Thursday, March 06, 2008

Dostoevsky and Nietzsche

“Yet, although Dostoevsky is in more than one respect the forerunner of Nietzsche, and although Nietzsche said: ‘He is the only person who has taught me anything about psychology,’ it cannot really be said that the one profoundly influenced the other. Nietzsche’s enthusiasm soon waned. Without disowning his first feeling, he had time for second thoughts. In a note in Der Wille zur Macht [The Will to Power] dated 1888 he still spoke of the ‘release’ that came from reading Dostoevsky. But on 20 November of the same year, when Georg Brandes was warning him against Dostoevsky as ‘wholly Christian in sentiment’ and an adherent of ‘slave morality’, he replied: ‘I have vowed a queer kind of gratitude for him, although he goes against my deepest instincts.’ ‘It is much the same as with Pascal,’ he added. And in Ecce Homo, enumerating the writers who had been his spiritual sustenance, he did not mention Dostoevsky. The initial attraction was coupled with an equally violent repulsion.”-Henri De Lubac, The Drama of Atheist of Humanism, (1950), p. 168.

[Perhaps the author of the essay “Macbeth and the Moral Universe”, Harry V. Jaffa (, is in something like Nietzsche’s initial reaction to Dostoevsky.]

“Nietzsche, in cursing our age, sees in it the heritage of the Gospel, while Dostoevsky, cursing it just as vigorously, sees in it the result of a denial of the Gospel.” -Henri De Lubac, The Drama of Atheist of Humanism, (1950), p. 172.

No comments: