Random Quote #33 topic: nietzsche, We Philologists by Nietzsche, Friedrich Wilhelm, 1844-1900, translated by Kennedy, J. M.
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The worship of classical antiquity, as it was to be seen in Italy, may
be interpreted as the only earnest, disinterested, and fecund worship
which has yet fallen to the lot of antiquity. It is a splendid example
of Don Quixotism; and philology at best is such Don Quixotism. Already
at the time of the Alexandrian savants, as with all the sophists of the
first and second centuries, the Atticists, &c., the scholars are
imitating something purely and simply chimerical and pursuing a world
that never existed. The same trait is seen throughout antiquity . the
manner in which the Homeric heroes were copied, and all the intercourse
held with the myths, show traces of it. Gradually all Greek antiquity
has become an object of Don Quixotism. It is impossible to understand
our modern world if we do not take into account the enormous influence
of the purely fantastic. This is now confronted by the principle . there
can be no imitation. Imitation, however, is merely an artistic
phenomenon, _i.e._, it is based on appearance . we can accept manners,
thoughts, and so on through imitation; but imitation can create nothing.
True, the creator can borrow from all sides and nourish himself in that
way. And it is only as creators that we shall be able to take anything
from the Greeks. But in what respect can philologists be said to be
creators! There must be a few dirty jobs, such as knackers' men, and
also text-revisers: are the philologists to carry out tasks of this
nature?


-- Friedrich Nietzsche



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