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  • Author: Marco Brusotti x
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Philosophie und ästhetische Lebensgestaltung bei Nietzsche von Morgenröthe bis Also sprach Zarathustra

Abstract

After discovering the short cosmological treatise L’éternité par les astres at the end of 1937, Benjamin ‘constellates’ the author, Louis-Auguste Blanqui, with Baudelaire and Nietzsche under the sign of eternal recurrence. From then on, eternal recurrence is given a central place in Benjamin’s analysis of modernity. Under many aspects his thoughts are rooted in the dramatic years in which they were developed: a conception of myth problematic in itself is misapplied to Nietzsche, the analogy with Blanqui’s cosmology leads to misunderstandings, and Benjamin does not grasp the connection between a task relevant for himself, the redemption of the past, and Zarathustra’s thought of eternal recurrence. Nevertheless, this constellation charged with tension is theoretically productive. Benjamin interprets the two faces of Nietzsche’s eternal recurrence in the context of his own theory of the structural change of experience in modernity. On the one hand, eternal recurrence is linked in multiple ways to the new forms of technical reproduction and compulsory repetition arising in the nineteenth century. On the other hand, it is assigned the task of compensating for an irretrievable loss. Is this compensation thoroughly illusory? Or does it contain a ‘motive of salvation’? Guided by these questions, the paper investigates the ‘polyphony’ of Benjamin’s remarks on Nietzsche’s thought of eternal recurrence and their heuristic potential.