Sneak Preview: Nietzsche, Francis Ford Coppola, and the Greeks

Thanks to all of you who made last week the biggest one yet in the brief life of The History of Literature podcast. I’m not sure if Burt Reynolds or Aristotle deserves more credit. (Have you ever had the feeling that you’ve written a sentence that no one has ever, ever written? I just had that feeling.)

This week looks like a good one as well! Tomorrow, we’ll continue our journey through Greek tragedy by looking more closely at the plays of Aeschylus, Sophocles (again), and Euripides. This time we’ll use the lens of the young Friedrich Nietzsche, writing his first book in his burgeoning philosopher/poet/madman way.

The trip through Nietzsche, Wagner, and the tragedians made me think of this unbelievably good sequence from Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now:

I don’t think Nietzsche would think much of most of our culture – but for what it’s worth, I do think he would have admired that sequence.

Onward and upward!

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Feelin’ Gaststättenneueröffnungsuntergangsgewissheit…

It’s become kind of a cliché to say “Oh, the Germans probably have a word for it.” But as Ian Crouch (reviewing Ben Schott’s new book, Schottenfreude: German Words for the Human Condition, among others) points out, more often than not, they do:

Stepping down heavily on a stair that isn’t there.

Being startled when exiting a movie theater into broad daylight.

The exhausting trudge up a stationary escalator.

Total confidence that a newly opened restaurant is doomed to fail.

Crouch has plenty of other examples of the non-German sort as well, along with some commentary on what it all means.

Me? I’m a fan of all neologisms unless they’re trying too hard to be specique.

Photo Credit: DL Byron,