Art, Life and the Tragic Philosopher

Dissertation, The University of Wisconsin - Madison (2002)

This dissertation treats the problem of how to listen to the strange speech of Friedrich Nietzsche's Zarathustra. The study addresses this problem, and explores the way to begin to hear this speech. This way is explored through the writings of Martin Heidegger, Georges Bataille, Maurice Blanchot, and Jean-Luc Nancy, who write in Nietzsche's margins. The major concerns of the dissertation include: the art of hearing; figure; expenditure without return; the unforeseeable; the relation between the familiar and the unfamiliar; the ephemeral; the value of art from the perspective of life; the figure of the tragic philosopher; Zarathustra's unheard-of speech; overcoming . ;A main focus is the question of how to read Nietzsche's double figuration that is his Zarathustra: a figure of a figure. Zarathustra is a figure of the tragic philosopher; and the tragic philosopher is offered as a figure, not a concept, in Nietzsche's writing. I unpack this strange double figuration by setting the stage with Nietzsche's assertion that from the point of view of life, art has greater value than truth. The figure, in the Auerbachian sense, is not a reflection of an idea; a figure links together two historical events, forming a bridge between them. One event is said to announce that another is on its way
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