Monday, January 09, 2006

Bill Brower’s interview with Cornell West, reprinted from The Kankakee Review (2001)

KView: Hello.

Cornell West: Hello, brother. How you doing?

KView: Good. Good. Do you think it’s too Eurocentric to compare the aesthetic phenomena in Nietzsche to what James Cone does with the spirituals and the blues, and what you do with jazz, Coltrane, or Marvin Gaye?

Cornel West: Oh, not at all; especially with what Nietzsche does in The Birth of Tragedy.

Kview: Yeah, I see a lot of similarities between The Birth of Tragedy and how the slaves were rising above their tragic experience through artistic expression. But when I read James Cone, I feel like I should be very sensitive to the idea of introducing my Eurocentric point of view.

Cornel West: See, you have to address the issue. Now, I’m writing a book on Coltrane and Chekhov. Do you think I let Chekhov’s oppressive nuances in the Ukraine stop me from comparing him to Coltrane?

Kview: (smiles.)

Cornel West: (arms outstretched, shrugging emphatically.)

Kview: I guess not.

Cornel West: Of course not.

Kview: It was nice talking to you, thank you very much.

Cornel West: My pleasure, brother, my pleasure. But it’s very interesting, Nietzsche, very interesting.

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