Friedrich Nietzsche and Weimar Classicism

November 2004
293 pages
9x6 in
Studies in German Literature Linguistics and Culture
ISBN: 9781571132802
Format: Hardback
Library eBook
Camden House
BISAC LIT004170, PHI016000

Friedrich Nietzsche and Weimar Classicism

Paul Bishop, R.H. Stephenson

out of stock

Opens up a fresh and original perspective on Nietzsche by showing the important influence of Weimar classicism on his work.
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 William Jacks Chair of Modern Languages, and R. H. Stephenson is Emeritus Professor of German Language and Literature, both at the University of Glasgow.

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Table of Contents

Die Geburt der Tragödie and Weimar Classicism
The Formative Influence of Weimar Classicism in the Genesis of Zarathustra
The Aesthetic Gospel of Nietzsche's Zarathustra
From Leucippus to Cassirer: Toward a Genealogy of "Sincere Semblance"
Appendix: The Composition of Zarathustra


[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

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