Sunday, July 31, 2011

Spinoziana: Berger, Borges, Yovel & Nietzsche

Bento's Sketchbook by John Berger

This new book from Verso by the venerable John Berger is not to be missed. (I haven't seen it yet, though.) You will find more of interest on the Verso page, including the YouTube video embedded above.

Jorge Luis Borges wrote two poems in homage to Spinoza. (See my web site for more Borges goodies: Jorge Luis Borges: Selected Study Materials on the Web.) There is more than one translation of both poems. You might miss this one otherwise, so here is an out-of-the-way translation for your benefit.

Spinoza” by Jorge Luis Borges, translated by Yirmiyahu Yovel

This translation prefaces Yovel's Spinoza and Other Heretics: The Adventures of Immanence [v. 2 of 2] (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1989). While in vol. 1 Yovel seeks out sources of Spinoza's philosophy of immanence in the culture of the Marranos, in vol. 2 he traces various philosophical configurations of the Spinoza's immanentist influence in subsequent thinkers. The chapter comparing Spinoza and Nietzsche is especially revealing, as is Nietzsche's snarky poem, herein translated:

To Spinoza” by Friedrich Nietzsche

This I think yields another insight into the underlying viciousness of Nietzsche's philosophy. (See my Anti-Nietzsche Bibliography for more.)

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