Date of Award

May 2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

William Bristow

Committee Members

Joshua Spencer, Margaret Atherton


Cosmological Interpretation, Eternal Recurrence, Nietzsche, Time, Untimely Meditations


The idea of the eternal recurrence is central to Nietzsche’s later teachings. In this paper, I argue that the life-transformative effects Nietzsche is aiming at with the eternal recurrence parallel the life-transformative effects he has already construed with the notion of “untimeliness” in his earlier writings. My interpretive thesis is mainly supported by the following claim: in both modes one repeatedly experiences the time of her life as a whole. That is, one lives her life in such a way that there is nothing to look forward or nothing to look backwards outside of the present life simply because life, as it is now, has meaning and as such it is affirmable in its own terms. In relation to the secondary literature, my interpretation resolves an issue that has drawn the attention of a few interpreters: how should we make sense of the eternal recurrence in a non-cosmological context?

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