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 influential--figure in American notion and tradition. In American Nietzsche, Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen delves deeply into Nietzsche's philosophy, and America's reception of it, to inform the tale of his curious charm. starting her account with Ralph Waldo Emerson, whom the seventeen-year-old Nietzsche learn fervently, she exhibits how Nietzsche's rules first burst on American shorelines on the flip of the 20 th century, and the way they persevered alternately to invigorate and to surprise american citizens for the century to come back. She additionally delineates the wider highbrow and cultural contexts during which a big selection of commentators--academic and armchair philosophers, theologians and atheists, romantic poets and hard-nosed empiricists, and political ideologues and apostates from the Left and the Right--drew perception and thought from Nietzsche's claims for the loss of life of God, his problem to common fact, and his insistence at the interpretive nature of all human inspiration and ideology. whilst, she explores how his picture as an iconoclastic immoralist used to be placed to paintings in American pop culture, making Nietzsche an not going posthumous big name in a position to inspiring either youngsters and students alike. A penetrating exam of a robust yet little-explored undercurrent of twentieth-century American suggestion and tradition, American Nietzsche dramatically recasts our figuring out of yankee highbrow life--and places Nietzsche squarely at its heart"--Provided by means of publisher. Read more...
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Extra info for American Nietzsche : a history of an icon and his ideas
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.