Alberto Giacomelli

Dionysian Germanism. For a Critique of Nietzsche's Reception in Thomas Mann's Reflections of a Nonpolitical Man

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Nietzsche; Thomas Mann; Civilisation; Germanism; Irony; Art; Politics.

This essay aims to enquire the legacy of Nietzsche's thought within Thomas Mann's literary work. Specifically, the paper is focused on the reading of the complex essay-novel "Reflections of a Nonpolitical Man" (1918). This controversial work by Thomas Mann is crucial for understanding the composite cultural atmosphere of early Twentieth Century Germany; moreover, it equally represents a testimony of the relevance of the reception of Nietzsche's philosophy during the First World War. Through the distinction between the concepts of "Kultur" and "Zivilisation", I mean to show the proximity between Mann's human type of the unpolitical artist and Nietzsche's figure of the aristocratic. Therefore, I aim to compare the notion of irony with the "pathos der Distanz". In the second part of the essay, I will discuss Mann's interpretation according to which Nietzsche represents the heir par excellence of «Germanism». Through the analysis of the figure of Dionysus presented by Nietzsche, I aim to highlight his distance from the «Wotan archetype», his criticism of the «State» institution and finally his relationship with the notion of "deutsche Romantik".

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