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Aesthetic Transformations

Taking Nietzsche at His Word

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Thomas Jovanovski

In this provocative work, Thomas Jovanovski presents a contrasting interpretation to the postmodernist and feminist reading of Nietzsche. As Jovanovski maintains, Nietzsche’s written thought is above all a sustained endeavor aimed at negating and superseding the (primarily) Socratic principles of Western ontology with a new table of aesthetic ethics – ethics that originate from the Dionysian insight of Aeschylean tragedy. Just as the Platonic Socrates perceived a pressing need for, and succeeded in establishing, a new world-historical ethic and aesthetic direction grounded in reason, science, and optimism, so does Nietzsche regard the rebirth of an old tragic mythos as the vehicle toward a cultural, political, and religious metamorphosis of the West. However, Jovanovski contends that Nietzsche does not advocate such a radical social turning as an end in itself, but as only the most consequential prerequisite to realizing the culminating object of his «historical philosophizing» – the phenomenal appearance of the Übermensch.