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By Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen

"If you have been trying to find a thinker more likely to attract american citizens, Friedrich Nietzsche will be faraway from your first selection. in the end, in his blazing occupation, Nietzsche took objective at approximately the entire foundations of contemporary American existence: Christian morality, the Enlightenment religion in cause, and the belief of human equality. regardless of that, for greater than a century Nietzsche has been a highly popular--and surprisingly Read more...


if you happen to have been searching for a thinker prone to entice americans, Friedrich Nietzsche will be faraway from your first selection. the writer delves deeply into Nietzsche's philosophy, and America's Read more...

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Mter almost three decades with Emerson's writings, the prospect seemed likely indeed. Mter all, it was America that had created the thinker with whom he thought as he came to terms with himself and his world. It was the American Emerson who showed Nietzsche the possibilities of thought beyond the good and evil of Christian piety. It was the American Emerson who critiqued sterile ideas and made philosophy a friend to life. It was the American Emerson who understood that philosophical inquiry in a world without absolutes works by example and provocation only.

However, he was enlisted as a moralist and cultural critic. Overwhelmingly, Americans took an interest in Nietzsche's criticism of democratic equality, in his cultural insights about democratic man. When Nietzsche appeared in American political thought, he did so as a thinker about the human culture American democracy fosters. If Nietzsche's influence crossed the perceived intellectual borders between America and Europe, it also traversed the borders traditionally thought to divide "elite" from "average" Americans.

5 I argue that readers consistently looked to Nietzsche to make sense of themselves and their America. From the details about his struggles as an itinerant intellectual, his neglect by his contemporaries, and his physical torments, they spun narratives about heroic striving, the fate of genius, achievement, and failure in modern American life. For some, Nietzsche's erudition seemed to be a product of German esteem for Bildung, which they thought was missing on this side of the Atlantic. They worried that the cultural conditions of their own capitalist and democratic society were inhospitable for producing great minds.

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