Skip to main content


Showing posts from November 30, 2014

Thus spoke Zarathustra as Goth scripture

What genre is  Thus spoke Zarathustra? This question has been kicking around the academic universe for a long time. A friend of mine, Kathy Higgins, in her book on Zarathustra, called it a Menippean satire, and compared it with Apuleius.  I think she is right about that. I also think that the Menippean form, in modernity, flows into the gothic novel. Just as there is goth poetry and novels, there is a space for Goth scripture – the Gothic novel in fact yearns to supply that gap, to convey the “Bad news.”   TSZ, upsetting the value system that counts one kind of news as good and the other as bad,  counts as Goth scripture, attempts to fill up the space left by the Schauerroman, by Faust, Frankenstein and De Sade’s Sodom. This isn’t a claim that Nietzsche read Frankenstein or the One hundred days of Sodom. It is rather that there is a thematic in modern culture, a music, that Nietzsche was keenly attuned to. I don’t doubt that Wagner, at least, was familiar with de Sade, and most like

deconstructing very serious people

“Nobody will deny that in a world in which everything is connected through cause and effect, and in which no miracles ever happen, each part is a mirror of the whole. If a pea is shot into the Meditteranean, an eye that is sharper than our own but infinitely less fine than the eye that sees all would be able to trace the effect on the coast of China. And what other is a particle of light which contacts the surface of the eye compared to the mass of the brain and its nerves?” This is one of my favorite aphorisms of Lichtenberg. He varied the comparison of the pea in another place in his notebook, imagining that after it was shot into the sea, “this effect would be strongly modified through its impression on the other objects of the see, through the wind that pushes against it, through the fish and ships that move through it, through cave ins on the land. “  This is one of my favorite passages in Lichtenberg. It expresses a great idea, a fantastic idea, the imagery of which has a sort of