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Reviews263 nightmare" (p. 109). They have given it aesthetic expression in a manner of artistic techne that "qualifies the productive process in such a way that the finished work is good and beautiful" (p. 25) in Platonic terms. Rice UniversityMichael Winkler Heirs to Dionysus: A Nietzschean Current in Literary Modernism, by John Burt Foster, Jr.; xiv & 474 pp. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1981, $27.50. Heirs to Dionysus begins by claiming less concern with the questions of continuity or influence posed by positivist or Freudian-literary histories than with a properly Nietzschean challenge. Such a challenge entails exposing, within relations of indebtedness, the eternal return of a rhetorical dilemma of misreading, which challenges both histories of "imitative influence" and the "cause-and-effect-reasoning" on which these histories depend. In the second chapter Nietzsche's thought is divided into such themes as the Dionysian and the Psychology of Inadequacy. In subsequent chapters the trajectories of these themes are pursued in modernist works which, chosen by virtue of having developed out of direct contact with Nietzsche's philosophy, include Gide's The Immoralisl, Mann's Death in Venice, Lawrence's Women in Love, Malraux's Man's Fate, and Mann's Doctor Faustus. Foster's thesis is that the literary response to Nietzsche typically shifts from subordination to a model to creative resistance to a rival. This turn to rivalry is accompanied by an elevation of image over idea in the rival's reception of Nietzsche. Gide, for example, attempts to swerve from Nietzsche's impact by declaring him not a rigorous thinker but, instead, a provider of images or metaphors. This very attempt, however, at once covers up and enacts Nietzsche's problematical idea of metaphor, deception, art as lying at the very heart of all conceptual systems. The "truths" which ground these systems are but metaphors encrusted on repressed drives. Inasmuch as they are reducible to equalization and abbreviation, these drives, together with their repression, are themselves metaphorical operations. Before closing, Foster touches on Nietzsche's exploration of metaphor and "aesthetic illusion," only to insist that the writers discussed "choose" instead anodier Nietzschean affirmation, that of "aesthetic naturalism." Yet this "choice" by modernist authors of naturalism over illusion in fact refers to Foster's own "choice" vis-àvis Nietzsche's thought of a diematic over a formalist perspective. In this way, Heirs falls short of its provocative pledge, in the theoretically slim though promising introductory chapter, to analyze the rhythm of misreading and repression basic to literary influence. The divine pair Apollo/Dionysus, Foster reminds us, has served most literary responses to Nietzsche as the organizing metaphor or image of such Nietzschean ideas as Master/Slave Morality and Will to Power. As an image of "unitary polarity," however, this divine pair does not so much organize Nietzsche's drought as abridge its subdeties. This describes the treatment in Heirs of Dionysus and Apollo: in fact, the central assumption which binds together this study is a predictable but nonedieless distorted view of 264Philosophy and Literature Apollo and Dionysus according to which these divinities are seen as opposing forces. According to Nietzsche, however, each god is die other's seduction, not repression. The dual godhead is portrayed in Birth of Tragedy as die "consummation" and "complement" (Sec. 3), as the "metaphysical supplement" (Sec. 24) which, says Nietzsche, art is in relation to life. Whereas Foster, in his reading — which amounts to the standard reading — of Death in Venice, views die protagonist Aschenbach as a devotee ofApollo who is ambushed by the opposing force of Dionysus, Nietzsche, by contrast — while discussing, in Birth of Tragedy, die similarly tragic agon of Euripides' Bacchae— sees the Aschenbach-like protagonist of Euripides' tragedy, Pentheus, as a Socratic-aesthete who, in repressing Dionysus, has repressed Apollo too (Sec. 10). In discussing Mann, Foster generally neglects to consider the limits of Mann's reading of Nietzsche, limits owing in part, as has been well-documented in the secondary literature, to Mann's indebtedness to Ernst Bertram's book on Nietzsche. In a work that claims to be "evaluative," such critical omissions necessarily mar the otherwise sensible thematic readings contained within it. University of California, Santa BarbaraLaurence A. Rickels...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-329X
Print ISSN
0190-0013
Pages
pp. 263-264
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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