Up@dawn 2.0

Monday, November 30, 2015

Noah Silver #8 Blog Post 2


The birth of Tragedy (published in 1872) was the first book to be written by Fredrich Nietzsche. It is split into two distinct sections with each carrying its own message. The first fifteen chapters deal with the nature of Greek Tragedy and attempts to explain its creation as a synthesis between Dionysian and Apollonian forces. Nietzsche maintains that the aesthetic Apollonian world of ideas came first and provided mankind with a buffer for his suffering and agony. After the Apollonian came the Dionysian. Wild and untamed, the Dionysian aspect offered a true salvation from suffering and could be achieved from living “in the moment”. The two are intertwined with the Apollonian being required to bring out the Dionysian. This is achieved in the form of the Greek tragedy, wherein the Chorus (the Apollonian aspect) delivers the message of the Dionysian while also serving as a shield from pure Dionysian chaos. Nietzsche then goes on to state that only art that is a mixture of Apollonian and Dionysian can be considered “real art”. He criticizes several figures (among them Euripides and Socrates) for bringing about the downfall of true Greek tragedy by shifting focus on to the self rather than the Dionysian concept of the primordial “all”. At this point, Nietzsche begins to apply his metaphysical concepts to the modern world and its music, a theme that occupies the last ten chapters. He criticizes modern opera, while giving favor to “modern German music”, with Wagner being placed on a high pedestal. Nietzsche would later retract some of these claims in a forward that was added onto the second edition calling the book embarrassing. It is mostly the naïve nationalist sentiment that most readers take issue with, although the pseudo history and somewhat convoluted metaphysics at the beginning have also been criticized. Despite this, Birth of Tragedy contains some extremely interesting ideas. The American abstract expressionist painter Mark Rothko cited this book as a source of inspiration, and when taken out of its nationalist applications, it’s easy to see why.

Citation:http://www.sparknotes.com/philosophy/birthoftragedy/summary.html / "The Essential Mark Rothko" by Klaus Ottman / "The Birth of Tragedy" by Fredrich Nietzsche 

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