This essay derives its focus on poetry from the subtitle of Die Fröhliche Wissenshaft: “la gaya scienza.” Nietzsche appropriated this phrase from the phrase “gai saber” used by the Provençal knight-poets (or troubadours) of the eleventh through thirteenth centuries — the first lyric poets of the European languages — to designate their Ars Poetica or “art of poetry.” I will begin with an exploration of Nietzsche’s treatment of poets and poetry as a subject matter, closely analyzing his six aphorisms which deal explicitly with poets and poetry. Having considered The Gay Science as a text about poetry, I will then briefly explore three further ways in which The Gay Science can be thought of as itself a kind of poetry. The result of these analyses is an understanding of Nietzsche’s own understanding of philosophy (and of the best way to live) as also a form of poetry.
- The Gay Science
Joshua M. Hall, “The Gay Science as Nietzsche’s Ars Poetica.” Evental Aesthetics 5, no. 1 (2016): 98-117.