Nietzsche and Music

Nietzsche and Music

By (author) Georges Liebert , Translated by David Pellauer , Translated by Graham Parkes

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"Without music, life would be an error." Friedrich Nietzsche In his youth, Friedrich Nietzsche yearned to become a great composer and wrote many pieces of music. He later claimed to be "the most musical of all philosophers." Yet most books on Nietzsche fail to explore the importance of music for his thought. "Nietzsche and Music" provides the first in-depth examination of the fundamental significance of music for Nietzsche's life and work. Nietzsche's views on music are essential for understanding his philosophy as a whole. Part biography and part critical examination, Georges Liebert brilliantly demonstrates that despite failed attempts at a professional career as composer, Nietzsche never fully removed himself from the world of music, but instead, became a composer of philosophy, utilizing the musical form as a template for his own writings and creative thought. Liebert's study surveys Nietzsche's opinions about particular composers and compositions, as well as his more theoretical writings on music and its relation to the other arts. He also explores Nietzsche's listening habits, his playing and style of composition, and his many contacts in the musical world, including his controversial and contentious relationship with Richard Wagner. For Nietzsche, music gave access to a realm of wisdom that transcended thought. Music was Nietzsche's great solace; in his last years, it was his refuge from madness. A virtuoso exploration of this little-known but crucial aspect of Nietzsche's life and work, this volume will be of enormous value to scholars of philosophy, music, aesthetics, and literature."

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  • Hardback | 280 pages
  • 158.5 x 235.2 x 22.6mm | 580.61g
  • 10 Feb 2004
  • The University of Chicago Press
  • University of Chicago Press
  • Chicago, IL
  • English
  • 0226480879
  • 9780226480879
  • 1,057,487

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Author Information

Georges Liebert is "maitre de conference" at the Institut d'Etudes Politiques in Paris and a producer at France-Musique. He is the author of four other books. David Pellauer is a professor of philosophy at DePaul University. Graham Parkes is a professor of philosophy at the University of Hawaii."

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Review quote

"This informative, scholarly, and beautifully written book . . . examines Nietzsche's multifarious engagements with music and musicians, focusing on his pivotal relationship with Richard Wagner."--Michael Spitzer "Music and Letters "

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Flap copy

"Without music, life would be an error" Friedrich Nietzsche In his youth, Friedrich Nietzsche yearned to become a great composer and wrote many pieces of music. He later claimed to be "the most musical of all philosophers." Yet most books on Nietzsche fail to explore the importance of music for his thought. "Nietzsche and Music" provides the first in-depth examination of the fundamental significance of music for Nietzsche's life and work. Nietzsche's views on music are essential for understanding his philosophy as a whole. Part biography and part critical examination, Georges Liebert brilliantly demonstrates that despite failed attempts at a professional career as composer, Nietzsche never fully removed himself from the world of music, but instead, became a composer of philosophy, utilizing the musical form as a template for his own writings and creative thought. Liebert's study surveys Nietzsche's opinions about particular composers and compositions, as well as his more theoretical writings on music and its relation to the other arts. He also explores Nietzsche's listening habits, his playing and style of composition, and his many contacts in the musical world, including his controversial and contentious relationship with Richard Wagner. For Nietzsche, music gave access to a realm of wisdom that transcended thought. Music was Nietzsche's great solace; in his last years, it was his refuge from madness. A virtuoso exploration of this little-known but crucial aspect of Nietzsche's life and work, this volume will be of enormous value to scholars of philosophy, music, aesthetics, and literature."

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