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The author reads Goethe's Faust as the first epic written under Spinoza's influence. He shows how its thematic development is governed by Spinoza's pantheistic naturalism. He further contends that Wagner and Nietzsche have tried to surpass their mentor Goethe's work by writing their own Spinozan epics of love and power in The Ring of the Nibelung and Thus Spoke Zarathustra. These Spinozan epics are designed to succeed the Christian epics in the Western literary tradition. Whereas the Christian epics dared to groom human beings for their destiny in the supernatural world, the Spinozan epics try to reinstate humanity as the children of Mother Nature and overcome their alienation from the natural world, which had been dictated by the long reign of Christianity. However, it has been well noted that none of these new epics seems to hang together thematically as a coherent work. By his Spinozan reading, the author not only demonstrates the thematic unity of each of them singly, but further illustrates their thematic relation with each other.
This book examines Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, and Miles Davis as distinctively global symbols of threatening and nonthreatening black masculinity. It centers them in debates over U.S. cultural exceptionalism, noting how they have been part of the definition of jazz as a jingoistic and exclusively American form of popular culture.
Matthew Tones examines the early ontological development of the tragic disposition in Nietzsche's analysis of the pre-Platonic Greeks and its influence on Nietzsche's quest to discover a future nobility. This book fuses the popular reading of Nietzsche as a naturalist with noble creative impulses to reveal further complexities in his mature work.
This unique edited volume offers a distinctive theoretical perspective and advanced insights into how music is impacted by the interaction of global forces with local conditions. As the first major book to apply the timely notion of “glocality” to music, this collection features robust scholarship on genres and practices from many corners of the world: from studies of European opera professions and the oeuvre of several contemporary art music composers, to music in Uzbekistan and Indonesia, urban street musicians, and even the didjeridoo. The authors interrogate theories of glocalization, distinguishing this notion from globalization and other more familiar concepts, and demonstrate how its application illuminates the mechanisms that link changing musical practices and technologies with their social milieu. This incisive book is relevant to scholars of many different specializations, particularly those with a deep interest in relationships between music and society, both past and present. More broadly, its discussions will be of value to those concerned with how changing policies and technologies impact cultural heritage and the creative approaches of performing artists worldwide.
The author deciphers Nietzsche's most enigmatic work as Zarathustra's epic campaign to save secular culture from degradation in the godless world. In this epic reading, the ostensibly atheistic work turns out to be a profound religious text. This revelation is breathtaking and edifying.
Richard Wagner continues to be the most controversial artist in history, a perpetually troubling figure in our cultural consciousness. The unceasing debate over his works and their impact--for and against--is one reason why there has been no genuinely comprehensive modern account of his musical dramas until now. Dieter Borchmeyer's book is the first to present an overall picture of these musical dramas from the standpoint of literary and theatrical history. It extends from the composer's early works--still largely ignored--to the Ring Cycle and Parsifal, and includes Wagner's unfinished works and operas he never set to music. Through lively prose, we come to see Wagner as a librettist--and as a man of letters--rather than primarily as musical composer. Borchmeyer uncovers a vast field of cultural and historical cross-references in Wagner's works. In the first part of the book, he sets out in search of the various archetypal scenes, opening up the composer's dramatic workshop to the reader. He covers all of Wagner's operas, from early juvenilia to the canonical later works. The second part examines Wagner in relation to political figures including King Ludwig II and Bismarck, and, importantly, in light of critical reactions by literary giants--Thomas Mann, whom Borchmeyer calls "a guiding light in this exploration of the fields that Wagner tilled," and Nietzsche, whose appeal to "philology" is a key source of inspiration in attempts to grapple with Wagner's works. For more than twenty years, Borchmeyer has placed his scholarship at the service of the famed Bayreuth Festival. With this volume, he gives us a summation of decades of engagement with the phenomenon of Wagner and, at the same time, the result of an abiding critical passion for his works.
Nietzsche's Zarathustra takes an interdisciplinary approach to Nietzsche's Thus Spoke Zarathustra, focusing on the philosophical function of its literary techniques and its fictional mode of presentation. It argues that the fictional format is essential to Nietzsche's philosophical message in his work. Part of that message is Nietzsche's alternative to the Western worldview as developed by Plato's dialogues and the Christian Gospel, which he presents through the teachings of his hero, Zarathustra. Another part of that message is that any doctrine, including those of Zarathustra himself, has an ambivalent nature. Although doctrinal formulations are designed to preserve and communicate philosophical insights, they can become dead formulas, out of touch with the live philosophical discoveries that they aimed to capture. Thus Spoke Zarathustra explores Zarathustra's own vulnerability to this risk, and his way of regaining real connection with living wisdom. The doctrine of eternal recurrence, which is particular prominent in Zarathustra, is a case in point. The doctrine is offered in opposition to the worldview that Nietzsche associates with the Christian doctrine of sin, which in his view promotes a view of this life as devoid of intrinsic value. However, certain ways of adhering to this doctrine themselves rob life of its value. The book also defends the importance of Part IV of Thus Spoke Zarathustra, which many scholars have seen as unimportant by comparison with the first three parts. Nietzsche's Zarathustra argues that Part III would not have been a culmination for the work, and that Part IV is essential to Nietzsche's project. Part IV's allusions to Apuleius' The Golden Ass, an ancient Menippean satire, suggest that it should be read as a satire in which Zarathustra falls into and recovers from folly. It is thus the culminating statement of the point that there is always a discrepancy between the living philosophical insight and any attempt to articulate it,

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