Nietzsche's judgement: The case of morality in Arun Joshi's the apprentice

Niven Kumar*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Friedrich Nietzsche's re-evaluation of values calls for a dismantling of the normative conceptions of selfhood, shattering notions of identity predicated upon moral constructions of good and evil. Nietzsche argues that such constructions stem from a moral topology that prevents the development of a more salient grammar of 'being.' Modernist fiction is underpinned by this Nietzschean sensibility, interrogating the linguistic and epistemological barriers to existential freedom. While Arun Joshi's The Apprentice has been read by many as an exploration of the 'ethical problem of good and evil,' this paper will argue that Joshi's text goes beyond a mere examination of this often simplistic moral binary. Rather, the novel can be seen to be in dialogue with Nietzsche's proposition that morality has no place in a modern capitalist system. The formation of self as a series of competing dichotomies is no longer tenable in the face of a system that precludes any moral injunction or ballast. Instead, Joshi's protagonist becomes a derelict, one who only perpetuates, in a Sisyphusian penance, the system's Nietzschean ressentiment, and its subscription to what Nietzsche terms a slave morality. This paper, then, contends that Joshi's novel calls for a reconfiguration of the traditional moral matrices of self-definition, highlighting the need for a new moral episteme in the face of a disinterested capitalistic regime.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-24
Number of pages12
JournalZeitschrift fur Anglistik und Amerikanistik
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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