Academic journal article The Review of Metaphysics

Nietzsche's Noontide Friend: The Self as Metaphoric Double

Academic journal article The Review of Metaphysics

Nietzsche's Noontide Friend: The Self as Metaphoric Double

Article excerpt

HOUGH, Sheridan. Nietzsche's Noontide Friend: The Self as Metaphoric Double. University Park: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 1997. xxv. 148 pp. Cloth, $35.00--Sheridan Hough provides a careful examination of Friedrich Nietzsche's ample use of metaphor throughout his corpus, and concludes that the active, muscular thought associated with Nietzsche is evenly countered by receptive imagery which imbues his work with an elevated balance. The duplicity of Nietzsche's images, fecund with layers of significance, culminates most evidently in the two most scrutinized themes in Nietzsche scholarship, the eternal return and the Ubermensch. Hough offers a unique interpretation of these tropes, proffering the concept of the Ubermensch as a unique moment of the free spirit, contrasted with a destined, elevated, or evolved ideal of man. The Ubermensch and eternal return converge in an artistic moment, replete with the perpetual process of self-overcoming and value transformation.

Hough uses the Preface and chapter 1 to examine Nietzsche's development of the active and receptive aspects of the formation of the self, an analysis centering on the cultural appearance of value. The self emerges as the simultaneity of an inheritance of tradition and an interpretation of the self in light of that received acculturation. The free spirit, as already constituted by value, must continually transfigure herself by renouncing what was. The self acts in an antiteleological process, not proceeding toward any goal but the goal of perpetual self-overcoming. As this auto-hermeneutic dance explicates itself, the image of the self emerges: the free spirit is no Cartesian subject, but rather a process or a project, which is inextricably founded upon one's cultivation, but flourishes in her productive offspring and archeological pursuits. In "becoming who one is," one never sheds cultural trappings, but delves into that cultural hard wiring as vigorously as she fashions her creative progeny. In chapter 2 Hough develops Nietzsche's perspectivism as an outgrowth of that cultural probing. Hough illustrates his perspectival stance in utilizing the metaphors of "land" and "sea." Nietzsche renders the inherited "self," the common denominator of moral traditions, as "land," the shore from which we depart on voyages to terrible seas. …

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