Nietzsche and Russian Symbolism

  • Bernice Glatzer Rosenthal


Nietzsche’s apotheosis of the aesthetic vision, glorification of creative activity, exaltation of individualism and hatred of the Philistines made his philosophy enormously appealing to Russian artists. The prophetic posture of Thus Spake Zarathustra, its aphorisms and epigrams, made the author appear a fellow poet and seeker. Nietzsche had foreseen the malaise which was gripping the European world; his entire philosophy was an attempt to overcome nihilism. Influential in France, in Russia his effect was even greater. The traditional Russian tendency to live by ideas made Nietzscheanism into a philosophic rationale for the symbolist attempt to find new truths through art.


Existential Activity Eternal Life Criminal Thought Aesthetic VISIon Grand Inquisitor 
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    According to Hippius this is what brought them together. Merezhkovsky’s friend Minsky was also a Nietzschean of sorts; his most famous work In the Light of Conscience (1890) was a Nietzschean critique of morality.Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© Martinus Nijhoff, The Hague, Netherlands 1975

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  • Bernice Glatzer Rosenthal

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