Nietzsche, Friedrich Wilhelm

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Nietzsche, Friedrich Wilhelm

(frē`drĭkh vĭl`hĕlm nē`chə), 1844–1900, German philosopher, b. Röcken, Prussia. The son of a clergyman, Nietzsche studied Greek and Latin at Bonn and Leipzig and was appointed to the chair of classical philology at Basel in 1869. In his early years he was friendly with the composer Richard Wagner, although later he was to turn against him. Nervous disturbances and eye trouble forced Nietzsche to leave Basel in 1879; he moved from place to place in a vain effort to improve his health until 1889, when he became hopelessly insane. Nietzsche was not a systematic philosopher but rather a moralist who passionately rejected Western bourgeois civilization. He regarded Christian civilization as decadent, and in place of its "slave morality" he looked to the superman, the creator of a new heroic morality that would consciously affirm life and the life values. That superman would represent the highest passion and creativity and would live at a level of experience beyond the conventional standards of good and evil. His creative "will to power" would set him off from "the herd" of inferior humanity. Nietzsche's thought had widespread influence but was of particular importance in Germany. Apologists for Nazism seized on much of his writing as a philosophical justification for their doctrines, but most scholars regard this as a perversion of Nietzsche's thought. Among his most famous works are The Birth of Tragedy (1872, tr. 1910); Thus Spake Zarathustra (1883–91, tr. 1909, 1930), and Beyond Good and Evil (1886, tr. 1907).

Bibliography

See his selected letters ed. by C. Middleton (1969); biographies by C. K. Brinton (1941, repr. 1965), H. A. Reyburn (1948, repr. 1973), I. Frenzel (1967), R. Hayman (1980, repr. 1999), L. Chamberlain (1996), C. Cate (2005), and J. Young (2010); studies by H. L. Mencken (1913, repr. 1993), R. Pfefler (1972), R. C. Solomon, ed. (1973), W. A. Kaufmann (4th ed. 1974), J. T. Wilcox (1974), J. P. A. Stern (1979), R. Schacht (1983), G. Clive (1984), R. J. Hollingdale (1985), A. Nehamas (1985), J. Köhler (tr. 1998), R. C. Solomon and K. M. Higgins (2000), R. B. Pippin (2010), K. Michalski (tr. 2011), and J. Ratner-Rosenhagen (2011).

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Nevertheless, sufficient traces of Goldman's Nietzscheanism remain to suggest some plausible connections.
The Historical Dictionary of Nietzscheanism can be thoroughly recommended as a reliable introductory guide to the salient features of Nietzsche's life, works, and influence, although its exorbitant price is likely to discourage many potential buyers.
The implied choice between realism and self-contradiction or some variant of Nietzscheanism is as false as that between foundationalism and nihilism.
Lampert seems to address only the growing number of American academics who already hold Nietzsche's teaching to be compelling and specifically calls upon Straussians to come out of the closet and avow their hidden Nietzscheanism.
Dostoevsky can and certainly still will be read as preparing the way for Russian Nietzscheanism and the disappearance on native soil of what later generations might call transcendental signifiers, but to read him without taking this book seriously into account one would have to be a fool, and not necessarily of the holy variety.
After all, many Protestant liberals were far less inclined to rigorous analysis and fell victim to various forms of mysticism, monism, racism, and Nietzscheanism (collectively `anti-historicism' (Nowak)) which Hubinger sees partly as a result of the failure of Germany to channel religiosity into the strong pluralist denominationalism of the Anglo-Saxon model (pp- 143 ff.
Intellectually, what remained of the postwar antiliberal tradition was supported by a melange of structuralism, neo-Marxism, Nietzscheanism, Heideggerianism, and Freudianism--none of it political in the sense that Sartre would have recognized.
This is, by no means, an attempt to concoct a social Nietzscheanism, but simply a way of acknowledging a type of will rooted in human nature which frequently harms others and needs to be addressed in order to understand the reason causing harmful forms of behavior.
He gives brief biographies of Levinas and Camus, then describes their perceptions of Hitler and "political Nietzscheanism," citing a wealth of texts in support of his arguments.
Accordingly their Nietzscheanism was not always of long duration; it occurred at a specific moment in the lives of these budding intellectuals and may have been discarded once they arrived at a more profound understanding of themselves and the need for a genuine Hebrew culture.
Schuler, having also read Bachofen's accounts of matriarchy, grafted onto his Nietzscheanism a wild neo-pagan cult of the Magna Mater.
The result is a somewhat headlong but refreshing and highly informative survey of the contradictions within Nietzsche, Nietzscheanism, and feminism at the end of the century, from a perspective that is common-sensical, forcefully argued, and wary of current cliche's.