This paper was presented to the third annual conference of the Friedrich Nietzsche Society in 1993.


                Persuasion in Hitler Wagner and Nietzsche


John S Moore


I must disclaim at the outset any attempt to contribute to any contemporary debate on the nature of persuasion, or to pursue the concept into such fields as the new rhetoric or deconstruction. This paper is limited to trying to understand Nietzsche's objection to Wagner in some of its further implications.

 In August 1869, over two years before the publication of the 'Birth of Tragedy', Nietzsche read an unpublished pamphlet Wagner had given him¹, written for King Ludwig II of Bavaria, 'On State and Religion‘². In it Wagner expressed his innermost philosophy, explaining his disillusion with the socialism he had supported in 1848. Then he had favoured "an organisation of public life in common, as also of domestic life, such as must lead of itself to a beauteous fashioning of the human race"³. Now he had lost all faith in the masses, including all hope in their ever rising above gross appetite. He now saw that "Blindness is the world's true essence, and not knowledge prompts its movements, but merely a headlong impulse, a blind impetus of unique weight and violence, which procures itself just so much light and knowledge as will suffice to still the pressing need experienced at the moment"_. He now held that the people must be ruled by deliberately fostered illusions (Wahn) of patriotism and religious dogma, aimed at promoting unity and universal love. Without the protection of such illusion they would commit suicide in despair. The sorrow of true insight is only to be borne by the courageous few, the elite, the King and his counsellors, those who propagate the illusions. "The great, the exceptional man, finds himself each day, in a certain measure, in the situation in which the ordinary man forthwith despairs of life"_. The value of art, which the common man can only understand as entertainment and amusement, is to console and alleviate the unhappiness of the nobles and sustain their courage.
This 'tragic pessimism' which the young Nietzsche found so uplifting, he eventually came to reject completely. Persuasion, seduction, erotics, actor, magician, with such terms he directs in 'The Case of Wagner', an attack on Wagnerism as the heart of modern decadence, the triumph of a persuasive,yet degraded and servile ideal of life, with malign implications for the future of culture.

"Ah this old magician, how much he imposed upon us!"_

"The actor Wagner is a tyrant; his pathos topples every taste, every resistance. Who equals the persuasive power of those gestures?"_

Nietzsche too was naturally concerned to persuade people of the truth of his own ideas, an objective which, on his own philosophy, can be interpreted as a conscious development of his personal will to power. This way of thinking is sometimes seen as reaching fruition in the personality of Adolf Hitler_. Hitler cultivated the image of an exceptionally persuasive force, much in the mould of Rasputin. He was often compared to a hypnotist and a black magician. Although Hermann Rauschning has been criticised for claiming to have been closer to Hitler than was actually the case, his book 'Hitler Speaks', is a useful study of this aspect. Far more than by Nietzsche, Hitler was deeply and fundamentally inspired by Wagner. Nietzsche had much to say about the danger of Wagner, but even he could not foresee the full extent of it, as developed in Hitler's interpretation. Hitler's idea is that the holy grail means racially pure blood.

"We must interpret 'Parsifal' in a totally different way to the general conception....Behind the absurd externals of the story, with its Christian embroidery and its Good Friday mystification, something altogether different is revealed as the true content of this most profound drama. It is not the Christian-Schopenhauerist religion of compassion that is acclaimed, but pure, noble blood, in the protection and glorification of whose purity the brotherhood of the initiated have come together. The king is suffering from the incurable ailment of corrupted blood. The uninitiated but pure man is tempted to abandon himself in Klingsor's magic garden to the lusts and excesses of corrupt civilisation, instead of joining the elite of knights who guard the secret of life, pure blood...For myself I have the most intimate familiarity with Wagner's mental processes. At every stage in my life I come back to him"¹_.

Insofar as this differs from Nietzsche's interpretation of the composer's intentions, a bridge is to be found in the concept of redemption¹¹. Wagner promoted an ideal of redemption, the objective of which can be taken as an erotic pleasure in the whole of present experience, notably including reconciliation with national identity. The purport of Wagner's myths of redemption, his craving for unity, is that everything that causes a sense of unease, dissatisfaction or alienation, is an evil which can and ought to be overcome. Nietzsche wrote of the strange mix of Icelandic master morality and the Christian need for redemption to be found in Wagner¹². This comes out in the concept of the hero politician saviour. All the unease with where and what one is, as a member of a nation, this is all something that shows imperfection, and the need for a better order to be created, wherein, for example, classes, sexes, generations, are no longer in conflict with each other, but experience the harmony sometimes felt at funerals. Such harmony involves overcoming disagreeable feelings, which so become the basis for experiences of great exhilaration and well being. The sexual parallel is obvious, with the suggestions of tension and release, tumescence and detumescence.

In 'The Case of Wagner' Nietzsche treats Wagner's concept of redemption with considerable irony, seeing in his plots nothing more profound than the sexual preoccupations of the contemporary French novel.

"The problem of redemption is certainly a venerable problem. There is nothing about which Wagner has thought more deeply than about redemption, his opera is the opera of redemption".¹³

Wagner advocated a musically inspired society, in which emotions are guided. The musical society is feminine and erotic, an ideal very far from the kind of discontent promoted by consciousness of a will to power. Expressed intellectually Wagnerism may not be easy to grasp, but all kinds of people listen to Wagner and seem to understand him, or at least they get something from him. Nietzsche said that Wagner gave his name to the ruin of music as Bernini did for sculpture¹_. Even a liking for Bernini, on Nietzsche's view might indicate a coarseness of taste.

Nietzsche's taste in music actually seems to have become increasingly intolerant. Most would admit he had a deep understanding and appreciation of it, but to the modern educational ideal of a music based culture, he was seemingly unsympathetic. Wagner he opposes. Brahms he dismisses as below Wagner's standard¹_ Bizet he praises highly, but not seriously¹_. Beethoven and Mozart he admires enormously, but regards as the expressions of historical eras that are increasingly incomprehensible, therefore they shall soon no longer be understood.¹_ Already in the 'Birth of Tragedy' he disdains classic Italian opera¹_. Nearly all nineteenth century music he comes to dismiss as mere romanticism¹_. As for his hopes for twentieth century music, they were not high, unless we except what he says about his friend, Peter Gast.

None of this is to say that he ever ceased to enjoy Wagner's music²_, only that he refused to accept it on its own terms. Nietzsche perhaps used music as others use painting and architecture. He could formulate it as idea, and think about it. Perhaps this is not a usual approach. He traces Hegel in Wagner. Evidently he opposes Hegel and Wagner on much the same grounds. He describes Wagner as using "the very same means by which Hegel formerly seduced and lured..."²¹

"Hegel is a taste.- And not merely a German but a European taste.- a taste Wagner comprehended- to which he felt equal- which he immortalised.- He merely applied it to music- he invented a style for himself charged with 'infinite meaning'- he became the heir of Hegel. Music as 'idea'".²²

Wagner appears as magician and seducer, as was Hegel before him. Hegel's dialectic had been applied to the end of leading even the most reluctant into an enthusiastic conformity to his own idea of progress, treating the meaning of any dissent as that of a stage in understanding, deeply satisfying to overcome.

Nietzsche reminds us that Wagner was once a revolutionary socialist, passionate for the 1848 revolutions. Later he combined myth and music like a political ideologist, putting his music to the service of some crude myths. Hitler's interpretation of Klingsor's garden is not altogether implausible. He made much use of Wagner's myth, seeing heroes like Siegfried and Parsifal as himself. There are clearly different ideals of persuasion between Nietzsche on the one hand, Wagner, Hitler (and probably Hegel) on the other. Yet both Wagner and Hitler were leaders, and Nietzscheans in the sense of setting themselves heroic tasks and destinies in which roles they revel. Hitler's idealism expressed itself through concepts like triumph of the will and the heroic Siegfried. Hitler the seducer, the hypnotist, was to use his power of persuasion, and his capacity for heroic action to overcome decadence. Nazi Germany may be considered a musically inspired society in Wagner's sense. It took to a sensational extreme the not uncommon²³ political ideal of erotic unity, that of a society in which there is meant to be no disharmony of feeling.

If one feels one understands where Wagner leads, while refusing to be overwhelmed, it can be depressing to remember how many admirable writers and artists have idolised him. It is said that the symbolists such as Mallarme aspired to write poetry that reaches the level of Wagner's music, however much their work may strike us as quite different in kind. Anyone now who allowed Wagner to lead him into the kind of ecstasies people used to permit themselves would not be very highly thought of for it. It is not that Wagner does not still have that potential but one does not have to allow oneself to be seduced. One is in the position of a woman who may choose the man she goes to bed with. Another analogy is with journalism. Like a newspaper, Wagner carried a package of opinions. To find a newspaper completely satisfying is to be misled by it. The best of newspapers is all the more harmful, if like Nietzsche's early obsession with Wagner's music, it promotes the illusion that a solution has been found, and that there are no serious unanswered questions.

Nietzsche's views of the function of art underwent profound change. If ever we speak of his saving cult of art, we should always make clear whether his earlier or his later view is meant. With his attachment to Wagner in The "Birth of Tragedy" he expressed a Schopenhauerian view of art as metaphysical revelation. His original view of Dionysus was as the Schopenhauerian will, the metaphysical reality. It is natural to speculate how much the Dionysian thesis could be made to fit some of the responses aroused by modern popular music from jazz to rock or rap. Nevertheless, Nietzsche insists that it is only a framework of myth, that makes the Dionysian bearable. As a Wagnerite he saw Wagner's music as an exemplification of Schopenhauer's true thesis. Later he would see almost inescapable decadence throughout the culture of his time²_. When, for intellectual reasons, the Schopenhauerian thesis no longer appears to be true, Wagnerism does not vanish, but manifests instead as a corrupting force, its coercive qualities glaringly apparent. It is a seducer into false views and opinions, one of which is that of Wagner's own supreme and incomparable genius²_. Against this the Nietzschean artist should resist conformist pressure, however alluring it may be. Popular applause and the flattery of women, for all their promise of enjoyment, are dangers to be resisted. He reinterprets Wagner's redemption myth:-

"Translated into reality: the danger for artists, for woman: adoring women confront them with corruption. Hardly any of them have character enough not to be corrupted, or 'redeemed'- when they find themselves treated like gods: soon they condescend to the level of the the woman."²_

The mature Nietzschean view of art is quite different from Wagner's. Nietzschean art is a subclass of affirmationist, or celebratory art²_, identified with Nietzsche's own will and ambition, that is, premised on acceptance of his own psychological ideas. While expressing the sexuality of the artist, it resists erotic invitation, and is the way of the dissident, from Stirner to Solzhenitsyn. Aesthetic pleasure when it comes is experienced as the satisfaction of this dissident impulse, and not as release from it.²_ This is a view much more favourable to rationalism than was the romantic Schopenhauerian outlook he took so long to discard completely. "Mechanistic world idiotising", in a phrase from "Beyond Good and Evil"²_, is one way of looking at rationalism. On a different view, to have a rational scheme, and keep to it no matter what, may admirably exemplify the "capacity of sticking to his guns" which Nietzsche concluded was "the only thing which today proves whether a man has any value or not"³_. Suffering from certain manifestations of the erotic, one emphasises the anti erotic. Art as will to power³¹, can be seen as the expression of a thought held in the face of emotional pressure to conform. Such an idea is anti Hitlerian, allowing for a rational philosophy to be held as a basic presupposition. However it is not easy to see what helpful or positive implications it might have for music. Arguably in Nietzsche's mature aesthetics music must lose the central place it has for the Schopenhauerian³², and we should seek his immediate heirs less among musicians than among painters, such as the German expressionists, denounced by Hitler as degenerate.

Nietzsche set himself in opposition to German culture as expressed in Hegel and Wagner, putting forward a contrary view of art and its significance. In being anti Wagner he was very deeply opposed to the whole way of thought and feeling that culminated in fascism and Hitler. Taking fascism as a type of which nazism is a subspecies, fascism involves the idea of getting a better world by using the full coercive powers of the state to eliminate those things that are disliked. There is a trick whereby people are persuaded to surrender their liberty. Through the myth of nation comes the trust that one will oneself be all right. Its appeal is particularly to the splenetic sort of person, and the contempt he feels for what he sees as "liberal" or Christian moral scruples, stopping the creation of something really valuable through softness and misplaced pity.

It is not hard to identify the errors in the fascist idea. "What is offensive" is not a descriptive phrase. To treat it as such is a logical mistake belonging to an infantile mode of thought. What is offensive to splenetic man is not necessarily so to the rest of us. Identifying this as an error in thinking, the usual moralistic criticism of fascism, advocating the value of Christian inhibition, seems less appropriate.

The fascist utopia, involves a primitive division of humanity and the world. The feeling that "what offends me" is a basic category dividing existence comes when this is experienced as something outside personal control, that is when one is a follower. As when some people are persuaded of Wagner's enormous and incomparable greatness, a normally subjective judgement appears as an objective perception, so that marvellous solutions seem to be possible. When your values depend on the will of another person, your consequent likes and aversions take on a fixed character like qualities of nature. Accordingly that person has the power to accomplish what is of all things the most desirable. In his own triumph and success he is able to transform the world, create happiness, where before there was evil and despair.

As an original Wagnerite, Nietzsche begins from something close to a fascist position and then repudiates it with great thoroughness. The fascist position is contained in Wagner, who, says Nietzsche, makes eyes at master morality, while speaking to an essentially servile need for redemption and salvation. There is illusion created through being a follower, especially not realising that one is such. Nietzscheanism is an explicit rejection of Wagnerism (and by extension Hitlerism), as essentially a doctrine of subjection. The hero ideal of Hitler and Siegfried is a different heroism from that advocated by Nietzsche. It promotes neither knowledge nor master morality. The illusion that it does comes from submissiveness.

Though fascism is a meretricious deception, anti fascism can sometimes seem to be a doctrine in need of refutation. It can express itself in anti Nietzschean terms, suggesting that what is required to combat fascism is inhibition, self restraint, guilt and pity. Anti fascism takes an anti Nietzschean tinge.

"J'ai eu pitie aux autres.

"Pas assez! Pas assez!"³³

wrote the repentant Ezra Pound, seemingly confessing to a lack of compassion, rather than a weakness in understanding. Some people mean to strike hard against Nietzsche in aiming to oppose fascism by means of a morality of the weak, maintaining that only by a complete rejection of Nietzsche and an open acceptance of such moral restriction, is something like fascism to be avoided.

Nietzsche's message of master morality intrinsically opposes the deception that it sees in Wagnerism. On the will to power theory, values are mutable. Accepting it, one frankly interprets the persuasion motive as the desire that one‘s own values should prevail, rather than as a virtuous urge towards some future state of shared harmony. The oppression one opposes is the experience of hostile judgement, irksome subjection to alien and obnoxious values. This is neither unavoidable nor especially difficult to overcome. As soon as the question of basic values is open, the essential victory has almost been won. Given such a context, concepts like personal ambition and destiny may become more appropriate. That basic questions of value be open is the vital difference between Nietzsche and Hitler.

Nietzsche has in common with a Wittgenstein a questioning of prevailing assumptions, a call on them to justify themselves, for a rational principle to underlie judgement. This is only feasible insofar as there is some common ground of agreement. It is different from what Hitler was doing, a different type of persuasion. It might be described as the difference between the cold and the hot.

We might imagine a conversation between a Nietzschean and a Hitlerite. The latter explains his ideal of creating a better world by using the full coercive power of the state to eliminate the obnoxious, ugly and distasteful. He presents this in Nietzschean terms as a lack of slavish inhibition. Through fascism, he says, he can realise his will. The Nietzschean shows him that in supposing he can realise his will in that way, his will must be that of a follower, a slavish will. He is looking for a redeemer, like a Christian, aspiring after an ecstasy of subjection.

The Nietzschean might address him as follows:

"You claim to despise the liberal for not fulfilling his will, being restrained by servile inhibitions, but that is not how the liberal sees himself. He does not feel frustrated by the continued existence of what at times may annoy him. He may well feel that he lives by values which he believes to be true, and that he is achieving what he wants. You think you are fulfilling your own will through your support of certain political policies. In the same way this feeling of yours depends upon your acceptance of certain beliefs, beliefs you hold very strongly, certainly, but which if undermined in a cold way would cease to inspire you. A real belief in the will to power is not compatible with fascism. The fulfilment offered through fascist belief is that of being a follower. If you believe your own will can find full satisfaction through someone else exercising absolute power, then you must be a follower of that person".

To undermine these beliefs in a cold way, we may perform a thought experiment on the concept of revolutionary fascism, isolating it as an abstract idea. It seems to involve the ideal of a redeemed society, a certain kind of paradise or heaven. "The Aryan neglected to maintain his own racial stock unmixed, and therewith lost the right to live in the paradise which he himself had created", wrote Hitler in "Mein Kampf"³_. Fascism holds out the hope of recreating paradise through political revolution. This is not simply a question of practical measures which may or may not have desirable contingent effects. There is a belief that a Nietzschean happiness would be widely available in the fascist society, with heroic action part of everyday life, and decadent and degenerate forces eliminated. Society would have been redeemed by the hero, who has the strength, and has been given the power, to do what right thinking people want. The illusion is in failing to see that only faith could make this seem a reality. Only if you have total faith in the hero, or implausibly know you will always just happen to share all his aims and judgements, can conformity to his will be compatible with self affirmation. We are dealing with true believers. It is belief that creates feeling. This is far from a Nietzschean contempt for the gregarious herd. To express disagreement is to live in terror of the police.³_ "The greatness of the Aryan" Hitler continues, "is not based on his intellectual powers; but rather on his willingness to devote all his faculties to the service of the community. By serving the common weal he receives his reward in return"³_. What could be more remote even from a popular understanding of Nietzsche's immoralism?

The strong erotic content of fascism must be borne in mind. The ideal of complete conformism and harmony is a submissive, what is traditionally seen as a feminine, ideal. In such a society the fascist would like to live. We can try to put the finger on what he aspires to. In the first instance, he wants to get rid of everything obnoxious. But that is imprecise. We have to ask what he finds obnoxious. Is it whatever obstructs his will, as he might claim? Or whatever obstructs a feeling of harmony, which is a different question? What is his will? The will determined by cold reason and to that extent clear, is something very different from a mere feeling of antipathy, which is what fascism appeals to. Yet to achieve the fascist utopia a great effort of clear minded will is required. This is the will of the hero, the redeemer, the man on behalf of the woman.

Conscious of a will to power, and identifying with it, one would not be happy to live in a society based on such conformism. One would despise its orthodox scale of values, because such orthodoxy denies the struggle and competition one takes to be reality. Where that struggle is not explicit one takes it to be suppressed. Fascism therefore appears as a form of slavery, which is precisely how it was widely experienced.

Given a will that is cold and dry, how does one feel about opposition? What sort of society does the Nietzschean will? Can one say that he wills opposition, enemies? He has his own ambition, and he wishes to overcome resistance. Whatever the kind of society imagined, for him the path of erotic unity is not the right one. He would wish to be able to assert a separateness and superiority. To be one of a crowd would normally repel him. He would want to be able to oppose the will of others. He might like to imagine himself as dictator, with the people as female to his maleness, but he could not honestly advocate being one of the people. Not many fascists could actually expect to become the dictator.

If one desires power as Nietzsche understands it, one is not content simply to be erotically happy. One wants to set the terms, insisting on the principle "I will not serve", like the Christian Devil. Social erotic happiness, goes with a suppressing of such a motive. Nietzsche is teaching the power urge, not simply practising it like Hitler and Wagner. His own will expresses itself in sharing his concept of power and describing the motives of those who dominate³_. He is not after females to himself as male.

Looking at the exhilaration and excitement of the Wagnerite and the Hitlerite we can fully acknowledge the great sense of power these people might have, their overwhelmingly enjoyable feeling. In this there is no sense of Ialdabaoth, the false oppressor God that embodies conventional doctrine. Acceptance of the will to power theory involves dissipating mental fog. Anyone who really accepted the will to power doctrine would interpret the conformist society in a way that would probably make it unacceptable to him, conscious of the massive suppression that it seems to require.



1 The Life of Friedrich Nietzsche, by Daniel Halevy tr. J.M. Hone. T. Fisher Unwin, London 1911, pp.75-8.

2 On State and Religion, Vol IV of Richard Wagner's Prose Works, tr. William Ashton Ellis, London 1895.

3 Ibid pp.6-7.

4 Ibid p.10.

5 Ibid p.32.

6 Will to Power II tr. Ludovici, T.N.Foulis, Edinburgh & London 1910, §1005 p.389:- "Towards 1876 I experienced a fright; for I saw that everything I had most wished for up to that time was being compromised. I realised this when I perceived what Wagner was actually driving at.."

7 The Case of Wagner, translated Walter Kaufmann, Vintage books New York 1967. p.160.

8 Ibid p.172.

9 Nietzsche, by J.P. Stern, Fontana, Glasgow 1978 p.83:- "If there is anything in the recent 'Nietzschean era that comes close to an embodiment of 'the will to power', it is Hitler's life and political career".

10 Hitler Speaks, by Herrmann Rauschning, Thornton Butterworth Ltd, London 1939. p.227.

11 A historical bridge was through the Wagner movement led by Wagner's widow Cosima, which continued Wagner's own move away from Schopenhauer into a nationalist and racist direction. Prominent in this was the racist historian Houston Stuart Chamberlain, who once wrote:- "I must confess I doubt whether humanity ever produced a greater, perhaps as great a genius as Richard Wagner". quoted p. 15 "Evangelist of Race, The Germanic Vision of Houston Stuart Chamberlain", by Geoffrey G. Field, Columbia University Press 1981.

12 The Case of Wagner, translated Walter Kaufmann, Vintage books New York 1967. Epilogue p. 191

13 Ibid p.160

14 Ibid p.186

15 Ibid pp.187 -8

16 Nietzsche, a self portrait from his letters, ed. & tr. Peter Fuss and Henry Shapiro, Harvard 1971, Nietzsche's letter to Carl Fuchs, Turin 27 Dec 1888 p.140:- "'Nietzsche Contra Wagner'" will appear first- in French too if all goes well....You mustn't take too seriously what I say about Bizet. For someone like me he is completely out of the question. But he provides a very effective ironic antithesis to Wagner. After all, it would have been incomparably tasteless on my part had I begun with, let us say, a eulogy of Beethoven".

17 Beyond Good and Evil, tr. Marianne Cowan, Gateway, Chicago 1955, § 245 p.179:-

"Alas some day it [the taste for Mozart] will all be gone- but who can doubt that our understanding and taste for Beethoven will go even sooner!"

18 The Birth of Tragedy, tr. Francis Golffing Doubleday Anchor New York 1956, §19 P115:-

" ....the peculiar attraction and thus the success of this new art form must be attributed to its satisfaction of a wholly unaesthetic need: it was optimistic; it glorified man in himself; it conceived of man as originally good and full of talent. This principle of opera has by degrees become a menacing and appalling claim, against which we who are faced with present day socialist demands cannot stop our ears. The 'noble savage' demands his rights: what a paradisical prospect!"

19 Beyond Good and Evil, tr. Marianne Cowan, Gateway, Chicago 1955, §254 p.180:-

"Whatever German music came after him [Beethoven] belongs to Romanticism; historically speaking, that is, to an even shorter, even more fleeting and superficial movement than that great entr'acte, that transition of Europe from Rousseau to Napoleon to the advent of democracy".

20 Ecce Homo, tr. Kaufmann, Vintage Books, New York 1969, Why I am so Clever §6 p.250:-

"But to this day I am still looking for a work that equals the dangerous fascination and the gruesome and sweet infinity of Tristan- and look in all the arts in vain.....I think I know better than anyone else of what tremendous things Wagner is capable- the fifty worlds of alien ecstasies for which no one beside him had wings; and given the way I am, strong enough to turn even what is most questionable and dangerous to my advantage and thus to become stronger, I call Wagner the great benefactor of my life".

21 The Case of Wagner, translated Walter Kaufmann, Vintage books New York 1967, §10 p.177-8.

22 Ibid §10 p.178.

23 Take for example the words of Mussolini, talking to Emil Ludwig:- "Music and women allure the crowd and make it more pliable...Here as in Russia, we are advocates of the collective significance of life, and we wish to develop this at the cost of individualism.....We want the humanity and beauty of a communal life".- Talks with Mussolini by Emil Ludwig, tr. Eden and Cedar Paul London 1932 pp.123, 125, 126.

24 Will to Power II tr. Ludovici T.N. Foulis, Edinburgh & London 1910, §794 p.239:-

"Our religion, morality and philosophy are decadent human institutions. The counter agent: Art".

25 For example, H.L. Mencken, who hailed in Nietzsche the "the most salient and original personality seen in the groves of learning since Goethe" (p.ix), nevertheless wrote of Wagner:-

"I believe that his music dramas are, by long odds, the most stupendous works of art ever contrived by man - that it took more downright genius to imagine them and fashion them than it took to build the Parthenon, or to write 'Faust', or 'Hamlet', or to paint the Sistine frescoes, or even to write the Ninth symphony". -The Nietzsche Wagner Correspondence, ed. Elizabeth Foerster Nietzsche, Liveright publishing corporation New York 1949. p.xii, Mencken's introduction.

26 The Case of Wagner, translated Walter Kaufmann, Vintage books New York 1967 p.161.

27 Will to Power II tr. Ludovici T.N.Foulis Edinburgh & London 1910, §844 p.279:-

"Is art the result of dissatisfaction with reality? or is it the expression of gratitude for happiness experienced? In the first case it is romanticism; in the second it is glorification and dithyramb (in short, apotheosis art)....Homer as an apotheosis artist; Rubens also. Music has not yet had such an artist".

28 Twilight of the Idols tr. Hollingdale Penguin Books Harmondsworth 1968 p.82:-

"Schopenhauer taught that the great object of art was to 'liberate from the will', and he revered tragedy because its greatest function was to 'dispose one to resignation'. - But this, as I have already intimated, is pessimist's perspective and 'evil eye'.-: one must appeal to the artists themselves. What does the tragic artist communicate of himself? Does he not display precisely the condition of fearlessness in the face of the fearsome and questionable? The condition itself is a high desideratum: he who knows it bestows on it the highest honours. He communicates it, he has to communicate it if he is an artist, a genius of communication. Bravery and composure in the face of a powerful enemy, great hardship, a problem that arouses aversion- it is this victorious condition which the tragic artist singles out, which he glorifies".

29 Beyond Good and Evil, tr. Marianne Cowan, Gateway Chicago 1955 §252 p.188.

30 Will to Power II tr. Ludovici T.N. Foulis Edinburgh & London 1910 §910 p.333.

31 Ibid §803 p.245:-

" beauty contrasts are overcome, the highest sign of power thus manifesting itself in the conquest of opposites; and achieved without a feeling of tension: violence being no longer necessary, everything submitting and obeying so easily, and doing so with good grace; this is what delights the powerful will of the artist".

32 Ibid §842, p278:-

"Does music really belong to that culture in which the reign of powerful men of various types is already at an end?....Is not music, modern music, already decadence?"

33 'The Cantos' by Ezra Pound, 4th edition 1987 Faber and Faber London, Canto 93, p.642.

34 Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler, tr. James Murphy, Hurst and Blackett Ltd 1939 London, p.248.

35 Writers sympathetic to fascism saw no objection to this, for example Wyndham Lewis, who wrote approvingly of Mussolini's Italy:-

"In ten years a state will have been built in which at last no trace of european 'liberalism', or its accompanying democratic 'liberty' exists. This will have been the creation of a tyrant, or dictator, with virtual powers of life and death: for with his highly disciplined, implicitly obedient, fascist bands, no person anywhere will be able to escape assassination if he causes trouble to the central government, or holds too loudly, opinions that displease it":- The Art of Being Ruled, by P.B. Wyndham Lewis, Chatto and Windus, London 1926 pp.370-371.

36 Op cit p.249.

37 This interpretation of the "will to power" differs from the fashionable view of Nietzsche as a radical relativist and sceptic. To argue this out would require a separate paper. My position is basically that he regarded the concept of the will to power as the keystone of his philosophy, believing he had here discovered something both supremely significant, and in a quite ordinary sense true, to do with the universal conflict that exists between different ideals and values.


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