Fine taste among the generality of men of letters can exist only while it is still uncorrupted.
…….– Giacomo Leopardi, Zibaldone
In a dismal and otherwise dismissive tone that monarch of literary taste, T.S. Eliot once suggested that in a “formless age there is very little hope for the minor [author]* to do anything worth doing”.1 As if literature had been all used up, the formulations and forms of all past literary endeavors brought to such a final perfection that there was no need to continue, literature was now exhausted; completed, finis. He would also speak of the need of great criticism, of the development of sensibility and a true sense of literary taste or critical awareness, of the need for an aristocracy of letters that would give birth of a “higher culture” from which a new future would arise guided by a resolute and innovative absorption of the past rather than its dissolution. He would castigate those like Walter Pater as non-critics, as aesthetes of literature – by which he meant mere appreciators who through their “arid cleverness build theoretical scaffolds upon one’s own perceptions,” a formless waste and accumulation of a mass of unstructured nonsense. While for him the “really appreciative mind” allows perceptions to form themselves as a structure, and criticism is the “statement in language of this structure; it is the development of sensibility.”
Harold Bloom who despised T.S. Eliot’s criticism and reactionary politics as that “Eliotic cant” would develop the opposing trend of a Romantic formlessness that followed Pater rather than Eliot. Against his own immediate precursor Northrup Frye (whose work on William Blake Fearful Symmetry and Anatomy of Criticism would haunt Bloom throughout his career), Bloom shows the uneasy relationship between what many term the Platonic and Anti-Platonic stance in life, literature and thought that has been a leitmotif running through Western Culture and Civilization like a bitter and relentless war between two sensibilities – the Traditionalist, upholder of classicism and the past; and, the Romantic gnostic, the rebel and outrider of passion and the wildness of freedom and a knowing that is no longer constrained by the dictates of reason and tradition. A movement between order and chaos, form and formlessness, taste and sensibility, structure and process, being and becoming – that has littered the intellectual diminishment and pursuits of men of letters from the beginning to now. These two tendencies at war in our culture from the beginning have navigated and plundered the riches of ancient days and now installed themselves in the political sphere of our current malaise and ennui threatening to destroy and annihilate each other in some coming bloodbath, a literal immersion in those ancient textual universe of Dante and Milton. A literalization of that old world of Manichean dualism of a war of all against all.
This battle between innovation and tradition, progress and refinement has led to a heated and turbulent history in recent times. The notions of Literary Canons, of inclusion and exclusion, of literary racism and speciesism, the politicization of literature itself rather than its aesthetic appeal. The use and abuse of culture in the education of our children, etc. The deep divide over just “whose” culture should rule our so to speak mental worlds of thought and belief. While others would wipe the slate clean, burn the archive, dismantle the “dead white” world of European cultural imperialism, etc. As if the past of culture were an enemy that must now be expunged, rewritten, revised from a minoratarian standpoint, alleviating centuries of oppression and exclusion, rewriting the textbooks of all past eras to redress the wrongs of those victimized and abused at the expense of art and intellect. Others would offer a conclusion far different, stating flatly that these so called cultural wars were nothing but the graveyard of bitter and dissatisfied, resentful literati and leftists who wanted nothing better than destroy the past for their own selfish aggrandizement, to bury the dead white world of man and men who for far too long had held power over thought and life.
Culture was always more than about knowledge and its transmission, it was about all those unwritten codes of life that went without saying, those strange worlds of taboo and excess that allowed for our actual bodily and mental lives to get on with our work of living; but in a way that brought us out of a mindless state of animalistic insensibility and into a world of keen spirit and intellectual delight, affect and passion. Here in that artificial middle-ground of culture the worlds of music, painting, literature, philosophy, and an acquired and cultured sensibility and awareness of something indefinable took up its place in our existence. Something that gave our lives ‘meaning’, a dignity that otherwise was stripped and laid bare by the natural world where no meaning resided. Yet, in our time even human meaning has been banned as illusive and narcissistic, a vanity of a bygone era of humanistic learning that must now give way to the business of profit and intellectual machinations. Ours is a bare age of numbers, stocks, and algorithms, where humans pass their time in entertainment and oblivion, drink and partying, outdoor festivals of physical prowess and travel jaunts to hidden and exotic worlds to visit the dead cultural artifacts of long vanished civilizations.
Once again a Man of Letters, Mario Vargas Llosa in his recent Notes on the Death of Culture joins that long shadow of thinkers and critics in battling what he perceives as the derogation and corruption of our late civilization by a sense of apathy, indecision, and decadence; of falling into a malaise of anti-intellectualism and ideology rather than in critical discrimination and the development of sensibility. Samuel Johnson that greatest of critics would describe this education in sensibility this way:
To produce this disposition, nothing appears requisite but a quick sensibility, and active imagination; for, though not devoted to virtue, or science, the man, whose faculties enable him to make ready comparisons of the present with the past, will find such a constant recurrence of the same pleasures and troubles, the same expectations and disappointments, that he will gladly snatch an hour of retreat, to let his thoughts expatiate at large, and seek for that variety in his own ideas…2
A “quick sensibility and active imagination” who can discriminate between present need and past conveyance, expectation and loss, variety and those intonations of thought that come little and far between in the glow of empirical delights. The battles of sensibility and insensibility would play themselves out between those who would favor the empirical and affective, and those for whom the senses were a blind god that would always lead one into error and confusion. This hidden war between Platonic interior ideas and the external world of sensibility and affective knowledge cascades down the centuries.
(Even in our time we’ve seen the Process oriented and affective philosophers warring against the Structure-oriented realists and their labors, while Idealists battle Materialists until even matter has entered a state of immaterial virtuality in such thinkers as Deleuze, Badiou, DeLanda, and Zizek. But that is another tale that stems to an ultimate battle between substantive formalism (Substance) of Plato and his progeny, and the formless insubstantialism (Immaterial) of our present tribe of speculative thinkers. To tell that story would be to go to far astray…)
Before we enter into Llosa’s recent disturbance of those waters where time and the abyss vie for the minds of this earthly abode, I want to return to Eliot’s distinction between Tradition and Individual Talent; yet, by way of his later revisioning of that classic work on Classicism After Strange Gods:
Tradition is not solely, or even primarily, the maintenance of certain dogmatic beliefs; these beliefs have come to take their living form in the course of the formation of a tradition. What I mean by tradition involves all those habitual actions, habits and customs, from the most significant religious rite to our conventional way of greeting a stranger, which represent the blood kinship of ‘the same people living in the same place’. It involves a good deal which can be called taboo: that this word is used in our time in an exclusively derogatory sense is to me a curiosity of some significance. We become conscious of these items, or conscious of their importance, usually only after they have begun to fall into desuetude, as we are aware of the leaves of a tree when the autumn wind begins to blow them off—when they have separately ceased to be vital.’ Energy may be wasted at that point in a frantic endeavour to collect the leaves as they fall and gum them onto the branches: but the sound tree will put forth new leaves, and the dry tree should be put to the axe. We are always in danger, in clinging to an old tradition, or attempting to re-establish one, of confusing the vital and the unessential, the real and the sentimental. Our second danger is to associate tradition with the immovable; to think of it as something hostile to all change; to aim to return to some previous condition which we imagine as having been capable of preservation in perpetuity, instead of aiming to stimulate the life which produced that condition in its time.3
The important point comes in that last section where he admits that we “are always in danger, in clinging to an old tradition, or attempting to re-establish one, of confusing the vital and the unessential, the real and the sentimental. Our second danger is to associate tradition with the immovable; to think of it as something hostile to all change; to aim to return to some previous condition which we imagine as having been capable of preservation in perpetuity, instead of aiming to stimulate the life which produced that condition in its time”. This outmoded sense of clinging to a dead tradition, of trying to vainly and with moral ferocity to impose the dead letter of the law and religion, to idealize and create the illusion of culture where there is none nor can be; to make of this fantasia of culture a solid and institutionalized world – a frozen world of stasis – one might say propagandized and ideologized world of necessity against the ruins of time – is what one might call our present culture of death and decay. Even our trivialization and enforcements of postmodern nihilism is a form of stasis against time’s ruins, a way to enforce a non-meaning and nihilization of culture, enforce a world that is completed, done, finished; a world without a history, without movement or future. We are living not in a transitional period but rather in a time of no time, a present without outlet that gives the illusion of change without change itself.
Of course such reactionary and conservative politics even in a man of letters no longer holds water in such and age of fracture as ours, when humans have melded beyond tradition, have migrated beyond the ‘blood kinship’ of their homelands, entered the often tribalized world of the modern city where even those on ones block or in was high-rise may come from diametrically opposed backgrounds in culture and civilization. Even those who pretend to hold onto some form of tradition find themselves at a loss in trying to cross or bridge their systems of thought and sensibility, communicate their basic ideas and passions into the parlance of our postmodern sensibility. We’ve long left that era where the likes of Eliot could say “These fragments I have shored against my ruins” (The Wasteland). Our culture is now so fragmented and in disarray that even those who seek to further destroy it and plow it under the critical treadmill of post-colonial, feminist, deconstruction, post-structuralism, new materialism, speculative realism, etc., etc. have a hard time even finding a common target. We’ve lost all sense of culture in a global civilization that purports to be multi-cultural (as if there truly was some kind of diversity and agreement to this chaos?).
In a world where those on the Left and Right take off their thinking hats, and put on their ideological blinders and roam the textual universe in search of denigration and blasphemous tidings that will support their blinkered politics one loses sight of culture and literature, art and possibility; and, instead on discovers a world where every word is weighed in the balance of political correctness, either Left or Right. Our children no longer are educated in the old sense, but are rather manufactured in the industrial enclaves of political engenderment where their minds are attuned to the latest filters of the political touchstones of ideologically and politically correct thought. The last vestiges of a once free (think here- pornographic universe of free-spirits) has been expunged, deleted, sent booking to the consumer universe of banishment from the shelves of decency and moral uprightness. Left and Right fight over word after word, opinion after opinion, book after book and what they do not like about history is easily rewritten, revised, and appended with the latest political officialdom.
No the age when humans – if they ever did, had a culture of “actions, habits and customs” that were shared among even a small minority or elite has become the age of Kardashians and Sports Stars, Hollywood Idols and Dancing Puppets. No longer do we have a culture, what we have now is puppeteers and pop-stars, matinee idols of the decay and decadence of both moral and political malfeasance where death rules supreme and the literal figurations of stupidity and mindless reign in the halls of our academies. The towers of learning breed for us the children of ignorance and error rather than the sensibility of decision and judgement. An age that reads secondary minds rather than the originals, that castigates western culture, poetry, literature, philosophy, etc. as nothing but the opinions of a bunch of “Dead White Men” – meaning, of little worth, and of even less knowledge. An age that must follow the dictates of propriety and political correctness, fold its mind in a straight-jacket of linguistic culpability that precludes blasphemy and extreme violence as shameful acts of misogyny and sadism that must be policed and excluded from the human condition. By which they mean we must all conform to some internal tyranny of the mind, enter our own Orwellian nightmare worlds of taboo and suffer the consequences of our indiscretions by instant publicity and tweetered shames. Welcome to the age of endless idiocy in which humans finally succumb to their own inanity and moralistic decadence, where the human condition is replaced by the artificial labors of the posthuman tyranny of a final transcendence into machinic intelligence. We shall become the controlled ones, shaped to the exclusionary practices of a communicative algorithm that delivers us to the ultimate sacrifice of thought itself.
It is within this culture of death and decline that Mario Vargas Llosa once more takes up that ancient struggle against the decadence of the times. In his introduction he’ll take up his on precursors in such efforts, T.S. Eliot’s Notes Towards the Definition of Culture; George Steiner’s In Bluebeard’s Castle: Some Notes Towards the Re-definition of Culture; and, Guy Debord’s The Society of the Spectacle; Gilles Lipovetsky and Jean Serroy’s Culture-World: Response to a Disoriented Society; Frédéric Martel’s Mainstream. As he’ll diagnose it from Eliot to Martel the essential difference between the culture of the past and the entertainment of today is that the products of the former sought to transcend mere present time, to endure, to stay alive for future generations, while the products of the latter are made to be consumed instantly and disappear, like cake or popcorn. (p. 20) In our age of late capitalism the bottom line is about the “market value” of culture. “The disappearance of the old culture implied the disappearance of the old concept of value. The only existing value is now what the market dictates.” (p. 22)
Like many intellectuals of our era Llosa was at first a studied Marxist who supported the Castro regime up until it began to tyrannize its own people, imprison its literary giants, and generally fall back into the oldest despotic patterns of the human race. Llosa would come to despise both extremes of Left and Right become a part of a liberal conservative world, that many have come to castigate as “neoliberal” – a term that Llosa rejects, and sees as both critical opportunism and sheer rhetoric of violence and oppression writ backwards. In Conversation in the Cathedral Llosa’s rejection of all forms of oppression and tyranny, corruption and decadence would reach a pitch of despair and hopelessness from which his political life would never recover. From that time forward he entered a stage of reversal, a counter-life against his own youthful indiscretions becoming less serious and more refined in tastes and sensibility, allowing his mind to shift between laughter and despair.
In the War of the End of the World and The Feast of the Goat Llosa would delve into the historical roots of tyranny, corruption, decay and the political death of culture and tradition. In the first he would bewail man’s propensity to idealize violence, and our dark and abiding fall into fanaticism on all sides; while in the second he would shift the general corruption of society to the impact of this same culture of death on the singular individual, depicting the effects of authoritarianism, violence and the abuse of power.
A deep and abiding sense of the death of the Intellectual and Intellectualism permeates these fictions, the corruption of culture and traditions that have guided humans time out of mind; and, the slow decay into a mindless and unreasoning anti-intellectualism based on this change in valuations from a culture of Mind to a culture of Profit that brought it about. Late in his book Llosa will find it odd, a paradox that while in countries that are considered the most cultured, that are also the most free and democratic, literature has become increasingly – this is a widespread conception – a trivial entertainment, in countries where freedom is restricted and where human rights are abused on a daily basis, literature is considered dangerous, a vehicle for subversive ideas, sowing the seeds of dissatisfaction and rebelliousness. Dramatists, novelists and poets in cultured and free countries who have become disillusioned with their craft because it seems to them to be succumbing to frivolity, or has already been defeated by audio-visual culture, should take a look at those vast areas of the world that are still not cultured or free. This might boost their spirits. There literature cannot be dead, or completely useless; poetry, the novel and theatre cannot be innocuous, when despots, petty tyrants and fanatics are so fearful of them and are paying them the homage of censuring them and silencing or destroying their authors. (pp. 213-214)
The very nihilistic culture that gave birth to Nietzsche and Dostoyevsky, out of which the twin poles of communism and fascism would arise came the avant-garde movements of futurism, surrealism, Dada, and all the other artistic and political isms of the modernist anti-traditions of the new:
The Dada and surrealist movements were at the cutting edge and the most acute forms of this phenomenon. For Steiner, European culture did not simply anticipate but it also desired the prospect of a bloody and purging explosion that took shape in revolutions and in two world wars. Instead of stopping these bloodbaths, culture desired to provoke and celebrate them. (p. 6)
Yet, as historians never tire of repeating where we discover the notions of decline and decadence we discover that strange beast lurking under the surface of such rhetoric a theory of progress, since “inevitable” historical laws can just as easily shift in reverse as move forward. Why? Some might contribute it to the embattled individual, the subject that seems to be ground under when culture and civilization begin to transition between one life form and another, when our conceptions of the moral center of the human come under fire and the uniqueness of the individual and his/her notions of freedom and fate give way to the implosion of civilization to the impersonal forces of the universe and human thought begins to fray and squander its ancient resources in a final apocalyptic night. When we look back at the nineteeth century’s fear of decadence and decline we discover not some ill-found fear of loss of culture but rather a fear of civilizations success – its technical and scientific progress and improvement. As Arthur Hermann in his The Idea of Decline in Western History states it:
European civilization’s awe-inspiring power took on a quality of “overmuchness,” a surfeit of easy wealth, social mobility, material comfort, and complacency— as well as a surfeit of change and destruction of what had come before. “Progress has atrophied in us all that is spiritual,” Charles Baudelaire wrote. The same “excesses” that repulsed radical Romantics like Gautier also earned the wrath of their conservative opponents. Six years after Couture’s canvas was unveiled, one of those conservatives, Count Arthur de Gobineau, gave the attack on progress a profoundly new and startling twist.4
Baudelaire who at one time tended toward the anarchic and socialist, would turn into a reactionary conservative in the end attacking the very progressive spirit of his age and its mongrelization of tradition and religion, etc. One need only recall the debaucheries of youth that led that great Saint, Augustine from his Christian heritage into a Manichaean dualism, living a life of hedonistic despair and sexual excess. And like many over zealous and prideful youth living in rebellion to tradition and parent he would later in life return the fold like some prodigal son and become one of the most staunch defenders in the history of the Church and its Traditions.
From the time of Aristophanes to Juvenal social critique and the need to uphold a sense of Intellectual distance from such decline and progress captivated the minds of Greek and Roman alike. In the Renaissance with the reemergence of Lucretius’s poem on Epicurean and Democritean philosophy and materialism to the works of such demystifiers of the eighteenth through the twentieth centuries we see this trenchant and at times sardonic wit that pierces the veil of hypocrisy and false traditions and reinstates a more equitable notion of culture and intelligence, sociability and communication that brings a measure of trust and openness toward a keen sense of critical appraisal and understanding. As Llosa reminds us in his present book:
Writers can contribute to this task, as they did so often in the past, when they still believed that literature was not mere entertainment but also a way of raising concerns, sounding the alarm and guiding people to act for a good cause. The survival of the species and culture are a good cause. Opening people’s eyes, expressing indignation in the face of injustice and crimes and demonstrating that there is room for hope in the most trying circumstances are all things that literature has known how to do, even if, at times, it has been mistaken in its targets and defended the indefensible. (p. 218)
No one can defend the indefensible, but we can all defend the right for even extremes of Left or Right to voice their deepest and abiding passions of the intellect in a free world where speech and the critical spirit still guide the human Mind to its triumph or its ultimate damnation to extinction and self-annihilation. Without culture and a penchant for both the didactic and the wit of critical appraisal we are like apes in a cage blinking at the impenetrable and mindless stars of a decaying universe. If culture is one more illusion, an illusive dream of the Mind against the nihilism of a blind and maddening universe then we must like that great rhetorician and philosopher of our cultural decay Nietzsche still affirm that all great periods of civilization are periods of political decadence: whatever has been great as regards civilization, has been non-political, even anti-political.5 Those who divide intellect from instinct, who favor a pure unadulterated spiritualization of the intellect devoid of affect, an abstraction without passion end in that dark night of the soul, a cosmic pessimism that leads to death and decay.
Against such a cultural death of the “marriage of heaven and hell” as Blake called this fusion of Intellect and Passion one lives a life devoid of affect and sensibility both; – a form of psychopathy wherein one becomes a zombie like mutant of thought controlled by a culture of lunacy and entertainment. The commoditized Self as mystified citizen of an Imaged Life, a false copy or ideological construct of self-annihilation emptied of all pertinent content but the blip-screen images of this marginal culture of death and profit; fully adaptated to the clone wars of advertising and commercialization, shaped to a world of mirrors where life regulates itself in the mindless tributes of actors and masks, food buffs and travel warriors – a tourism of culture rather than culture. Where “equality” becomes a mere expression of our current decadence, the gap between man and man, woman and woman, between class and class, the multiplicity of types, the will to assert itself, to stand out in contrast, to be different, singular, solitaire – that which Nietzsche once called the “pathos of distance” belongs to every period that still holds onto its traditions and artistic excellence. While in the culture of death and decadence the power of stretch, the width of stretch between the extremes, becomes always smaller at present, the extremes themselves finally merge into similarity. People become images of their own Hollywood dreams, lost in the cinematic eclipse of the rich and powerful gaze of trivial pursuit artists of inanity.
As Llosa says for writers to be ‘committed’ does not mean that they must abandon their imaginative adventures or their experiments with language, or the curiosity, bravery, and risk-taking that make intellectual work stimulating; nor should they turn their back on laughter or play because they feel that the desire to entertain is incompatible with civic responsibility. Great poems, plays, novels and essays have always entertained, enchanted and dazzled us. No ideas, characters or plots in literature can live and endure if they are not the result of bewitching magic tricks. ‘Commitment’ is not about abandoning aesthetic pleasure and invention. It is about accepting the challenge that this end of millennium throws down to all of us and from which we men and women involved in culture cannot step aside: are we going to survive? (pp. 223-224)
Are we going to survive? A question that remains without an answer… culture like politics smells of decadence and death. We are that generation of humans that it will be said forgot themselves, who allowed their own narcissistic futures to parade before them in the manufactured studios of Hollywood. A world of make-believe where even our copies on the screen repeat the insane and ubiquitous degeneration of our lives into nothingness. A Culture at Absolute Zero where even numbers lose their reality, and humans are delivered to the non-human world of a vanishing thoughtlessness; an escape or exit from the humanistic world, and a fall into elsewhere.
Maybe Eliot was close to the mark when he said,
‘I see no reason why the decay of culture should not proceed much further, and why we may not even anticipate a period, of some duration, of which it will be possible to say that it will have no culture.’
As Llosa would say, ‘the period Eliot is referring to is the one in which we are now living.’ (p. 2) A world without culture, or a pluralistic world of multiplicity and multitudes devoid of any monolithic cultural complex to guide it or enforce its dead laws and gods? What Zizek following Lacan will term a ‘Master-Signifier’ to shape its narratives and stories? Or some transitional realm of the liminal when the myths of Reason or Imagination give way to the emptiness of culture, a contentless culture; a sort of pregnant withdrawal from all narratives of that historical chain of non-events, that allows for a concentrated and creative effort to arise in the Void of things and give birth to something new… Yet, as in all things, this too, may be nothing more than wishful thinking, an illusory pipe dream of a depleted world that no longer allows actual thought to circumvent the codes of algorithmic culture. The vanity of intellectuals, sweet demarcations of better days…
In a culture where the external supports of all past cultural references have become null and void, riven of their purported power over us and our minds, we move among the ghosts of cultures past like the dead among the cinematic dreamworlds of our own Lost Causes. Seeking a new gnosis, an inner guide to help us find our way in a world where meaning has lost all meaning; where time drifts among the quantum immateriality of dark energy and matter that our cultural forbears neither knew of nor could have foretold, we situate ourselves on the edge of things gazing into the navel of existence like those beleaguered voyagers who once crossed the vast unknowing oceans of the Atlantic in search of a new way towards India. Now we seek a new India of the mind, a realm just this side of the twilight zone of our darkening cultures, hoping against hope to discover that which will stay us against the entropic pull of an ultimate extinction of the human.
Llosa in a final thought tells us that for “some years, without me really noticing at the beginning, when I visited exhibitions, went to shows, saw certain films, plays, or television programmes, or read certain books, journals and newspapers, I was assailed by the uncomfortable feeling that someone was pulling my leg and that I had no means of defending myself against a developed and subtle conspiracy to make me feel uncultured or stupid. Throughout all this a disturbing question was taking shape in my mind: why is it that the culture we inhabit has become so banal as to be, in many cases, a pale reflection of what our fathers and grandfathers understood by the term? It seems to me that this deterioration plunges us into an ever-increasing confusion, which might end up, in the short or the long term, in a world without aesthetic values, in which arts and letters – what we used to call the humanities – will have become little more than secondary forms of entertainment, unable to compete with the stimulants the large audio-visual media conglomerates offer the public, with very little impact on the life of society. This life, organized relentlessly by pragmatic considerations, would thus develop under the absolute control of specialists dedicated to the satisfaction of material needs and inspired by the pursuit of profit, the motor of the economy, the supreme value of society, the exclusive measure of success and failure and the raison d’être of individual lives.” (pp. 197-198)
In an age that no longer believes in a ranking of excellence, in the notion of ‘genius’, of those unique individuals whose thoughts and lives, art and work shape our visions and give us a new sensibility, a new tendency or disposition toward greatness, we wander in the zoo of cultural degradation where every living person becomes his or her own genius; a democracy of all against all, self-publishing entertainment where anyone and everyone can promote the minor art of stupidity and self-glorification. A world without taste or critical appraisal, without culture or mental and physical excellence against which all past cultures strove toward that sublime world of eloquence and poetry that went by the name of culture, a way of life.
- Eliot, T. S. (2011-07-12). The Collected Works of T.S. Eliot (featuring the Waste Land, 2 collections of poetry and more, all with an active table of contents) (Kindle Locations 3075-3076). A & L eBooks. Kindle Edition.
- Johnson, Samuel (2013-09-15). Delphi Complete Works of Samuel Johnson (Illustrated) (Series Four) (Kindle Locations 4492-4495). Delphi Classics. Kindle Edition.
- Eliot, T. S. (Thomas Stearns), 1888-1965. After strange gods : a primer of modern heresy (Kindle Locations 105-109). London : Faber and Faber.
- Herman, Arthur (2010-05-29). The Idea of Decline in Western History (p. 13). Free Press. Kindle Edition.
- Nietzsche, Friedrich; Bill Chapko (2010-03-01). Nietzsche’s Best 8 Books (Gay Science, Ecce Homo, Zarathustra, Dawn, Twilight of the Idols, Antichrist, Beyond Good and Evil, Genealogy of Morals) (Kindle Locations 13067-13069). . Kindle Edition.
* (I changed “poet” to “author).