Misreading the chorus: A critical quellenforschung into die geburt der tragödie

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Though Nietzsche’s sources for Die Geburt der Tragödie have been researched thoroughly, the use he makes of those sources has not received the attention it deserves. This requires a ‘critical Quellenforschung’, which is developed in relation to the account of the chorus in GT 7 and 8. In comparison with its sources, GT reveals a systematic misreading, aimed at collapsing the opposition of antiquity and modernity. In discussing the chorus, Nietzsche alters, extends, and misrepresents previous theories (most notably, those of A.W. Schlegel, Schiller, and Wagner) to create a daring new account. Though recognizably indebted to others, Nietzsche’s description goes far beyond his sources in presenting the chorus as essential to the rebirth of tragedy in modernity. The aim of these misreadings is a critique of philological method similar to that found in the fragments known as “Wir Philologen”. Travestying the presumed objectivity of his discipline, Nietzsche performs the impossibility of a scientific study of antiquity. In expressing critique through the method of its object, Nietzsche points, as he will in his later work, to the impossibility of knowledge freed from subjective perspective.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)246-268
Number of pages23
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Philosophy


  • Die geburt der tragödie
  • Perspectivalism
  • Philology
  • Schiller
  • Wagner


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