Homer and Classical Philology

By Friedrich Nietzsche

Page 14

this statement was,
unfortunately, not justified.--TR.

And there is a second fact which I should like to recall to the memory
of those friends of antiquity who turn their dissatisfied backs on
classical philology. You honour the immortal masterpieces of the
Hellenic mind in poetry and sculpture, and think yourselves so much more
fortunate than preceding generations, which had to do without them; but
you must not forget that this whole fairyland once lay buried under
mountains of prejudice, and that the blood and sweat and arduous labour
of innumerable followers of our science were all necessary to lift up
that world from the chasm into which it had sunk. We grant that
philology is not the creator of this world, not the composer of that
immortal music; but is it not a merit, and a great merit, to be a mere
virtuoso, and let the world for the first time hear that music which lay
so long in obscurity, despised and undecipherable? Who was Homer
previously to Wolf's brilliant investigations? A good old man, known at
best as a "natural genius," at all events the child of a barbaric age,
replete with faults against good taste and good morals. Let us hear how
a learned man of the first rank writes about Homer even so late as 1783:
"Where does the good man live? Why did he remain so long incognito?
Apropos, can't you get me a silhouette of him?"

We demand _thanks_--not in our own name, for we are but atoms--but in
the name of philology itself, which is indeed neither a Muse nor a
Grace, but a messenger of the gods: and just as the Muses descended upon
the dull and tormented Boeotian peasants, so Philology comes into a
world full of gloomy colours and pictures, full of the deepest, most
incurable woes; and speaks to men comfortingly of the beautiful and
godlike figure of a distant, rosy, and happy fairyland.

It is time to close; yet before I do so a few words of a personal
character must be added, justified, I hope, by the occasion of this
lecture.

It is but right that a philologist should describe his end and the means
to it in the short formula of a confession of faith; and let this be
done in the saying of Seneca which I thus reverse--

"Philosophia facta est quae philologia fuit."

By this I wish to signify that all philological activities should be
enclosed and surrounded by a philosophical view of things, in which
everything individual and isolated is evaporated as something
detestable, and in which

Last Page Next Page

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

Page 2
One night, upon leaving some friends whom he had accompanied home, he was met at the door of the vicarage by our little dog.
Page 6
From the first he was never blind to the faults in his master's system, and in proof of this we have only to refer to an essay he wrote in the autumn of 1867, which actually contains a criticism of Schopenhauer's philosophy.
Page 12
_ .
Page 14
What I then laid hands on, something terrible and dangerous, a problem with horns, not necessarily a bull itself, but at all events a _new_ problem: I should say to-day it was the _problem of science_ itself--science conceived for the first time as problematic, as questionable.
Page 21
You will thus remember that it was at the same time as your magnificent dissertation on Beethoven originated, viz.
Page 22
" These earnest ones may be informed that I am convinced that art is the highest task and the properly metaphysical activity of this life, as it is understood by the man, to whom, as my sublime protagonist on this path, I would now dedicate this essay.
Page 31
Here we must observe that this harmony which is so eagerly contemplated by modern man, in fact, this oneness of man with nature, to express which Schiller introduced the technical term "naïve," is by no means such a simple, naturally resulting and, as it were, inevitable condition, which _must_ be found at the gate of every culture leading to a paradise of man: this could be believed only by an age which sought to picture to itself Rousseau's Émile also as an artist, and imagined it had found in Homer such an artist Émile, reared at Nature's bosom.
Page 32
If we therefore waive the consideration of our own "reality" for the present, if we conceive our empiric existence, and that of the world generally, as a representation of the Primordial Unity generated every moment, we shall then have to regard the dream as an _appearance of appearance,_ hence as a still higher gratification of the primordial desire for appearance.
Page 35
This very Archilochus appals us, alongside of Homer, by his cries of hatred and scorn, by the drunken outbursts of his desire.
Page 44
What kind of art would that be which was extracted from the concept of the spectator, and whereof we are to regard the "spectator as such" as the true form? The spectator without the play is something absurd.
Page 54
That which Æschylus the thinker had to tell us here, but which as a poet he only allows us to surmise by his symbolic picture, the youthful Goethe succeeded in disclosing to us in the daring words of his Prometheus:-- "Hier sitz' ich, forme Menschen Nach meinem Bilde, Ein Geschlecht, das mir gleich sei, Zu leiden, zu weinen, Zu geniessen und zu freuen sich, Und dein nicht zu achten, Wie ich!"[10] Man, elevating himself to the rank of the Titans, acquires his culture by his own efforts, and compels the gods to unite with him, because in his self-sufficient wisdom he has their existence and their limits in his hand.
Page 55
The misery in the essence of things--which the contemplative Aryan is not disposed to explain away--the antagonism in the heart of the world, manifests itself to him as.
Page 67
The Euripidian _prologue_ may serve us as an example of the productivity of this, rationalistic method.
Page 72
In view of this indissoluble conflict, when he had at last been brought before the forum of the Greek state, there was only one punishment demanded, namely exile; he might have been sped across the borders as something thoroughly enigmatical, irrubricable and inexplicable, and so posterity would have been quite unjustified in charging the Athenians with a deed of ignominy.
Page 82
We might, therefore, just as well call the world embodied music as embodied will: and this is the reason why music.
Page 89
It is an eternal phenomenon: the avidious will can always, by means of an illusion spread over things, detain its creatures in life and compel them to live.
Page 96
The postulate of the opera is a false belief concerning the artistic process, in fact, the idyllic belief that every sentient man is an artist.
Page 105
" And when, breathless, we thought to expire by a convulsive distention of all our feelings, and only a slender tie bound us to our present existence, we now hear and see only the hero wounded to death and still not dying, with his despairing cry: "Longing! Longing! In dying still longing! for longing not dying!" And if formerly, after such a surplus and superabundance of consuming agonies, the jubilation of the born rent our hearts almost like the very acme of agony, the rejoicing Kurwenal now stands between us and the "jubilation as such," with face turned toward the ship which carries Isolde.
Page 107
Should it have been established by our analysis that the Apollonian element in tragedy has by means of its illusion gained a complete victory over the Dionysian primordial element of music, and has made music itself subservient to its end, namely, the highest and clearest elucidation of the drama, it would certainly be necessary to add the very important restriction: that at the most essential point this Apollonian illusion is dissolved and annihilated.
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.