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Epp Annus. The Strivings of Young People and "the Gay History": Gustav Suits and Friedrich Nietzsche

2005, nr. 7

This article compares "The Strivings of Young People" (1905), the manifesto of the "Noor-Eesti" literary and cultural movement, and "On the Uses and Disadvantages of History for Life" (1874), the essay or untimely meditation by Friedrich Nietzsche. Gustav Suits, the author of "The Strivings of Young People" is known to have read Nietzsche's writings in 1903 and 1904, just before composing his manifesto. Nietzsche's essay and Suits's manifesto share many striking similarities in the ways they regard history as a danger. Nietzsche writes about the disease of history in his contemporary Germany. Suits, for his part, accuses the ideologists of the Estonian national awakening of preferring the past over the present. Suits's manifesto claims that the project of national awakening has reached a dead end, and, moreover, he understands the present situation, the creation of the "Noor-Eesti" movement, as marking a new beginning. Thus, we also see in "The Strivings of Young People" that Suits understands history itself not as a continuous linear movement, but rather as a story of disruptions, repetitions and denials – a view which, again, hearkens to Nietzsche's view of history as presented in "On the Uses and Disadvantages of History for Life". Suits also relies on the writings of George Brandes and explicitly draws from Brandes's stress on collective action. In order to achieve the most they can, human beings must be joyful and happy, and must not weaken under the pressure of doubt. The same stands for a collective action: important deeds for a nation or for a generation arise from a common optimism, so to speak, and from a joint desire to do great deeds.

 

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Keel ja Kirjandus