Famous and dead is still dead

“To hope for the recognition of a distant future makes sense if one assumes that mankind will remain essentially unchanged and that all greatness is bound to be felt as great not only in a single age but in all ages.  This, however, is an error; mankind undergoes great transformations in its feeling for and judgement of what is good and beautiful; it is fantasizing to believe of oneself that one is a mile further on in advance and that all mankind is going along our road.  In addition: a scholar who fails to gain recognition may be quite sure that his discovery will also be made by others and that at the best some future historian will acknowledge that he already knew this or that but was not able to obtain general acquiescence in the matter.  Failure to gain recognition will always be interpreted by posterity as lack of vigour. – In short, one should not be too ready to speak up for proud isolation.  There are of course exceptions; but as a rule it is our faults, weaknesses and follies that hinder recognition of our great qualities.” – Friedrich Nietzsche, Human, All Too Human (emphasis in original; trans. Hollingdale)

2 thoughts on “Famous and dead is still dead”

  1. Thank you Tetman, for curating all this wonderful stuff and posting it here.
    I am not an educated man, and my To Be Read list is an ever-growing one, populated almost exclusively by fiction.
    However, having subscribed to your RSS feed some time ago, I find in my inbox many intelligent views of the world I would not have otherwise been aware of, and some that are so similar to my own as to make me feel less alone in the world.
    And both those things are, in the vernacular of truth, fucking brilliant.
    My sincere thanks.

    1. you’re welcome, harry. when i started this blog a couple of years ago, i didn’t know at first what i was going to post. i knew i wanted to post the gordon lish notes, since they weren’t doing anyone any good stuck away in my files. and i knew i wanted to post copies of work i’d already had published. quickly i hit upon the idea of posting excerpts from whatever i happened to be reading at the time. a part of me always wanted to be a teacher; this was teaching, in a way, without having to take upon myself the awesome responsibility of being a teacher, and without having to deal with the soul-stripping educational bureaucracy.

      though i am an educated man, there is much i’ve never read that i can’t help but feel i should have read long ago; then there also is much being published every year that i snatch at as time passes by. harold bloom, in his book about the western canon, makes the point that even if one had two lifetimes, there wouldn’t be time enough to read everything worth reading. so i read what i can and share from it that which strikes me as worth passing along. i am glad that some of what i share is of value to you. one of the great gifts of being able to read is being able to join in a great community that extends across the miles and through the centuries.

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