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From: "Alex David Groce" <adgroce@eos.ncsu.edu>
Subject: Re: (urth) Thus Spoke Severian? (Nietzsche links)
Date: Thu, 3 Dec 1998 11:30:21 

> (Yah, I's been quiet.  I's been busy.  OTOH, I did have a chance to read
> lots of Nietzsche, and find a few parallels, only one striking one)
> In _On the Uses and Disadvantages of History for Live (1874), Nietzsche
> argued that man must live as a balance between remembering and forgetting,
> and one passage in particular struck me:
> "Cheerfulness, the good conscience, the joyful deed, confidence in the
> future -- all of them depend, in the case of the individual as of a nation,
> on the existence of a line dividing the bright and discernable from the
> unilluminable and dark; on one's being just as able to forget at the right
> time as to remember at the right time; on the possession of a powerful
> instinct for sensing when it is necessary to feel historically and when
> unhistorically.  This, precisely, is the proposition the reader is invited
> to meditate upon: /the unhistorical and the historical are necessary in
> equal measure for the health of an individual, of a people and of a
> culture/."  (/../ specify italics, Nietzsche's.)
> Now, not to overanalyze, (but I wish I knew if Wolfe had read Nietzsche!),
> but "line dividing the bright ... and dark"? Terminus Est, you mean?  Or
> what about Severian being the 'memory' for a culture living in the present
> moment (living unhistorically) while immersed in it?  And in being the
> opposite extreme, gives a healthy balance?
> Also, in _Thus Spoke Zarathustra_, Zara announces the future of humanity as
> having two possible courses, one towards the Last Man (no lie!), of a
> future bright in technology and comfort, but immersed in decadence and
> eventual death, and that of the Superhuman/Overman, who is a dramatic
> change from current man, an evolution from him, but more a revolution in
> (moral) thought-- Ash, master of the Last House vs. the Green Man?
> ...nahhhh. ;)
> Has anyone else read these connections into Nietzsche, or (as is likely)
> seen ones I missed?

Striking, but I'm doubtful.  I can imagine Wolfe having read Nietzsche (at
least some), as Wolfe is certainly very widely read...  On the other hand, I
don't see an intentional reference to Nietzsche as very likely--it just seems
that Wolfe's general view of things is so non-Nietzschean...
	Of course, it could simply be my personal distaste for
Nietzsche--certainly a genius and a brilliant writer, but on the whole his work
strikes me as containing a thin vein of clear perception in a sea of murk and
error...  Severian as the Superman seems quite a bit off (first of all, Wolfe
has mentioned somewhere (I think) that he was fond of Chesterton's "Meeting the
Superman" or whatever, and I doubt if that's the case he'd have wanted Sev.
associated with that...)
	But mainly, Nietzsche's "slave morality," etc. analysis doesn't seem to
fit well as a source for BOTNS...  Although N's self-contradictory enough that
you could say that's irrelevant...

"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free." - John 8:32
Alex David Groce (adgroce@eos.ncsu.edu)
Senior (Computer Science/Multidisciplinary Studies in Technology & Fiction)
'98-99 NCSU AITP Student Chapter President
608 Charleston Road, Apt. 1E (919)-233-7366

*More Wolfe info & archive of this list at http://www.urth.net/urth/

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