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Issue Details: First known date: 2011... 2011 The Alpha and Omega of Brennan's The Wanderer
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'The influence of Nietzsche's Also Sprach Zarathustra on Christopher Brennan's poem The Wanderer has been underestimated. It is especially apparent in the epigraph, and the poems (86 and 99) which open and close the sequence. The inner quest described in The Wanderer is generally held to have been a failure, but a revaluation in the light of the Nietzschean influence, incorporating a recension of the crucial poem 99, reveals a different story. The annular nature of the quest as described in the epigraph derives from Nietzsche's notion of Eternal Return , on which he confessed Zarathustra to be founded. Themes from Zarathustra dominate poem 86, and recur in poem 99. The line in the latter 'no ending of the way, no home, no goal', which has been widely interpreted as a confession of failure of the quest, is demonstrated to have been sourced from Zarathustra, where it does not bear that inference at all, but rather of triumph over doubt. The pivotal word 'withhold' in poem 99 is shown to be used in its archaic and neutral sense of 'hold within', rather than its modern sense of 'refuse to give up'. The Wanderer's quest is a success to approximately the same degree as that of Nietzsche's hero. Such clarity as to Brennan's achievement is essential if he is to attain the global reputation which many would argue he deserves.' (Author's abstract)

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  • Appears in:
    y separately published work icon JASAL Journal of the Association for the Study of Australian Literature; Undead Ghosts : Spectrality and the Transgression of Cultural Norms vol. 11 no. 2 2011 Z1844396 2011 periodical issue 2011
Last amended 24 Feb 2012 13:33:08 The Alpha and Omega of Brennan's The Wanderersmall AustLit logo JASAL
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