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Zarathustra's Midlife Crisis: A Response to Gooding-Williams

Zarathustra's Midlife Crisis: A Response to Gooding-Williams REVIEW SYMPOSIUM on Robert Gooding-Williams, Zarathustra’s Dionysian Modernism (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2001) Zarathustra’s Midlife Crisis: A Response to Gooding-Williams ATHLEEN M K ARIE HIGGINS Dionysian Modernism: A Contradiction in Terms? obert Gooding-Williams gives his book on Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke R Zarathustra the title Zarathustra’s Dionysian Modernism (ZDM). One might question whether the very idea of Dionysian modernism is not oxymoronic. “Modernism,” suggesting a break with tradition, necessarily requires a shape that contrasts with what has gone before. In most formulations, modernism moves away from a set vision of the world (often endorsed, if not proposed by, traditional religion) to one that is different. And this is the sense of modernism that Gooding-Williams has in mind. As he understands it, modernism calls for an innovative break with the past. On the other hand, Dionysus is a god who is the apotheosis of chaos. The tidy project of mod- ernism—the cleanliness of negating determinate features of the past—seems at odds with Dionysus’ rather formless character. Moreover, Dionysus is a god of antiquity. The gesture of appealing to him suggests a return to earlier resources. In what sense is Dionysus compatible with modernism? Gooding-Williams analyzes Z in a way that emphasizes http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Journal of Nietzsche Studies Penn State University Press

Zarathustra's Midlife Crisis: A Response to Gooding-Williams

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Publisher
Penn State University Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2007 The Pennsylvania State University.
ISSN
1538-4594

Abstract

REVIEW SYMPOSIUM on Robert Gooding-Williams, Zarathustra’s Dionysian Modernism (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2001) Zarathustra’s Midlife Crisis: A Response to Gooding-Williams ATHLEEN M K ARIE HIGGINS Dionysian Modernism: A Contradiction in Terms? obert Gooding-Williams gives his book on Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke R Zarathustra the title Zarathustra’s Dionysian Modernism (ZDM). One might question whether the very idea of Dionysian modernism is not oxymoronic. “Modernism,” suggesting a break with tradition, necessarily requires a shape that contrasts with what has gone before. In most formulations, modernism moves away from a set vision of the world (often endorsed, if not proposed by, traditional religion) to one that is different. And this is the sense of modernism that Gooding-Williams has in mind. As he understands it, modernism calls for an innovative break with the past. On the other hand, Dionysus is a god who is the apotheosis of chaos. The tidy project of mod- ernism—the cleanliness of negating determinate features of the past—seems at odds with Dionysus’ rather formless character. Moreover, Dionysus is a god of antiquity. The gesture of appealing to him suggests a return to earlier resources. In what sense is Dionysus compatible with modernism? Gooding-Williams analyzes Z in a way that emphasizes

Journal

The Journal of Nietzsche StudiesPenn State University Press

Published: Dec 6, 2007

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