The form of Nietzsche’s work was having a great and immediate impact on the arts of the 1890s also. What in fact had been imposed on Nietzsche by his illness—his short, aphoristic, often non-sequential bursts that at first sight appeared disorganized and unfinished—was seized upon as a direct and arrestingly modern way of communication. Strindberg’s plays are notorious for jettisoning the classical theatrical unities of time, space and action and for being incomprehensible on the page because they do not follow a logical progression, while being electrifying on stage for the same reason. Munch didn’t clear up dribbles and splashes of paint; he left whole areas of canvas naked and unpainted. It was the painterly equivalent of the powerful effect of the half-glimpsed, the suggestive quality of the aphorism that Nietzsche had first seized upon in Sorrento, and upon which he built the powerful and extraordinarily modern strategy of “the philosopher of perhaps,” a position which gave him the power to end an aphorism, a train of thought or even an entire book with an ellipsis, putting the reader in charge of the conclusion while, at the same time, acknowledging that objective truth is not even conceivable for humans, the striving for it mere illusion.

From I Am Dynamite!