The abyss above : philosophy and poetic madness in Plato, by Hölderlin, Friedrich; Nietzsche, Friedrich Wilhelm; Plato.;

By Hölderlin, Friedrich; Nietzsche, Friedrich Wilhelm; Plato.; Weineck, Silke-Maria; Nietzsche, Friedrich Wilhelm; Holderlin, Friedrich

Makes use of the determine of the mad poet to discover the connections among insanity and creativity

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Extra resources for The abyss above : philosophy and poetic madness in Plato, Hölderlin, and Nietzsche

Sample text

This figure whose desperate search for God disconcerts all atheists into an uneasy silence, then, is indeed the final reincarnation of Cassandra, foreseeing not the end of Troy, but the end of everything that came after Troy. The victory of Greece remains the most important victory of our history; it not only inspired the first text of Western literature but perhaps is the very text of ‘the West’ itself. This victory, prefigured in the mad rants of the woman who defied the god of truth, could not have been won if anyone had listened to Cassandra.

This study closes in a reading of this poem, which is also an epilogue on the history of divine madness. In this reading, I have attempted to understand the near-impossible burden placed on a text that thinks about poetic madness in the wake of Nietzsche and Freud. Celan’s meditation on Hölderlin’s madness marks a parting; it speaks, in the name of poetic reason, against the sentimental mythology of suffering that characterizes the notion of madness in our time. Celan’s poem surrounds Hölderlin’s madness; making it unreadable, it shelters it.

The age of Platonic and Christian Moral knows only a faint echo of the power of madness to exculpate the thinkers of new thought—at least when compared to the much longer era of Sittlichkeit. Nonetheless, the legend of mad inspiration can survive as long as there is a higher authority that controls our fates—as long, in other words, as God lives in his many theist and atheist guises. The last section of this chapter before the epilogue is devoted to one of Nietzsche’s most famous figures, the madman who, in the Gay Science, mourns the death of God in the marketplace.

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