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Philosophical Style, Art, AEternal Return@: Nietzsche in Early Writings of Walter Benjamin This paper e amines usages of Nietzsche=s

!or"s in Benjamin=s early conceptions of philosophical style an# in his early conceptions of art$ %n closing, the paper !ill note the con&ergence of Benjamin=s conceptions of philosophical style an# art in the a#aptation, !hich he later a'an#one#, of Nietzsche=s concept of eternal return$ Nietzsche is consi#ere# 'y Benjamin to 'e among those contri'uting to the (form( of philosophy, an alternati&e to (limite#, scholarly #epartment philosophy$( The aphoristic styles of Nietzsche are salutary in fragments oppose# to most claims of realizing system$ Although Benjamin is largely !ary of Nietzsche=s attempts to empo!er philosophy through association !ith myth, he says philosophy has no smugness &is ) &is myth$ Nietzsche suggests that Socrates*s complacency a'out his #eath+sentence 'etrays philosophy to the machinations ta"ing place through law, !hich is the pinnacle instance of myth accor#ing to Benjamin$ Also in ju taposing Socrates* #eath !ith the tragic, Benjamin a#apts Nietzsche: %n the ultimately silent re'ellion 'efore the e#ict of pe#agogical tragic speech, (*&isual images,( an# the (*structure of the scenes,( (*re&eal a #eeper !is#om*( than can 'e (*put into !or#s an# concepts,(the heroic figures (*spea", as it !ere, more superficially than they act$,( Benjamin*s (philosophical #efinition of trage#y( attempts to sa&e Attic trage#y from assessments such as Wilamo!itz*s, !hich treat trage#y as essentially moral+legal legen#$ Trage#y has no (fully #e&elope# consciousness( of (community( that coul# justifia'ly #ismiss + as (hu'ris( + the silent, hi##en !or#, !hich impels #efiance$ Accor#ing to Benjamin, nonetheless, Nietzsche neglects that the (moral content( is an (element( of the (integral truth content( of tragic poetry, al'eit not the (last !or#( of this poetry$ The tragic remains at 'est a preliminary le&el of prophecy- the prophetic &oice is no more than linguistic e perimentation !ith other!ise forgotten suffering an# #eath$ There is no pragmatic re#emption of this &oice$ .pera is, moreo&er, a (pro#uct( cultural #ecline or #eca#ence$ Benjamin o'jects to the ten#ency of (operatic plot an# operatic language( so to #iminish the inhi'ition 'y semantic+ referential (meaning( /Be#eutung0 that (o'stacle( to the e pression of feeling #isappears$ Such suppression or #isregar# of (!riting( is an ina'ility to mourn, an ina'ility to attest to the #amme#+ up tension of the soun#ing impulse !ith the ine tinguisha'ly con&entional #imension of meaning$ Benjamin refers to the (feeling( of a suffere#, ne!, unprece#ente# (actuality,( !hose (prophets( + inclu#ing Nietzsche + prophesize# (a ne! human$( Benjamin suggests Nietzsche=s teaching of the eternal return may 'e rele&ant, if only in a 1ualifie# !ay, for consi#ering a constant sound that is !ithout correlate in the (facts( of history$ Benjamin presents (character( as the eternal return !here'y the human can seem to 'e #e&oi# of #estiny, to ha&e no #estiny as something entirely e ternal$ Although Benjamin e&entually a'an#ons this interpretation of Nietzsche*s eternal return, many of his early !or"s foster art an# philosophy as the effecti&e eternal return of soun#less nature$ Bren#an 2oran 3ept$ of Philosophy 4ni&ersity of 5algary