Nietzsche on Richard Wagner

4 April 2015
Evolution of philosopher’s views on composer (from favorable to critical) as symbolic of his critique of modernist German music, art & culture.

Nietzsche makes a very critical analysis of the German culture of his time in several of his works, beginning with his assessment of history and culture in The Birth of Tragedy and modified in later works as he rethought his position and changed some of his views. Nietzsche makes a comparison between historical knowledge about past cultures and culture itself. He sees true culture as a unity of the forces of life with the love of form and beauty. Nietzsche considers life as terrible and tragic, but he also views it as transmuted through art, the work of creative genius. Nietzsche discovers the proper role of art in his study of the Greeks, who also knew that life was tragic and terrible but who never gave in to the pessimism that this might entail. Instead, they transmuted life through art. They did this through two different aesthetics, one Dionysian and the..

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