’’... is it hunger or superabundance that has here become creative?’’ : Nietzsche on Creativity in Art and Life

University dissertation from Uppsala : Filosofiska institutionen

Abstract: Art and the artistic are concepts Friedrich Nietzsche uses in a narrow sense regarding works of art and in a broader sense concerning our lives. He thereby attempts to vitalise the philosophical theme that links life and art. In this dissertation, I suggest that he distinguishes between life-negation and life-affirmation, concerning both the narrow and broader sense of art and the artistic. I firstly approach life-negation and life-affirmation in Nietzsche’s images of life. This part is arranged chronologically and its aim is to present a theme of life-negation and life-affirmation in Nietzsche’s writings and to acknowledge some changes that occur during his production. I consider the Apollonian, the Dionysian and the Socratic type of life and creativity and compare the metaphysical life-affirmation in The Birth of Tragedy with the will to life in Arthur Schopenhauer’s work. I also turn to later images related to life-negation and life-affirmation without the metaphysical perspective from his early thought, for example, the free and the fettered spirit. I moreover address the physiological will to power in Nietzsche’s later writings, in relation to the question of metaphysics and art. I secondly analyse Nietzsche’s notion of art and the artistic in a narrow and a broader sense in association with the theme of a two-fold type of life. This part is arranged thematically and I focus on Nietzsche’s later thought. His emphasis on the perspective of production is demarcated from the aesthetic paradigm that emphasises the reception of art. I then consider Nietzsche’s writings on works of art and the broader sense of art in association with life-negation and life-affirmation. Finally, I compare Nietzsche’s life-affirming type of existence with some contemporary views on the aestheticization of our lives. I suggest that the life-affirming artistic type of being differs in some significant senses from the proposed contemporary aestheticization processes.

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