiderations of Nietzsche’s The Birth of Tragedy’, in Robert C. Solomon and Kathleen M. Higgins, eds., Reading Nietzsche (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988), 104-131 (104-107).

By contrast, I want to align my position with the opposing critical trend to problematise and resist this influence. See Martha Nussbaum, ‘The Transfigurations of Intoxication: Nietzsche, Schopenhauer, and Dionysus’, in Salim Kemal, Ivan Gaskell, and Daniel W. Conway, eds., Nietzsche, Philosophy and the Arts (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1998), 36-69 (esp. 38-39) (see also Nussbaum, ‘Nietzsche, Schopenhauer, and Dionysus’ in Janaway, ed., The Cambridge Companion to Schopenhauer [Cambridge, New York, Melbourne, Madrid: Cambridge University Press, 1999], 344-374 [esp. 344-345]).

[19] Nietzsche, BT, 17-27 (24). See 15n. on the appended title page/flysheet, added in 1886: ‘In the first edition of 1872 the title was The Birth of Tragedy out of the Spirit of Music. A second edition with very slight textual changes was printed in 1874 and appeared in 1878. In 1886, the same year that saw the publication of Beyond Good and Evil, the remaining copies of both editions were reissued with the new title [The Birth of Tragedy: Hellenism and Pessimism].’ The original title was retained, but now followed the ‘Attempt at a Self-Criticism’.

[20] Julian Young, Nietzsche’s Philosophy of Art (Cambridge, New York, Victoria: Cambridge University Press, 1992), 26

[21] See Aaron Ridley, Nietzsche on Art (London: Routledge, 2007),—esp. 21-31. …

*—Admittedly, I was lucky enough to meet Professor Ridley (in late 2011), and at that time he said that he had changed his mind and recanted on the reading of Nietzsche presented in this text. Nevertheless, I hope that he wouldn’t mind me citing it in order to contextualise my own argument here…

[22] Henry Staten, ‘The Birth of Tragedy Reconstructed’ in Nietzsche’s Voices (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1990), 187-216 (esp. 192). According to Staten’s reading it is Nietzsche’s relationship to Wagner that proves problematic to a clear conception of his relationship to Schopenhauer and Schopenhauerian metaphysics.

It is not within the scope of what I want to do here to address Nietzsche’s relationship to Wagner, and, as such, I will not address the argument of the latter, patently Wagnerian, sections of Birth. Nor will I address Nietzsche’s argument concerning the death of tragedy at the hands of Socrates and Euripides. Instead, I will focus on a close reading of Nietzsche’s definition of the Apollinian and Dionysian and of the phenomenon of the Lyric Poet in the earlier part of the text (§§1-8). For a clear biographical study of the intellectual and artistic influence of Wagner on Nietzsche, see Dieter Brochmeyer’s influential essay, ‘Wagner and Nietzsche,’ in Ulrich Müller and Peter Wapnewski, eds., Wagner Handbook, trans. John Deathridge (Cambridge Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1992), 327-342 (—on Birth in particular, 329-335).