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

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

*            *            *

 

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

 

*            *            *

 …

 

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

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

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

 

But,

 

(hmm).

 

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

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

*            *            *

 

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

 

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

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

 

*            *            *

 …

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

 

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

 

*            *            *

 

*And so,…

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

 

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

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

 

 

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

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

 

*            *            *

 

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

 

*—Between Nietzsche, then, and Modernism. …

 

 

So,…

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

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

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*from the epiphany to the ‘esthetic image’… *—the evolution of the aesthetic theory in Joyce’s early fiction. …

*(follows on from *‘the fold in the self-creation of the artist’.).

 

*on ‘Art and Life’. …
*—the evolution of the aesthetic theory in Joyce’s writing.

*(by way of introduction…)

 

In the first… chapter (?)—string-thread of fragments here,… I contextualised Nietzsche’s ironic ‘Schopenhauerian’–anti-Schopenhauerianism in The Birth of Tragedy through reference to the ‘On Truth’ essay which followed it and to the ‘On Schopenhauer’ fragment which preceded it. …

 

*—I argued that the text’s being book-ended by these two explicitcritiques of Schopenhauer, underpins the latent anti-metaphysics in-of the text. …

 

 

*—Through a comparison of the ‘primal unity’ (Ur-Eine) of Birth with Bergson’s notion of *duration as the flux of the undivided continuity of (interpenetrating) states, I argued that the ‘primal unity’ far more closely approximates Nietzsche’s own later formulation of *‘the will to power’, understood here as the differential element (—‘sense’) defining the hierarchy of forces vying for dominance of a given quantum of reality (—the ‘essence’ of any one quantum naming the ‘sense’ with which it is most sympathetic) than it does the metaphysical unity of Schopenhauer’s ‘will’. …

*(—see esp. … on *‘Intution, Flux, and anti-metaphysics’., & *‘the will to power’. …).

 

 

*—In what follows here (now), then, —I want to examine what I’ll argue represents the analogous ironic appropriation of the terms of Aquinas’s philosophy of art and theory of ‘beauty’ in Stephen’s aesthetic theory between Joyce’s Stephen Hero *(ed. Theodore Spencer [London: Paladin, 1991,—SH) and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (—[London: Penguin, 1992].—Portrait). …

 

 

—In this first part-fragment, I want to turn to the context of the early critical reception of the aesthetic theory of Stephen Hero and in particular of the concept of the ‘epiphany’ and to revive the terms of the early debate around the concept. …

 

 

*—There are two antithetical positions at stake in this reception, which still bear a strong influence on contemporary critical treatment of the development of Stephen’s aesthetic and its relationship to Joyce’s larger corpus. …

 

—The first is that the concept of the ‘epiphany’ applies only to Joyce’s own early—fragmented—compositions and can’t (—ought not to) be applied beyond these, to name a literary technique at stake in Joyce’s mature writing. …

 

The second is that the ‘epiphany’ can be used to name all and any of the structures of revelation at play in Joyce’s writing.

 

 

*… And so. … —I’ll argue here for an alternative—third—critical position through a reassessment of Stephen’s ironic appropriation of Aquinas’s conception of ‘beauty’ in the exposition of his aesthetic theory between Stephen Hero and Portrait. …

 

 

*—I’ll argue that the concept of the ‘epiphany’ is, in fact, refined into that of the ‘esthetic image’ in-of Portrait, which retains-maintains and—draws out *(—clarifies)what is at stake within *(—the fundamental shape of) the ‘epiphany’,—shorn of the religious and metaphysical… baggage which still clung to the earlier term. …

 

*—an ironic appropriation, then, of Aquinas’s philosophy,—to an intrinsically anti-metaphysical theory of art. …

 

 

This will allow me, in the second section here, to go on to argue that the aesthetic theory as it appear in Portrait… incorporates both the concept of the ‘epiphany’ and also (and as importantly) the account of the opposition between the ‘classical’ and ‘romantic’ artistic ‘tempers’ (presented elsewhere) in Stephen Hero (—and in Joyce’s own early critical writing). …

 

*—I’ll argue that this material is reconfigured in Portrait to form, in particular, an implicit rejection of what I’ll call late-Romantic Platonic metaphysics, and, more specifically, of W.B. Yeats’s definition-coinage-formulation of *transcendental Symbolism.

(and, I confess,… —I’ll be using Yeats, I suppose, as a kind of a straw man (sic) here. …)

 

 

*…—By highlighting the parallel between Stephen’s account of the opposition of the ‘classical’ to the ‘romantic’, and privileging of the former, and those of Nietzsche and T.E. Hulme (—on artistic inspiration and creation, Modern art and Bergson’s philosophy), I’ll thus seek to link Stephen’s aesthetic theory to neo-classical Modernist aesthetics more broadly considered… *—and especially Ezra Pound’s work *(—on the ‘image’ and (on) the ‘vortex’), and Imagism. …

 

 

*… —I’ll read Stephen’s allusion to Percy Bysshe Shelley’s account of artistic inspiration in A Defence of Poetry as an ironic appropriation of the terms of Shelley’s Romanticism to an implicitly anti-Romantic, anti-metaphysical, ‘classical’ aesthetic. …

 

 

*—I’ll conclude my reading of Stephen Hero, Portrait and (in the light of)neo-classical Modernism by drawing a parallel between the anti-metaphysics in-of the ‘esthetic image’ and the terms of Nietzsche’s doctrine of the will to power, as I examined these in the first chapter-string-thread of fragments here *(and, again,—see *[links]).

 

 

*—I’ll then move on to read the ‘Shakespeare theory’ in-of the ‘Scylla and Charybdis’ episode of Joyce’s Ulysses. …

 

—I’ll argue that the both the (concept of the) image and the ‘classical’ in-of the aesthetic theory are refined again,—in(to) Stephen’s concept *—the image of the artist’.

 

*… —and this is where I want to draw what I feel is the most significant parallel between the evolution of the terms of Stephen’s aesthetic theory in Joyce’s fiction and those of Nietzsche’s account of artistic creation in The Birth of Tragedy, as I’ve attempted to close-read, interpret and lay these out in the previous string-thread. …

 

*—I’ll argue that Stephen’s account of the creation of the ‘image of the artist’ in Ulysses presents the process of an attempt to record and to articulate an intensely undergone experience in which the (assumed) empirical self of the artist is lacerated (so to), and a sort of bathetic revelation—ironic inversion—takes place, in which the artist’s ‘self’ is shown to be the opposite of what it had been taken to be. …

 

*This… process, then, I’ll argue, can be articulated through a comparison with the shape of ol’ Friz’s account of artistic creation in Birth, as(-through)…

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

 

 

*—‘applied Aquinas’. …
*—on the use & abuse of Thomism, & the *evolution of the ‘epiphany’ into the ‘image’ in the developing aesthetic theory between Joyce’s Stephen Hero & A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man…

*—the ‘Epiphany’ *(-the—epiphanic. …). …

 

*— In Stephen Hero, Stephen’s interpretation of Aquinas’s conception of ‘beauty’ follows on directly from his definition of the ‘epiphany’… —

By an epiphany he meant a sudden spiritual manifestation, whether in the vulgarity of speech or of gesture or in a memorable phase of the mind itself. He believed it was for the man of letters to record these epiphanies with extreme care, seeing that they themselves are the most delicate and evanescent of moments. (Joyce, SH, 216)

In this initial definition, then,—Stephen identifies an ‘epiphany’ as a ‘manifestation’. …

 

*(That is,…)—It is a revelation. …*—A sudden(-suddenly) becoming visible, or sensible,—of something which had existed prior to the experience of its revelation, and yet which had remained (somehow) insensible, and only latent.

 

 

*The (a-hem)—‘spiritual’ (—sic) quality of the ‘epiphany’ alludes here, I’d argue, to the relationship of consciousness to itself,—implicit in this notion of revelation. …

 

 

*—The ‘epiphany’, then, represents a bathetic structure of ironic inversion,—suddenly and spontaneously revealing previously repressed psychic (—psychological) content, and thus bringing about a fundamental change in consciousness. …

 

…—This is brought about either by the observer’s relationship to some vulgar detail of quotidian discourse (—‘speech or gesture’), or, by a revealing, detached psychological event (‘a memorable phase of the mind’). …

*(…

 —Oliver St. John Gogarty argues that it was ‘Probably Fr. Darlington had taught him, as an aside in his Latin class—for Joyce knew no Greek—that “Epiphany” meant a “showing forth”’. (—As I was Going down Sackville Street [New York: Reynal and Hitchcock, 1937],—293-295.—See also, Robert Scholes and Richard M. Kain, eds., The Workshop of Daedalus: James Joyce and the Raw Materials for Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, [Evanston, Illinois: Northwestern University Press, 1965],—7-8)

—William T. Noon, meanwhile, puts forward the contention that in using the term ‘epiphany’ Joyce is ‘playing on the French ‘épiphénomène (that which at certain times attaches itself as if inevitably, though momentarily, to some other phenomenon)’. (Joyce and Aquinas [New Haven, London: Yale University Press, 1957], 71)… (hmm. …)

*—Florence L. Walzl provides the best summation of the term epiphany itself,—building on Gogarty’s observation of Joyce’s having learnt the etymology and the meaning of the Greek term, and arguing that… —

What Joyce meant by the term epiphany may be deduced etymologically. The basic meaning in Greek of έπιφάυεια is appearance or manifestation, and the word is related to a verb meaning to display or show forth and in the passive and middle voice to shine forth. In the early Christian period epiphaneia developed a religious denotation as a “visible manifestation of hidden divinity either in the form of a personal appearance, or by some deed of power by which its presence is made known.” (‘The Liturgy of the Epiphany Season and the Epiphanies of Joyce’, PMLA, 80 [1965],—436-450 *[436])

*(—Walzl cites William F. Arndt and F. Wilbur Gingrich, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago, 1957).

*—The key terms here, I would suggest, are ‘manifestation’ and to ‘show forth’. …

*—The ‘epiphany’, then, is the becoming visible or sensible (—a form of becoming aware…) of something which had previously remained (for whatever reason or sets of reasons)—‘hidden’ (—obscured). …)…).

 

The ‘epiphany’ can take one of two potential forms. …

 

*—These correspond to the forms of Joyce’s own ‘Epiphanies’: a selection of short prose fragments composed between 1901/2 and 1904.[1] …

 

—The first is that in which what is revealed is done so through a ‘vulgarity of speech or of gesture’: a quotidian turn of phrase or expression through body language that captures something essential in both the agent and the observer. This is the sense in which Joyce’s brother Stanislaus described the ‘“Epiphanies”—manifestations or revelations’:

Jim had always had a contempt for secrecy, and these notes were in the beginning ironical observations of slips, and little errors and gestures—mere straws in the wind—by which people betrayed the very things they were most careful to conceal. “Epiphanies” were always brief sketches, hardly ever more than some dozen lines in length, but always very accurately observed and noted, the matter being so slight. This collection served him as a sketchbook serves an artist.[2]

 

The first form of the ‘epiphany’, then, concerns small and, seemingly, unimportant errors, through which can be observed a *betrayal of something that the agent had been at pains to conceal. …

 

Stanislaus’ description lays an emphasis on the ironic disposition of the observer. … —The ‘epiphany’ is ‘ironical’ in terms of the cynical detachment and distance of the observer from the observed. …

 

 

*—In their commentary on the prose fragments, Litz and Whittier-Ferguson dub this form of ‘epiphany’ the—‘dramatic’. (Shorter Writings, 158.—See also Scholes and Kain, The Workshop of Daedalus,—3-6. …) …

 

*—The ‘dramatic’ epiphanies rely on the contexts of social relationships and situations and, in particular, on the failure of a social and-or emotional performance. …

 

 

—The repressed ‘essence’ (sic) thus revealed,… —the motivation for its repression,—the act of its repression, as well as the failure of this performance,… —allconspire, then, here to form an *ironic betrayal. …

*(—Gogarty: …—‘So he recorded under “Epiphany” any showing forth by which one gave oneself away’. *[293-295]…).

 

 

*By contrast to the ‘dramatic’,… —the second form of the ‘epiphany’ concerns what Stephen refers to as a ‘memorable phase of the mind itself’. …

 

—This form of ‘manifestation’, rather than concerning a revelation through the quotidian, involves an ironic betrayal of the… —inward state (so to) of the observer.

 

For this reason—the focus on the inner (inward) state of the artist-observer themselves—Litz and Whittier-Ferguson dub this form the ‘lyrical epiphany’. (Shorter Writings, 158)

 

The form of distance involved in the observation here lacks the cynicism of the ‘dramatic’ form. …

 

—It’s more vulnerable, and more affective, and, hence, more painful to the observer (however ironic it may nonetheless be). …

 

 

*—The ‘lyrical’ epiphanies take the form of ‘records’ of dreams or moments of solitude. …

 

—Stephen defines the ‘phase of the mind’ as ‘memorable’ because, through the disruptive nature of the revelation, it is lifted beyond (—outwith) the continuum of quotidian experience.

 

 

*—In effect, then,… —it’s a moment of involuntary self-intuition, resulting in a fundamental change in self-knowledge-perception, which serves to illuminate—to render – manifest—that which had been lost within the complacency of that continuum. …

 

 

*… —In a move that will prove useful to my own reading of the original debate in the critical reception of the ‘epiphany’, I’m going to go ahead and make the claim (and why not? … —treat y’self, it’s nearly Christmas, etc. …) that Litz and Whittier-Ferguson make what I believe to be a misguided and fundamental critical error in reducing the artistic and critical significance of the ‘Epiphanies’ to autobiographical context.

 

 

—They argue that the ‘Epiphanies’ have no real artistic value beyond their later incorporation into broader dramatic contexts in Joyce’s longer fiction *(—and this is a point I’ll return to later…), and that, as such, their value lies solely in what they can tell us about Joyce’s (—the historical figure-personality) early life *(—as a form of historical record, if you will…). …

 

… —and this in fact renders them guilty of the intentional fallacy… *—the (mistaken) belief that it is (ever) possible to read back from an artwork simply-straightforwardly (in)to the life, mind, or intentions of the artist-author…

 

 

*By contrast,—I want to argue that the ‘Epiphanies’ represent complete,—self-contained dramatic-artistic units… *—fragments that, through precisely the kind of devices, techniques, and stratagems that Litz and Whittier-Ferguson otherwise so clearly define—‘place indications’ and ‘stage directions’, subtly, and negativelyevoke (—indicate) the contexts, absent in substance, into which they themselves form a dramatic insight, and to which, *Joyce: the historical figure’s life and *Joyce: the artist’s intentions are wholly irrelevant. …

 

*So,…

 

—I’m want to furnish (and to read)one example from the ‘Epiphanies’ here (appropriately enough)—epiphany #1. … …

 

—This is ‘dramatic’ epiphany (under Litz and Whittier-Ferguson’s useful rubric), but it’ll serve, I believe, to demonstrate my point *(but it’s also an example of some beautiful typographical experimentation, as Litz and Whittier-Ferguson present it, and I’ll attempt to recreate that presentation here…). …

pull out his eyes

 

*—Despite acknowledging its ‘arresting’ quality,… Litz and Whittier Ferguson seek to deny any real artistic value to this fragment-epiphany, outside of its later incorporation into the first chapter of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man,—arguing that it couldn’t be ‘radiant’ (—? hmm) outside of this larger textual-dramatic context, except to Joyce himself. (—158-159.—See P., 4.) …

 

 

*… —There’s a mocking-patronising tone in Mr Vance’s performance of admonishment *(—and there’s 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 cpacity—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…

 

 

*—What Stephen describes as the delicacy and the—evanescence of the epiphanies—both ‘dramatic’ and ‘lyrical’—which otherwise appear as sharp, clean, and violentin their sarcasm *(—both toward the inanity of social performance and to any prior sense of self-certainty or self-identity in the observer), derives from the difficulties associated with the attempt to accurately record them. …

 

 

(hmm).

 

 

*… —In committing them to paper, the artist risks omission or distortion of the many (crucial) details and nuances of which the ‘epiphany’ is comprised. …

 

—Through such omission or distortion, the artist would potentially compromise the significance which marks these moments out precisely as epiphanies…

 

*For this reason, particularly in regard to the dramatic ‘Epiphanies’, Joyce himself takes (took) ‘extreme care’ when appending what Litz and Whittier-Ferguson describe as ‘place indications and stage directions’… (that is,)*—important signs or pieces of information and context (—often records of significant tone or gesture) of which both the writer and the reader must be conscious in order for the effect of the ‘epiphany’ to be achieved. (—See Joyce, SW,—158)

 

*The ‘Epiphanies’, then, are divided between the two forms of ‘dramatic scenes’ and ‘rhythmical prose-poems’. …

*(and Litz and Whittier-Ferguson rightly (in my opinion) argue that Joyce’s later prose (fiction) writing attains its ‘moments of highest achievement’ when these two forms are conjoined and made to comment upon and to ‘reinforce’ one another (each the other)… *[—158].).

 

(hmm)

 

So. …

 

*—. By way of contextualising my own comparative reading of the presentations of Stephen’s aesthetic theory and interpretation of Aquinas in Stephen Hero and Portrait, I want to briefly revisit the terms of the debate waged over the use of the term ‘epiphany’ between Florence L. Walzl and Robert Scholes in the late nineteen sixties.

 

—Walzl and Scholes represent two polar-antithetical possibilities for assessing the legacy of the concept of the ‘epiphany’ in Joyce’s larger corpus…

 

On the one hand, Walzl argues that the ‘epiphany’ should be used as a critical tool in analysing Joyce’s works. She argues that the Dubliners stories represent ‘epiphanies’ and allusions to the liturgy of the Epiphany season, ironically inverting the nine manifestations of the Epiphany cycle.

*(…—‘Jesus is revered as a babe by the Magi, marvelled at as a boy by the doctors on the Temple, blessed as a youth by the Holy Spirit at his baptism, and confirmed in the eyes of his disciples at Cana’.—Walzl, ‘The Liturgy of the Epiphany Season and the Epiphanies of Joyce’, 450.—See also ‘Symbolism in Joyce’s “Two Gallants”’, James Joyce Quarterly, 2 [1965],—73-81… ).

 

In response to Walzl (and on the other hand), Scholes, by contrast, argues that the term ‘Epiphany’ should be used only as Joyce himself had used it—to name the prose fragments of 1901/2-1904. …

 

—Scholes argues that the term ‘Epiphany’ specifically designates, then, what he dubs a—*‘prose genre’ in which Joyce worked,… —comparable to, and yet distinct from, the novel genre of Portrait of the Artist, Ulysses, and Finnegans Wake, and the short story genre at stake within Dubliners.[3]

 

—For Scholes, the arrangement of the fragments themselves is ‘fixed,’ and although he is not explicit on this point, his argument suggests that this order is strictly chronological. *(—Scholes, Walzl, ‘The Epiphanies of Joyce’, 152…

—‘From 1901 to 1904 […] beginning with the famous “Pull out his eyes” Epiphany which appears early in Portrait.’…)

 

He does allow for Joyce’s having structured the narrative of Stephen Hero using the ‘Epiphany’ fragments, and also for their later inclusion throughout Portrait and Ulysses. …

 

—His objection focuses on the use of the term ‘Epiphany’ outside of this narrowed context:

*—‘Joyce never used the word Epiphany in connection with Dubliners, or as a term for a structural device in longer fiction.’ (Ibid.)

 

 

*—The ‘Epiphanies’, then, Scholes argues, constitute a complete and a separate work in-of Joyce’s early career, as well as a specific prose genre, and should not be understood critically either as an abstract concept or as a literary structural technique with wider application to Joyce’s works. …

 

*He argues that those critics who adopt the ‘Epiphany’ as an interpretive tool and as an abstract concept do an injustice to the specificities of the texts themselves and spuriously elevate much incidental material *(—‘many a tenuous aperçu’…) to the level of a false significance, to which they could lay no claim without the term. …

 

 

*—Walzl and Scholes’s positions, I’d argue, continue to represent the two possible polar extremes for the relationship of criticism to the ‘epiphany’ concept. …

 

*… —Either the critic, following Walzl’s example, accepts *all instances of revelation or of… reversal in Joyce’s works as ‘epiphanies’, or, following Scholes, abandons the concept altogether. …

 

However,… —both Walzl and Scholes elide the relationship of Stephen Hero to Portrait and the development of the aesthetic theory,… —in particular (I’d argue) the interpretation of Aquinas. …

 

 

*—In opposition to both Walzl’s argument for the simple, straightforward adoption of the concept of the ‘epiphany’ and to Scholes argument for its outright critical abandonment,… —through a comparative close reading of the presentation of the aesthetic theory in both  Stephen Hero and Portrait, I’ll argue here that the relationship between the two texts, and the growing sophistication and qualification of the interpretation of Aquinas, constitutes the evolution of the concept of the ‘epiphany’ into that of the ‘esthetic image’. …

 

 

*the qualities of ‘beauty’ / —the phases of ‘artistic apprehension’. …
*—the shape of the ‘esthetic image’. …

 

*As far as I’m aware (that is,—as far as I’ve been able to discover…),… —no extant criticism of Stephen’s interpretation of Aquinas’s theory of beauty in Stephen Hero and Portrait has yet presented the pertinent sections of these texts side-by-side

*(… — In The Classical Temper, S.L. Goldberg presents both the Stephen Hero and Portrait ‘versions’ of Stephen’s definition of the Thomist consonantia together, but argues that the latter merely restates the central argument of the former, without providing a detailed comparison of the terms of both extracts. (—The Classical Temper: a study of James Joyce’s Ulysses [London: Chatto & Windus, 1961], 53)

 Irene Hendry briefly discusses all three stages but offers no sustained analysis or comparison of the two texts, other than to suggest that the passage on the Scholastic quidditias in Stephen Hero is ‘more revealing’ than its later counterpart in Portrait (—?). (—‘Joyce’s Epiphanies’ The Sewanee Review [New York: Kraus Reprint Corp., 1965], 449-467 [449-450])

 —In ‘Artistic Theory in James Joyce’ (in Thomas E. Connolly, ed., Joyce’s Portrait: Critiques and Criticisms [London: Peter Owen, 1964], 221-230), Geddes MacGregor refers to all three stages but with reference only to Stephen Hero. (—See Life and Letters, 65 [1947], 18-27)

 *—See also Herbert M. McLuhan, ‘Joyce, Aquinas, and the Poetic Process’, Renascence: A Critical Journal of Letters, 4 (1951), 3-11 (repr. in Connolly, ed., Joyce’s Portrait, 249-265),—esp. 249-250, 253; Thomas E. Connolly, ‘Joyce’s Aesthetic Theory’, University of Kansas City Review, 23 (1956), 47-50 (repr. in Connolly, ed., Joyce’s Portrait, 266-271.—esp. 269-270…); Richard Ellmann, James Joyce : New and Revised Edition (New York/Oxford/Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1982 [1959]), 83-84; Walzl, ‘The Liturgy of the Epiphany Season and the Epiphanies of Joyce’,—442, and (finally) Umberto Eco, The Middle Ages of Joyce: The Aesthetics of Chaosmos, trans. Ellen Esrock (London: Hutchinson Radius, 1989),—22-23. … ).

 

*(…) —To do so, however, can, I believe, far better illuminate the parallels and contrasts between the two passages and the evolution of the former into the latter… —

SH - P

 

*—In both texts, Stephen’s ostensible purpose is to interpret Aquinas’s definition of the conditions which it is necessary for a phenomenon to fulfil in order for it to be considered beautiful.

 

There are, however (—nonetheless), significant differences between them. … —

 

 

*—The Stephen Hero extract comprises a simple paraphrasing of Aquinas’s definition…

 

—The first quality requisite for beauty is vaguely defined here as ‘integrity’,—suggestive of the persisting self-identity of the phenomenon.

 

Stephen also defines it as ‘wholeness’ which suggests that the object does not lack any essential elements, that it is complete.

*(—See Umberto Eco, The Aesthetics of Thomas Aquinas, trans. Hugh Bredin (London: Hutchinson Radius, 1988),—64, and Kevin O’Reilly, Aesthetic Perception: A Thomist Perspective (Dublin: Four Courts Press Ltd., 2007), *—esp. 18, 22. … ).

 

 

—In Stephen’s phrasing, integrity precedes wholeness in the definition of the first quality and this lends his definition an indistinctness, as it remains unclear if he means by that that the phenomenon must posses a wholeness, a completeness which persists—which is integralthrough time. …

 

 

*—The second quality, Stephen defines as ‘symmetry’. …

 

—That is, in order to be considered beautiful the object must be symmetrical. …

(and this is relatively straightforward…).

 

 

*The final quality Stephen defines as ‘radiance’. …

 

*… —The object must be radiant—must be *illuminating—in order to be considered beautiful,… though at this stage Stephen offers no definition of this ‘radiance’ or how it is achieved. …

 

 

In Stephen Hero Stephen provides no specific context for his definition of beauty.

 

—He refers to no specific type of experience, but to all sensible experience.

 

 

*In (the far more substantial) Portrait extract,—by contrast, Stephen’s later textual incarnation seeks to define ‘beauty’, not simply as an experience of general quotidian consciousness, but, instead, as it realised through the *‘phases’—of ‘artistic apprehension’…

 

 

(That is,…)—Portrait develops and refines the definition of ‘beauty’ offered in the earlier Stephen Hero

 

 

—It qualifies the earlier general definition of beauty by making it conditional upon a knowledge of how an object of quotidian experience is (essentially) transformed by-through a specific type of experience—into the subject matter of-for (—into) *art.

 

 

—The ultimate aims, then, in Portrait,are to define both the ‘beautiful’, and the nature of the experience which forms the condition necessary for the creation of the work of art.

*(…

— In his discussion of the Thomism/non-Thomism of Stephen’s definition of ‘beauty’ in both texts, Noon argues against what he defines as A.D. Hope’s ‘attempts to save the Thomism of Stephen’s discussion’, but actually misquotes Hope’s article… —‘Joyce here is speaking of the “esthetic image,” that is to say, not the butcher’s boy’s basket at which he and Lynch are looking *[—See Portrait, 230], but the artist’s image of it which, when reproduced in the medium of words or paint, will be the work of art’. (—Joyce and Aquinas,—45)

—Noon overlooks the distinction, which Hope is actually careful to draw, between Joyce and Stephen: ‘Joyce’s hero is speaking of the “esthetic image”’. … *(—See Hope, ‘The Esthetic Theory of James Joyce’, Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 21 [1943], 93-114 [—108.—Emphasis added here]. … )

 

 

—Noon argues that Stephen’s focus is the actual and ‘very particular basket’ and not the image of it, and that only at the end of his discussion of the three ‘phases of artistic apprehension’ does he—obliquely—cite Shelley by way of extending his argument to poetry. …

 

Noon maintains that Stephen is not applying his discussion/theory in this way, and that even if he were he would be in contravention of a strictly Thomistic reading of Aquinas. (Ibid.—See Hope,—108-109…)

 

In his attempt to assess Stephen’s ‘Thomism’, Noon overlooks the shift in emphasis from general quotidian experience in Stephen Hero to ‘artistic apprehension’ in Portrait, as well as Hope’s own careful distinction between the ‘esthetic image’ and the ‘actual basket’. (109)

 

—Stephen’s focus is the transformation of the apprehension of the basket into ‘artistic apprehension’. However, in arguing that Stephen’s argument isThomist, Hope refers, not to the passage on ‘beauty’ (—as an attribute of a member of the Holy Trinity), but to Aquinas’s ‘theory of “imagination”’ *(—108-109), although Noon doesn’t seem to take this into account. [—Cf. 45]… )

 

*The development in Portrait of the earlier definition of ‘beauty’ takes the form not only of the qualification of the definition by that of ‘artistic apprehension’ but by a refinement in the translation of Aquinas. …

 

—In Stephen Hero, Stephen is content to provide only an allusive paraphrase of Aquinas *(‘—You know what Aquinas says’…). …

 

*In Portrait, by contrast,he provides Lynch with a bastardised translation of the specific passage from the Summa Theologica:

*—‘Aquinas says: ad pulcritudinem tria requiruntur, integritas, consonantia, claritas. I translate it so: Three things are needed for beauty, wholeness, harmony and radiance.’ *(—229) …

 

 

*Maurice Beebe argues that Stephen simplifies and misquotes the original Latin, providing a full citation… —

*—‘Actually, Aquinas wrote: “Nam ad pulchritudinem tria requiruntur: primo quidem integritas sive perfectio; quae enim diminuta sunt, turpia sunt; et debita proportio sive consonantia; et iterum claritas, unde, quae habent colorem nitidum, pulchra esse dicunter.”’

*(—‘Joyce and Aquinas: The Theory of Aesthetics,’ Philological Quarterly, XXXVI, Jan., 1957, —repr. in Connolly, ed., Joyce’s Portrait,—272-289.

*See Aquinas, Thomas, Summa Theologica, trans. Fathers of the English Dominican Province, revised by Daniel J. Sullivan,—II vols [Chicago,: William Benton, 1952], vol. I, I, 39, 8c.—See also, Eco, The Aesthetics of Thomas Aquinas,—65. …)

 

…—Beebe follows the Dominican Fathers’ translation of Aquinas:

*—‘For Beauty includes three conditions, integrity or perfection, for those things which are impaired are by the very fact ugly; and then due proportion or harmony is required; and lastly, brightness or clarity, whence things are called beautiful which have a bright colour.’ (—Beebe, 283-284)

 

Integritas indicates the completeness of the object. *(See—O’Reilly, Aesthetic Perception, 22-24)

 

—Consonantia is defined as the ‘due proportion’ both of the object itself and of its parts and thus the relationship of these parts to one another: their ‘harmony’.

 

 

*In both texts,—Stephen’s translation and interpretation of claritas as ‘radiance’ omits the qualification given in the full extract from Aquinas, translated by the Dominican fathers, as ‘brightness or clarity, whence things are called beautiful which have a bright colour’. …

 

—Here, claritas means that for an object to be considered beautiful its colour and lustre must be bright, sharp and clean.

 

Stephen’s translation of claritas as ‘radiance’, however, elides all reference to the brightness or colour of the object. …

 

—For him, then, ‘radiance’ is to have a more abstract meaning…

 

 

Although Beebe is right to assert that the ‘translation’ Stephen offers is a simplified version of Aquinas’s original Latin, and that it omits the qualifying comments of the original text, he overlooks the dramatic context in which Stephen cites the text.

 

—Stephen is, in effect, reducing the textual citation to its key elements in order to put forward his own interpretation. …

 

This reading itself takes place in the dramatic context of the conversation with Lynch and represents a gloss of what is presented as Stephen’s own much more expansive theorising on art. *(—221-235) …

 

*—That Joyce chose to offer this theorising in such a distilled form is for the benefit of the reader as much as it is for the benefit of Stephen in articulating his thoughts, and the benefit of Lynch as reluctant listener within the dramatic context of the exposition.

 

 

Beebe argues that Stephen’s translation of integritas in Portrait as ‘wholeness’ ‘is probably even closer to the Latin text’ than that provided by the Dominican fathers. (Beebe, 284)

 

—It resolves the confusion of the suggestion in Stephen Hero that ‘integrity’ and ‘a wholeness’ are one (and the same) quality. …

 

*… —It also serves to divest integritas of the notion of persisting self-identity suggested by ‘integrity’,… emphasising, by contrast, the notion of the object as whole and independent (—without (inadvertently) suggesting its persistence—in-through time, and-or its resistance to dissolution. …). …

 

*In Portrait,Stephen dubs the second phase ‘harmony,’ arguing that each individual part must be necessary to the object, and have a necessary place within it, corresponding to that of all other parts. …

 

—This accords with the Dominican fathers’ translation of Aquinas’s emphasis upon the necessity of the ‘due proportion’ of the object and of its parts. …

 

—The enigmatic ‘radiance’ (and concurrent elision of all reference to the brightness or colour of the object) of Stephen Hero is retained…

 

 

*… —Having identified, in outline, the qualities of beauty/‘phases of artistic apprehension’, in both texts Stephen then moves on to define the first quality or ‘phase’… —

SH - P first quality

 

—The terms of the Stephen Hero extract are deceptive…

 

*—To suggest that the ‘synthesis’ of or within the ‘faculty which apprehends’ (which he will go on in his incarnation in Portrait to qualify as the faculties of the ‘audible’ and ‘visible’…) is in any way ‘simple’, overlooks the complexity of the extract’s own central claim that the object is only apprehended when it is extracted from the sensuous continuum in which it is otherwise lost…

*—‘you must lift it away from everything else’. …

 

*—This… —sensory extraction is accomplished—spontaneously. …

 

—It is involuntary.

 

… —It constitutes, then, a chance coincidence in apprehension,… *—a sudden, unexpected alteration in the relationship of the subject and-to the object… *—an alteration that precipitates the division of the ‘entire [apprehended] universe’ into, on the one hand,—‘the object,’ and, on the other,—‘the void’ of all else that is ‘not the object’. …

 

(hmm).

 

 

*—A chance relation—a coincidence—brings the object into stark relief with its surroundings-environs,—foregrounding it and allowing the observer—for the first time—to become (in effect) *—defamiliarised with the object, and to (truly) see the object—as object.

(and not, then, as merely another, undifferentiated, piece of the complacency inducing tableau that is the world of quotidian consciousness. …). …

 

 

*—The ‘first quality of beauty’ constitutes, then,—the revelation of the object… *—its extraction from the invisibility that it was subject to in the complacency of quotidian apprehension.

 

 

*—In Portrait, Stephen goes on to elucidate this… moment (and, again,… —the terms are essentially a more refined articulation of the same idea here… —) as the drawing of a ‘boundary line’ in consciousness around the object. …

 

*—a ‘boundary line’.
(—around the object. …).

 

 

*… —This serves to emphasise the nature of separation and foregrounding in the first ‘phase of artistic apprehension’, and the differentiation of the object being apprehended from ‘everything else’… *(that is,)—‘the immeasurable background of space or time which it is not’. …

 

The first phase—in both texts, then—defines the object *—negatively. …

 

 

*—This reveals the object, bringing it into a stark relief, and serves to push-to propel all else in perception into an indistinguishable—and ‘immeasurable’—… —background. …

 

It’s this which accounts for what, in both his textual incarnations, Stephen is at pains to stress is the illuminating or luminousquality of this first moment, and, further (and why not?) accounts for the appearance of the object’s ‘wholeness’ (of ‘integritas’). …

 

*—The object is no longer subsumed under or within the—conventional complacency in-of quotidian consciousness, but is isolated and illuminated as object. …

 

 

Noon argues that this translation of integritas is inaccurate, and that it ‘has for Aquinas a perfectly definite and different meaning which Stephen appears not to have noticed in his breezy citation’. (—?) *(—Joyce and Aquinas, *47…) …

 

 

—Comparing the Thomist meaning of integritas to Aristotle’s statement in the Poetics that a drama, in order to be considered a drama, must have a beginning, a middle, and an end, Noon argues that ‘[Aquinas] has in mind the completeness or perfection which a being possesses when it is all that it ought to be.’ … (Ibid.—See Eco, The Aesthetics of Thomas Aquinas,—*64…)

 

This accords with the translation furnished by the Dominican fathers of integritas as ‘integrity or perfection’. …

 

However, Noon is wrong, I’d argue, in accusing Stephen of having not noticed this meaning. …

 

Instead,… —Stephen’s definition of integritas as the extraction of the object from the oblivion in-of the quotidian, and its (concurrent) illumination, is precisely what shows the object as it ‘ought to be’ (sic): … *—as a discrete object, rather than as an inconsequential and fleeting detail in-of the consciousness-quotidian…

 

*—Stephen’s, then, is an idiosyncratic interpretation of the Thomist notion of ‘perfection’. …

 

 

*—Otherwise rendered insensible or invisible within quotidian consciousness, the object is extracted and seen—for the first time—as a discrete, solid, and self-identical object, and it’s this which justifies Stephen’s appropriation of the orthodox Thomistic definition of the ‘completeness or perfection’ of the object. …

*(—Cf. Eco, 99n. *(—248-249). … —Citing Noon’s argument, Eco argues that Joyce strips integritas of its ‘ontological character’ (—concerning the truth of the object, broadly and crudely stated), and renders it epistemological—concerned with how the object comes to be known. …)

 

 

*… —Having defined ‘integritas’,Stephen now (—then) moves on, in both texts, to define the second ‘quality of beauty’ or ‘phase’ of ‘artistic apprehension,’ which results from the revelation of this ‘integrity’ or ‘wholeness’ in-of the object… —

consonantia

 

In both texts, Stephen dubs this phase of consonantia ‘Analysis’—the ‘analysis of apprehension’.

*(—it’s only at this point—in his definition of the second phase of ‘artistic apprehension’ in Portrait—that he refers to the first phase as the ‘synthesis’ defined earlier in Stephen Hero…).

 

 

*—The revelation of the object (as object), and its differentiation from everything else in the continuum of sensory perception in its ‘synthesis’, allows its, previously unheeded, structure to be examined for the first time… *—both the object as a whole, and its manifold parts… —passing from ‘point to point’—with a care and attention never possible prior to this revelation—as object. …

 

*—The second stage of revelation, proceeding from the negative differentiation of the object from its surroundings, to an identification and analysis of the positive content or qualities of the object as ‘a thing,’ creates (perhaps unsurprisingly) an ‘impression’ on the apprehending subject. …

 

*—The subject now becomes aware of the object’s complexity and its internal harmony. …

 

 

*—The, frankly awkward, ‘symmetry’ of Stephen Hero becomes the more accurate ‘harmony’ of Portrait, and yet, in both texts,—the first and second ‘qualities of beauty’ or ‘phases’ of ‘artistic apprehension’ constitute ‘synthesis’ and ‘analysis,’ respectively…

 

 

… —Noon and Beebe are in (broad) agreement that Stephen’s interpretation of consonantia accords with that of strict Thomism… *—‘Stephen’s interpretation of consonantia accords generally with that “due proportion” Aquinas noted as characteristic of beauty’. (—Beebe, 284)

 

Noon agrees that Stephen’s ‘description’ of consonantia is—*‘Thomistically accurate’, … but argues that he ‘speaks for himself and not for Aquinas’ when he defines consonantia as a ‘phase’ of ‘artistic apprehension’ rather than as a quality which inheres in the object. *(—Joyce and Aquinas,—48.—And, again,—note the marked differentiation between the ontological and epistemological here. …)

 

 

Noon’s qualification highlights what might be (usefully) termed here the—psychological bias of Stephen’s interpretation of Aquinas in Portrait. …

 

*(That is,)—His definition of the Thomist terms emphasises the process of ‘artistic apprehension’ as one taking place solely within-and for the apprehending subject *(—the artist). …

 

 

Noon goes on to relate Stephen’s definition of consonantia to that of integritas:

—‘Having first felt that it is one thing you now feel it is a thing.’(Ibid.) …

 

*—This definition, it seems to me (at least), fits with the reading I’ve offered of both extracts,… and yet Noon then proceeds to argue that, in fact, according to Stephen’s interpretation, the terms ought to be reversed… *—that first the object is seen as a thing (integritas) and then as one thing (consonantia). …

 

—Whilst this reversal may indeed be more ‘Thomistically accurate’ (—according to Noon’s own definition (—?)), it doesn’t accord with Stephen’s definition of the process of artistic apprehension.

 

 

*—According to Stephen’s interpretation, the object is first extracted from quotidian experience and is revealed for the first time to be one thing.

 

—The object’s having been revealed as onething, distinct against the background or ‘void’ of all else in quotidian consciousness, allows, secondly, for the revelation of its properties and of their relationship to each other.

 

For the first time the object is experienced as a thing,—a complex, organised and harmonious whole, comprised of its parts.

 

 

*—Though this may very well be—‘Thomistically inaccurate’ (—in strictly Thomist terms) as Noon seeks to claim,… I’d maintain that Stephen is right (—is correct) according to his own terms, in defining the progression from integritas to consonantia. …

 

*—In its ‘synthesis’,—the object is distinguished negatively(—from-against all that which it is not…). …

 

—This differentiation allows the observer to analyse the object for the first time as ‘a thing’,—extracted from quotidian experience. …

 

 

*Having thus been revealed in isolation and (then, subsequently) examined,… —the object must now fulfil the criterion of the ‘third quality’ of beauty, or, in the terms of Portrait, both the object and the artist are enabled to pass into the third phase of ‘artistic apprehension,’ which Stephen, in both texts, following Aquinas’s terminology identifies as ‘claritas’…

claritas

 

In Stephen Hero,—Stephen argues that, following the stages of ‘synthesis’ and ‘analysis’, the apprehending subject now proceeds to make ‘the only logically possible synthesis’…

 

 

*—Having revealed the object as one thing, and subsequently as a complex whole comprised of various qualities and parts in a harmonious relation, ‘the mind’ of the apprehending subject now takes the, for Stephen, necessary step of ‘synthesising’ these two stages. …

 

 

*—This occurs when the ‘parts’ of the object ‘are adjusted to the special point’ which he dubs *—‘exquisite’. …

 

 

—Combining the consciousness of the object as one thing and as (a) complex, Stephen argues,… —allows the apprehending subject for the first time to ‘recognise’ the object. …

 

 

*—In the synthesis of these two stages the parts of the object are adjusted in-within consciousness to reveal an uncommon completeness and high degree of perfection, previously repressed or overlooked in-within quotidian experience.

 

 

*… —By interpreting Aquinas’s claritas as ‘radiance,’ and omitting the qualification in the Summa Theologica of the application of this term to the object’s brightness or colour, Stephen aims to express, I would argue, the concept of the object’s becoming a lens—a medium (of sorts)… —through which its ‘essence’, then, (sic)—*shines forth. …

 

 

*—The interpretation of claritas as ‘radiance’ only goes so far as to identify the fact of the shining forth, however, and can’t name, or describe, what is shown forth within (or, rather—through) this—‘radiance’. …

 

 

*—Stephen solves this problem by identifying claritas with quidditas

*—‘we recognise that it is that thing which it is. Its soul, its whatness, leaps to us from the vestment of its appearance’.

 

 

*—In claritas, the… —‘whatness’ (the—quidditas-quiddity) of the object is revealed.[4]

 

 

*—For Stephen, quidditas is the content of claritas and claritas, in turn, is the means by which the quidditas of the object is revealed. …

 

*—This is the moment that Stephen, in Stephen Hero, names-dubs—‘epiphany’. …

 

 

*… —The object is extracted from quotidian consciousness and its previously repressed or overlooked quiddity—‘that thing which it is’—‘leaps’ from the ‘vestment’ of this (former) appearance, in which it had been shrouded, and the object ‘achieves’ its epiphany. …

 

 

*—The ‘epiphany’, then, constitutes the revelation of the quiddity of the object, precipitated by a chance coincidence of a change or exquisite arrangement in the disposition of the object with a concomitant change in the disposition of the observer. That is—it is an objective as well as a psychological event. …

 

And this same process, I’d argue, is at stake within Portrait. … —

 

 

*—Furnishing Lynch with the example of the butcher’s boy’s basket, Stephen summarises the first two phases of ‘artistic apprehension’:

*—‘When you have apprehended the basket as one thing and have then analysed it according to its form and apprehended it as a thing you make the only synthesis which logically and esthetically permissible.’ (231)

 

 

First, the object is extracted from quotidian experience and apprehended as ‘one thing’ (integritas).

 

Just as in Stephen’s interpretation in Stephen Hero,this revelation of the object as one thing allows the subject to apprehend the object as ‘a thing’—‘complex, multiple, divisible, separable’. …

 

*Stephen dubs this the ‘analysis’ of the object,… *—‘according to its form’. …

 

 

*—The object is now seen to be the result of the harmonious relationship of its parts (consonantia).

 

 

—Just as in Stephen Hero, in Portrait, Stephen argues that the apprehending subject completes the process of ‘artistic apprehension’ by synthesising the ‘phases’ of integritas and consonantia. …

 

*—The revelation of the object as one thing through the drawing of a boundary line extracting it from quotidian consciousness is now synthesised with the revelation of the object as a thing constituted by the harmonious proportion and relationship of its parts to which, for Stephen, this first revelation inevitably gave rise.

 

*—The synthesis of these two ‘phases’ precipitates the revelation of the quiddity of the object:

*—‘You see that it is that thing which it is and no other thing’. *(—Cf. SH [—218]… *—‘it is that thing which it is’. …).

 

 

Again, for Stephen, the meaning of Aquinas’s claritas is quidditas… *—‘The radiance of which he speaks is the scholastic quidditas, the whatness of a thing’. …

 

*—The ‘radiance’ of the object is the *becoming visible of the quiddity of the object. …

 

*(and, as a side note and an interesting foil, I’d argue here that the *recognition of the object in Stephen’s aesthetic theory, stands in stark contrast to other accounts of defamiliarisation to which it might, otherwise, be (simply-straightforwardly) compared. …

 

*An example. … —

 

—At least according to Benjamin Sher’s recent translation, Viktor Shklovsky’s account of art’s purpose to ‘estrange’ the reader/observer from objects (—to defamiliarise objects,—the better to see them, as if for the first time) *(—Shklovsky’s Formalism exerted a significant influence on Brecht and his concept of ‘alienation’…), distinguishes *(at least, seems to distinguish) between this new (form of) seeing and the (mere) ‘recognition’ of the object *(—its having been lost in-to the complacency—the familiarity—of quotidian consciousness, according to the terms of Stephen’s account, which I’ve attempted to outline here…). …

*(—See Viktor Shklovsky,—‘Art as Device’, in Theory of Prose, trans. Sher, [—Introduction Gerald L. Bruns] [Illinois: Dalkey Archive Press, 1991], 1-14 *[—esp. 10]. …)

 

*By contrast, I’d argue that, in Stephen’s account, the… new seeing *(—new, epistemological, act-form) represents, precisely, the recognition of the object.—(as if) for the first time…

 

 

—the object’s having been lost constitutes, not a simple-straightforward ‘recognition’ (as Sher’s translation of Shklovsky explicitly states), but, in fact, the revelation of a previous *inattention to the object… —an assumed recognition of the object (if you will) as simply (—a having taken for)another, easily dismissed fragment of the furniture in-of the quotidian. …

 

*—recognition of the object (—as object), pulls-tears it from the oblivion of this complacency-assumed recognition. … *—defamiliarises (—in Shklovsky’s terms—‘estranges’) the object (—the observer from the object), and inaugurates a new seeing (—epistemology)… ).

 

 

*In both texts, the definition of the third ‘quality’ of beauty or ‘phase of artistic apprehension’, then, revolves, for Stephen, around the problem of interpreting Aquinas’s ‘figurative’ and, according to Stephen, ‘inexact’ term, claritas. …

 

 

*—Noon argues that ‘Stephen is correct in describing it as a synthesis of integritas and consonantia.’ (Noon, Joyce and Aquinas, 51)

 

He does, however, offer a qualification of his confirmation of Stephen’s conformity to orthodox Thomist interpretation:

With the usual reminder that Aquinas presents this third quality of the beautiful as an existential property in the object rather than as a “stage” or “phase” of the mind’s own act of knowing, most Thomists would probably agree that in the main Stephen gives at this point the most satisfactory interpretation of Aquinas’ thought. (49)

 

Noon is wrong, I think, to reduce—to limit—Stephen’s interpretation of claritas to a ‘“phase” of the mind’s own act of knowing’. …

 

*—In line with my own reading of the ‘epiphany’ in Stephen Hero,… —whilst the process of ‘artistic apprehension’ outlined in Portrait doesn’t incur any change in (—within) the object itself,… it still relies, nevertheless, upon an initial and fundamental change in the disposition of the object, coinciding with a change in the disposition of the apprehending subject. …

 

—Just as was the case with the ‘epiphany’ in Stephen Hero, ‘artistic apprehension,’ constitutes botha psychological andan ‘objective’ process. …

*(—a coincidence which initiates a new epistemological act… (—?). …).

 

 

Nevertheless, it’s important to take Noon’s claim that Stephen’s interpretation of claritas as the synthesis of integritas and consonantia conforms to orthodox Thomism into account in assessing the relationship of the aesthetic theory to Thomism. …

 

—In contrast to Noon, Beebe argues that, in both texts (—with an especial focus on the latter), Stephen’s interpretation ‘sharply diverges from the orthodox interpretations’ of claritas. (—Beebe, ‘Joyce and Aquinas: The Theory of Aesthetics’, 284)

 

He cites the neo-Thomist ‘attitude’ of Herbert Ellsworth Cory…

—‘Just what claritas meant to St. Thomas we may gather from his account of what the glorified human body will be after its resurrection. The glory of the soul, already in heaven, will glow through its restored body and make it splendid.’

*(—Herbert Ellsworth Cory, The Significance of Beauty in Nature and Art [Milwaukee: Bruce Publishing Co, 1948], 227. Beebe, 285-286.

*—See Eco, The Aesthetics of Thomas Aquinas, 104, where he refers claritas to Christ’s transfigured body, and to—‘objects when they are renewed at the end of time.’ (Emph added.—Cf. 117…).) …

 

*—For Beebe, following Cory, the meaning of claritas can be ascertained by reference to Aquinas’s account of how the glory of the redeemed human soul will radiate from its resurrected body at the end of history.

 

Beebe joins Cory in rejecting what Cory argues is Joyce’s reduction of claritas ‘to a sort of metaphorical materialistic sentimentality’, in its application to objects of quotidian experience. (Cf. Cory, 227)

 

 

*In fact, I want to argue, this supposed ‘reduction’, constitutes Joyce’s *ironic appropriation of the orthodox meaning of claritas as the radiance of the resurrected body. …

 

 

*—The coincidence which wrenches the object from being (its having been) lost in-to the complacency of quotidian consciousness, and which reveals its previously repressed quiddity, constitutes its ‘glorification’ after its… —‘resurrection’ in-for consciousness: *—the object’s… glowing (‘radiance’) through its ‘restored body’. … *(… —Cf. Portrait,—whereStephen describes the role of the artist as that of ‘a priest of the eternal imagination, transmuting the daily bread of life into the radiant body of everliving life.’ *[—240]…)

 

—This is ironic and not ‘metaphorical’. …

 

Still less is it—‘sentimental’. …

 

… —It’s ‘objective’, insofar as it concerns an event within quotidian consciousness, but is in no sense—‘materialistic’

*(—no ontological priority is granted to matter here, it seems to me…). …

 

 

*—Though the apparently simple terms of this radiant clarity thus, in line with Noon’s assertion, can be seen correspond to an ‘orthodox Thomism’,… —the irony with which Stephen appropriates claritas, I’d argue,precludes any attempt at an orthodox redemption of his interpretation. …

(hmm).

 

 

—Crucial to an understanding of this ironic appropriation of claritas is Stephen’s equation of it with quidditas.[5]

 

Whilst Beebe is right, I think, to argue that through this equation Joyce sought to ‘avoid the spiritual connotation’ of claritas,… *—the invocation of quidditas doesn’t form, as Beebe claims, a substitution for claritas but, rather,—a qualification. (Beebe, ‘Joyce and Aquinas: The Theory of Aesthetics,’ 285) …

 

Beebe, I’d argue, fails to register the implicit irony of Stephen’s appropriation of Aquinas, and this failure serves to undermine his subsequent claim that Joyce ‘confuses’ quidditas (—‘which in scholastic philosophy means specific essence’) with the scholastic ‘haecœitas, individual thisness’. …

 

*This represents, not the ‘confusion’ of quidditas with haecœitas, but a deliberate conflation on the part of Stephen of his conception of radiance as revelation with the ‘scholastic haecœitas’… —‘individual thisness’. …

 

 

Noon also argues that Stephen’s equation of claritas and quidditas, would have been better rendered as ‘haecceitas’ referring specifically to the philosophy of Duns Scotus. (—Cf. Joyce and Aquinas, 51, 72)

 

Both Beebe’s and Noon’s respective criticisms of Stephen’s aesthetic theory, however, assess only the—orthodoxy of the Thomism of Stephen’s interpretation. …

 

*Neither essentially assesses it according to its own criteria. …

 

—To do so reveals the ironic, subversive relationship of the aesthetic theory of Stephen Hero and Portrait to their (mutual) Thomist source.

 

 

*—For Noon,… —the use of quidditas in Portrait is tied to the development therein of a realist aesthetic, concerned specifically with the nature of the poem and of the poetic, developed in relation to (and, he argues, as a stark rejection of) Romantic and Symbolist poetry. …

 

Noon argues that Aquinas employed the concepts of integritas, consonantia, and claritas to refer to existential qualities of the object rather than to moments or ‘phases’ of the (poet’s) psychological experience of the object.

 

—As a direct result of this qualification he proceeds to argue that Stephen’s equation of claritas and quidditas is ‘questionable’. …

 

 

*From the perspective of orthodox Thomist interpretation, quidditas, Noon argues, is dependent upon a ‘“real” (or actual)’ distinctionbetween the existence of the object itself and that of its essence, rather than, as Noon argues is the case for Stephen, a purely ‘“rational” (or notional)’ distinction. (49) …

 

*The difference between an object and its essence, for orthodox Thomists, then (from a… Noonian point of view) is a real, existential difference. …

 

—For Stephen, on the contrary, according to Noon, the difference is merely a psychological one concerning the experience of the object. …

 

 

—If his objection to Stephen’s interpretation of quidditas is understood to rest on the conclusion that the interpretation of quidditas is purely psychological and precludes its application to the qualities of the object, then Noon can be shown to be mistaken.

 

He himself argues that Stephen ‘places his emphasis on the quiddity or essence as actuated, as “existential”’. (Ibid.)

 

Although he may indeed be right that Stephen’s equation of claritas and quidditas deviates from orthodox Thomism, in Stephen’s exposition of the ‘phases of artistic apprehension,’ just as in the earlier definition of the qualities of beauty and the ‘epiphany’ in Stephen Hero,—the process of the revelation of the quiddity of the object requires not only a notional or psychological change in the observer, but also a corresponding change in the disposition of the object. …

 

In Portrait the ‘“real” (or actual)’ and the ‘“rational (or notional)’ are fundamentally intertwined. ‘Artistic apprehension’ is an objective as well as a psychological process. *(—Stephen Hero… *—‘the object achieves its epiphany’. … —‘achieves its epiphany’… ).

 

*Stephen’s proposed syntheses of claritas and quidditas in the revelation of the quiddity of the object in both Stephen Hero and Portrait are identical.

 

 

*—In Stephen Hero, Stephen’s statement of his equation of claritas and quidditas is made in a short, sharp exclamatory ejaculation and then, apparently (—to all intents and purposes),—dropped

 

*Or, rather, the equation of claritas and quidditas is subsumed by-into the definition of the ‘epiphany’. …

 

*… —In that Stephen’s definition of the qualities – of – beauty follows directly on from his first reference to the epiphany as a… *‘spiritual manifestation’ (—sic), it’s clear that his interpretation of Aquinas paves the way for the definition of ‘epiphany’. (216-219) …

 

Indeed, I’d say that the definition of the ‘epiphany’ remains vague until Stephen provides his exegesis of Aquinas. …

 

… —This follows so hard upon the first reference to epiphany that in the space of a paragraph Stephen is transported suddenly through space and time south through the city from Eccles Street to the Ballast Office in order to expound his theory to Cranly.

*(SH, 216.—On this, see Ian Crump,—‘Refining Himself out of Existence: The Evolution of Joyce’s Eesthetic Theory and the Drafts of Portrait’, in Cheng and Martin, eds., Joyce in Context [Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992], 223-240 *[—233]… ).

 

 

The most significant difference between the two texts is that in Portrait the ‘synthesis’ is not solely that which is ‘logically possible,’ as it was in Stephen Hero,but becomes ‘the only synthesis which is logically and esthetically permissible’. …

 

*—The synthesis of claritas and quidditas in Portrait concerns *the process of the creation of a work of art

quidditas

 

*—The ‘exquisite’ relation of the parts of the object is replaced by the artist’s—‘feeling’. …

 

The ‘recognition’ of the apprehending subject (… —the (awkward) ‘we’ of Stephen Hero…), is supplanted by the experience of inspiration of (or for) the artist. …

 

*That is,… —The… —*intuition (to… borrow the term in its Nietzschean-Bergsonian sense) of the quiddity of the object and the ‘supreme quality’ of beauty becomes the inspiration for the creation of art. …

 

*—The ‘leap’ of the essence of the object (—in-of Stephen Hero)becomes (—is incorporated into)the formation of the (—‘esthetic’) image in the artist’s imagination in Portrait. …

 

 

*The ‘esthetic image’, then, represents the refining of the earlier ‘epiphany’, from a concept applied to general experience and still explicitly loaded with religious (and metaphysical) —baggage,… to one concerned specifically with artistic inspiration and creation *(—with art). …

 

*—This in stark contrast to Sam Slote’s argument in ‘Epiphanic “Proteus”’ (—in his review of the Joyce manuscripts acquired by the National Library of Ireland in 2002)—that, in Portrait,…

*—‘Stephen’s argument elides the key-word “epiphany” and, instead replaces it with the more redoubtably Thomistic term claritas.’ (—hmm…)

(—Sam Slote, ‘Epiphanic “Proteus”’, Genetic Joyce Studies, 5 [2005], *[—accessed 10th March, 2014]… ).

 

*Claritas is already obviously a crucial (and unavoidable) element of Stephen’s ironic appropriation of Aquinas in Stephen Hero, and I’d argue that it’s the case that it’s the (‘esthetic’) image that takes the place of the ‘epiphany’. …

 

 

*Portrait is not, then, as Hugh Kenner argues, simply ‘drastically pruned’ of ‘key doctrines’ (—sic), such as the ‘epiphany’.

(—‘The Portrait in Perspective’, in Seon Givens, ed., James Joyce: Two Decades of Criticism [New York: Vanguard, 1948], 132-174 *[—154].—See Noon, 65) …

 

Neither is it ‘curious,’ as Noon argues, that the term disappears in the later text, when he misreads the ‘esthetic image’ as being solely bound to integritas. (—Noon, 65, 44.)

 

 

*—The (‘esthetic’) image, then, retains the structure—the *shape—of the ‘epiphany’,… —developing from a foundation in an ironic appropriation of Aquinas’s concept of beauty. …

 

*… —The coincidence *(—co-incidence) of a change in the disposition of the observer—the artist—with a (concomitant) change in the disposition of the object-thing *(become, here, *—model), in which what-the-object-had-been-taken-to-be (that is,… —the apparent object-complacent), is undone… and the artist’s consciousness-perception of the object, as well as their own ‘self’-perception *(—the ‘self’ as-had-taken-it-to-be) undergo an ironic inversion (—bathetic.—bathos),—suddenly, spontaneously, and involuntarily revealing a, previously repressed (/latent), psychic (—psychological) content, and thus bringing about a fundamental change in consciousness. …

 

*—the quiddity (quidditas) of the object (—for the artist) is illuminated-revealed (—claritas. …

 

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

 

 

*—In Portrait, the experience of ‘beauty’ in general consciousness of Stephen Hero is refined, and focussed into an analysis of the conditions of ‘artistic apprehension’, *—artistic inspiration and the creation of the artwork. …

 

 

—Building on my argument for an appreciation (sic) of the Romantic–anti-Romanticism in-of Nietzsche’s Birth,—I want to move on, in the second part of this (particular) string-thread of fragments here, to argue that, in its final stage in Portrait,Stephen’s analysis constitutes an ironic appropriation of the terms of Romantic accounts of artistic inspiration,—specifically that of Percy Bysshe Shelley in A Defence of Poetry

 

—I’ll argue that this final stage represents the incorporation and refinement of the earlier opposition between the ‘classical’ and the ‘romantic’ artistic ‘tempers’, and privileging of the ‘classical’ in the ‘Art and Life’ paper in Stephen Hero.

(—For the paper, see SH, 44 and 81-85 *(—for Stephen’s comments on the ‘artistic process’,… —see 175-176). …)

 

The (‘esthetic’) ‘image’ here, then, represents an attempt to forge a new trajectory for the legacy of Romanticism through a rejection of the aesthetics and metaphysics of late-Romanticism, in particular that of W.B. Yeats.

 

*—I’ll argue that Stephen’s ironic appropriation of the terms of Romantic aesthetics and metaphysics lies at the heart of an attempt to forge an anti-Romantic ‘classical’ aesthetic.

 

 

[1] Of the original seventy fragments that Joyce recorded during this period, forty survive. …

—Twenty-two are housed in a collection at the Lockwood Memorial Library at the University of Buffalo. —These were published by O. A. Silverman in 1956, in a limited run of five hundred and fifty, of which five hundred were sold. *—James Joyce, Epiphanies, Introduction and Notes O. A. Silverman (New York: University of Buffalo, 1956). …

—A further eighteen are held in the Cornell University Joyce Collection (—see Robert Scholes, Florence L. Walzl, ‘The Epiphanies of Joyce,’ 152).

 

 

—In 1965 Robert Scholes and Richard M. Kain reproduced all forty extant epiphanies, along with notes in Robert Scholes, Richard M. Kain, ed., The Workshop of Daedalus: James Joyce and the Raw Materials for Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, (Evanston Illinois: Northwestern University Press, 1965), 11-51, and again with an introduction by A. Walton Litz, and John Whittier-Ferguson in James Joyce, Poems and Shorter Writings, ed. Richard Ellmann, A. Walton Litz, and John Whittier-Ferguson, (London: Faber and Faber, 1991), 155-200. *(hereafter: Shorter WritingsSW).

[2] Stanislaus Joyce, My Brother’s Keeper, ed. Richard Ellmann, ‘Preface’ by T.S. Eliot (London: Faber and Faber, 1982), 134-135 (see also, 144-145, 226-227, 231, 247, 251).—See also Scholes and Kain, The Workshop of Daedalus, 8-9.

[3] Robert Scholes and Florence L. Walzl, ‘The Epiphanies of Joyce’, PMLA, 82 (1967), 152-154 (152). See also, Scholes, Scholes, Robert, ‘Joyce and the Epiphany: The Key to the Labyrinth?’, Sewanee Review, 72 (1964), 65-77. repr. in Philip Brady and James F. Carens, eds., Critical Essays on James Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. (London: Prentice Hall International, 1998) 27-35.

[4] On quidditas as ‘whatness’, see Eleonore Stump, Aquinas (London: Routledge, 2003), 261.

 

—Stump argues that, for Aquinas, quiddity is linked to sense and the intellect.

 

The proper objects of sense—‘proper sensibles’—are ‘non-propositional objects apprehended by one or another sense faculty.’ Insofar as sense is related to its proper objects it is not deceived. (232-233)

 

In the same way the quiddity of the material thing forms the proper object of the intellect: ‘The proper object of the intellect is the quiddity of a thing. And so as regards the quiddity of a thing, considered just as such, the intellect is not mistaken.’ (Aquinas, ST Ia.85.6. Stump, 233)

 

Stump argues that the intellect arrives at knowledge of the quiddity of the material thing through a process of abstraction from phantasms: ‘The process of abstraction is a matter of removing or ignoring the many material accidents of a thing as preserved in the phantasm and focussing instead just on the thing’s quiddity.’ (264)

 

For Aquinas, according to Stump, quiddity means ‘that form of a thing that put it into one rather than another species or genus, its nature or essence.’ (Ibid.) Natures ‘do not exist in the world on their own; in the world they exist only as incorporated into the things that have natures’. (Ibid.) See also, 270-271.

[5] Eco quotes the passage from Portrait and argues that Stephen’s identification of claritas and quidditas is ‘felicitous’ (?) in its paying credence both to the interpretation of claritas as ‘the appearance of universal value embodied in the individual’ (—‘an organism signifies the universal which gives it life’), to the organism’s (the individual’s) signifying ‘itself, in its combination of universality with contingency, in the reality of its concrete form’, and to Eco’s own definition of quidditas as ‘substance’, to which I wish to return at the close of the current chapter-thread. … *—Cf. The Aesthetics of Thomas Aquinas, 120n (252-253).

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

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

 

*(the… —crux. …).

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

So, …

 

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

 

 

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

 

*And so,…

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

*(… (hmm)…

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Nietzsche seeks to overcome this opposition:

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

 

 

(hmm).

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

music

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

*—And this is the birth of tragedy.

 

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

 

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

 

*For Nietzsche, then, Archilochus,—…

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

*—from within themselves. …

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 *(—the fold. …)

 

* —

the fold (ii)

 

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

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

[. …]

*—

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

*—coupled-conjoined.(—co-exist…).

 

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

 

 

*—the ironic revivification of pathos.

 

—from… without. … —outwith that pathos…

 

—feeling without feeling. …

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

*(—the ‘musical mood’…).

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

*(between the sublime and sarcasm. …)

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 *—Lethe/Eunoë.

 …

 

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

 

(hmm).

 

 

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

 

 

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

*(—see Sallis, Crossings, 1-2, 5)…

 

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

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

Light as a shuttle o’er the water went.

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

The blissful brink, so sweetly as to drown

Power to recall […—]

Then drew me forth and led me, washed and clean

*(—‘CANTO XXXI’, ll.94-103 [317-318).

 

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

 

However,…

 

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

 

Here I protested: “But I can’t recall

That ever I estranged myself from you;

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

“And if thou hast forgotten it – go to,

Remember” – she was smiling as she spoke –

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

It is, if fire may be inferred from smoke,

From this oblivion we may well adduce

Proof of thy guilt – false will and fealty broke.

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

*—the space left behind. …

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

 

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

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

 

 

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

 

Look, flowing yonder, there is Eunoë;

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

Restore his fainting powers’ vitality.

 […—]

From those most holy waters, born anew

I came, like trees by change of calendars

Renewed with new-sprung foliage though and through,

Pure and prepared to leap up to the stars.

*(ll.127-129,—142-145 [334-335]).

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

(—that state… —persists).

 

However,…

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

*—Art is both necessary, and inevitable. …

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

(indeed. …)

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

*So then,…

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[15] Staten, Nietzsche’s Voices, 187

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

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

*—the ‘core’. …

 *and so, then, … (hmm).

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

none-the-less. … (why not?)

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

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

 

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

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

  

*JANUS. …

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

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

the sublime.

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

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

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

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

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

… —I remember,—…

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

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

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

*—reading ‘The Unhappy Consciousness’…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*… —JANUS.

JANUS (gods-abyss)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

and so,…

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

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

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

*            *            *

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

 

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

*On ‘purgation’, and the Dionysian sublime…

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

*—the end of history.

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

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

…).

 

*            *            *

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

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

(hmm).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*—modes of the sublime.[5]

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

*and so,…

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

*—the incorporation of the experience of purgation. …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*On the ‘Undivided Continuity of States’.—’intuition’ in Bergson & Nietzsche…

*(follows on from ‘Intuition, Flux, & Anti-metaphysics’…).

*On the Undivided Continuity of States. …
—on the ‘primal unity’ &(/as)—‘duration’…

—‘analysis’ & ‘duration’.
(—Bergson & ‘On Truth’…).

 

 *In An Introduction to Metaphysics (of 1903), Henri Bergson offers a clear, concise, and apt summary of the distinction between ‘analysis’ (—the conceptual) and ‘intuition’, which he had established in his earlier works (Time and Free Will,—Matter and Memory, (etc.)…)…—

By intuition is meant the kind of intellectual sympathy by which one places oneself within an object in order to coincide with what is unique in it and consequently inexpressible. Analysis, on the contrary, is the operation which reduces the object to elements already known, that is, to elements common both to it and other objects.[1]

so,…

—‘analysis,’ Bergson argues, breaks its object down into parts (—‘elements’) corresponding to pre-existing concepts in which it participates (is made to participate) with other objects. …

*—it strikes me that these terms very closely echo—perhaps in a way not identified before and most certainly not dwelt upon in work on the similarities between Nietzsche and Bergson—Nietzsche’s critique of language, the intellect, and the conceptual in ‘On Truth’, and, in particular here, Nietzsche’s critique of the formation of the ‘Platonic’ concept of the ‘leaf’, which was formed, he argued, by discarding the differences between individual leaves: the awakening of the ‘idea’ that, ‘in addition to the leaves’, there exists in ‘nature’—‘the leaf’.’[2]

—(the process of) ‘analysis’, then, reduces the thing (—its object) to these constituent elements and to their conceptual correspondences.

—by contrast, Bergson wishes to promote the method of ‘intuition,’ which—as it did for Nietzsche in ‘On Truth’—aims to shatter the reduction of its object to pre-existing conceptual prejudices, and to place the observer back into (in closer proximity to) an original state of disinterested, non-conceptual receptivity *(—‘intellectual sympathy’). …

… —in terms which I will argue echo Nietzsche’s appropriation of Schopenhauer’s principle of individuation (principium individuationis) in Birth, beneath the hardened veneer of the fragmented and atomised spatio-temporal realm of the concepts—the ‘crust solidified on the surface’ of experience (cf. Bergson, IM, 25)—Bergson identifies ‘one reality […] which we all seize from within, by intuition and not simply by analysis. It is our own personality in its flowing through time—our self which endures.’ (24) …

—Beneath the artificially differentiated, atomistic experience of things in conceptual space, and of moments in conceptual time, Bergson argues, subsists a foundation of undifferentiated states which he calls *‘duration’ (—durée):

‘beneath these sharply cut crystals and this frozen surface, a continuous flux which is not comparable to any flux I have ever seen. There is a succession of states, each of which announces that which follows and contains that which precedes it.’ (25)

—Duration constitutes ‘one reality,’ seemingly paradoxically comprised of a continual flux of successive ‘states’. …

We are originally made aware of this flux, according to Bergson, through our consciousness of our own personality (internal intuition) and (then, subsequently) extend the principle to the outer phenomena of perception (external intuition).

—apparently autonomous, these… states nonetheless interpenetrate, containing all those states which precede them and unfolding ineluctably into all those which are to follow.

The ‘states’ of duration constitute neither a simple multiplicity, nor a simple unity, but, ‘instead of being distinct, as they are in any other [comparable form of] multiplicity, encroach upon one another.’ (30)—They constitute ‘a continuity of elements which prolong themselves into one another’,—a continuity which ‘participates in unity as much as in multiplicity; but this moving, changing, colored, living unity has hardly anything in common with the abstract, motionless, and empty unity which the concept of pure unity circumscribes.’(30-31)[3]

*—the flux of duration represents an undivided continuity of states’. …

It is the undivided continuity of this flux which the concepts rend asunder through the imposition of artistically projected individuated forms:

Pure intuition, external or internal, is that of an undivided continuity. We break up this continuity in the one case to distinct words, in the other to independent objects. But, just because we have thus broken the unity of our original intuition, we feel ourselves obliged to establish between the served terms a bond which can only be external and superadded.[4]

The concepts are generated through the formation and false hypostatisation of words (an echo of the formation of language in ‘On Truth’) and of independent objects. Once fragmented, for any form of discourse to be possible, it becomes necessary, Bergson argues, to artificially form bonds between the severed entities. This is the role of ‘analysis’. (—cf. CE, 4)

For Bergson, these bonds, whatever their use value (for language and for action), can in no way afford access to the underlying flux, but are, and must remain, external epiphenomena.

(and, again,—this echoes Nietzsche’s critique of the conceptual quasi-Platonic prostheses to experience in ‘On Truth’…).

 

*the ‘Limits of the diaphane’. …
—on the fragments in-of space & the atoms in-of time.

 

Ineluctable modality of the visible: at least that if no more, thought through my eyes. Signatures of all things I am here to read, seapspawn and seawrack, the nearing tide, that rusty boot. Snotgreen, bluesilver, rust: coloured signs. Limits of the diaphane.

*(—Joyce, Ulysses, ed. Seamus Deane (London: Penguin, 1992).
—‘Proteus’, 45).

Bergson, then, is concerned with the limits of perception. …

*… (that is)—with the limits of what can be perceived—and be known—within or through the constraints of language and of the intellect,…

—his critique of ‘analysis’ and of the concepts of the intellect, echoes Nietzsche’s sarcastic ‘fable’ on the conceit of the intellect, in ‘On Truth’. … —

how miserable, how shadowy and transient, how aimless and arbitrary the human intellect looks within nature. There were eternities during which it did not exist. And when it is all over with the human intellect, nothing will have happened. For this intellect has no additional mission which would lead it beyond human life. (114)

*Bergson’s key concern, of course, is time, and, in particular, the occlusion of the flux of duration in the formation of our conceptual experience of time. …

—of all that is, in essence, lost in-of time in the formation of the atoms of—(everyday) ‘clock-time’. …

—Bergson is concerned primarily with the nature of the perception of time, and, by extension, the effect of this on the perception of things in time.

*in order to—(what?)… —to unpack all that I think is at stake in Bergson’s conception of time, and thus, of course, by the terms of the parallel I’ve established, in Nietzsche’s,—I want to perform a sort of an experiment here. …

*—I want to read two short films, posted online, on the YouTube channel of *THE SLOW MO GUYS,—Gavin Free and Dan Gruchy. …

as the name suggests—Free, with the assistance of Gruchy, films often banal-everyday phenomena in slow motion using a high-definition Phantom Flex high-speed digital camera…

—their introductions to their films, choices of subject—and the channel itself—all have an irreverent, mock-juvenile charm, and yet they’re surprisingly… —beautiful,… awe-inspiring, and moving… (helped in no small part by the score which accompanies the… drop (—the fall (sic.—for want) into the slow-motion sequences). …

*in particular here, I’m interested in how little (of the world) we actually see (perceive). *(that is,—how little is seen. …). …

—how the detail—the qualities—of *(apparently) whole-discrete, persisting things, changes, and the (what?)… —the elevation (sic) of the (again,—apparently) banal,—dull,… —known, to (the status of)—the *sublime (I suppose) in an alteration in-to the perception of time.

*—I want to focus on two films: ‘Molotov Cocktail in Slow Motion’, and ‘Paint Exploding at 15,000fps’

(though I also recommend, particularly: ‘Exploding Lighters in Slow Motion’, ‘Popping Popcorn in super Slow Motion’, and ‘Paint on a Speaker at 2500fps’…).

*(and so, then. … —a note-disclaimer: …

—all this will have been-is meant, in a sense, to be read alongside those video-posts themselves). …

 

 

*—on ‘Molotov Cocktails in Slow Motion’:

*in time as seen in (-of) the everyday (—perceived). …

—(only ever seen as) a (sudden) burst. …

—a flash. (—of light). …

—the fire. moves—like liquid. (water).—spreads-unfolds like a molten wave (—waves).—points,—channels(-cones) (from the core.—blossoming back in bursting plumes.—into themselves…). spreads, in a burst.—swells. (throbs-pulses melting-clouded).—billows. … (and rolls).—dark (in-at the core).—undulates… to bright (a light yellow-white) at the edges (crest.—the cusp) of waves—through deep (dark) (earthy) orange. …

—can see it. in… forms (separate) shapes. elements. … *(—not seen in the fast quotidian.—(absorbed.—lost in a) flash).

and moves in (isolated,—overlapping) waves… —folds. (creased). … —back-in-through itself.

and—darkens (not sudden.—no-not fades…). *—moves from-through light (bright, electric, intense) to dark (cloudy-molten), before exhausting. …

—takes on the form (as it consumes) of the liquid burning (—as it moves)… *(—not separate: a liquid that then burns-is burning.—a simultaneity-continuity (of liquid–flame) undifferentiated. …). (melts). undulates. aqueous.

beautiful (—stunning …).

*on ‘Paint Exploding at 15,000fps’. …

. —yellow, orange, red,—blue, green, purple. (small bottles.—ranged in a rack)…

(with fire-crackers.—to explode. in a row—a sequence…).

yellow.

—paint spurts. in curling lines and tendrils (drops), then rises,—in a ribbon (flowing in undulat waves.—like fabric.—a viscous membrane).—in (slow, heavy) folds (and creases)—tears at the edges.—up.—into a… cloud (of particles). (—a shape (—ragged)). breaking(-ripped).

and continues (flows)… —distends… —into a thinner ribbon (narrow). and lights (from withinside) with a bright, hot light (of fire—bursting (intense)…).—in bright pulses. with small light sparks. (light seems to darken-dull the paint’s colour). …

and shoots off (tears), into sharp line-ribboned tendrils. …

*(the bottles fall…).

red.

explodes.

bright white ragged light (—to yellow). with (viscous) rays and ribbons (—rivulets) of (deep, dark) red…

(—carried. out. on the crest (the cusp) of the wave—riding-bursting out—of light (—pushed-forced)…).

—and droplets (thick). …

(—lit by the fire, burning—pink-orange. …).

—light tears-shatters into (burning) fragment-pieces.

—the… fabric of the paint tears (from withinside).—torn membrane (pieces). (shapes—sharp-edged)…

still white burning droplets. …

and twisting globules—out. ….

expands (and disappears). …

and blue.

bursts.—a spurt.—a jet. (of tendrils-droplets). …

—a plume of hot light folded into.

(white burning spark-droplets)—fizzles. …

green.

explodes. … out.—into-in two (thin) dark arcing waves (folding over into themselves—pleated. curved (—a crease).). undulat (—distend). unfolding (roll). …

bright core of (electric seeming—generat) white light (intense). in liquid-fabric (viscous membrane) waves (a film (skin).—surging plumes)…

and tear. … —into ragged liquid membrane limbs-tendrils (a star—shaped). …

(—linked by tenuous tenril-ribbons—strands.

—heavy mass at the explosion’s crest (outmost).

—traces the circle (the ring) of the wave. …).

and tear (fly off) (—a release). (dissipation). …

purple.

in a pulse. spits.—forces out the white, electric glowing burst of burning.

(electric droplets. spray—like sparks)…

—a jet (thick) thin (—a slicing line)…

orange.

explodes.—in a heavy, thin, curling (torn) ribbon. …

*(a new line (of bottles)… —purple, orange, blue, yellow, green, red. (—ranged in a rack).).

 

purple.

small pulse of liquid. burst.

shower of spark-droplets. …

(a burst of electric light—white, through yellow-pale to darker (heavier) orange.—at its heart (in-at the bottle’s neck).

light in purple, in-at the bottle-top. …

—plume of dark paint (long.—thin)…

orange.

a burst, more substantial

(shot through with globules of white, hot light).

—a taller, thicker plume (stretched-distended.—creasing…).

blue.

erupts. … —ringed cloud-fringe pleated—a wave (heavy, dark).—thick tapering plume (creased-folded) above.

—around a bright, intense burst of white electric light… (—a shower of orange-yellow sparks) explodes out (—a ring)…

yellow.

burst. dark, thick, voluminous folds of fabric-liquid (viscous skin-membrane). tapering.

wide burst spread of hot, yellow (electric) light behind-beneath. …

bursts of sparks-droplets…

…—erupts and tears apart to fibrous tendrils…

(flashes—spherical bursts of light through).

green.

erupts.

—a thin ring (tendrilled)—the crest-event horizon (cusp) of a heavy (viscous) wave (waves.—billow heavy).

bright, sharp, hot core of light (white.—fades-darkens to deep yellow at its leading-cooling edge). …

sharp, thin, twisting-winding plume.—rises to (creased) tearing billow…

and… —evaporates (seems) in-to tiny sparks.

—a thick, jagged plume (falls-collapses). …

red.

vaporous eruption (—a cloud) around a hot, bright core (intense) of white light—obscured by torn fragments-rags of viscous.

—sharp, narrow plume tapers (above—over)…

—showers out.—in-to droplets-sparks…

and—leaves a thick winding plume…

—shoots upward (thinning,—exhausting).

and falls (a fibre-tendril—thread). …

*time.

(hmm.).

*and, so,—what is shown in time (as-slowed), then—? …

*—‘time’ as-is-seen (in the) everyday *(—broken. atomic.—measured…)… —is not, then, time (as-it-is-in) itself. …

*(—there is no time as-it-is-in itself. …).

—an alteration (alterations) in-within the perception of time (—SLOW. MO. …) reveals the arbitrariness,… —the *stupidity,—the limitlimits (limited) of ‘clock-time’ (quotidian), and the potential (—the necessity—?) of-for the retrieval of new forms from a broader (—(slightly) more comprehensive) perception (sensitivity toward-comprehension of) flux. (—behind.—beneath). …

—what we perceive—we read—as discrete things (quanta), then, (in space,—in-through-of time),… —what appear as phenomena-things,—whole, solid, discrete, (clearly) delineated… —known,… —break down, in-within time-as-slowed (drawn out, unpacked,—extended…).

(or, no,… rather: —shown never to have been the solid-known-discretions (quanta) had been taken for…).

—revealed in time-slowed as the playing out of the processes of forces-elements (—themselves can be broken down (—in infinite divisibility)…). …

—reveals qualities which (had) always inhered (sic. —were always present), but never seen (cognised) (before). …

—far more beautiful than (in) the crude unit-atoms of everyday ‘clock-time’, which are, otherwise, all that is available…

*time-slowed, then… —undoes the prejudices (conceptual) of-in time (—as thought was known). …

and closer, then,—to the continuity of interpenetrating states beneath-behind the fragments of space in-through the atoms of time, forged by the intellect (—‘analysis’),—in-from language (from words and-to concepts)…

*and this—the shattering of prejudices-conceptual (of habit-inertia)—is what, for Bergson, as it had been for Nietzsche, is at stake in ‘intuition’ (—vs. the concepts of the intellect)—as method. …

*on ‘intuition’, then,—as method. …

*Bertrand Russell very beautifully summarises what he (rightly.—why not?) calls Bergson’s ‘ingenious’ conception of the intellect and his conceptions of ‘matter’ and of ‘time’. … —

Intelligence or intellect, “as it leaves the hands of nature, has for its chief object the inorganic solid”; it can only form a clear idea of the discontinuous and immobile; its concepts are outside each other like objects in space, and have the same stability. The intellect separates in space and fixes in time; it is not made to think evolution, but to represent becoming as a series of states [. …] Solid bodies, it would seem, are something which mind has created on purpose to apply the intellect to them.

[…]

The genesis of intellect and the genesis of material bodies, we are told, are correlative; both have been developed by reciprocal adaptation. “An identical process must have cut out matter and the intellect, at the same time, from a stuff that contained both.”[5]

*—‘matter’, then (—so-called),—as a product-creation of the intellect. … —as that which falls away from duration—from-through its own inertia. …

(—frozen-carved (away.—‘Solid bodies’) from duration, in order that the intellect—that the subject (as subject) be able to function at all…).

*(and this is the same for good ol’ Fritz, I think. …

*—‘matter’,—the subject (—the ‘I’-the ‘self’),—the body (as whole-discrete)… (again)—creations of the intellect—as all that which falls away from flux. …).

indeed.

*though, to my mind, he offers what is still by far one of the most sharp and clear readings of Bergson, Russell, I think, is mistaken in the charges of ‘irrationalism’ and the anti-intellectualism, which he lays against him.[6]

Russell is too dismissive and too reductive. …

—this is a point that I want to return to when discussing readings (and misreadings) of Nietzsche’s relationship to Romanticism in my own reading of The Birth of Tragedy (in a later chapter-fragments), but… what I want to do here is this

—I think Russell’s charge of ‘irrationalism’ represents a fundamental misunderstanding of the terms of Bergson’s critique of the intellect, but in a way which is actually genuinely useful to me here and illuminating for my reading of Nietzsche…

*for Bergson, as for Nietzsche… —we are (all of us) trapped in language.—locked. in (within) the inadequacies—the limits—of language… *—of the fragments (of things) in space,… —in the atoms (in-)of ‘time. …

—for both, there can be no —complacency in (with regard to) language. …

—there must, for both, by contrast, be always a (fundamental) wariness-mistrust

*(—of the ability-capacity to ever truly say (have said) anything).

—no,… sitting still in the arbitrary, illusory, inadequate and ineluctably failing quanta (in-) of language. …

language.—as something entered into,… —not (never) as something possessed. …

(—something (sic) thrust into (into which, then, we are thrust). unavoidably.—in-volun-tarily but—necessarily. …). …

‘analysis’ (—the intellect) rends asunder the flux of the continuity of ‘states’.

*—just as for Nietzsche, in his account of the origins of language in ‘On Truth’, for Bergson language emerges as a process of metaphorical transposition:

*—from the original (sense) stimulus, through the word (—the sound), in-to the abstract concept. …

*—T.E. Hulme, in his essays-articles on Bergson’s philosophy, argues that these metaphors ‘soon run their course and die. But it is necessary to remember that when they were first used by the poets who created them they were used for the purpose of conveying over a vividly felt actual sensation.’[7]

Just as for Nietzsche, for Hulme (following Bergson) language originally emerges from a need to articulate a vividly felt sensible stimulus—an internal or external ‘intuition’. …

When this initial stimulus and artistic projection have passed, the metaphor (the word) can then, itself pass into popular usage (—becomes a concept). …

—It becomes hypostatised and its artistic origins are forgotten….

—The metaphor reaches the end of its capacity to articulate the ‘vividly felt actual sensation’ and becomes a mere ‘counter,’ akin to the pieces in a game of chequers, to be manipulated (‘moved about’) according to the demands of practical utility.[8]

*For Bergson, the aim of intuition as method is to ‘recover [the] contact with the real,’ severed in the formation of concepts and of ‘analysis,’ and to ‘restore intuition to its original purity’.[9]

Echoing Nietzsche’s claim for the necessity of the redemption of the intellect through ‘forbidden metaphors and in unheard-of combinations of concepts’ (in ‘On Truth’), Bergson argues that intuition is ‘only truly itself when it goes beyond the concept, or at least when it frees itself from rigid and ready-made concepts in order to create a kind very different from those which we habitually use.’ (Bergson, IM, 30)

—The aim of intuition, then, is, by an ‘effort,’ to break through the artificial surface of the conceptual and regain the undivided continuity of flux (duration) and what Bergson dubs ‘the intention of life’: —‘the simple movement that runs through the lines, that binds them together and gives them significance.’[10]

Bergson, and Hulme following him, dub this the *‘aesthetic intuition’, and both view art as the paragon of the attempt to lacerate the conceptual and to bring back new forms (new language, new metaphors, new images and new concepts) from the flux of duration—an (ironic) re-birth and appropriation of the intellect

*importantly, then… —rather than a form of straightforward ‘irrationalism’ or anti-intellectualism, as Russell’s reading would suggest—intuition, then, *(as method), represents an attempt (perhaps invariably ill-fated.—inevitably fails-failing), to appropriate the process of the formation of language and the concepts—the intellect (—‘analysis’).—from in-within. *—in the laceration and return. —and to revivify. …

(—to revivify language—the concepts of the intellect—and to turn to account. …): …

*—‘This intention is just what the artist tries to regain in placing himself back within the object by a kind of sympathy and breaking down by an effort of intuition the barrier that space puts between him and his model.’ (CE, 177).[11]

For Bergson, as for Nietzsche, the aim of intuition is to overcome the institutionalised and complacent metaphysical prejudice of the concepts and to create new metaphors to in order to capture the ‘vividly felt actual sensation’.

The flux of the undivided continuity of states subsisting beneath the veneer of the individuated concepts of the intellect in Bergson’s conception of ‘duration’ and ‘intuition’ is what is at stake in Nietzsche’s analogous critique of the intellect and championing of ‘intuition’ in ‘On Truth’.

For both Nietzsche and Bergson, the laceration of the concepts of the intellect in ‘intuition’ leads to a descent into the pre-individuated, undifferentiated flux, and a return with new metaphors and previously ‘unheard-of combinations of concepts.’

*and so,… —

In essence, I want to argue that the terms of the opposition of ‘intuition’ to the intellect, rendered explicit in ‘On Truth’, are (already, implicitly) at stake in his contrast of ‘the immediate certainty of vision’ (—the ‘intensely clear figures’ of the gods), to ‘logical inference’ and ‘concepts’ in the opening gambit and establishment of the terms of the argument of Birth.

—The laceration of the falsely hypostatised, individuated concepts of the intellect and descent into the flux of the undivided continuity of states of ‘On Truth’ (illuminated through the Bergsonian parallel), is what is ultimately at stake in the relationship of the Apollinian and Dionysian artistic drives and the ‘primal unity’ of Birth and, as I will argue forms the foundation of Nietzsche’s account of artistic inspiration in the text. …

*In Birth, Nietzsche argues that we should ‘not consider the question of our own “reality”’, but instead ‘conceive of our empirical existence, and that of the world in general, as a continuously manifested representation of the primal unity’. (§4, 45)

Nietzsche argues that the empirical existence of the individual and the world which they inhabit are to be conceived of as artistically projected representations, forged from the underlying undifferentiated flux of the ‘primal unity’. This is thus analogous to his later account of the formation of words and concepts and the sculpting of the ‘thing’ from the underlying flux of the undivided continuity of states in ‘On Truth’ and, as I have argued, this latter must be understood in the light of Nietzsche’s refutation of the thing-in-itself (the thing = x) in the essay, and his contrast of ‘dark contradictoriness’ to the metaphysical ‘unity’ of Schopenhauer’s ‘will’, as the thing-in-itself, in ‘On Schopenhauer’.

As Crawford argues, the ‘primal unity’ remains firmly on the side of representation, prior to the imposition of the artistically projected individuated forms of the concepts. For Nietzsche, in Birth, whatever the stammering he is led into by his awkward adherence to Schopenhauerian and Kantian (metaphysical) ‘formulas’, there can be no access to the thing-in-itself, already discredited in the earlier, unpublished fragment and re-emphasised in the later essay. (—see ‘Attempt at a Self-Criticism’, 20, 24)

*—the ‘primal unity’ of Birth represents the ‘eternally suffering and contradictory’ interpenetrating flux of natural drives. (§4, 45)


[1] Henri Bergson, An Introduction to Metaphysics (hereafter, IM), trans. T.E. Hulme (Cambridge: Hackett, 1999), 23-24

[2] ‘OTL,’ 117.

*—on this, see the previous post on *early Nietzsche—vs. Schopenhauerian metaphysics. …

[3] Cf. Bergson, Creative Evolution (hereafter CE), trans. Arthur Mitchell (New York: Dover Publications Inc., 1998), 1-7

[4] Bergson, Matter and Memory (MM), trans. Nancy Margaret Paul and W. Scott Palmer (London: Swan Sonnenchein & Co., Ltd, 1911), 239

[5] Bertrand Russell, History of Western Philosophy (London: George Allen & Unwin Ltd., 1961), 758.

[6] see Russell, 756 and 762, respectively…

[7] T.E. Hulme, ‘Bergson’s Theory of Art,’ in Speculations: Essays on Humanism and the Philosophy of Art, ed. Herbert Read, with a Frontispiece and Foreword by Jacob Epstein (London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., Ltd., 1924), 141-169 (151).

[8] Cf. Hulme, ‘Bergson’s Theory of Art,’ 151-152, 159-162, 165-166 and ‘The Philosophy of Intensive Manifolds,’ 176. The metaphor is also crucial to the notes gathered together under the title of ‘Cinders,’ 215-245.

[9] MM, 241. Cf. Gille Deleuze, Bergsonism, trans. Hugh Tomlinson and Barbara Habberjam (New York: Zone Books, 1988), 13-35 (esp. 14), and Suzanne Guerlac, Thinking in Time: An Introduction to Henri Bergson (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2006), 63-64: ‘This is what Bergson is trying to do: to bring to philosophical awareness what has been absolutely repressed by thought and is structurally inaccessible to it’. (63)

[10] CE, 176-177. Cf. IM, 21-22 and Hulme, ‘Bergson’s Theory of Art,’ 144 where the passage is reproduced verbatim.

[11] Cf. Hulme, 144. Hulme goes on to refer to the artist’s shattering of the conceptual and experience of flux as the ‘essentially aesthetic emotion’ (145). Cf. also 149-150 and 161-162.

*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).

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

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

*so. …

(hell).

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

—.

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

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

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

oh dear me, no.

no.

(good Christ!)

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

—I do have an agenda…

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

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

—when I was young

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

 

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

—of art. 

 

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

 

 

and so, …

 

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

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

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

(…

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

(via-by a—semi-conscious—effort). …

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

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

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

… ).

 

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

(—moral outrage. … (—?).). …

 

*—my ‘metaphysics’.

(—the prejudice.

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

—the experience of music. …

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

 

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

*—my anti-metaphysics…

(a… violence against myself, then.

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

 

*            *            *

 

and so,…

 

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

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

 

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

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

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