Georg Brandes, fully Georg Morris Cohen Brandes

Brandes, fully Georg Morris Cohen Brandes

Danish Critic and+ Scholar

Author Quotes

But my doubt would not be overcome. Kierkegaard had declared that it was only to the consciousness of sin that Christianity was not horror or madness. For me it was sometimes both.

I encountered among my comrades the most varied human traits, from frankness to reserve, from goodness, uprightness and kindness, to brutality and baseness.

My first experiences of academic friendship made me smile in after years when I looked back on them. But my circle of acquaintances had gradually grown so large that it was only natural new friendships should grow out of it.

The Danish glee: the national version of cheerfulness.

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

But what of the voice and judgment of conscience? The difficulty is that we have a conscience behind our conscience, an intellectual one behind the moral. … We can see quite well that our opinions of what is noble and good, our moral valuations, are powerful levers where action is concerned; but we must begin by refining these opinions and independently creating for ourselves new tables of values.

I had an exceedingly keen eye for the ridiculous, and easily influenced as I still was, I could not content myself with a smile.

Neither of my parents was in any way associated with the Jewish religion, and neither of them ever went to the Synagogue.

The educator shall help the young to educate themselves in opposition to the age.

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

But when I was twelve years old I caught my first strong glimpse of one of the fundamental forces of existence, whose votary I was destined to be for life - namely, Beauty.

I hardly ever met little girls except at children's balls, and in my early childhood I did not think further of any of them.

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.”

The great man is not the child of his age but its step-child.

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.

Children were not at that time debarred from the Royal Theatre, and I had no more ardent wish than to get inside.

I was a town child, it is true, but that did not prevent me enjoying open-air life, with plants and animals.

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

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.

What is public opinion? It is private indolence.

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.”

I was always hearing that I was pale and thin and small.

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.

The loathing of mankind is a force that surprises and overwhelms one, fed by hundreds of springs concealed his subconsciousness. One only detects its presence after having long entertained it unawares.

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.

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Brandes, fully Georg Morris Cohen Brandes
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Danish Critic and+ Scholar