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The Children of Nietzsche: Chaos, Plurality and Cosmopolitanism in Joyce and Pessoa

From the book European/Supra-European: Cultural Encounters in Nietzsche’s Philosophy

  • Bartholomew Ryan


Nietzsche urged philosophers and artists to flourish as ‘good-’ or ‘supra-Europeans,’ an invitation Bartholomew Ryan argues was accepted most brilliantly by two twentieth-century philosophical poets - James Joyce and Fernando Pessoa. In them, Ryan sees ‘children of Nietzsche’ who appropriated Nietzsche’s ideas and styles to transform their literary human subjects into multifaceted, plural cosmopolitans. Ryan explicates their Nietzschean attempts to reconcile the chaos of modernity with the possibility of a cosmopolitan human by fusing polyglot, nomadic existences into a ‘chaosmos’ of plurality. By challenging the nihilism of their age, Joyce and Pessoa further elaborated Nietzsche’s ‘good-’ or ‘supra-’ European ideal.

© 2020 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Munich/Boston
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