Nietzsche’s influence on modernist bildungsroman: the immoralist, a portrait of the artist as a young man, and demian /

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2014
Başpınar, Harika
This thesis carries out a comparative analysis of three modernist bildungsromans written by André Gide, James Joyce, and Hermann Hesse in the light of Nietzschean philosophy. The Immoralist (1902), A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916), and Demian (1919) are all coming of age novels reflecting the zeitgeist of modern Europe at the beginning of the 20th century. It is argued that their protagonists are typical modernist characters who show a rebellious characteristic and strive for freedom and authenticity. Pointing out the importance of Nietzsche in the modernist context, this thesis tries to show his influence on Gide, Joyce, and Hesse by revealing the Nietzschean elements found in these novels. The protagonists Michel, Stephen Dedalus, and Emil Sinclair are discussed as Nietzschean characters in that they detach themselves from the herd and its values and become the creators of their own values. It is also disclosed that Gide, Joyce, and Hesse interpret this philosophy in different ways. Gide, in The Immoralist, intends to make a warning that if misread, Nietzschean ideas may result in an aimless individualism and destruction. Joyce, on the other hand, uses this philosophy quite positively. Although Stephen’s future is not known to the reader, it is shown that in following the Nietzschean path he gains the potential to become a successful artist. Finally, Hesse employs Nietzschean philosophy in his novel so as to make his character one of the few who can transform the world through a Nietzschean transvaluation of values.