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Analytical Philosophy of Nietzsche on German Culture

Instead of a sudden break, this division developed gradually as Nietzsche began to realize the impossibility of serving both Wagner and his own call. The impetus for the break came with the Bayreuth plan. Bayreuth at the time was becoming a cultural center of the empire, and Nietzsche had bitterly denounced this sort of development in his first meditation, citing its "cultural philistinism."

As noted, Nietzsche found that Wagner was the representation of decadence in music. The aesthetics of decadence appealed to the lowest common denominator, values such as brute nationalism and state-dominated culture. Nietzsche "condemned Wagner's music as a form of hysteria and stated that Wagner's style involved what Nietzsche called "the hallucination of gestures." Wagner had a notion of the whole work of art expressed in the term Gesamtkunstwerk, and this perfectly expressed the politicization of music in the interests of a base value which Thomas Mann would view as a bourgeois ethic. Nietzsche saw art in principle in terms of a life affirming process. Nietzsche regarded the aesthetic principle as a justification of life. He argued that in the work of artists such as Baudelaire and Wagner, however, the world-transfiguring and affirmative character of art had been corrupted into a new form of decadence. He saw this in part as a consequence of underlying nationalism and anti-semitism on the part of Wagner and his followers, utilizing a peculiar mixture of Christianity, paganism, and "democratic" elements. Stauth and Turner state that Nietzsche's argument against Wagner "lends further evidence to support the view that one of the principal features of Nietzsche's philosophy was its anti-nationalistic character and its opposition to anti-semitism."

Nietzsche argued against the idea of art for art's sake, as seen in Baudelaire, and in some ways saw Baudelaire as the physical and cultural embodiment of stylistic decadence. Some M...

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Analytical Philosophy of Nietzsche on German Culture. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 03:47, November 26, 2015, from
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