This book argues that Nietzsche's polemics against the 19th-century reception of Goethe and Schiller should not obscure his own more positive evaluation of Weimar classicism, as has generally been the case. The authors uncover the continuing influence of Weimar classicism at the very heart of Nietzsche's aesthetic theory, which in turn became the cornerstone of his epistemological and moral concerns. The book takes as its starting point the view that Thus Spoke Zarathustra has a single, coherent message that it identifies with what Goethe called "the gospel of beauty." A hitherto unappreciated unity of plot, style, and argument is thus revealed in both Zarathustra and Nietzsche's philosophical oeuvre as a whole, showing how he participates in a "perennial aesthetic." In this connection Nietzsche's statement in The Gay Science is revealing: "I want to learn more and more to see what is necessary in things as what is beautiful ? then I shall be one of those who make things beautiful." The book provides an overview of related scholarly literature; discusses Nietzsche's aesthetic theory in The Birth of Tragedy; recounts the composition of Thus Spoke Zarathustra and offers an interpretation of its "aesthetic gospel"; a concluding chapter explores historical continuities in aesthetic theory. By demonstrating the constitutive function of the aesthetics of Weimar classicism in his philosophy, this book opens up a fresh and original perspective on Nietzsche.
Paul Bishop is Professor of German, and R. H. Stephenson is William Jacks Professor of German Language and Literature, both at the University of Glasgow.
[The authors] make a convincing case that both the vocabulary and imagery of Weimar aesthetics, represented principally in the writings of Goethe and Schiller, are central to Nietzsche's aesthetic project.... NEW NIETZSCHE STUDIES
Students of Nietzsche ... will welcome this instructive and finely wrought study, which maps the influence of Schiller and Goethe on Nietzsche's thought. CHOICE
Drawing knowledgeably on the works of Goethe and Schiller and on a wide range of sources from Nietzsche's oeuvre ... this assiduously researched study gives a new resonance to numerous passages and to key terms in Nietzsche's writings.... A welcome addition to the scholarly literature on Nietzsche. GERMAN QUARTERLY
The great strength of this study lies in its erudite and lucid discussions of Die Geburt der Tragödie
and Also sprach Zarathustra
in the first three chapters. MODERN LANGUAGE REVIEW
First Published: 24 Nov 2004
13 Digit ISBN: 9781571132802
Size: 9 x 6
Imprint: Camden House
Series: Studies in German Literature Linguistics and Culture
Subject: German Literature
BIC Class: DSB
Details updated on 25 May 2013
- 1 Introduction
- 2 Die Geburt der Tragödie and Weimar Classicism
- 3 The Formative Influence of Weimar Classicism in the Genesis of Zarathustra
- 4 The Aesthetic Gospel of Nietzsche's Zarathustra
- 5 From Leucippus to Cassirer: Toward a Genealogy of "Sincere Semblance"
- 6 Appendix: The Composition of Zarathustra
- 7 Bibliography
- 8 Index