Beyond Good and Evil

By Friedrich Nietzsche

Page 107

his taste, which was fundamentally a PETTY
taste (that is to say, a dangerous propensity--doubly dangerous among
Germans--for quiet lyricism and intoxication of the feelings), going
constantly apart, timidly withdrawing and retiring, a noble weakling who
revelled in nothing but anonymous joy and sorrow, from the beginning
a sort of girl and NOLI ME TANGERE--this Schumann was already merely a
GERMAN event in music, and no longer a European event, as Beethoven had
been, as in a still greater degree Mozart had been; with Schumann German
music was threatened with its greatest danger, that of LOSING THE VOICE
FOR THE SOUL OF EUROPE and sinking into a merely national affair.

246. What a torture are books written in German to a reader who has a
THIRD ear! How indignantly he stands beside the slowly turning swamp
of sounds without tune and rhythms without dance, which Germans call
a "book"! And even the German who READS books! How lazily, how
reluctantly, how badly he reads! How many Germans know, and consider it
obligatory to know, that there is ART in every good sentence--art which
must be divined, if the sentence is to be understood! If there is a
misunderstanding about its TEMPO, for instance, the sentence itself
is misunderstood! That one must not be doubtful about the
rhythm-determining syllables, that one should feel the breaking of the
too-rigid symmetry as intentional and as a charm, that one should lend a
fine and patient ear to every STACCATO and every RUBATO, that one should
divine the sense in the sequence of the vowels and diphthongs, and how
delicately and richly they can be tinted and retinted in the order of
their arrangement--who among book-reading Germans is complaisant enough
to recognize such duties and requirements, and to listen to so much art
and intention in language? After all, one just "has no ear for it";
and so the most marked contrasts of style are not heard, and the most
delicate artistry is as it were SQUANDERED on the deaf.--These were my
thoughts when I noticed how clumsily and unintuitively two masters in
the art of prose-writing have been confounded: one, whose words drop
down hesitatingly and coldly, as from the roof of a damp cave--he counts
on their dull sound and echo; and another who manipulates his language
like a flexible sword, and from his arm down into his toes feels the
dangerous bliss of the quivering, over-sharp blade, which wishes to
bite, hiss, and cut.

247. How little the German style has to do with harmony and with the
ear, is shown by the fact that precisely our good

Last Page Next Page

Text Comparison with The Birth of Tragedy; or, Hellenism and Pessimism

Page 2
The family tradition was that a certain Polish nobleman Nicki (pronounced Nietzky) had obtained the special favour of Augustus the Strong, King of Poland, and had received the rank of Earl from him.
Page 5
If Hellenism was the first strong influence which already in Pforta obtained a sway over my brother, in the winter of 1865-66, a completely new, and therefore somewhat subversive, influence was introduced into his life with Schopenhauer's philosophy.
Page 6
He did not venerate him quite as other men did; Schopenhauer's _personality_ was what attracted and enchanted him.
Page 11
_--A book consisting of mere experiences relating to pleasurable and unpleasurable æsthetic states, with a metaphysico-artistic background.
Page 12
(_'Being' is a fiction invented by those who suffer from becoming_.
Page 17
_ Behind such a mode of thought and valuation, which, if at all genuine, must be hostile to art, I always experienced what was _hostile to life,_ the wrathful, vindictive counterwill to life itself: for all life rests on appearance, art, illusion, optics, necessity of perspective and error.
Page 30
The Greek knew and felt the terrors and horrors of existence: to be able to live at all, he had to interpose the shining dream-birth of the Olympian world between himself and them.
Page 33
e.
Page 38
Besides this, however, and along with it, by the sight of surrounding nature, the singer becomes conscious of himself as the subject of pure will-less knowing, the unbroken, blissful peace of which now appears, in contrast to the stress of desire, which is always restricted and always needy.
Page 50
The _chorus_ of Greek tragedy, the symbol of the mass of the people moved by Dionysian excitement, is thus fully explained by our conception of it as here set forth.
Page 53
Œdipus, the murderer of his father, the husband of his mother, Œdipus, the interpreter of the riddle of the Sphinx! What does the mysterious triad of these deeds of destiny tell us? There is a primitive popular belief, especially in Persia, that a wise Magian can be born only of incest: which we have forthwith to interpret to ourselves with reference to the riddle-solving and mother-marrying Œdipus, to the effect that when the boundary of the present and future, the rigid law of individuation and, in general, the intrinsic spell of nature, are broken by prophetic and magical powers, an extraordinary counter-naturalness--as, in this case, incest--must have preceded as a cause; for how else could one force nature to surrender her secrets but by victoriously opposing her, _i.
Page 54
With the glory of passivity I now contrast the glory of activity which illuminates the _Prometheus_ of Æschylus.
Page 57
--TR.
Page 59
For it is the fate of every myth to insinuate itself into the narrow limits of some alleged historical reality, and to be treated by some later generation as a solitary fact with historical claims: and the Greeks were already fairly on the way to restamp the whole of their mythical juvenile dream sagaciously and arbitrarily into a historico-pragmatical _juvenile history.
Page 76
And so hearty indignation breaks forth time after time against this presumptuous little nation, which dared to designate as "barbaric" for all time everything not native: who are they, one asks one's self, who, though they possessed only an ephemeral historical splendour, ridiculously restricted institutions, a dubious excellence in their customs, and were even branded with ugly vices, yet lay claim to the dignity and singular position among the peoples to which genius is entitled among the masses.
Page 77
For if the artist in every unveiling of truth always cleaves with raptured eyes only to that which still remains veiled after the unveiling, the theoretical man, on the other hand, enjoys and contents himself with the cast-off veil, and finds the consummation of his pleasure in the process of a continuously successful unveiling through his own unaided efforts.
Page 78
He who once makes intelligible to himself how, after the death of Socrates, the mystagogue of science, one philosophical school succeeds another, like wave upon wave,--how an entirely unfore-shadowed universal development of the thirst for knowledge in the widest compass of the cultured world (and as the specific task for every one highly gifted) led science on to the high sea from which since then it has never again been able to be completely ousted; how through the universality of this movement a common net of thought was first stretched over the entire globe, with prospects, moreover, of conformity to law in an entire solar system;--he who realises all this, together with the amazingly high pyramid of our present-day knowledge, cannot fail to see in Socrates the turning-point and vortex of so-called universal history.
Page 85
The structure of the scenes and the conspicuous images reveal a deeper wisdom than the poet himself can put into words and concepts: the same being also observed in Shakespeare, whose Hamlet, for instance, in an analogous manner talks more superficially than he acts, so.
Page 109
Of course, our æsthetes have nothing to say about this return in fraternal union of the two art-deities to the original home, nor of either the Apollonian or Dionysian excitement of the hearer, while they are indefatigable in characterising the struggle of the hero with fate, the triumph of the moral order of the world, or the disburdenment of the emotions through tragedy, as the properly Tragic: an indefatigableness which makes me think that they are perhaps not æsthetically excitable men at all, but only to be regarded as moral beings when hearing tragedy.
Page 119
When the Dionysian powers rise with such vehemence as we experience at present, there can be no doubt that, veiled in a cloud, Apollo has already descended to us; whose grandest beautifying influences a coming generation will perhaps behold.