And speaking of Jean Paul Sartre and Roland Barthes...


Did you know that Sartre played the piano? No, me neither. (Evidently there is a video of him muddling through some Chopin and Debussy in 1967—though I can't find it online.)

Barthes was an amateur pianist also.

Did you know that Nietzsche improvised for two hours daily on the piano in the psychiatric sanatorium in Jena to which he had been committed in 1889?

Jesus wept. What I wouldn't give to go back in time and listen in. Can you even imagine??

From Nietzsche's Birth of Tragedy:

"Even under the influence of the narcotic draught, of which songs of all primitive men and peoples speak, or with the potent coming of spring that penetrates all nature with joy, these Dionysian emotions awake, and as they grow in intensity everything subjective vanishes into complete self-forgetfulness...There are some who, from obtuseness or lack of experience, turn away from such phenomena ... with contempt or pity born of consciousness of their own "healthy-mindedness." But of course such poor wretches have no idea how corpselike and ghostly their so-called "healthy-mindedness" looks when the glowing life of the Dionysian...roars past them."

(I imagine it would've sounded something like Charles Ives + Kaikhoshru Sorabji + Cecil Taylor + Gotterdammerung + Gwar.)


"Sartre wrote about Xenakis and Stockhausen, but loved Chopin, just as Nietzsche wrote about Wagnerian modernity but wept while playing Mazurkas. Barthe's beloved composer was Schumann."

Is Romanticism the skeleton in the closet of Modernism?

I'm not sure but I'll let you know when I finish reading:

"The Philosopher's Touch: Sartre, Nietzsche, and Barthes at the Piano" by Francois Noudelmann, philosophy professor at Paris VIII.  From Columbia University Press.

To say this book is in my wheelhouse would be understating things immensely.