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Nietzsche, the Aristocratic Rebel: Intellectual Biography and Critical Balance-Sheet

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Perhaps no philosopher is more of a conundrum than Nietzsche, the solitary rebel, poet, wayfarer, anti-revolutionary Aufklärer and theorist of aristocratic radicalism. His accusers identify in his ‘superman’ the origins of Nazism, and thus issue an irrevocable condemnation; his defenders pursue a hermeneutics of innocence founded ultimately in allegory. In a work that cons Perhaps no philosopher is more of a conundrum than Nietzsche, the solitary rebel, poet, wayfarer, anti-revolutionary Aufklärer and theorist of aristocratic radicalism. His accusers identify in his ‘superman’ the origins of Nazism, and thus issue an irrevocable condemnation; his defenders pursue a hermeneutics of innocence founded ultimately in allegory. In a work that constitutes the most important contribution to Nietzschean studies in recent decades, Domenico Losurdo instead pursues a less reductive strategy. Taking literally the ruthless implications of Nietzsche's anti-democratic thinking – his celebration of slavery, of war and colonial expansion, and eugenics – he nevertheless refuses to treat these from the perspective of the mid-twentieth century. In doing so, he restores Nietzsche’s works to their complex nineteenth-century context, and presents a more compelling account of the importance of Nietzsche as philosopher than can be expected from his many contemporary apologists. Translated by Gregor Benton. With an Introduction by Harrison Fluss. Originally published in Italian by Bollati Boringhieri Editore as Domenico Losurdo, Nietzsche, il ribelle aristocratico: Biografia intellettuale e bilancio critico, Turin, 2002.


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Perhaps no philosopher is more of a conundrum than Nietzsche, the solitary rebel, poet, wayfarer, anti-revolutionary Aufklärer and theorist of aristocratic radicalism. His accusers identify in his ‘superman’ the origins of Nazism, and thus issue an irrevocable condemnation; his defenders pursue a hermeneutics of innocence founded ultimately in allegory. In a work that cons Perhaps no philosopher is more of a conundrum than Nietzsche, the solitary rebel, poet, wayfarer, anti-revolutionary Aufklärer and theorist of aristocratic radicalism. His accusers identify in his ‘superman’ the origins of Nazism, and thus issue an irrevocable condemnation; his defenders pursue a hermeneutics of innocence founded ultimately in allegory. In a work that constitutes the most important contribution to Nietzschean studies in recent decades, Domenico Losurdo instead pursues a less reductive strategy. Taking literally the ruthless implications of Nietzsche's anti-democratic thinking – his celebration of slavery, of war and colonial expansion, and eugenics – he nevertheless refuses to treat these from the perspective of the mid-twentieth century. In doing so, he restores Nietzsche’s works to their complex nineteenth-century context, and presents a more compelling account of the importance of Nietzsche as philosopher than can be expected from his many contemporary apologists. Translated by Gregor Benton. With an Introduction by Harrison Fluss. Originally published in Italian by Bollati Boringhieri Editore as Domenico Losurdo, Nietzsche, il ribelle aristocratico: Biografia intellettuale e bilancio critico, Turin, 2002.

46 review for Nietzsche, the Aristocratic Rebel: Intellectual Biography and Critical Balance-Sheet

  1. 5 out of 5

    Rory Mullan

    Losurdo launches a relentless attack upon an interpretive procedure vis-à-vis Nietzsche that he designates the ‘hermeneutics of innocence’. Losurdo characterises this procedure as an indifference to Nietzsche’s historical context and the evacuation of Nietzsche’s thought of its violently anti-egalitarian character. For Losurdo, the hermeneutics of innocence has long dominated and indeed continues to dominate philosophical – as opposed to historical, political and sociological – reception of Niet Losurdo launches a relentless attack upon an interpretive procedure vis-à-vis Nietzsche that he designates the ‘hermeneutics of innocence’. Losurdo characterises this procedure as an indifference to Nietzsche’s historical context and the evacuation of Nietzsche’s thought of its violently anti-egalitarian character. For Losurdo, the hermeneutics of innocence has long dominated and indeed continues to dominate philosophical – as opposed to historical, political and sociological – reception of Nietzsche; Losurdo believes that this hermeneutics is exemplified by such major Nietzsche interpreters as Kaufmann, Deleuze, Foucault, Georges Bataille and Gianni Vattimo. Losurdo works to demonstrate the untenability of the hermeneutics of innocence by utilising the Marxist methodology of historical materialism and rigorously situating Nietzsche in the context of nineteenth century Europe and its social upheavals and imperial wars. From Losurdo’s titanic effort emerges a presentation of Nietzsche’s philosophy as fundamentally animated by opposition to the egalitarian politics of socialism, an opposition that arises from – on Losurdo’s reading – Nietzsche’s commitment that the production of true culture necessitates the establishment and maintenance of brutal systems of mass enslavement. While Losurdo does not affirm the existence of direct link between Nietzsche’s philosophy and the politics of Nazism, the power and merit of Losurdo’s book is that he forces sympathetic readers of Nietzsche to confront seriously his eminence as a philosopher of aristocratic reaction. Indeed, Losurdo forces a fundamental revaluation of the tenability of the political Nietzscheanisms of the left, from Adorno and Frankfurt critical theory to Foucault, Deleuze and French post-structuralism.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Kyrill

    RIP Nietzsche, you would have loved Groypers

  3. 4 out of 5

    ben

    Possibly my new favorite piece of secondary literature, effectively argues against any rehabilitation of Nietzsche the man, or almost every part of his philosophy for emancipatory purposes. I think it also reveals a lot of failures of post-modernist theory to be emancipatory, by the very nature of the politics thinker pomo draws on the most.

  4. 4 out of 5

    AlisonMoon

  5. 5 out of 5

    David

  6. 5 out of 5

    James

  7. 5 out of 5

    Mohamed Mzoughi

  8. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Zamora

  9. 5 out of 5

    Patrick

  10. 4 out of 5

    S S

  11. 5 out of 5

    Willian Cordeiro

  12. 4 out of 5

    Hellebore

  13. 4 out of 5

    Angelo Vieira

  14. 5 out of 5

    Fadi

  15. 4 out of 5

    Pierre-Alain Giraud

  16. 5 out of 5

    Molly

  17. 4 out of 5

    Maurice Weller

  18. 5 out of 5

    Edoardo Cumitini

  19. 4 out of 5

    Ezra Sued

  20. 4 out of 5

    Prouet Yves

  21. 4 out of 5

    Matt Wagner

  22. 5 out of 5

    Noemi Veneziani

  23. 4 out of 5

    Doug Greene

  24. 4 out of 5

    TΞΞL❍CK Mith!lesh

  25. 5 out of 5

    Walter Calaza

  26. 4 out of 5

    Geck

  27. 4 out of 5

    Rafael da Silva

  28. 5 out of 5

    Ophelie

  29. 4 out of 5

    Diotima

  30. 4 out of 5

    Normado

  31. 4 out of 5

    Jacques le fataliste et son maître

  32. 5 out of 5

    Mordecai

  33. 4 out of 5

    Wikimedia Italia

  34. 4 out of 5

    Ernesto Bianchi

  35. 4 out of 5

    Severian

  36. 4 out of 5

    Clumsy

  37. 5 out of 5

    White Oleander

  38. 5 out of 5

    Bibliotheca

  39. 4 out of 5

    Renan Virginio

  40. 5 out of 5

    Luca Riva

  41. 4 out of 5

    Joel Costa

  42. 5 out of 5

    Evgenia

  43. 5 out of 5

    Silvio

  44. 4 out of 5

    A

  45. 4 out of 5

    G

  46. 4 out of 5

    Victoria

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