Aesthetic Transformations: Taking Nietzsche at His Word (American University Studies)

Aesthetic Transformations: Taking Nietzsche at His Word (American University Studies)

Thomas Jovanovski

Language: English

Pages: 202

ISBN: 0820420026

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


In this provocative work, Thomas Jovanovski presents a contrasting interpretation to the postmodernist and feminist reading of Nietzsche. As Jovanovski maintains, Nietzsche’s written thought is above all a sustained endeavor aimed at negating and superseding the (primarily) Socratic principles of Western ontology with a new table of aesthetic ethics - ethics that originate from the Dionysian insight of Aeschylean tragedy. Just as the Platonic Socrates perceived a pressing need for, and succeeded in establishing, a new world-historical ethic and aesthetic direction grounded in reason, science, and optimism, so does Nietzsche regard the rebirth of an old tragic mythos as the vehicle toward a cultural, political, and religious metamorphosis of the West. However, Jovanovski contends that Nietzsche does not advocate such a radical social turning as an end in itself, but as only the most consequential prerequisite to realizing the culminating object of his «historical philosophizing» - the phenomenal appearance of the Übermensch.

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artist’s relationship with the curiously anthropomorphic Primordial One: In the former, the artist’s self is defined on the basis of his or her separation from, and opposition to, that primal background, while in the latter his or her “being” is derived from his or her symbolic union with it. In the light of these observations, we should be on target to regard Nietzsche’s conception of truth as being, basically, Dionysian in persuasion. And properly so, when we think that truth necessitates an

Nietzsche’s critical binges, these studies would vivify the still expanding but largely academic, sterile, and soulless conversation that nowadays passes for “serious” Nietzsche scholarship. The prevailing tendency among today’s and more recent commentators to reject, to evade, or to peripherally address the Übermensch idea has not at all attenuated my belief that we would be wise to adopt Nietzsche’s corpus as the cornerstone whereupon to build a new teleology of life. On the contrary, my belief

quoting often and extensively from the Notes which comprise The Will to Power, Schacht nevertheless avoids practically crashing into the looming answer those Notes provide to his preceding point. Perhaps not unexpectedly, Schacht adds little of any worth on the subject in another, similarly “philosophical” analysis, namely, Making Sense of Nietzsche (1995). Here, he emphasizes the Übermensch as Nietzsche’s counterweight to nihilism, or, as Nietzsche calls the latter, “ ‘the radical repudiation of

several reasons why postmodernist writers and peripatetic literati from various academic fields have tended to maintain a cafeteria-style approach toward Nietzsche’s trademark ideas. I have also observed that their insidious approach is partly energized by their common desire to avoid addressing the off-putting implications of his Übermensch as a viable ontological alternative to the current system of political correctness. Some might impugn my claim by maintaining that they have marginalized the

collective lifestyle into a sheer endurance program. This effect appears to have been rather temporarily deflected by the dynamism of a persistent suspiciousness arising from the different expressions of racial and ethnic “pride.” Now that nationalism and religion are sliding into anachronism, racial pride is one of the few remaining expressions whereby individual last men attempt to give some substance to their vacuous lifestyle by identifying with something larger than themselves. In contrast,

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