Literarisierte Sonnenaufgänge

Theodore Ziolkowski


An analysis of Also sprach Zarathustra reveals that Nietzsche used the sunrise at the beginning—an element that he did not find in his source for the scene—as a metaphor for the awakening of consciousness. By analogy, the sunrise at the end suggests the now awakened consciousness. Further analysis shows that the motif had already been used for similar purposes by Goethe at the beginning and end of Faust II as well as in the “Zueignung” to his collected poems; by Schiller in “Der Spaziergang”; and by Hölderlin in Hyperion. Analogous uses of the motif of sunrise by such poets as Mörike (in his introductory “An einem Wintermorgen, vor Sonnenaufgang”) and Rilke (in the opening poems of both parts of his Neue Gedichte) suggests that literary sunrises should alert the reader to substantive implications that go well beyond the portrayal of nature.

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