After Dark: Neutralizing Nihilism (Review of Melancholic Joy by Brian Treanor) [Book Review]

Journal of the Pacific Association for the Continental Tradition 4:184-190 (2021)
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This review essay introduces Brian Treanor’s Melancholic Joy in dialogue with themes in Nietzsche’s thought. The book invites this comparison in its penultimate section, which distinguishes briefly its own account from the tenets of Dionysiac pessimism. Finding that section fertile, but tantalizingly short, I parse in greater detail relevant points of convergence and divergence. The first section, “After Nietzsche,” follows Nietzsche’s development out of the first naïveté of ascetic idealism and into the wanderer’s night of biting suspicion. It likens Nietzsche’s leonine eschewal of metaphysics and morals to Treanor’s sober engagement with the fruits of the physics and philosophy that have ripened in between. The second section, “Second Innocence,” contrasts Nietzsche’s vision of childlike innocence after nihilism, a renaissance beyond good and evil, with Treanor’s vital response to an updated nihilism: a love of world that refuses to deny the many realities of evil, and that responds by embracing the many mundane realities of joy.

Author's Profile

Chandler D. Rogers
Gonzaga University


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