Attuned, Transcendent & Transfigured: Nietzsche's Aesthetic Psychology

In Daniel Came (ed.), Nietzsche on Art and Life. New York, NY: Oxford University Press (2014)
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Aesthetic transfiguration, as described by Nietzsche, is the capacity of art to alchemize the meaningless sufferings of natural existence into the aesthetically magnificent struggle that is human ‘life’. Like Nietzsche, Schopenhauer assessed ‘art from the perspective of life’. As Schopenhauer is standardly read, however, his conception of aesthetic experience has little in common with that offered by Nietzsche. Against the standard reading, this chapter argues that Nietzsche’s psychology of aesthetic experience—and in particular his idea that aesthetic transfiguration invests human experience with positive value—is essentially an elaboration of insights owed to Schopenhauer.

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Alison Denham
University of Oxford


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