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Nietzschean Philosophy in the Works of Frederick Philip Grove


Axel Knönagel

Traditionally, Frederick Philip Grove's works have been interpreted in the context of Canadian prairie fiction. Most critics have ignored the fact that Grove spent the first thirty years of his life in Germany, where he was exposed to various artistic and philosophical influences, most importantly the Neo-Romanticism of the Stefan George circle and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. This book argues that Grove's Canadian writing exhibits the same intellectual preoccupations as do his German works and that the unifyiing element is the Nietzschean influence on the texts. In this thesis, all of Grove's writings are examined under the premise that Nietzschean philosophy contributes significantly to an understanding of Grove's fiction.
The book examines Grove's German works, Wanderungen, Helena und Damon, Fanny Essler, and Maurermeister Ihles Haus, in the light of the various intellectual and artistic movements prevalent in Germany. It then examines Grove's Canadian writing, dividing it into four thematic groups: the struggle between individual and nature, the attempt to overcome one's sexual passions, the attempt to establish a patriarchal family structure, and the power struggle that underlies social life. The thesis concludes with an analysis of «superhuman» perspectives and qualities in Grove's critique of mankind in Consider Her Ways and of his own life in In Search of Myself.