From Vulgar Words to Lightening Bolts: Nietzsche on Style, Language and Experience

Literature & Aesthetics 17 (2):28-43 (2007)

Abstract

Nietzsche writes that literary styles must be taken into account when determining meaning. To not do so vulgarizes language. The importance of style to meaning is best understood by examining the relationship between language and experience. Style requires readers to experience the particularity of texts if they are to understand their meaning, and style is experienced and evaluated in terms of the audience’s ethos. Through style’s ability to provide alternative perspectives on the audience’s linguistic norms, language is not limited to reiterating common generalisations but expresses the unfamiliar, rare and evolving

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