Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Nietzsche, Romance and Christianity

OK, so a romance is a tale of love, sex and violence; why is romance such a large part of romanticism? Why does the great change in the uses of subjectivity (and not just in the arts but in philosophy as well) that I am defining as the essence of the romantic revolution coincide with the rise of the romance as a popular art form? Well, here is what Nietzsche had to say; it is the best answer to my question that I know of.

The passions become evil and insidious and they are considered evil and insidious. Thus Christianity has succeeded in turning Eros and Aphrodite--great powers, capable of idealization--into hellish goblins... In themselves the sexual feelings, like those of pity and adoration, are such that one human being gives pleasure to another human being through his delight; one does not encounter such beneficent arrangements too frequently in nature. And to slander just such a one and corrupt it through bad conscience! To associate the procreation of man with bad conscience!

In the end this transformation of Eros into a devil wound up as a comedy: gradually the "devil" Eros became more interesting to men than all the angels and saints, thanks to the whispering and the secret-mongering of the Church in all erotic matters: this had the effect, right into our own time, of making the love story the only real interest shared by ALL circles--in an exaggeration which would have been incomprehensible in antiquity and which will yet be laughed at someday....

No comments:

Post a Comment