Unpublished Works | On the Dramatic Works of Byron. 1861 © The Nietzsche Channel

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On the Dramatic Works of Byron.

December 1861.1

Excerpt from:
Friedrich Nietzsche in Words and Pictures.
Part 2. Nietzsche's School Years and Military Service: 1858-68.

Translation Copyright The Nietzsche Channel.

Nietzsche's Writings as a Student.
Translation Copyright 2012, The Nietzsche Channel.

The main attraction of Byron's poems consists in the knowledge that in them we are confronted by the Lord's own world of feeling and thought, not in the calm, golden-clear composure of Goethean prose, but in the storm-stress of a fiery spirit, of a volcano that now devastatingly rolls out glowing lava, and now, its peak darkened by wreaths of smoke, looks down upon the blooming fields that garland its base with gloomy, eerie silence. The unhappy poesy of world-weariness takes its origin and its most ingenious development from Byron, and precisely in the process the poet presents himself to us in every character he draws, without, however, lapsing into the mistake of boundless one-sidedness—for Byron knew how to identify everything lofty and noble, the most tender and sublime feelings, within the splendid universality of his spirit—precisely therein lies the magic that makes us feel a keen inclination for him and his poetry. Now if we confront the poet's own being primarily in Childe Harold's Pilgrimage and the boundless genius of Don Juan, especially in the latter work, which is, as Goethe says,2 absorbed misanthropically in the most bitter cruelty, and philanthropically in the most profound and sweet affection, we must gratefully enjoy what Byron dares to present to us with excessive license, even audacity, yet even his other smaller epic works are really magnificent poetic pearls, radiant with the most wonderfully gleaming colors. Today I want to draw your attention neither to these poems nor to the Hebrew Melodies, those infinitely tender, melancholy sounds of the purest poetry, but to his dramatic works, characterized by the poet's extreme subjectivity, which shall be the theme of my essay.

The first of his tragedies is the one started in Switzerland and [....]

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Unpublished Works | On the Dramatic Works of Byron. 1861 © The Nietzsche Channel