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978-0-521-51923-6 - The Death of Nietzsches Zarathustra


Paul S. Loeb
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T H E D E AT H O F N I E T Z S C H E S
Z A R AT H U S T R A

In this study of Nietzsches Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Paul S. Loeb


proposes a new account of the relation between the books literary
and philosophical aspects and argues that the books narrative is
designed to embody and exhibit the truth of eternal recurrence.
Loeb shows how Nietzsche constructed a unied and complete plot
in which the protagonist dies, experiences a deathbed revelation of
his endlessly repeating life, and then returns to his identical life so as
to recollect this revelation and gain a power over time that advances
him beyond the human. Through close textual analysis and careful
attention to Nietzsches use of Platonic, Biblical, and Wagnerian
themes, Loeb explains how this novel design is the key to solving the
many riddles of Thus Spoke Zarathustra including its controversial
fourth part, its obscure concept of the bermensch, and its relation
to Nietzsches Genealogy of Morals.

pau l s. l oe b is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Puget


Sound. He is the co-translator and co-editor (with David F. Tinsley)
of Nietzsches Thus Spoke Zarathustra and Unpublished Fragments
from the Period of Thus Spoke Zarathustra in volumes 7, 14, and 15
of The Complete Works of Friedrich Nietzsche (forthcoming, Stanford
University Press).

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Cambridge University Press
978-0-521-51923-6 - The Death of Nietzsches Zarathustra
Paul S. Loeb
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T H E D E AT H O F
NIETZSCHES
Z A R AT H U S T R A

PAU L S . L OE B

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Cambridge University Press
978-0-521-51923-6 - The Death of Nietzsches Zarathustra
Paul S. Loeb
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c a m b r i d g e u n i ve r s i t y p re s s
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So Paulo, Delhi, Dubai, Tokyo
Cambridge University Press
The Edinburgh Building, Cambridge cb2 8ru, uk

Published in the United States of America by Cambridge University Press, New York

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Paul S. Loeb 2010

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and to the provisions of relevant collective licensing agreements,
no reproduction of any part may take place without the written
permission of Cambridge University Press.

First published 2010

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Cambridge University Press
978-0-521-51923-6 - The Death of Nietzsches Zarathustra
Paul S. Loeb
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for Ketty,
du weisst es auch

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Cambridge University Press
978-0-521-51923-6 - The Death of Nietzsches Zarathustra
Paul S. Loeb
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es hilft nichts, ich muss meinem Sohne Zarathustra


erst zu seinem schnen Tode verhelfen, er lsst mir sonst
keine Ruhe.
(KSB 6, p. 557)

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978-0-521-51923-6 - The Death of Nietzsches Zarathustra
Paul S. Loeb
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Contents

Preface page ix
Texts and citations xi

Introduction 1
1 The eternal recurrence of the same 11
Simmels critique 11
Awareness 14
Evidence 16
Signicance 21
Coherence 29
Conclusion 31

2 Demon or god? 32
Deathbed revelation 33
Daimonic prophecy 35
Dionysian doctrine 38
Diagnostic test 41
Conclusion 44

3 The dwarf and the gateway 45


The gateway to Hades 46
The dwarf s interpretation 50
Zarathustras cross-examination 54
The inescapable cycle 61
Crossing the gateway 63
No time until rebirth 66
The ancient memory 69
Midnight swan song 74
Conclusion 82

4 The great noon 85


Two conclusions 86
Tragic end and analeptic satyr play 91
Zarathustras hour 98
vii

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978-0-521-51923-6 - The Death of Nietzsches Zarathustra
Paul S. Loeb
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viii Contents
Noon crucixion 101
Seventh-day convalescence 105
Last temptation 109
Third-day resurrection 114
Conclusion 117

5 The laughing lions 119


Revaluation of values 122
Dawn reunion 124
Morning consecration 128
Call to arms 130
Final farewell and last will 133
Zarathustras great destiny 138
Conclusion 145

6 The shepherd and the serpent 148


The eternally recurring human 151
The future human 153
Zarathustra the dragon-slayer 157
The decapitation 160
The heavy hammer 163
No longer shepherd 167
Conclusion 170

7 Circulus vitiosus deus 173


Impotence and revenge 175
Backward-willing 179
Self-redemption 185
The third transformation 190
The child spirit 194
No longer human 198
Zarathustras dying gift 200
Conclusion 204

8 Post-Zarathustra 207
Nietzsche and Zarathustra 208
Reversing the bad conscience 214
Atheism and the death of God 226
Countering the ascetic ideal 234
Conclusion 240

Bibliography 243
Index 255

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978-0-521-51923-6 - The Death of Nietzsches Zarathustra
Paul S. Loeb
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Preface

This study was conceived and written as a unied book. Over the course
of many drafts and revisions, I have presented and published dierent
parts of this book so as to receive feedback from my colleagues and intro-
duce its ideas into the eld. I am especially grateful to the organizers of
the Friedrich Nietzsche Society, the North American Nietzsche Society,
and Nietzsche in New York, for their presentation opportunities and invi-
tations, and I am indebted to the audiences at my talks for their helpful
questions, comments, and suggestions. I would also like to express my
gratitude to the University of Puget Sound for supporting my related con-
ference travel and sabbatical research.
The following published essays are excerpted and modied versions of
dierent parts of the draft version of this book, and I would like to thank
the editors and publishers below for their permission to reproduce the
shared material:
1998. The Moment of Tragic Death in Nietzsches Dionysian
Doctrine of Eternal Recurrence: An Exegesis of Aphorism
341 in The Gay Science, International Studies in Philosophy 30:
131143.
2000. The Conclusion of Nietzsches Zarathustra, International Studies
in Philosophy 32: 137152.
2001. Time, Power, and Superhumanity, Journal of Nietzsche Studies
21: 2747.
2002. The Dwarf, the Dragon, and the Ring of Eternal Recurrence: A
Wagnerian Key to the Riddle of Nietzsches Zarathustra,
Nietzsche-Studien 31: 91113.
2004. Zarathustras Laughing Lions, in Acampora, Christa Davis and
Acampora, Ralph R. (eds.) 2004. A Nietzschean Bestiary: Becoming
Animal Beyond Docile and Brutal. New York: Rowman &
Littleeld, pp. 122140.

ix

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Paul S. Loeb
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x Preface
2005. Finding the bermensch in Nietzsches Genealogy of Morality,
Journal of Nietzsche Studies 30: 71102.
2006. Identity and Eternal Recurrence, in Ansell-Pearson, Keith
(ed.) 2006. A Companion to Nietzsche. New York: Blackwell, pp.
171188.
2007. The Thought-Drama of Eternal Recurrence, Journal of Nietzsche
Studies 33: 7995.
2008. The Gateway-Augenblick, in Luchte, James (ed.) 2008. Nietzsches
Thus Spoke Zarathustra: Before Sunrise. London: Continuum
Publishing, pp. 91108.
2008. Suicide, Meaning, and Redemption, in Dries, Manuel (ed.) 2008.
Nietzsche on Time and History. New York: Walter de Gruyter Press,
pp. 163190.
I am grateful to many friends and colleagues for their comments,
advice, support, and encouragement during the writing of this book. I
would especially like to thank Christa Davis Acampora, Keith Ansell-
Pearson, Rebecca Bamford, William Barry, William Beardsley, Daniel
Blue, Thomas Brobjer, Douglas Cannon, Jonathan Cohen, Daniel
Conway, Manuel Dries, James Evans, Robert Gooding-Williams, Robert
Guay, Rainer Hanshe, Lawrence Hatab, Mark Jenkins, Duncan Large,
David Lupher, William Melanson, Mark Migotti, Alexander Nehamas,
M. Gregory Oakes, Robert Pippin, Alan Schrift, Gary Shapiro, Herman
Siemens, Robin Small, Henry Staten, Lawrence Stern, David Tinsley, P.
Taylor Webb, and M. Zissou. I would also like to thank Hilary Gaskin,
Aline Guillermet, Marjory Bissett and Robert Wilkinson for their helpful
editorial advice and support.

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978-0-521-51923-6 - The Death of Nietzsches Zarathustra
Paul S. Loeb
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Texts and citations

For Nietzsches works, I cite the Kritische Studienausgabe, including the


Smtliche Werke (shown as KSA) and the Smtliche Briefe (shown as
KSB), edited by Giorgio Colli and Mazzino Montinari (Berlin: Walter
de Gruyter, 1980). I also cite some unpublished notes not included in the
Studienausgabe, but collected in the Kritische Gesamtausgabe der Werke
(shown as KGW), edited by Wolfgang Mller-Lauter and Karl Pestalozzi
(Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 1967). References to Nietzsches unpublished
writings appear with the KSA or KGW volume number, followed by the
fragment number. References to Nietzsches letters appear with the volume
number of KSB, followed by the page number. I have included references
to Nietzsches writings in the body of the text using the standard English
title abbreviations listed below. My references to Thus Spoke Zarathustra
list the part number in Roman numerals, followed by a period and the
chapter number in Arabic numerals (not included in Nietzsches manu-
scripts), followed by a colon and the section number in Arabic if necessary.
For example, III.13:2 refers to the second section of the Convalescent
chapter in Part III. My references to Part III of Ecce Homo, in which
Nietzsche reviews his books chapter by chapter, list the abbreviated title
of each book and the section number within that chapter. For example,
EH BT:3 refers to the chapter on The Birth of Tragedy, section 3. For the
other parts of Ecce Homo and the rest of Nietzsches published works, I
have used Roman numerals to denote the larger subdivisions within the
work, Arabic numerals to denote the section number, and P to denote
Nietzsches prefaces. In my translations of Nietzsches text, I have con-
sulted the translations listed below.
A The Antichrist (Der Antichrist)
Translated by Walter Kaufmann, in Kaufmann, Walter (ed.) 1954. The
Portable Nietzsche. New York: Viking. Also translated by R.J. Hollingdale,
in Nietzsche, Friedrich 1968. The Antichrist. New York: Penguin Books.

xi

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xii Texts and citations


BGE Beyond Good and Evil (Jenseits von Gut und Bse)
Translated by Walter Kaufmann, in Kaufmann, Walter (ed.)
1968. Basic Writings of Nietzsche. New York: Random House.
Also translated by R.J. Hollingdale, in Nietzsche, Friedrich 1973.
Beyond Good and Evil. New York: Penguin Books.
BT The Birth of Tragedy (Die Geburt der Tragdie)
Translated by Walter Kaufmann, in Kaufmann 1968.
CW The Case of Wagner (Der Fall Wagner)
Translated by Walter Kaufmann, in Kaufmann 1968.
D Daybreak (Morgenrte)
Translated by R.J. Hollingdale, in Nietzsche, Friedrich 1982.
Daybreak. Cambridge University Press.
DD Dithyrambs of Dionysus (Dionysos-Dithyramben)
Translated by R.J. Hollingdale, in Nietzsche, Friedrich 1984.
Dithyrambs of Dionysus. London: Anvil Press Poetry.
DW The Dionysiac World View (Die dionysische Weltanschauung)
Translated by Ronald Speirs, in Geuss, Raymond (ed.) 1999.
Nietzsche: The Birth of Tragedy and Other Writings. Cambridge
University Press.
EH Ecce Homo
Translated by Walter Kaufmann, in Kaufmann 1968. Also trans-
lated by R.J. Hollingdale, in Nietzsche, Friedrich 1979. Ecce
Homo. New York: Penguin Books.
GM On the Genealogy of Morals (Zur Genealogie der Moral)
Translated by Walter Kaufmann and R.J. Hollingdale, in
Kaufmann 1968.
GS The Gay Science (Die frhliche Wissenschaft)
Translated by Walter Kaufmann, in Nietzsche, Friedrich 1974.
The Gay Science. New York: Random House.
HAH Human, All Too Human (Menschliches, Allzumenschliches)
Translated by R.J. Hollingdale, in Nietzsche, Friedrich 1986.
Human, All Too Human. Cambridge University Press.
NCW Nietzsche contra Wagner
Translated by Walter Kaufmann, in Kaufmann 1954.
TI Twilight of the Idols (Gtzen-Dmmerung)
Translated by Walter Kaufmann, in Kaufmann 1954. Also trans-
lated by R.J. Hollingdale, in Nietzsche, Friedrich 1968. Twilight
of the Idols. New York: Penguin Books.

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Texts and citations xiii


UM Untimely Meditations (Unzeitgemsse Betrachtungen)
Translated by R.J. Hollingdale, in Nietzsche, Friedrich 1991.
Untimely Meditations. Cambridge University Press.
Z Thus Spoke Zarathustra (Also Sprach Zarathustra)
Translated by Walter Kaufmann, in Kaufmann 1954. Also trans-
lated by R.J. Hollingdale, in Nietzsche, Friedrich 1961. Thus Spoke
Zarathustra. New York: Penguin Books. I have also consulted
the more recent translations by Graham Parkes, in Friedrich
Nietzsche 2005. Thus Spoke Zarathustra. Oxford University Press;
and by Adrian Del Caro, in Friedrich Nietzsche 2006, Thus Spoke
Zarathustra. Cambridge University Press.

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