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Wills, Eric (2018) IMAGE AND PATHOS IN NIETZSCHE’S AESTHETICS. Doctoral thesis, Staffordshire University.

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Abstract or description

This thesis examines the expression and communication in Nietzsche’s texts of an emotion he identifies as rare and noble, and which is implicated in his demand that existence be aesthetically justified. In seeking to understand its communication in the use he makes of imagery of height and distance, I identify a number of key ideas and issues, as follows: (i) it depends upon a specifically symbolic use of figurative language, in contrast to broadly allegorical uses of metaphor and parable and their interpretation in other terms; (ii) the symbolic character of figurative language consists in a symbol being what it purports to sign, and which allows rarer feeling is communicable as an identity of pathos and image; (iii) the distinction between symbol and allegory has a basis in the work of Friedrich Creuzer and influenced Nietzsche’s thinking; (iv) the symbolism of height and distance is a necessary condition of aesthetic feeling tied to Dionysian creativity and its formal expression in music and plastic art, in myth and ritual activity, and in language; (v) Nietzsche’s regard for the writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson was grounded in their shared understanding of a Dionysian art, enabled as immersion in a symbolism; (vi) the role of imagery of height and distance in Nietzsche’s texts allows rejection of the claim that he lacked a visual attunement; (vii) evidence of Nietzsche’s concern with the expression and communication of rarer states is found in arguments he makes for its symbolic character and the illustrative examples he gives; (viii) the symbolic use of metaphor and parable is itself a feature of the case Nietzsche makes for it, notably in Thus Spoke Zarathustra, I (22), On the Bestowing Virtue; (ix) the early influence of Emerson’s life-affirming Dionysianism shows that Nietzsche advocated a sensuous Anschauung in opposition to Schopenhauer’s notion of disinterested contemplation; (x) the symbolic character of a Dionysian art informs and sustains Nietzsche’s expectations of an art of the future, initially identified as the ‘mythological’ thinking in Wagner’s music drama. In addressing these issues, I consider broader implications of admitting an identity of symbol and ‘object’ at the level of appearances for Nietzsche’s philosophy of language, for the will to power and Overman, for his epistemological and metaphysical naturalism, and for the contrasting roles he accords intuition and reason.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty: School of Creative Arts and Engineering > Humanities and Performing Arts
Depositing User: Library STORE team
Date Deposited: 27 Feb 2019 16:02
Last Modified: 27 Feb 2019 16:02

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