A God Torn to Pieces
The Nietzsche Case
Publication Year: 2013
Giuseppe Fornari’s groundbreaking inquiry shows that Friedrich Nietzsche’s neglected importance as a religious thinker and his “untimeliness” place him at the forefront of modern thought. Capable of exploiting his own failures as a cognitive tool to discover what other philosophers never wanted to see, Nietzsche ultimately drove himself to mental collapse. Fornari analyzes the tragic reports of Nietzsche’s madness and seeks out the cause of this self-destructive destiny, which, he argues, began earlier than his rivalry with the composer and polemicist Richard Wagner, dating back to the premature loss of Nietzsche’s father. Dramatic experience enabled Nietzsche to detect a more general tendency of European culture, leading to his archaeological and prophetic discovery of the death of God, which he understood as a primordial assassination from which all humankind took its origin. Fornari concludes that Nietzsche’s fatal rebellion against a Christian awareness, which he identified as the greatest threat to his plan, led him to become one and the same not only with Dionysus but also with the crucified Christ. His effort, Fornari argues, was a dramatic way to recognize the silent, inner meaning of Christ’s figure, and perhaps to be forgiven.
Published by: Michigan State University Press
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Title Page, About the Series, Copyright
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Introduction. A Strange Debt to Europe
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...I feel a certain emotion now at seeing this study on Nietzsche, written several years ago, finally published in the United States, while I am quite curious to discover how it will fare in a cultural context very diff erent from the Italian intellectual environment in which I first became acquainted with his works, in the late seventies. However, my emotion has also a more direct connection. As a matter of fact, the initial impulse to write this essay...
Chapter 1. The Hunt for the Whale
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...The figure of Nietzsche is of fundamental importance for a better understanding of Christianity and its uniqueness; this is the conclusion that can be reached from a careful and objective examination of his writings. It is an unusual conclusion since, while the role of religion in Nietzsche’s thought has been stressed by several commentators, as much cannot be said for the uniqueness that he attributes to Christianity...
Chapter 2. The Eternal Recurrence of Madness
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...Once the right key to interpretation has been identified, Nietzsche’s own writings and documents about his life provide what seems to be almost overwhelming confirmation, compelling us to see his ideas and fate with fresh eyes. To start with, there is the conclusion that set the tragic seal on his life, and that the ‘good’ will of many interpreters...
Chapter 3. The Philosopher and His Double
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...Girard helps us to understand the concrete, recognizable answer to the question of what caused Nietzsche’s mental breakdown: his madness, the madness of modern man is rivalry that remains unresolved. Nietzsche went mad because of the basic assumptions underlying his life and thought, and the symptoms of nervous instability can be clearly traced in his earliest writings...
Chapter 4. The Foundation of Dionysus
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...For the purpose of examining the archeological strata uncovered by Nietzsche our starting point must once more be the “double-bind” dynamics of desire, freely developing from Girard.1 Perennially active in shaping men’s lives within the social environment, they make the creation of rivalries and violence inevitable sooner or later, and these in their turn tend to multiply. Nothing is more...
Chapter 5. The Antichrist and the Crucifixion
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...In the last few months of his conscious existence, the opposition of Dionysus to Christ did not bring Nietzsche the solace that he had expected; on the contrary, it was a source of ever-increasing irritation and led him to make further futile eff orts at destruction. Driven by his growing resentment, the doubles crisis that defined the mask of Zarathustra began to oscillate wildly and started to destroy the simulacrum that should have hidden it. Seized...
Chapter 6. What None Have Perceived
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...Zagreus is the ancient name for the Cretan Dionysus, from which in all probability the Greek Dionysus originated: Nietzsche’s two-pronged probing, anthropological and personal, continues even now, reaching extreme clarity. Dionysus-Nietzsche’s dismemberment takes place at the hands of all his friends, his relations, and the entire surrounding community. It is only now, when it is too late, that the collective aspect of sacrifice...
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Page Count: 161
Publication Year: 2013
Series Title: Studies in Violence, Mimesis and Culture