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Georg Brandes (1842 – 1927)


Danish critic and scholar who had great influence on Scandinavian and European literature from the 1870s through the turn of the 20th century.
Georg Brandes
What [Nietzsche] calls slave morality is to him purely spite-morality; and this spite-morality gave new names to all ideals. Thus impotence, which offers no reprisal, became goodness; craven baseness became humility; submission to him who was feared became obedience; inability to assert one’s self became reluctance to assert one’s self, became forgiveness, love of one’s enemies. Misery became a distinction
Brandes quotes
The historian is looked upon as objective when he measures the past by the popular opinions of his own time, as subjective when he does not take these opinions for models. That man is thought best fitted to depict a period of the past, who is not in the least affected by that period. But only he who has a share in building up the future can grasp what the past has been, and only when transformed into a work of art can history arouse or even sustain instincts.
Brandes
What has here happened is that the instinct of cruelty, which has turned inwards, has become self-torture, and all man’s animal instincts have been reinterpreted as guilt towards God. Every Nay man utters to his nature, to his real being, he flings out as a Yea, an affirmation of reality applied to God’s sanctity




Brandes Georg quotes
The Culture-Philistine … everywhere meets with educated people of his own sort, and since schools, universities and academies are adapted to his requirements and fashioned on the model corresponding to his cultivation. Since he finds almost everywhere the same tacit conventions with respect to religion, morality and literature, with respect to marriage, the family, the community and the state, he considers it demonstrated that this imposing homogeneity is culture. It never enters his head that this systematic and well-organised philistinism, which is set up in all high places and installed at every editorial desk, is not by any means made culture just because its organs are in concert. It is not even bad culture, says Nietzsche; it is barbarism fortified to the best of its ability, but entirely lacking the freshness and savage force of original barbarism; and he has many graphic expressions to describe Culture-Philistinism as the morass in which all weariness is stuck fast, and in the poisonous mists of which all endeavour languishes.
Brandes Georg
Instead of trying to educate the human race, they should imitate the pedagogues of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, who concentrated their efforts on the education of a single person.
Georg Brandes quotes
History, in [Nietzsche’s] view, belongs to him who is fighting a great fight, and who needs examples, teachers and comforters, but cannot find them among his contemporaries. Without history the mountain chain of great men’s great moments, which runs through millennia, could not stand clearly and vividly before me.
Georg Brandes
Those [Christians] had left to love on earth were then: brothers and sisters in hatred, whom they called then: brothers and sisters in love.
Brandes Georg quotes
The educator shall help the young to educate themselves in opposition to the age.
Brandes
When does a state of culture prevail? When the men of a community are steadily working for the production of single great men. From this highest aim all the others follow. And what state is farthest removed from a state of culture? That in which men energetically and with united forces resist the appearance of great men, partly by preventing the cultivation of the soil required for the growth of genius, partly by obstinately opposing everything in the shape of genius that appears amongst them. Such a state is more remote from culture than that of sheer barbarism.
Brandes Georg
It appears to [Nietzsche] that the modern age has produced for imitation three types of man … First, Rousseau’s man, the Titan who raises himself … and in his need calls upon holy nature. Then Goethe’s man … a spectator of the world … [Third] Schopenhauer’s man … voluntarily takes upon himself the pain of telling the truth.
Georg Brandes
[Nietzsche] attributes to himself an extremely vivid and sensitive instinct of cleanliness. At the first contact the filth lying at the base of another’s nature is revealed to him. The unclean are therefore ill at ease hi his presence




Georg Brandes quotes
Greatness has nothing to do with results or with success.
Georg Brandes
Nietzsche says that as soon as he had read a single page of Schopenhauer, he knew he would read every page of him and pay heed to every word, even to the errors he might find. Every intellectual aspirant will be able to name men whom he has read in this way.
Brandes quotes
[Nietzsche inveighs] against every sort of historical optimism; but he energetically repudiates the ordinary pessimism, which is the result of degenerate or enfeebled instincts of decadence. He preaches with youthful enthusiasm the triumph of a tragic culture, introduced by an intrepid rising generation, in which the spirit of ancient Greece might be born again. He rejects the pessimism of Schopenhauer, for he already abhors all renunciation; but he seeks a pessimism of healthiness, one derived from strength, from exuberant power, and he believes he has found it in the Greeks.
Brandes Georg
Nietzsche asks how it has come about that so prodigious a contradiction can exist as that between the lack of true culture and the self-satisfied belief in actually possessing the only true one and he finds the answer in the circumstance that a class of men has come to the front which no former century has known, and to which (in 1873) he gave the name of “Culture-Philistines.”
Brandes Georg quotes
For long ages, too, no notice whatever was taken of the criminal’s “sin”; he was regarded as harmful, not guilty, and looked upon as a piece of destiny; and the criminal on his side took his punishment as a piece of destiny which had overtaken him, and bore it with the same fatalism ... In general we may say that punishment tames the man, but does not make him “better.”
Georg Brandes
He maintains that culture shows itself above all else in a unity of artistic style running through every expression of a nation's life. On the other hand, the fact of having learnt much and knowing much is, as he points out, neither a necessary means to culture nor a sign of culture; it accords remarkably well with barbarism, that is to say, with want of style or a motley hotchpotch of styles.
Georg Brandes quotes
The oldest definition [of “good”] was this: the noble, the mightier, higher-placed and high-minded held themselves and their actions to be good of the first rank in contradistinction to everything low and low-minded. Noble, in the sense of the class-consciousness of a higher caste, is the primary concept from which develops good in the sense of spiritually aristocratic. The lowly are designated as bad (not evil). Bad does not acquire its unqualified depreciatory meaning till much later. In the mouth of the people it is a laudatory word; the German word schlecht is identical with schlicht (cf. schlechtweg and schlechterdings).
Georg Brandes
What has set the mass in motion for any length of time is then called great. It is given the name of a historical power. When, for example, the vulgar mob has appropriated or adapted to its needs some religious idea, has defended it stubbornly and dragged it along for centuries, then the originator of that idea is called great. There is the testimony of thousands of years for it, we are told. But this is Nietzsche’s and Kierkegaard’s idea the noblest and highest does not affect the masses at all, either at the moment or later. Therefore the historical success of a religion, its toughness and persistence, witness against its founder’s greatness rather than for it.
Brandes Georg
The society of the Culture-Philistines makes life a burden to exceptional men.


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