Joseph J. Waldmeir (essay date 1966)
SOURCE: “John Barth and the Novel of Comic Nihilism,” in Critical Essays on John Barth, G. K. Hall & Co., 1980, pp. 14-29.
[In the following essay, which was originally published in 1966, Waldmeir investigates John Barth's affinity with the nihilistic tradition and his preoccupation with suicide.]
When Nietzsche announced the death of God toward the end of the nineteenth century, he also added further stimulus to one of the obsessive themes of contemporary literature—the problem of the loss of value and meaning in human life and the search for new value and meaning to replace the old. And since Nietzsche's conception of the...
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