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    Christopher E. Forth, Nietzsche, Decadence, and Regeneration in France, 1891-95 + Becoming a Destiny: The Nietzsche Vogue in French intellectual Life, 1891-1918

    Johnathan R. Razorback
    Johnathan R. Razorback

    Messages : 7710
    Date d'inscription : 12/08/2013
    Localisation : France

    Christopher E. Forth, Nietzsche, Decadence, and Regeneration in France, 1891-95 + Becoming a Destiny: The Nietzsche Vogue in French intellectual Life, 1891-1918 Empty Christopher E. Forth, Nietzsche, Decadence, and Regeneration in France, 1891-95 + Becoming a Destiny: The Nietzsche Vogue in French intellectual Life, 1891-1918

    Message par Johnathan R. Razorback le Jeu 26 Avr - 15:38


    "The philosophy of Nietzsche inspired and legitimated a vitalistic desire for a radical change in the status quo, a program which would be appropriated by  extremist groups on the left and the right." (p.98)

    "The role of Nietzsche in French letters increased dramatically after 1900." (p.99)

    "An attitude of systematic detachment manifested itself most visibly in the literacy school of Symbolism, which flourished during the 1880s and counted as its most illustrious practitioners Stéphane Mallarmé, Paul Verlaine, Gustave Kahn, Paul Bourget, Joris-Karl Huysmans, and Philippe Villiers de l'Isle-Adam. As a response to the Naturalism of Emile Zola and Guy de Maupassant, Symbolism offered its adherents a conception of the world and a state of mind which would pervade much of French literacy life. Positing the absurdity of political action and the inevitable suffering of human existence, the Symbolists rejected external reality in favor of a new kind of idealism, which in its variety of forms included solipsism, occultism, mysticism, and a fascination with the morbid. Paramount to this movement was the artists' resolve to flee reality through a variety of means, such as hallucinatory drugs, dreams, or other altered states of mind. Finally, the decadent Symbolists refused to participate in political and social life, arguing instead for the detached position of "l'art pour l'art"." (p.99)

    "Le Banquet was formed in 1892 by several graduates of the Lycée Condorcet, the most prestigious of the right-bank schools. The leader of this literacy coterie was Daniel Halévy, and grouped around him were Fernand Gregh, Robert Dreyfus, and Marcel Proust. In addition to this circle from Condorcet were several from the Lycée Henri IV, most notably Léon Blum. While the journal was dedicated to their teacher and discussion leader, Mallarmé, the direction that the magazine chose seemed ad odds with the Symbolist program ; in fact Mallarmé and his fellow Symbolist Paul Verlaine had inspired the young littérateurs to set out on their own rebellious directions. Robert Dreyfus recalled that Le Banquet, despite the dedication to Mallarmé, had been "founded in reaction against symbolism" and that one of its chief aims was to "renew the pure and rich French tradition by an intelligent fusion of classicism and romanticism". "Enough of Shakespeare", Dreyfus declared in an early article for Le Banquet, "enough of Ibsen, enough of Tolstoy, enough of [Maurice] Maeterlinck. Let us return to France, the devil !". Presumably impressed by Nietzsche's effusive praise of French culture, Dreyfus suggested the writings of the German thinker for his "return to France". In the eyes of the Symbolists, Fernand Gregh remembered, "we seemed a bit like heretics. The literacy public had gone to the great [Symbolist] church of the Mercure de France and neglected our little chapel". Hence, an attack on the Symbolist establishment was one of the primary aims of these writers, an end for which they effectively used the ideas of Nietzsche.
    In the April 1892 issue of
    Le Banquet, Halévy and Gregh presented an article entitled "Frédéric Nietzsche", a ringing defense of the philosopher against the first French commentators whom they believed had grossly misrepresented and distorted his ideas. The article with which the young men were most angry was "Frédéric Nietzsche, le dernier métaphysicien", written by the well-known literacy critic and German specialist, Téodor de Wyzewa." (p.103)

    "Léon Daudet, a later spokesman for the Action française, called Le Cas Wagner a masterpiece [Souvenirs, 1920]."

    "In 1893 Jean Thorel noted that Nietzsche was, along with Bakunin and Stirner, one of the "fathers of anarchism", an intellectual progenitor of the "explosions, searches, arrests, trials, [and] condemnations" of 1892 [Jean Thorel, "Les Pères de l'anarchisme: Bakounine, Stirner, Nietzsche", La Revue bleue [conservatrice], 21 (15 april 1893), 449]. Reflecting upon the anarchist period of the early 1890s another writer predicted that "history will later say that at the moment when the books of Friedrich Nietzsche were distributed, an entire generation of fanatics took revenge on social inequalities through crime and murder attempts [les attentats] by dynamite" [H. Fierens-Geveart, La Tristesse contemporaine, Paris, 1899, pp.178-79]." (p.13)

    "Mazel, the journal's editor, noted the decadence of French society and the cure which he believed Nietzsche could provide: "f philosophical as well as organic products contain an active principle, the Nietzschean sort could be one of the most powerful agents of social therapy, at once terrible and beneficial. Our time needs it, and in energetic doses". [Henri Hazel, "Nietzsche et le présent", L'Ermitage, 6 (feb. 1893), 81]"

    "Like many writers of his generation, Rebell became caught up in the wave of nationalism after 1900, which only strenghtened his resolve for the regeneration of France through means of constraint. In addition, while Rebell had been clearly enamored with Nietzsche during the 1890s, by 1905 he renounced his youthful enthusiasm as he moved closer to the monarchism of Charles Maurras." (p.113)

    "[Henri] Albert conceived [...] Nietzsche as a socialist whose ideas would liberate the proletariat from its chains." (p.115)
    -Christopher E. Forth, Nietzsche, Decadence, and Regeneration in France, 1891-95, Journal of the History of Ideas, Vol. 54, No. 1 (Jan., 1993), pp. 97-117.


    « La question n’est pas de constater que les gens vivent plus ou moins pauvrement, mais toujours d’une manière qui leur échappe. »
    -Guy Debord, Critique de la séparation (1961).

    Johnathan R. Razorback
    Johnathan R. Razorback

    Messages : 7710
    Date d'inscription : 12/08/2013
    Localisation : France

    Christopher E. Forth, Nietzsche, Decadence, and Regeneration in France, 1891-95 + Becoming a Destiny: The Nietzsche Vogue in French intellectual Life, 1891-1918 Empty Re: Christopher E. Forth, Nietzsche, Decadence, and Regeneration in France, 1891-95 + Becoming a Destiny: The Nietzsche Vogue in French intellectual Life, 1891-1918

    Message par Johnathan R. Razorback le Mer 15 Mai - 12:58

    [chapitre 6: From Anti-Dreyfusism to Royalism: The Construction of a Rightist Nietzsche]

    "While the non-academic philosopher Louis Weber served for years as the philosophy critic for the Mercure de France. Gaultier would hold this post from 1903 to 1937, and would share it with Palante from 1911 until the latter's death in 1923." (note 33 p.270)

    "Two examples of the appropriation of Nietzsche by the extreme right are Pierre Lasserre, La Morale de Nietzsche (Paris: Calmann-Lévy, 1902), and Georges Valois, L’Homme qui vient." (note 66 p.272)

    "Maurice Barrès, whose name was often associated with that of Nietzsche." (p.279)

    "Hostile or ambivalent reactions were most commonly registered among the more consecrated conservatives, while young royalists tended to embrace Nietzsche with much more enthusiasm. During this critical period, then, one notices the production of an interpretation of Nietzsche designed to reflect the needs of this burgeoning avant-garde. Even the leading light of the neo-classical revival, Jean Moreas, praised the German on several occasions." (p.285)

    se réclamant de la sociologie de Bourdieu.

    "Barres had become familiar with the thought of Nietzsche since 1892, and even praised the efforts of the Belgian Nouvelle societe for its
    instrumental role in spreading the ideas of the German
    ." (p.289)

    "When in 1914 many of his compatriots were blaming the philosopher for German aggression, Barres was still able to recognize Nietzsche as a friend of the French: "When the Louvre was bombed (mine) [in 1870]," he reminded himself, "Nietzsche cried." " (p.290)

    "For some youthful followers of the novelist, the cultural association between Nietzsche and Barres threatened the image of creative independence which writers and artists must cultivate and which is, in effect, a fundamental basis upon which the field of cultural production stands. The publicist Jean Tharaud, who had been Barres’ private secretary for years, defended the memory of his employer against any distorting association with the German philosopher: "If one looks outside of himself for where Barres took this will to power which is one of his most characteristic traits, it is not of Nietzsche that one must think." " (p.290)

    "Leon Blum nevertheless emphasized the similarities between Barres and the German: "He speaks of Germany in the same spirit as the German Nietzsche.. . . And Nietzsche, in effect, speaks nearly the same language. Only Nietzsche was more rigorous with his own thought. He had expurgated his critique and theory of all nationalist residue." [L§on Blum, "M. Maurice Barrds" in En lisant: reflexions critiques (1903-
    19051 in Oeuvre (Paris: Paris: Albin Michel, 1954), I: 81, 82] " (p.292)

    "The conservative Vicomte de Colleville expressed similar distrust in an essay for La Plume, which had become open to a number of almost mutually-exclusive political positions” After having been popularized by Albert and Lichtenberger, Colleville observed, the ideas of Nietzsche proved to have had a negative effect on contemporary writers, resulting in a veritable cult of force best exemplified by Barres in France and d’Annunzio in Italy. However, according to Colleville, of these two writers only d’Annunzio, as "a pagan son of the Renaissance" and an advocate of the cult of man rather than humanity, had the right to espouse such a philosophy. "But Maurice Barres! That one is not a son of the Renaissance, but of the Revolution. He is a democrat, an active member of the party of national traditions." While Barres had presented himself as a nationalist and a Catholic, the roots of his thought, according to Colleville, were entirely foreign; in fact "his irony is English and his philosophical language and his thought are Germanl" The admiration for force which bursts from each page of his latest books is very Germanic and thoroughly nietzschéennel . . . The religion of Barrès and his disciples, is therefore this same force of which Nietzsche and Bismarck are prophets. [Vicomte de Colleville, "Frederic Nietzsche et nos professeurs d'énergie" La Plume 1 octobre 1900 (11), 618]" (p.293)

    "His influential and often-cited essay "Le sens de la hierarchie chez Nietzsche," which appeared in the widely-read Revue hebdomadaire. Gaultier revealed "the rapports which can exist between the authoritarian philosophy of Nietzsche and conservative doctrine." [...] Gaultier indicated the "identity
    of conclusions between the French writer and the German philosopher"-that is, between Barres and Nietzsche. " (p.294-295)

    "By 1908 even the Abbe Leon Delfour of the conservative Catholic newspaper L’Univers positively indicated the similarities between Barres and Nietzsche: both writers were proponents of la force and rejected both romanticism and the philosophy of Kant. "Certainly, one would have the right to say of Barres that he is a French Nietzsche and of Nietzsche that he is a German Barrds."90 Such associations between Nietzsche and Barres would persist through the First World War." (p.294)

    "It is clear that the Dreyfus Affair had great significance for the generation of a conservative Nietzsche." (p.299)

    "As Reino Virtanen and Victor Nguyen have asserted, Maurras owed a great deal to the ideas of the philosopher despite the fact that, in order to maintain the image of his own creative originality, he generally distanced himself from the German. Indeed, some readers of Maurras’ first work, Le Chemin de paradis (1895), had mistakenly cited a Nietzschean inspiration whereas at that time Maurras had not yet read any of the philosopher’s works.87 When noting during in 1895 the intolerable reign of the foreigner [la m6tequel in Parisian intellectual life, he added significantly that "We have followed closely enough the development of Frédéric Nietzsche".88 By the time of the Dreyfus Affair and the launching of the Action Frangaise it became even more incumbent upon Maurras to downplay Nietzsche, whose infamous attacks on Christianity might easily discourage Catholics from supporting the royalist movement. Jules de Gaultier, who was extremely instrumental in forging an interpretation of Nietzsche that would be palatable to right-wing readers, undoubtedly exercised some influence over the thought of Maurras and his colleagues. While Maurras would include Gaultier among his "best friends of the spirit," he would nevertheless maintain his skepticism regarding the wisdom of using Nietzsche. This was not the case with Jacques Bainville, Lucien Moreau, and others who repeatedly praised and defended the works of both Gaultier and Nietzsche against their numerous detractors. "I have lived all that he has said," wrote Octave Tauxier of the works of Gaultier, "stated precisely, he is my intellectual life." [O. Tauxier, Action frangaise octobre 1903, p. 379]. Maurras was nevertheless able to convey his own distrust of Nietzsche to some of his royalist colleagues." (p.302-303)

    "Maurras himself stressed how Rebell’s apparent cosmopolitanism actually contributed to the classical revival: 'The profound studies which M. Hugues Rebell delivered on Nietzsche have moreover had the result of confirming . . . the traditional wisdom of our teachers from France." [Charles Maurras, Enqu6te sur la monarchie (Paris: Fayard, 1900), 145.] " (p.304)

    "Writers like Bainville, Moreau, Lasserre, and Valois ignored Maurras’s disparaging remarks and made it a point to praise the philosophy of Nietzsche both in L’Action frangaise itself, and in the numerous other reviews which were within the sphere of royalist thought.
    The historian Jacques Bainville had apparently succumbed to the spell of Nietzsche as early as 1898, when in an article he referred to the philosopher as his "maître". "Thanks to M. Henri Albert and his friends, and the helpful fashion," Bainville observed in 1902, "the ideas of Nietzsche seem to be spreading. One must wait for the good of their diffusion." [Jacques Bainville, review of Nietzsche, Aurore. L’Action francaise 1 janvier
    1902 (6), 91.] The benefits of Nietzsche’s influence would manifest themselves once his readers took seriously his critical statements on science and humanism contained in his Dawn "the most important part" of the book. Above all, Bainville predicted the subversive impact of Nietzsche’s writings among Dreyfusards:

    Since our contemporaries, rotting from anarchism and romanticism, refuse to hear the lessons of the classical disciplines and French culture, it is not bad that they should be impressed by a brutal German. [Ibid., 91-92.]

    Presumably, those who ignored the benefits of classical culture would unwittingly imbibe them nevertheless through the works of this philosopher. In addition to his rather unmitigated praise for French culture, Nietzsche’s anti-Germanism was often cited among royalists: for Bainville it was Nietzsche’s critique of "the profound barbarism of Germany" which constituted "one of the rare parts [that is] truly useful and substantial" in his work. [Jacques Bainville, "Les Livres” L’Action francaise 15 octobre 1909 (24), 332.]

    Despite Maurras’ protests to the contrary, after 1900 Nietzsche became closely associated with the royalist movement, sometimes in ways that were not
    meant to be flattering. Lucien Moreau, a professor at the Institut de l’Action Frangaise and a great admirer of Nietzsche, was nevertheless quite sensitive to the problem of being too closely associated with the German. "Certain liberals," he warned in 1905, "among those who hate above all else the political philosophy of the A[ction]. F[rangaise]., have thought to condemn it by connecting it entirely to the influence of Nietzsche." Inclusion in such a constellation, Moreau noted, could be dangerous for the reputation of the Action Frangaise:

    This grave sentence could awaken against our cause some fears within a badly-informed public; in reality it rests only on the most exaggerated errors, and it would be easy to demonstrate the profound inexactitude of it.“

    Hence, while Moreau himself continued to sing the praises of Nietzsche in his essays in L'Action francaise and La Revue encvclopediaue, he was unwilling to attribute royalist philosophy entirely to the influence of Nietzsche." (p.305-307)

    "The new wave of interest in the work of the novelist Stendhal, for example, was for many rightists a guilt-free way of both complementing and dispensing with Nietzsche as a German exemplar." (p.307)

    "Jacques Bainville emphasized this relationship in his review of L’Arven. son rôle social: "H[omo]. Europoeus has an elongated cranium, blue eyes, blond hair (in general) elevated stature, pale complexion."

    [H]e is the blond beast, the noble beast of prey, the conqueror presented by Nietzsche. It is he who is truly the highest representative of men; it is he who invents and who creates; it is to him that is promised and owed the conquest of the globe." [Jacques Bainville, review of Georges Vacher de Lapouge, L’Arven. son role social. L’Action francaise 1 juin 1900 (2), 999.] " (p.308-309)

    "An agrégé de philosophie. and initially a revisionist in 1898, Lasserre quickly shifted towards anti-Dreyfusism the following year and began writing for the
    Revue de l'Action francaise. Lasserre had some fairly personal reasons for his vigorous condemnation of the French academic system: a student of Rene Doumic and Paul Desjardins at the College Stanislas during the late-1880s, Lasserre failed in the entrance competition for admission into the Ecole Normale Superieure (the khâgne). After refusing to sit for the exam a second time, Lasserre began his studies at the Sorbonne, where he received his aareaation in 1891, and later his doctorat ès-lettres (Henri Lichtenberger was his thesis advisor). After his conversion to anti-Dreyfusism in 1899, Lasserre would occupy the Louis Le Grand chair at the Institut de I'Action Frangaise.
    Lasserre wrote his first essays on Nietzsche while on scholarship in Germany in 1897, an experience which reinforced his conviction that German arms and ideas posed a significant threat to France, and which partly accounts for his gravitation towards the Action Frangaise. "Of Nietzsche," he remembered years later, "I could say that he awakened me, he helped me enter into my route, very different from his."* " (p.311-312)

    "We have noted how the subject of Nietzsche provided many young writers with a means of entering intellectual life, and Lasserre himself, who had published only one book in the early 1890s, admitted that La Morale de Nietzsche marked "my real debut in letters." [Pierre Lasserre, "Reflexions sur Frederic Nietzsche" La Revue universelle, 15 juin 1921, p.658] " (p.313)

    "After the publication of Lasserre’s text even Faguet was prompted to rethink his previous position, after which he praised this study as perhaps the best available alternative to the prevailing Nietzsche interpretations on the literary field. Having been admitted into the Academie Frangaise in 1900, Faguet’s endorsement carried a great deal of symbolic weight, representing the first significant support for Nietzsche from a member of the consecrated literary establishment." (319)

    "Clearly reflective of his own opinions, Faguet asserted that for Nietzsche "The Jews are a people of pillage and plunder." [Emile Faguet, En lisant Nietzsche (Paris: Society frangaise d’imprimerie et de librairie, 1904), 67.] " (p.320)

    "In 1912 Jacques Bainville wrote in his journal: I believe that one could establish as an almost unexceptional rule that France has never welcomed with real fervor foreign authors other than those who carry a reflection of itself.. . . Nietzsche ? But Nietzsche was, like Schopenhauer, nourished on our moralists and our skeptics of the 17th and 18th century; Zarathustra, by depicting du cortege of his eagle and his lion had a relationship with some well-known names, spiritual and very civilized names." [Jacques Bainville, "20 fevrier 1912," Journal (1901-19181 (Paris: Plon, 1948), 91.] " (p.323)
    -Christopher E. Forth, Becoming a Destiny: The Nietzsche Vogue in French intellectual Life, 1891-1918, Ph.D., State University of New York at Buffalo, 1994, 536 pages.

    « La question n’est pas de constater que les gens vivent plus ou moins pauvrement, mais toujours d’une manière qui leur échappe. »
    -Guy Debord, Critique de la séparation (1961).

      La date/heure actuelle est Dim 17 Jan - 6:40