On the Genealogy of Inspiration
Performing Creativity, Manipulating Reality in Plato and Nietzsche
Keywords:Plato, Nietzsche, Performativity, Inspiration, Harvey Sacks
My aim is to examine the role played by the acknowledgment of performativity in the historical debate between the philosophers and the artists (especially poets and musicians). I will focus on the question of the legitimation of epistemological authority, which in the course of this debate is often called “inspiration”. I will observe the deconstruction process in the concept of poetic inspiration through the work of the two authors who most explored this issue: Plato and Friedrich Nietzsche. Both philosophers claim for themselves the ability to perform the acts which constitute poetic inspiration in a mimetic way, of their own free will and in accordance with rational schemes. Thus, philosophers not only prove the performative nature of the poet’s main legitimation tool but also appropriate it in order to acquire the social prestige traditionally conferred on the poets. This analysis, applying methods drawn from classical hermeneutics and from Sacks’s Membership Categorization Analysis, will show a strategy of broader relevance for queer studies: the acknowledgment of the performative nature of category-bound activities as a tool to understand and manipulate reality.
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