Chemehuevi: A Grammar and Lexicon by Margaret L. Press

By Margaret L. Press

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Extra info for Chemehuevi: A Grammar and Lexicon

Sample text

Nietzsche is, however, not the only referent. The philosophical dimension of Death in Venice extends all the way back to Plato’s Phaedrus, which Aschenbach understands as a contradictory message about desire and virtue. He remembers the Platonic dialogue as teaching that there is a direct link between the senses and the spiritual realm, that desire is the way to eternal beauty, that all love is divine. But in the final pages of the novella he remembers a very different lesson of that same dialogue, a lesson that seems to apply more strictly to his own case: that love is incurable; that there is great danger in desire, beauty, and art; that poets have neither value nor wisdom; that art is a threat because it exalts passion; that artists are poor teachers, prone to excess; that love of form can lead to the abyss, the Abgrund.

In the process of showing his upholsterer how he wants the hangings of the drawing-room curtain draped, he slips from a ladder and hits his side hard against the knob of the window frame. He will not recover from the injury. The clock is ticking inexorably. Chapter 6. Ivan is now very sick and faces the reality of death. ”14 It is at this point that he remembers the schoolbook syllogism about Caius being a man and therefore mortal. Still he clings to the illusion of an irreplaceable self immune from Caius’s fate.

Still, abandoned though he may be by the once-honoring crowds, the hunger artist more than ever imposes on himself the most exacting demands. Despite the public’s incomprehension, his aim remains to excel as the greatest hunger artist of all time by surpassing himself. This Selbstverleugnung, or “self-denial,” this boundless demand imposed on himself, implies a self-willed death-in-life whose profound meaning he communicates in a dying whisper to the uncomprehending overseer, who asks him why he does not stop his suicidal fasting: “Because I have to fast .

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