Shaw on Nietzsche and Morality (Saturday Review, 1896)

1.91-94. George Bernard Shaw, ‘Nietzsche in English’, Saturday Review, LXXXI (London), 11 April, 1896, 374.

Extract from an essay by George Bernard Shaw on Nietzsche and morality.

Mulligan’s judgment of Stephen here shows that his Nietzscheanism may not have terribly deep roots. This passage comes from a section of Shaw’s essay in which he is discussing his book The Quintessence of Ibsenism:

In fact Nietzsche’s criticism of morality and idealism is essentially that demonstrated in my book as at the bottom of Ibsen’s plays. His pungency; his power of putting the merest platitudes of his position in rousing, startling paradoxes; his way of getting underneath moral precepts which are so unquestionable to us that common decency seems to compel unhesitating assent to them, and upsetting them with a scornful laugh: all this is easy to a witty man who has once well learnt Schopenhauer’s lesson, that the intellect by itself is a mere dead piece of brain machinery, and our ethical and moral systems merely the pierced cards you stick into it when you want it to play a certain tune. So far I am on common ground with Nietzsche.

See David S. Thatcher, Nietzsche in England, 1890-1914, (Toronto and Buffalo: University of Toronto Press, 1970), p. 177 [BL X800.70/80].

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