- Nietzsche, Friedrich Wilhelm
- Nietzsche Robin Small LIFE AND PERSONALITY Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (1844–1900) is one of those thinkers whose personalities cannot easily be separated from their achievements in philosophy. This is not because his life was an unusually eventful one in outer respects. Rather, it is due to the intensely personal engagement in thinking that is evident throughout his writings. Franz Rosenzweig’s description of Nietzsche as ‘the first real human being among the philosophers’ is a striking testimony to this characteristic; though Rosenzweig was less justified in dismissing the content of Nietzsche’s thinking as irrelevant to his real importance. Nietzsche was born in 1844 in Röcken, a village in Saxony, the son of a Lutheran minister. After the death of his father four years later, the family moved to Naumburg, where Nietzsche attended the local Gymnasium before being sent as a boarder to the famous Pforta school. He emerged as a classical scholar of great promise, moving on to the universities of Bonn and Leipzig, where he attracted the sponsorship of the influential Ritschl. With his assistance, Nietzsche was appointed at the early age of twenty-four to a chair in classical philology at the University of Basel. His early promise in scholarship was soon overshadowed by new developments. Making the acquaintance of Richard Wagner, Nietzsche was drawn into the Wagner circle, which turned his talents to its own purposes. His first book, The Birth of Tragedy, published in 1872, created a storm of controversy. It gave great offence to professional colleagues for its championing of the Wagnerian ‘artwork of the future’, as well for its unconventional approach to scholarship. But Nietzsche had by now largely lost interest in philology; his writings over the next few years, published under the general title Untimely Meditations, are essays in cultural criticism, often stimulating and sometimes brilliant, yet marred by a Wagnerian mixture of pomposity and abrasiveness. Several events now brought about decisive changes in Nietzsche’s life. A breakdown in his health led to a temporary separation from the university; a year’s leave was spent in Sorrento, working on a new book, Human, All-Too-Human, A break with Wagner followed, brought about primarily by Nietzsche’s negative reaction to the 1876 Bayreuth festival and to Wagner’s new opera Parsifal, whose religiosity aroused Nietzsche’s lasting hostility. Two years later, renewed illness led to permanent retirement from the university on a modest pension. From this time onward, Nietzsche was a man seemingly always on the move. He established a regular routine: summers spent in Germany or eastern Switzerland, reading widely and making extensive notes which, during winters on the Italian and French Riviera, were turned into a succession of books. After Human, All Too Human, the works in which Nietzsche’s mature style is confidently established followed at regular intervals: Mixed Opinions and Maxims, The Wanderer and His Shadow, Daybreak and The Gay Science. This pattern was to last for a decade. Although restless, Nietzsche was at the same time a man of regular habits. Apart from one not very successful trip to Sicily, he tended to return to the same places, neither cultural centres nor tourist spots but smaller cities in which he lived in inexpensive boarding houses. Always intensely health-conscious, Nietzsche suffered from a variety of illnesses, despite a healthy regime of frugal eating and long walks. Although often alone, he was not a recluse but made friends and joined in social activities. Indeed, he retained a certain Naumburg bourgeois character, which surfaces from time to time in his opinions. Nietzsche the person was no bohemian: conventional in dress and manner, he was also courteous and forbearing in responding to sometimes obtuse correspondents, reserving his polemical skills for his writings. As one observer reported after an 1884 encounter in Nice, ‘He was extremely friendly, and there is no trace of false pathos or of the prophet about him, as I had rather feared from the recent works’. The question of Nietzsche’s relations with women has excited and frustrated biographers. He always retained unusually close links with his mother and younger sister, despite a few periods of estrangement. Apart from this, there is evidence for only one significant attachment. After his Sicilian expedition of 1882, Nietzsche visited Rome with his friend Paul Rée, a writer on moral psychology. There he met a young Russian girl, Lou von Salomé. An intense emotional period followed, during which the two men conducted a fierce, but unacknowledged, rivalry for Lou’s loyalty. The outcome was an estrangement, incited by the hostility of Nietzsche’s conservative sister Elisabeth, though also due, in part, to Nietzsche’s own conventional side. A disillusioned Nietzsche returned to the Italian Riviera and began work on a new kind of writing, Thus Spoke Zarathustra. The successively published parts of this, his best known work, occupied him for several years. In 1886 Nietzsche returned to the format of The Gay Science with his most accomplished book, Beyond Good and Evil. The subsequent year produced a bold exploration of moral concepts, The Genealogy of Morals. During the autumn of 1888, Nietzsche’s letters and writing took on an ominous tone of exaltation, as he worked on a series of works in rapid succession: Nietzsche Contra Wagner, a summary of his long campaign against his former friend; The Antichrist, a polemic against Christianity; and a remarkable autobiographical essay, Ecce Homo. In the early days of 1889, Nietzsche suffered a sudden mental collapse in the streets of Turin, where he was spending the winter. Brought back to Germany by a friend, he was treated in a Jena asylum, but without improvement, and afterwards nursed at home by his mother and sister. Nietzsche never regained mental clarity, and underwent a steady physical decline until his death in 1900. The cause of the catastrophe is unconfirmed, but the initial diagnosis of syphilis seems the likeliest explanation. WORKS AND STYLES Nietzsche’s style of writing is very varied: hardly two of his books can be put in a given category. Works such as Human, All Too Human and Daybreak are often described as ‘aphoristic’, though they are really composed of short essays, often carefully arranged in an overall progression of thought. One philosophical style hardly ever used by Nietzsche is that of extended argument. He gave an indication of his strategy when he wrote: ‘I approach deep problems like cold baths: quickly into them and quickly out again’ (The Gay Science, section 381). Yet Nietzsche returns to these problems again and again, and one can often see patterns in his ways of approaching them: not only continuities, but variations on a theme, developments of a line of thinking, reactions against former approaches, ideas gained from other thinkers, and ventures into new alternatives. The consistencies over the twenty years of his writing life are of style rather than doctrine. Particularly striking is Nietzsche’s use of the aphorism, which serves, as he puts it, ‘to say in a few words what other writers say in a book—or do not say in a book’. We can take, as a typical example, section 126 of The Gay Science: ‘Mystical explanations. Mystical explanations are considered deep. The truth is that they are not even superficial.’ Setting aside its superfluous title, this is a genuine aphorism, a self-contained thought which nevertheless lends itself to interpretation and elaboration. The ‘mystical’ is anything that refers to something higher, as when some experience is explained as the voice of God. The ‘superficial’ is the surface of things, the qualities experienced through the senses. Thus, the opposition invoked is that between appearance and reality. In the metaphysical tradition of Plato, appearance is devalued as in need of explanation by reference to a truer reality. But Nietzsche, who called his thinking an ‘inverted Platonism’, wants a greater respect for appearance. Science, he suggests, has advanced only in so far as the senses have been trusted; and so we do not need to flee from appearance, but to engage more closely with both inner and outer phenomena; and metaphysical explanations merely distract us from that task. Typically, however, Nietzsche elsewhere takes a different line, praising the courage of those who have repudiated the evidence of the senses, like Parmenides and Plato in metaphysics, and Copernicus in natural science. Putting Nietzsche’s thought into traditional philosophical categories, such as idealism or materialism, rationalism or irrationalism, is a vain exercise. Sometimes he is included in the assortment of thinkers labelled ‘existentialists’. This is an arbitrary and in some ways misleading categorization which, with a greater appreciation of Nietzsche’s thought, has now gone out of use. One can at most specify certain recognizable philosophical principles for which Nietzsche often expresses support: the idea that the world is one of becoming, not of being, and as a consequence of this, an opposition to any doctrine that posits a reality over and above the world of appearance. An important corollary is the rejection of traditional religion, not only as a metaphysical doctrine but also in its implications for moral concepts. These points are closely linked with Nietzsche’s professed admiration of Heraclitus; in his own words: The affirmation of passing away and destroying, which is the decisive feature of a Dionysian philosophy; saying Yes in opposition and war; becoming, along with a radical repudiation of the very concept of being—all this is clearly more closely related to me than anything else thought to date. The doctrine of the ‘eternal recurrence’ that is, of the unconditional and infinitely related circular course of all things—this doctrine of Zarathustra might in the end have been taught already by Heraclitus. (Ecce Homo, ‘The Birth of Tragedy’, 3) Nietzsche wants to be an affirmative thinker, a ‘yes-sayer’. But the possibility of such an affirmation depends on overcoming a system of concepts that have dominated human thinking. Hence he is, in practice, a critical thinker—indeed, one of the most destructive in the history of philosophy. Nietzsche provides a critique of knowledge, and its concept of truth and objectivity; of morality, and its concepts of good and evil; of philosophy, and its concept of being or reality; and of religion, and its concept of God. In each case, Nietzsche champions the concepts rejected by these systems: he affirms the value of lies, of fate, of semblance and becoming. But his critiques are not external ones; he argues that the highest values devalue themselves. To take an example: the will to truth is something we owe to the Christian tradition, which judged the world of appearance as one of untruth, and so posed the task of finding genuine truth. But the determination to follow a line of thought to its end—not a natural human trait, but a capacity acquired with great difficulty—has led to the downfall of those beliefs. We now recognize that our knowledge is based on metaphors; and a metaphor, because it asserts the identity of what is not identical, is really a lie. It is these lies that human beings need to create a world of stable and regular objects, within which they can live. In his early sketches, Nietzsche supports this view of knowledge by using a vocabulary of rhetoric rather than logic. The basic operation of thought is not unconscious inference, as suggested by some neo-Kantians. Rather, figures of speech provide the model for all thinking: in particular, metonymy and metaphor are its crucial operations. Language, Nietzsche suggests, consists entirely of metaphors; and metaphor, which equates the unequal, is a lie, or perhaps a riddle. What, then, is truth? A mobile army of metaphors, metonyms, and anthropomorphisms—in short, a sum of human relations, which have been enhanced, transposed, and embellished poetically and rhetorically, and which after long use seem firm, canonical, and obligatory to a people: truths are illusions about which one has forgotten that this is what they are; metaphors which are worn out and without sensuous power; coins which have lost their pictures and now matter only as metal, no longer as coins. (‘On Truth and Lie in an Extra-Moral Sense’) These ideas about knowledge suit the Heraclitean concept of absolute becoming which, as Nietzsche understands it, implies a process which has no beginning or end, and contains no pauses. ‘If there were just one moment of being in the strict sense,’ he writes, ‘there could be no further becoming.’ Yet that is not how we ordinarily understand the world. Our organs of perception are geared to the conditions of our survival, and they allow us to apprehend only a minute fraction of what happens. Hence we suppose that there are discontinuities and separate things: even the most fleeting process, such as a flash of lightning, is imagined as the activity of something. Our language contains philosophical assumptions: ‘Every word is a prejudice’ (The Wanderer and His Shadow, section 55). Because the Indo-European languages contain the distinction between subject and activity, they determine our conceptual bias towards belief in permanent or at least enduring beings, and lead inevitably to belief in the soul and in material substance. The line of thought here is akin to the more recent hypotheses concerning the determining influence of language structure on our ways of seeing the world. But our conditions of life demand such illusions; for absolute becoming makes the world ungraspable. Hence we invent fictions which enable us to make sense of the world, such as things, and hence numbers and formulae. Nietzsche is not proposing any move to a new language: even Zarathustra, who proclaims a ‘new speech’, still uses German. It seems that we must go on using the only language available to us, while acknowledging that its concepts are inadequate to reality. INFLUENCES AND REACTIONS A search for direct influences on Nietzsche is not very rewarding. He did speak of a supposed group of ‘new philosophers’; but in reality, Nietzsche had no philosophical associates. Schopenhauer and Wagner are often mentioned as early influences. Nietzsche gained much from both—as thinkers he could react against, primarily in ethical and aesthetic concepts respectively. Schopenhauer was an early passion, and the subject of an ‘untimely meditation’ which makes no mention of transcendental idealism, pessimism and the doctrine of the will as essence of the world; instead, Schopenhauer’s independence and hatred of philosophical obscurantism are celebrated. Emerson was an influence for similar reasons. His essay form, flexible and loosely structured, was very congenial to Nietzsche. Again, the doctrines are hardly important, and the idea of an ‘over-soul’ common to all thinkers is the opposite of Nietzsche’s view. Yet he retained a high opinion of Emerson, and an essay such as ‘Self-Reliance’, with its forthright rejection of any consistency in belief or action, has a very Nietzschean ring: ‘Speak what you think now in hard words; and tomorrow speak what tomorrow thinks in hard words again, even though it contradict everything you said today’. Moreover, the Emersonian emphasis on the will has a direct relation to Nietzsche’s later idea of the will to power. Among philosophers of a more academic kind, Nietzsche’s reading was largely in contemporary writers, some not much known even in their day, let alone a century later. Two figures worth attention are the idealists Friedrich Albert Lange and Gustav Teichmüller. In Beyond Good and Evil, Nietzsche pays a generous tribute to both thinkers for the courage of their metaphysical thinking—at the same time as he rejects their principal theses. Nietzsche studied Lange’s important History of Materialism shortly after its publication in 1865, and often returned to it later. It was a fortunate encounter, for the book provides a comprehensive survey of materialist thought, from Democritus to the nineteenth century. Just as valuable is Lange’s responsible and fair-minded approach, which gives full credit to the contributions of the materialist philosophy, while in the end rejecting it in favour of a neo-Kantian idealism. Lange characterises materialism as a conservative force in science, emphasizing facts at the expense of ideas, hypotheses and theories. He recommends a more speculative approach, raising even paradoxical questions. Materialism ‘trusts the senses’, Lange says, and it pictures the world accordingly. Yet the scientific investigations that arise on this basis undermine philosophical realism. Lange’s treatment of perception is like that of Hermann von Helmholtz: when we understand how information received by the senses is transformed by our sensory apparatus, we must conclude that the world as we perceive it is really a product of our organization. This includes our own sense organs, since their status as objects of perception is no different from other things. Nietzsche rejects Lange’s argument as incoherent: ‘But then our organs would be—the work of our organs! It seems to me that this is a complete reductio ad absurdum’ (Beyond Good and Evil, section 15.) In contrast, he suggests that ‘Today we possess science precisely to the extent to which we have learned to accept the testimony of the senses—to the extent to which we sharpen them further, arm them, and have learned to think them through to the end.’ (Twilight of the Idols, ‘“Reason” in Philosophy’, section 2.) This is not realism, but ‘sensualism’, an affirmation of appearance in its own right, however unstable and contradictory it may be. In 1882 Nietzsche read a newly published book entitled Die wirkliche und die scheinbare Welt (The Real and the Apparent World), by a former Basel colleague, Gustav Teichmüller. From this work he gathered several concepts of great use for his subsequent thinking. Central to Teichmüller’s metaphysical system is the idea of ‘perspective’. The defect of dogmatism in all its forms is, he argues, its failure to appreciate that all philosophies are ‘protective’ or ‘perspectival’ images of reality from a certain standpoint. The same is true of the knowledge of everyday life, in which we rely on what Teichmüller terms ‘semiotic’ knowledge, that is, a translation of phenomena into the vocabulary of a particular sense. Even our own mental states are known in this way alone. Each sense has its own ‘sign language’, and philosophy has been dominated by a bias in favour of sight; we need to overthrow this dictatorship and establish a kind of democracy of the senses and their corresponding concepts. Treating space and time as perspectival concepts, Teichmüller arrives at a conventionalist account, according to which questions about infinity reduce to arbitrary decisions about measurement. Materialism and idealism are alike inadequate, because they remain within their limited perspectives. Teichmüller’s own system posits an intellectual intuition of the real self, a timeless subject which, transcending all perspectives, is their ultimate source. With the exception of this last point, Nietzsche’s own view of knowledge takes up many of Teichmüller’s themes. His most striking idea is usually referred to as ‘perspectivism’, though in fact Nietzsche uses the word Perspektivismus not for a certain doctrine but for the property of being perspectival, that is, for ‘perspectivity’. The assertion that there are only perspectives, without the underpinning supplied by either things-in-themselves or by a ‘real’ self, implies an opposition to objectivity, or at least to one version of objectivity. Nietzsche says that we need to control our drives ‘so that one knows how to employ a variety of perspectives and affective interpretations in the service of knowledge’. This leads to a truer conception of objectivity: ‘There is only a perspective seeing, only a perspective “knowing”; and the more affects we allow to speak about one thing, the more eyes, different eyes, we can use to observe one thing, the more complete will our “concept” of this thing, our “objectivity” be’ (The Genealogy of Morals, Third Essay, section 12). Nietzsche often asserts that we are prisoners of our human perspectives, forever unable to see ‘around our corner’. Yet he also suggests that artists have the ability to provide us with otherwise unavailable perspectives; and he claims for himself a special talent for ‘reversing’ perspectives. A condition of this genuine objectivity is an avoidance of ‘convictions’, that is, of beliefs purporting to possess certainty. ‘Convictions are more dangerous enemies of truth than lies,’ Nietzsche writes (Human, All Too Human, section 483). Avoiding convictions does not imply an ironic withdrawal from engagement and commitment: on the contrary, we should ‘live dangerously’ in the quest for knowledge, risking ourselves in following an hypothesis as far as it can be taken. These concerns are crucial in Nietzsche’s attitude towards science. Cut off from primary scientific sources by his lack of mathematics, Nietzsche browsed widely among popular science and Naturphilosophie, and was aware of current debates—for instance, over the implications of the second law of thermodynamics. Many of these authors were what one might term vulgar Leibnizians, writers opposed to mechanism for its supposed superficiality and soullessness, and often willing to suggest a close link between materialism and the English national character. Nietzsche’s approach is free of this tone, and his assessment of materialism is of far more interest. For Nietzsche, mechanism is first and foremost a methodology. Its ideal, he says, is ‘to explain, i.e. put into formulae, as much as possible with as little as possible.’ ([7.5], 7/3. 158). The best theory is the one which uses the fewest concepts, while encompassing the most natural phenomena. This idea is well known in Ernst Mach’s formulation of the ‘principle of economy’. But Nietzsche links it with a main theme of his own: the will to power. Scientific theory enables us to exert more control over our environment. More importantly, however, scientific theory is itself a form of power. Mechanism is the most advanced and successful form of science, just because it embodies this scientific imperative in its purest form, nowhere seen more than in reductionism, its essential strategy and the key to its greatest successes. Nietzsche’s complaint against materialism is that it has not pushed its own programme far enough. He took the dynamic physics of Boscovich to represent a further step. Whereas Copernicus overcame the belief in the stability of the earth, Boscovich opposed an equally deep prejudice: the notion of material substance. The outcome is a theory in which solid material atoms are replaced with unextended ‘points of matter’ (in the terminology of Faraday, ‘centres of force’) whose spatial fields produce all the familiar modes of interaction with other centres: repulsion, cohesion and mutual impenetrability. Boscovich thus eliminates not only the distinction between matter and force but also the distinctions between kinds of force. Another concept to be eliminated is, Nietzsche considers, that of causality. Materialism eliminates teleology, and uses only causal explanation; yet Nietzsche suggests that efficient causes are not alternatives to final causes, but only disguised versions of them. Scientific formulae establish quantitative equalities (in terms of energy or mass) between states of affairs, which make no mention of cause and effect. Thus, Nietzsche argues, science should give up any pretence to provide explanations of phenomena, and content itself with an accurate description of them. If explanation is turning the unfamiliar into the familiar, then it appeals to what we take to be familiar, the everyday experience of what can be seen and felt, and the even more familiar processes of our own minds, thinking, willing, and so on. However, the seeming certainty of these phenomena is an illusion. Even the simplest experience, the ‘I think’, turns out on closer examination to contain a number of assumptions, such as the distinctness of the subject from the process of thinking. Summarizing these critiques, Nietzsche writes: When I think of my philosophical genealogy, I feel in agreement with the antiteleological, i.e. Spinozistic movement of our time, but with this difference, that I hold even the ‘aim’ and ‘will’ within us to be an illusion: similarly with the mechanistic movement (tracing all moral and aesthetic questions back to physiological ones, all physiological to chemical ones, all chemical to mechanical ones) but with this difference, that I do not believe in ‘matter’ and hold Boscovich to be one of the great turning-points, like Copernicus. ([7.5], 7/2:164) Also unusual in Nietzsche’s approach to science is his refusal to separate scientific thought from the personality of the scientist. The original founders of science, the materialist thinkers of ancient Greece, were free spirits. Modern scientists are less admirable: unlike the poet Lucretius, they are prosaic minds, who turn science into a routine procedure, relying on measuring and calculating to ensure security. Their materialism is taken as a doctrine, when it should be a provisional hypothesis, allowing us to run ahead of our present knowledge into unknown areas. With this in mind, we cannot separate these ideas from Nietzsche’s more obviously imaginative and speculative writings. THUS SPOKE ZARATHUSTRA Nietzsche regarded Thus Spoke Zarathustra as his most important achievement. The work’s subtitle, ‘A Book for Everyone and No one’, conveys its mixture of accessibility and inaccessibility. In style, it is most obviously modelled on the Bible; and Nietzsche may have gained a hint of the possibilities of Biblical pastiche from Mark Twain’s satirical description of the Mormon scriptures. Although the name ‘Zarathustra’ is borrowed from the ancient Iranian figure, there is no particular relation between Nietzsche’s protagonist and the historical Zarathustra. Rather, Nietzsche has chosen a format which allows a dramatic and poetic presentation of ideas which could hardly be expressed in a more conventional manner. Although he had been preparing and making notes for the composition for some time, the actual writing of each instalment was done in a few weeks. This may account for the spontaneity of many passages, but it cannot be denied that the level is uneven. Zarathustra is forceful, poetic, thoughtful and satirical; he can also be rambling and querulous or, worse still, as sentimental as his all-too-legitimate descendant, Kahlil Gibran’s best-selling ‘Prophet’. Especially in Part Three, the careful organization of Nietzsche’s earlier books is lacking; and the turn to a kind of satirical burlesque in Part Four, while it has some admirers, is seen by most (including, perhaps, its author) as failing to achieve its intentions. Martin Heidegger advised that we ought to read Thus Spoke Zarathustra just as rigorously as we read a work of Aristotle—though he added that this does not mean in precisely the same way ([7.40], 70). There is much in this, even though, knowing something of Nietzsche’s personal life, we recognize various allusions in the text. In Part One Zarathustra is introduced as a sage who, weary of his solitary possession of wisdom, descends from a mountain retreat to bring it as a gift to humanity. In a marketplace he announces to an unreceptive audience his message of self-overcoming, the process of transforming oneself into something higher through turning passions into ‘virtues’. The aim in this process is what Zarathustra calls the Übermensch. (Since some readers are distracted by the overtones of English words like ‘superman’, recent practice has been to leave the term untranslated.) This idea has often been misinterpreted: it has nothing to do with any evolution of the human species towards a more ‘advanced’ form. Even taking it as the development of a single person is too literal, since Zarathustra’s further discourses specify the problem in terms of forces or impulses within the individual. We have no literal vocabulary for these, it seems, and so need to personify them. The Übermensch is thus a symbol for higher states of being, as when Nietzsche speaks of ‘the invention of gods, heroes, and Übermenschen of all kinds’ (The Gay Science, section 143). The relation between soul and body is a main theme in Part One. Zarathustra insists that the soul is not separate from and superior to the body. On the contrary, the soul is an instrument of the body, and its characteristics express the state of the body—where ‘body’ is to be understood as a collection of impulses and drives. Our virtues arise from the body, and are indissolubly linked with the passions that morality usually condemns. Hence those who seek refuge in a world ‘beyond’ are enemies of life, whose assertions are only symptoms of their own sickness and weariness of life. Zarathustra’s scorn for these ‘preachers of death’ is expressed in a series of fierce denunciations. Part Two is more poetic, and we now catch glimpses of the higher state, as important themes emerge with greater emphasis. Zarathustra states his task as the ‘overcoming of revenge’: ‘For that man may be delivered from revenge, that is for me the bridge to the highest hope, and a rainbow after long storms’. The key to this liberation is the creative will, which, as a ‘will to power’, is identified as the essence of life itself. Yet Zarathustra notes that one obstacle stands in the way of this otherwise omnipotent power: its own past. But now learn this too: the will itself is still a prisoner. Willing liberates; but what is it that puts even the liberator himself in fetters? ‘It was’—that is the name of the will’s gnashing of teeth and most secret melancholy. Powerless against what has been done, he is an angry spectator of all that is past. The will cannot will backwards; and that he cannot break time and time’s covetousness, that is the will’s loneliest melancholy. (Thus Spake Zarathustra, Second Part, ‘On Redemption’) Because the will cannot will backwards, it suffers from frustration and anger, and revenge is its attempt to escape from the predicament. Revenge can be understood at various levels. As a common pattern of social behaviour, it expresses a mixture of motives, ranging from immediate self-preservation to a maintenance of social prestige (The Wanderer and His Shadow, section 33). In a narrower sense, revenge is an attempt to redirect one’s own pain on to others, under the pretext that their ‘guilt’ requires them to suffer. From that rationalization in turn derives the whole apparatus of moral thinking and, for that matter, the concept of the individual subject as bearer of moral responsibility. Ultimately, however, revenge is concerned with time: ‘This, indeed this alone, is what revenge is: the will’s ill-will against time and its “It was”’. It is this alone that accounts for the extraordinary prevalence of revenge, or rather of its intellectual form, the ‘spirit of revenge’, across the range of human thinking. Just what is it that makes the past a problem here? Not, it seems, its factual content, but simply its pastness. In that case, whether the events and acts of the past were good or bad, pleasurable or painful, is irrelevant. So is the distinction between actions and mere happenings: one’s own past actions, having become past, are as far removed from the power of the will as anything else that has taken place. The past is thus an undifferentiated totality. The solution, if there is one, to the problem of the past must enable us to affirm the past as a whole, not just with its pains but with its trivial and meaningless elements. There must, Zarathustra hints, be a way of transforming ‘It was’ into ‘Thus I willed it’ and, in turn, into ‘Thus I will it; thus shall I will it’. The thought of eternal recurrence, to be considered below, must be seen in that light. In Part Three of Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Nietzsche enters into deeper themes. Peaceful episodes of exalted mystical feeling alternate with stormy scenes of confrontation and struggle, as Zarathustra comes slowly and reluctantly to accept his role as teacher of the eternal recurrence. It is clear that this thought, more than any other, is only for those few who are ready to let it gain power over them. A fourth part of the work changes direction again, with Zarathustra’s encounters with the ‘higher men’ who, in different ways, illustrate the pitfalls in the way of self-overcoming. The intended tone is satirical—but modelled on the ancient satyr plays which followed performances of Greek tragedy. Nietzsche himself was apparently dissatisfied with Part Four since, after having copies privately printed, he withdrew it from circu-lation. Whether Thus Spoke Zarathustra can be regarded as a completed work is doubtful. Certainly, many of its themes are left unresolved, not least the one that Nietzsche called the ‘fundamental conception’ of the book, the thought of eternal return. ETERNAL RECURRENCE On his own account, the idea of the eternal return came to Nietzsche quite suddenly, during his summer residence in Switzerland in August 1881. Yet his notebooks of the time reveal a wide reading in popular science and philosophy of nature, including discussions of the idea of recurrence. From the beginning, the idea is sketched out by Nietzsche in several forms. In his notebooks, though not in published works, he sketches an argument using the vocabulary of science. The key to this line of thought is Nietzsche’s finitism. He takes the world to be a finite amount of energy, within a space which is also finite although unbounded. If the world consists of a finite number of ‘centres of force’, and any state of affairs consists in some configuration of these elements, then the number of possible states of affairs must be finite; or so Nietzsche supposes: critics have pointed out that this is a non sequitur, supposing space to be a continuum. But the time within which changes occur is infinite. Nietzsche insists on an infinitude of past time, since a beginning for the world would raise the question of its cause, and perhaps invite a theistic answer. Therefore, after a long but finite period of time, the whole range of possible situations must be exhausted, and some past state will reappear. Such a recurrence of a single total state will lead to the recurrence of the whole sequence of states, in exactly the same order, leading to another complete cycle, and so on into infinity. This is not a wholly original argument: something similar can be found in earlier philosophers, going back at least as far as Lucretius. With the required premisses, it has the look of a valid demonstration. If we suppose that whatever is possible must occur in an infinite time, that past time is infinite, and that the present state of affairs is a possible one, it follows that this state must already have occurred in the past, not just once but infinitely many times. Similarly, it must occur again infinitely many times in the future. Once a principle of causal determination is added, it follows that the whole course of events leading up to this moment, as well as that following from it, must recur eternally in the same sequence. As a line of thought, all this is somewhat inconsistent with Nietzsche’s expressed views. A vocabulary of static ‘states’ is at odds with his support of a Heraclitean doctrine of absolute becoming, which allows no standstill, even the most momentary one. Further, the argument relies on a causal determinism stated in terms of necessary relations between ‘total states’ of the universe. Elsewhere Nietzsche maintains that reality consists not of momentary states related by cause and effect but rather of extended processes which are somehow ‘intertwined’ or ‘entangled’ with one another. Causality cannot explain why there should be any change at all, or why change should occupy some finite amount of time, instead of being instantaneous. Nietzsche proposes to explain the finite duration of processes by an inner conflict of forces, a conception bound up with the idea that the will to power is found in physical as well as psychical processes. In these sketches, the theory of eternal recurrence is arrived at by eliminating two other accounts of the world. The view that becoming continues endlessly into new states of affairs is, Nietzsche argues, excluded by the finitude of the universe. On the other hand, the idea of a final state, one in which all change comes to an end, is refuted by immediate experience. Given an infinitude of past time, such an ending would already have been reached; and, if reached, it would never have given rise to further development, assuming no divine intervention. Since our thinking shows that becoming has not come to an end, a final state must be impossible. This leaves only one possibility: that the same states are repeated again and again, infinitely many times. Now this procedure is not very consistent with Nietzsche’s programme for scientific thinking: a theory arrived at by elimination is not a daring hypothesis, or even a particularly imaginative conception. In any case, a scientific theory of eternal recurrence, however valid, does not account for anything in our experience, and so has no value for scientific explanation; it is just a final consequence of premisses already accepted. We could see all this as an ad hominem strategy, arguing with science on its own grounds, and using its own principles of thought. Arguing ideas to their final consequences, even to the point of absurdity is, after all, valued by Nietzsche as a mark of integrity. In Nietzsche’s published works, the idea of eternal recurrence is always presented in a dramatic context of confrontation and challenge. This is especially true of the striking section of The Gay Science in which the idea is first introduced: What, if some day or night a demon were to steal after you into your loneliest loneliness and say to you: ‘this life as you now live it and have lived it, you will have to live once more and innumerable times more; and there will be nothing new in it, but every pain and every joy and every thought and sigh and everything unutterably small and great in your life will have to return to you, all in the same succession and sequence—even this spider and this moonlight between the trees, and even this moment and I myself. The eternal hourglass of existence is turned upside down again and again, and you with it, speck of dust!’ Would you not throw yourself down and gnash your teeth and curse the demon who spoke thus? Or have you once experienced a tremendous moment when you would have answered him: ‘You are a god and never have I heard anything more divine.’ If this thought gained possession of you, it would change you as you are and perhaps crush you. The question in each and every thing, ‘Do you desire this once more and innumerable times more?’ would lie upon your actions as the greatest weight. Or how well disposed would you have to become to yourself and to life to crave nothing more fervently than this ultimate eternal confirmation and seal? (The Gay Science, section 341) Here the thought of recurrence is announced, not demonstrated. There is no question of a debate, or even of a choice between acceptance and rejection. Each of us will presumably respond according to the sort of person we are. One possible reaction is a complete collapse. In this respect, the thought is something like the doctrine of eternal punishment; in fact, Nietzsche’s depiction of this outcome owes much, surprisingly, to English accounts of Methodist preaching. But the thought is also presented as a power for transformation into a higher state, in which one is able to affirm ‘each and every thing’ as having a status which is a kind of approach to eternal being, without an imagined escape from the course of becoming. The element of challenge is just as evident in a powerful chapter of Thus Spoke Zarathustra (Third Part, ‘On the Vision and the Riddle’). Zarathustra describes an episode in which he confronts his enemy, the dwarflike ‘spirit of gravity’, and initiates a contest of riddles. He points out a gateway which stands between two lanes, stretching forwards and backwards into an infinite distance. The gateway, at which they come into conflict, has a name: ‘Moment’. Zarathustra poses a question: do the lanes contradict one another eternally? The dwarf answers that ‘time itself is a circle’—implying that any conflict between past and future is a mere semblance. Angered by the evasion, Zarathustra retorts with a direct statement of the thought of recurrence: must not everything that runs on these lanes do so again and again? The dwarf, apparently unable to confront this idea, disappears from the scene. A new turn follows, as Zarathustra describes a vision which is also a riddle. A young shepherd is choking on a ‘heavy black snake’ which has crawled into his throat. The shepherd bites the head off the snake, and leaps up, transfigured: ‘one changed, radiant, laughing!’ What does this mean? The question remains unanswered. Perhaps Nietzsche is unwilling to eliminate the tension and enigmatic character of this situation, or alert to Emerson’s suggestion that ‘The answer to a riddle is another riddle’. Some aspects of the theme of eternal recurrence are shared by another main idea of Nietzsche, the ‘death of God’, first announced in section 125 of The Gay Science: Have you not heard of that madman who lit a lantern in the bright morning hours, ran to the market place, and cried incessantly, ‘I seek God! I seek God!’ As many of those who do not believe in God were standing around just then, he provoked much laughter. Why, did he get lost? said one. Did he lose his way like a child? said another. Or is he in hiding? Is he afraid of us? Has he gone on a voyage? or emigrated? Thus they yelled and laughed. The madman jumped into their midst and pierced them with his glances. ‘Whither is God’ he cried. ‘I shall tell you. We have killed him—you and I. All of us are his murderers… God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him…. Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we not ourselves become gods simply to seem worthy of it? There has never been a greater deed; and whoever will be born after us—for the sake of this deed he will be part of a higher history than all history hitherto.’ As in Thus Spoke Zarathustra, the message is not received by the marketplace crowd; and the ‘madman’ acknowledges the failure of his mission. He has come too early, he says. This tremendous event is still on its way, still wandering—it has not yet reached the ears of man. Lightning and thunder require time, the light of the stars requires time, deeds require time even after they are done, before they can be seen and heard. This deed is still more distant from them than the most distant stars—and yet they have done it themselves. It must be noted that the message of the death of God is addressed not to believers but to ‘those who do not believe in God’. The assumption is that there are no believers in the modern world, or at least in the marketplace, symbol of mass society. When Zarathustra encounters one believer, a hermit who lives apart from society, he refrains from revealing that God is dead; the message is only for those who have brought it about. The hermit is ‘untimely’ too, and would appear as absurd in the marketplace as the madman. There, support for Christianity is not an error, Nietzsche alleges in The Antichrist, but a deliberate lie. ‘Everyone knows this, and yet everything continues as before.’ Nietzsche’s target here is those who have abandoned traditional religion yet who assume that morality can be continued in the same way. ‘They are rid of the Christian God and now believe all the more firmly that they must cling to Christian morality… Christianity is a system, a whole view of things thought out together. By breaking one concept out of it, the faith in God, one breaks the whole: nothing necessary remains in one’s hands.’ Nietzsche is insisting on understanding the full implications of disbelief. It puts in doubt not just the explicit content of old beliefs but the standards of knowledge and morality whose foundations they supplied. The madman expresses this as the predicament he and his listeners are in, whether they realize it or not. As with the thought of eternal recurrence, Nietzsche’s emphasis is on the consequences of the idea, rather than on reasons for supporting it. His atheism does not arise from any critique of arguments for the existence of God. Once we have a psychological account of the origin of belief in God, he argues, ‘a counter-proof that there is no God thereby becomes superfluous’ (Daybreak, section 95). Elsewhere his atheism seems to be not a reasoned view but a stipulation. Zarathustra says: ‘If there were gods, how could I endure not to be a god? Hence there are no gods.’ His real objection is to the concept of God, as a denial of life and, in turn, a symptom of a lack of creative power within individuals and groups. In this way, the ‘death of God’ is part of a wider theme: what Nietzsche, in his last years of work, termed ‘nihilism’. The collapse of all values, even that of truth, has led to a historical situation of hopelessness. ‘One interpretation has collapsed; but because it was considered the interpretation it now seems as if there were no meaning at all in existence, as if everything were in vain’ (The Will to Power, section 55). Within philosophy, scepticism and pessimism fit into this picture, as symptoms of decline— ultimately, Nietzsche suggests, owing to physiological causes. But he makes an important distinction between two kinds of nihilism. Active nihilism is an expression of strength, while passive nihilism is a sign of weakness. Active nihilism finds satisfaction in destroying old illusions, and the will to pursue ideas through ‘to their ultimate consequences’, even to absurdity. This is just the truthfulness that leads to a paradox, by putting the question of its own origin and value, and thus undermining its own validity. Affirmative nihilism represents a preparation for a new phase of creativity. In the symbolic language of Thus Spoke Zarathustra, it is the strength of the lion, courageous and defiant, who destroys the authority of every ‘Thou shalt’ and assumes the lonely task of setting up his own values. NIETZSCHE AS PSYCHOLOGIST Nietzsche often called himself a ‘psychologist’ rather than a ‘philosopher’. What he meant has little to do with any science of behaviour modelling itself on the physical sciences. In the first section of Human, All Too Human, he uses the metaphor of ‘sublimation’, taken from physical chemistry, to express the transformation of lower into higher impulses. (Borrowed by Freud, this expression has become common.) Moral and religious sentiments do not have a higher origin, or give access to any realm of values; their difference from lower impulses is one of degree, not of kind. Crucial to this picture is a rejection of the unity of personality. The self is, in fact, a plurality of forces— Nietzsche says ‘personlike’ forces, whose relation to one another is a sort of political structure. A healthy and strong personality is one which has a well organized structure amongst its drives and impulses. Despite his talk of the ‘will to power’, Nietzsche regards the will in its usual sense as a fiction. When we analyse the typical ‘act of will’ we find a mixture of various elements: sensations of the ‘before’ and ‘after’ states, of the movement, of the thinking, and above all of the ‘affect of superiority’ associated with an inner commanding. This last is close to synonymous with the will to power. But where that concept comes to the fore is in biology, where it allows Nietzsche to oppose Darwinism, or at least what he takes to be the Darwinist emphasis on the will to live: ‘The physiologists should take heed before they assume self-preservation as the cardinal drive of an organic being. Above all, a living being wants to discharge its energy: life as such is will to power. Self-preservation is only one of its indirect and most frequent consequences’ (Beyond Good and Evil, section 13). For many philosophical questions, it is difficult to separate psychological and metaphysical components in Nietzsche’s approach. His critique of pessimism is an example. Nietzsche argues that it is absurd to make any judgement about the value of the world as a whole, simply because there can be no external measure by which to assess it. If pessimism means that there is more pain than pleasure in life, it implies a hedonism which Nietzsche regards as a superficial psychology. Pleasure and pain are not ‘facts of consciousness’, phenomena whose nature is self-evident, but themselves interpretations, and therefore dependent on context for their meaning. Accordingly, Nietzsche attacks utilitarianism for its uncritical view of pleasure and pain, as well as its appeal to quantitative calculation: ‘What can be counted is worth little’. Similarly, valuing oneself is entirely dependent on what sort of self this is; despising oneself may represent a higher state. The egoism that Nietzsche advocates is unlike the common version, in that it involves no solicitude for the existing self; that is a sign of weakness, not strength, and a failure in the important task of self-overcoming. Further, the ‘self that such importance is placed upon is a very secondary phenomenon, often merely the product of others’ expectations. The personality that we are aware of in our everyday lives is only the surface of what we are, and the thoughts and motives we attribute to ourselves are only the end-products of the real processes going on within us. A genuine egoism must direct our attention towards the real self, and bring about a transformation of the person. It must be an affirmation of becoming, implying not just change but conflict, contradiction and even destruction. Conflict has to be seen as a positive and creative process, in the spirit of Heraclitus’s statement that ‘War is the father of all things’. Becoming is not just a philosophical concept but something to be affirmed in our lives, by committing ourselves to the process of self-transformation. As Emerson said, ‘Power ceases in the instant of repose’. Affirming becoming means affirming conflict, between individuals and groups of individuals, but also within ourselves. A constant theme in Nietzsche’s writing, from its earliest period, is his rejection of the freedom of the will and endorsement of a fatalist view of becoming, for which ‘Event and necessary event is a tautology’. But Nietzsche opposes what he calls ‘Turkish fatalism’, which separates human beings from circumstances, and sees them as the passive victims of impersonal, incomprehensible forces. We must realize that we are ourselves a part of nature, and exert as much influence over what is to come as does any other factor. On the assumption that all things are connected with one another, even our most trivial acts make a difference to the whole course of later events. This notion of ego fatum is closely related to another: amor fati, often invoked in enthusiastic tones, as Nietzsche asserts that we must not merely accept fate but love it: ‘My formula for greatness in a human being is amor fati: that one wants nothing to be different, not forward, not backward, not in all eternity’ (Ecce Homo, ‘Why I am So Clever’, section 10). Fatalism is not a crushing weight if we ‘incorporate’ it, so that the force of past and present circumstances is balanced by the same force within ourselves. That there are no goals beyond the process of becoming, no reality above the world of appearance, is to be experienced as a precondition for true freedom. For what is freedom? That one has the will to assume responsibility for oneself. That one maintains the distance which separates us. That one becomes more indifferent to difficulties, hardships, privation, even to life itself. That one is prepared to sacrifice human beings for one’s cause, not excluding oneself. (Twilight of the Idols, ‘Skirmishes of An Untimely Man’, section 38) This responsibility for oneself has nothing in common with the moral responsibility which is a pretext for assigning blame and justifying punishment. It is a function of the strength of will whose typical expression is the ability to make and keep promises— primarily to oneself, not to others. To this ‘free spirit’, Nietzsche poses the demand: ‘Become what you are!’ This may suggest a Kantian or Schopenhauerian concept of intelligible character; yet Nietzsche has no belief in an intelligible self, located beyond the realm of becoming. A REVALUATION OF VALUES A constant theme in Nietzsche’s thought is a radical revaluation of moral conceptions. In Human, All Too Human, he introduces a crucial distinction between two kinds of morality. One, the earliest source of these concepts, is the creation of ruling groups and individuals. ‘Good and bad is for a long time the same thing as noble and base, master and slave. On the other hand, one does not regard the enemy as evil: he can requite. In Homer the Trojan and Greek are both good. It is not he who does us harm but who is contemptible who counts as bad’ (Human, All Too Human, section 45). The second kind is that of the subjected and the powerless, the system of moral concepts that rationalizes their lack of power. Nietzsche returns to this theme in Beyond Good and Evil; but it is in The Genealogy of Morals—the last work he published, and one of his most daring—that the theory is fully elaborated. Each of its three long essays develops a central moral theme in terms of the concept of the will to power. There are two types of morality, ‘master morality’ and ‘slave morality’, though Nietzsche adds that ‘at times they occur directly alongside each other—even in the same human being, within a single soul’ (Beyond Good and Evil, section 260). In the first case, a ruling group posits its own sense of nobility and superiority as valuable and good. Here ‘good’ means ‘noble’, whereas ‘bad’ means ‘common’. In the second case, the weak establish their own values, in which strength is regarded as ‘evil’. At the most fundamental level, the distinction is a ‘physiological’ one, between active impulses, spontaneous expressions of one’s own energy, and the ‘reactive’ impulses, which by their nature are directed against something, an external danger. In fact, the noble are really not much interested in the ignoble; but the weak are preoccupied with the strong. Nietzsche uses the French word ressentiment for their attitude. ‘The slave revolt in morality begins when ressentiment itself becomes creative and gives birth to values: the ressentiment of natures that are denied the true reaction, that of action, and compensate themselves with an imaginary revenge.’ Christian morality is the most successful instance of such a system. But since the weak lack the power to take revenge directly, their revenge has to be mediated by a long and indirect process of deceitful conceptual manipulation which induces the strong to value respect and pity for the weak, and to condemn their own virtues. Having laid out this schema, Nietzsche goes on to discuss the concept of responsibility, proposing a prehistory of harsh discipline out of which human beings have acquired the ability to maintain a commitment. Moral conscience is an internalized product of social custom. But like so much of morality, this turns against itself—for its final product is the person whose independence extends to the choice of goals. A further discussion of asceticism brings out the ambiguity which so often appears in Nietzsche’s interpretation of moral phenomena. Asceticism can mean either of two very different things. Poverty, humility and chastity can be found in the lives of the great creative spirits; but here they are not valued for their own sakes, only as conditions enabling their activities to flourish most advantageously. This is very different from the attitude of the ‘ascetic priest’ who is really hostile towards life itself. Nietzsche’s thinking about society is really an extension of his attack on morality. He always emphasizes distinctions and ‘order of rank’. He is hostile to socialism, as he understands it, understood as a levelling phenomenon, based on ressentiment. It must be remembered that his prototype of the socialist was not Karl Marx but rather Eugen Dühring—ironically, remembered later only as the target of Friedrich Engels’s polemical work Anti-Dühring. Dühring traces the concept of justice back to the impulse towards revenge. He argues that revenge is given an impersonal and universal form by society, which establishes its own monopoly and takes vengeance out of the hands of individuals. Dühring was also a leading anti-Semite; and Nietzsche perceptively attributes this ideology (‘the socialism of fools’, as August Bebel called it) to the same underlying impulse. In one way, Nietzsche agrees with Dühring: that a formalist approach cannot account for the concept of justice. But he objects that Dühring has overlooked another class of drives: the active and creative ones. Systems of law are not set up by the weak for their common protection against the strong, or in order to satisfy their reactive feelings. Rather, they are instituted by individuals or groups who are ‘active, strong, spontaneous, aggressive.’ CULTURE, ART AND MUSIC Although its scholarship plays a secondary role to intuition, The Birth of Tragedy has been influential for its distinction between the ‘Apollonian’ and ‘Dionysian’ strains in Greek culture. Nietzsche wanted to get away from the classical stereotype of Greek culture, to point to a darker, more violent and uncontrolled side. He traces the origins of tragedy to the trancelike state of the devotees of Dionysus, the god of death and rebirth. In their drunken ecstasies, the distinction between individual and world is eliminated; the truth of existence as a neverending process of creation and destruction is revealed. The original performers of tragedy, Nietzsche suggests, are the chorus, who translate this insight into the visible forms of the Apollonian style, modelled on dream images. The downfall of ancient tragedy, Nietzsche goes on to argue, was brought about by the ascendancy of rationalism, as represented in the figure of Socrates. Access to the sources of tragic wisdom is now blocked, and so the fruitful interaction of the Dionysian and Apollonian becomes impossible. Having reached this conclusion, The Birth of Tragedy turns into an exercise in special pleading for the Wagnerian ‘artwork of the future’ as a vehicle for national revival. Nietzsche’s ideas on aesthetics cannot be separated from the history of his involvement with Richard Wagner. By the time Nietzsche knew him, Wagner’s early admiration for the humanistic materialism of Ludwig Feuerbach had given way to a Schopenhauerian pessimism, clearly visible in the operas of his Ring cycle, as in The Birth of Tragedy. Much of Wagner’s influence was bad, especially a pompous tone and indulgence in personal polemic, both of which Nietzsche soon outgrew. In later years, Nietzsche clearly missed the camaraderie he had enjoyed in the Wagner circle, and wistful references to a group of ‘new philosophers’ appear in such later writings as Beyond Good and Evil. Wagner had argued for an art based on pathos rather than ethos, claiming Beethoven as both the paradigm case and his own immediate precursor. Many of Nietzsche’s later reflections on style take the form of attacks on Wagner and a critique of the Wagnerian musical style which is often just a reaction against it. Music remained a preoccupation for Nietzsche, extending to several ventures in musical composition; in comparison, attention to the visual arts is notable by its absence. Perhaps surprisingly, Nietzsche took no interest in the operas of another winter resident of Genoa, Giuseppe Verdi; instead, he expressed admiration for Bizet’s Carmen, much to the disgust of one reader, the unrepentant Wagnerian Bernard Shaw. Whether Nietzsche would have welcomed the verismo of the 1890s is unclear; his hostility to literary naturalism suggests not, and yet the abrupt termination of his development leaves such questions open. More importantly, however, Nietzsche wanted to become known as a poet. His published works contain not only some light satirical verse but also more serious poetry, so-called ‘dithyrambs’, a term suggesting the choral hymns of Greek drama; Thus Spoke Zarathustra contains many instances of such a poetic prose. Nietzsche wanted to be thought of as a ‘good European’, like Goethe, standing above national divisions. He often made derogatory comments about German culture, arguing that the political and military victories of the Prussian Empire had been achieved at the expense of its cultural values, and professing to think more highly of French culture for its esprit. The light style of French aphorists such as La Rochefoucauld and Chamfort appealed to him as a model which he emulated with some success. As a humorist he is less skilful, but The Wagner Case is a true satire, which conveys serious ideas with a light touch. INTERPRETATIONS OF NIETZSCHE Although his books sold poorly when first published, Nietzsche had become a wellknown writer by the time he died. His unpublished writings, which included several completed works and a large collection of notebooks, remained under the control of his sister until her death in 1935. The history of their publication is a dramatic and in part scandalous story. Extensive notes from the last years of his work were brought out under the name The Will to Power, one of the many titles for works that Nietzsche projected. Whether he would ever have issued anything resembling this book is very doubtful indeed. The value of Nietzsche’s notebooks has been the subject of a somewhat sterile controversy amongst commentators, with opinions ranging from summary dismissal to the equally exaggerated view that Nietzsche deliberately withheld his most important ideas. The sudden ending of his working life makes any claim as to what he would have later published speculative. The control of Nietzsche’s writings by his sister, until her death in 1935, had unfortunate effects. Nietzsche’s reputation has suffered from her admiration for Adolf Hitler, an honoured guest at the Nietzsche Archiv in Weimar, where he was photographed contemplating a bust of the philosopher. More significantly, the works themselves were often tampered with, passages being removed or even altered to suit the purposes of Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche. A scholarly edition, begun in the 1930s, was interrupted by the Second World War before it had progressed beyond the earliest writings; not until the 1960s was a collected edition of Nietzsche’s writings begun again, under the editorship of two Italian scholars, Giorgio Colli and Mazzino Montinari. This work has continued steadily, to the great benefit of scholarship. Nietzsche’s influence has been strong on artists. Composers such as Richard Strauss and Delius set passages of Thus Spoke Zarathustra to music, and Nietzsche’s life has inspired such works of fiction as Thomas Mann’s Doctor Faustus, and was even the subject of a 1977 film entitled Beyond Good and Evil, described by one reviewer as ‘somewhat disturbingly unpleasant’. In English-speaking countries, appreciation of Nietzsche was slow to come. His admirers were often eccentrics of an intellectual fringe, attracted by his scornful remarks about democracy, socialism and feminism. James Joyce’s story ‘A Painful Case’ gives a cruelly accurate picture of the ‘Nietzschean’ of this period. A collected English edition of Nietzsche’s published works was brought out by these enthusiasts shortly after his death. The translations are of variable quality, with Thus Spoke Zarathustra dutifully rendered in a distractingly pseudo-Biblical style. The later translations of Walter Kaufmann and R.J.Hollingdale, covering the same range, are far superior in both reliability and readability. The 1960s saw a renewal of interest in Nietzsche and, in a slightly arbitrary way, three important works of that time, appearing in different languages yet in close succession, may be singled out. Martin Heidegger’s two-volume Nietzsche (1961) was really the text of lectures delivered twenty years earlier. Nietzsche is here a figure of historical importance: the last western philosopher of the tradition beginning with Plato, who brings the glorification of the human will to its most explicit form, and whose conception of nihilism captures accurately the essence of our own historical situation. Gilles Deleuze’s Nietzsche et philosophie (1962, [7.34]) presents Nietzsche, in a version suited to the French philosophical scene of the time, as an opponent of Hegelian dialectical thought, a philosopher who replaces opposition and contradiction with difference. In Arthur Danto’s Nietzsche as Philosopher (1965, [7.33]), Nietzsche is something of an analytic philosopher, interested in the problems that have concerned such philosophers: about truth and knowledge, morality and religion. More recently, the ‘postmodern movement’ in particular is strongly influenced by Nietzsche, as a radical thinker who subverts all established norms. Alexander Nehamas’s widely read Nietzsche: Life as Literature (1985, [7.50]) is less unorthodox, yet it offers an original interpretation. Nehamas argues that Nietzsche recommends treating one’s own life as something like a work of art. By reinterpreting the past, we can overcome the angry frustration of the will confronting the ‘stone it cannot move’. All these versions of Nietzsche find support in his writings, as do yet other lines of interpretation. The days when Nietzsche could be put under the ‘existentialist’ heading are gone. CONCLUSION Few philosophers have been as little read during their working lifetimes as Nietzsche. During the century since the ending of his life as a thinker, his reputation has increased steadily. In many ways he seems a twentieth-century rather than nineteenth-century thinker, a prophet of modernism, and even of the social and political changes that began in 1914. He has also remained a source of controversy. Nietzsche has always aroused strong opinions, and been both praised and condemned for the wrong reasons. He was never an academic philosopher, and the entry of his thought into that philosophical sphere has good and bad aspects. Nietzsche would have welcomed the resulting attention, and especially the careful and scrupulous reading of his works. He would have been less pleased at contributing to the academic publishing industry, and at becoming something of an intellectual fashion in some circles. Yet the accessibility of his works ensures that a co-option is not to be looked for. Nietzsche remains the untimely thinker that he wanted to be. BIBLIOGRAPHY Original language editions 7.1 Förster-Nietzsche, E. et al., eds, Werke (Grossoktavausgabe), 2nd edn, 19 vols, Leipzig: Kröner, 1901–13. 7.2 Oehler, M. and R.Oehler, eds, Gesammelte Werke (Musarionausgabe), 23 vols, München: Musarion Verlag, 1920–9. 7.3 Mette, H.J. and K.Schlechta eds, Historisch-Kritische Gesamtausgabe: Werke, 5 vols, München: C.H.Beck’sche Verlagsbuchhandlung, 1933–42. 7.4 Schlechta, K. ed., Werke in drei Bänden, 4 vols (inc. Index-Band), München: Carl Hanser Verlag, 1954–6. 7.5 Colli, G. and M.Montinari eds, Kritische Gesamtausgabe: Werke, Berlin and New York: Walter de Gruyter, 1973–. 7.6——eds, Kritische Gesamtausgabe: Briefwechsel, Berlin and New York: Walter de Gruyter, 1975–. English translations Complete and selected writings 7.7 The Complete Works of Friedrich Nietzsche, ed. O.Levy, 18 vols, Edinburgh and London: T.N.Foulis, 1909–13; reprint, New York: Russell and Russell, 1964. 7.8 The Portable Nietzsche, ed. and trans. W.Kaufmann, New York: Viking Press, 1954. 7.9 Basic Writings of Nietzsche, ed. and trans. W.Kaufmann, New York: Modern Library, 1966. 7.10 A Nietzsche Reader, ed. and trans. R.J.Hollingdale, Harmondsworth: Penguin 1977. 7.11 Philosophy and Truth: Selections From Nietzsche’s Notebooks of the Early 1870’s, ed. and trans. D.Breazeale, Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Humanities 1979. 7.12 The Will to Power, ed. W.Kaufmann, trans. W.Kaufmann and R.J.Hollingdale, New York: Random House, 1967. 7.13 Selected Letters of Friedrich Nietzsche, ed. and trans. C.Middleton, Chicago and London, Chicago University Press, 1969. Separate works 7.14 Beyond Good and Evil, trans. M.Cowan, Chicago: Henry Regnery Company, 1955; trans. W.Kaufmann, New York: Random House, 1966; trans. R. J.Hollingdale, Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1973. 7.15 The Birth of Tragedy and The Case of Wagner, trans. W.Kaufmann, New York: Random House, 1967. 7.16 The Birth of Tragedy and The Genealogy of Morals, trans. F.Golffing, Garden City, NY: Doubleday Anchor Books, 1956. 7.17 Daybreak, trans. R.J.Hollingdale, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982. 7.18 Dithyrambs of Dionysus, trans. R.J.Hollingdale, London: Anvil Press, 1984. 7.19 Ecce Homo, trans. R.J.Hollingdale, Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1979. 7.20 The Gay Science, trans. W.Kaufmann, New York: Random House, 1974. 7.21 Human, All Too Human, trans. M.Faber and S.Lehmann, Lincoln, Nebr.: University of Nebraska Press, 1984; trans. R.J.Hollingdale, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986. 7.22 On the Genealogy of Morals and Ecce Homo, trans. W.Kaufmann and R.J. Hollingdale, New York: Random House, 1967. 7.23 Philosophy in the Tragic Age of the Greeks, trans. M.Cowan, South Bend, Ind.: Gateway Editions, 1962. 7.24 Thus Spoke Zarathustra, trans. R.J.Hollingdale, Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1961; trans. W.Kaufmann, New York: Random House, 1966. 7.25 Twilight of the Idols and The Anti-Christ, trans. R.J.Hollingdale, Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1968. 7.26 Untimely Meditations, trans. R.J.Hollingdale, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983. Bibliographies 7.27 Reichert, H.W. and K.Schlechta, International Nietzsche Bibliography, Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1968. 7.28 Milliard, B.B. Nietzsche Scholarship in English: A Bibliography 1968–1992, Urbana, Ill.: North American Nietzsche Society, 1992. The philosophy of Nietzsche: general 7.29 Allison, D.B. ed., The New Nietzsche: Contemporary Styles of Interpretation, New York: Dell, 1977. 7.30 Ackermann, R.J. Nietzsche: A Frenzied Look, Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1990. 7.31 Blondel, E. Nietzsche: The Body and Culture, trans. S.Hand, Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1991. 7.32 Clark, M. Nietzsche on Truth and Philosophy, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990. 7.33 Danto, A.C. Nietzsche as Philosopher, New York: Macmillan, 1965. 7.34 Deleuze, G. Nietzsche and Philosophy, trans. H.Tomlinson, London: Athlone, 1983. 7.35 Derrida, J. Spurs: Nietzsche’s Styles, trans. B.Harlow, Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1979. 7.36 Fink, E. Nietzsches Philosophie, Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 1960. 7.37 Gillespie, M.A. and T.B.Strong, eds., Nietzsche’s New Seas, Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1988. 7.38 Grimm, R.H. Nietzsche’s Theory of Knowledge, Berlin and New York: Walter de Gruyter, 1977. 7.39 Heidegger, M. Nietzsche, trans. D.F.Krell, 4 vols, San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1981–7. 7.40——What is Called Thinking?, trans. F.D.Wieck and J.G.Gray, New York: Harper and Row, 1968. 7.41 Hollingdale, R.J. Nietzsche, London and Boston: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1973. 7.42 Jaspers, K. Nietzsche: An Introduction to the Understanding of his Philosophical Activity, trans. C.F.Wallraff and F.J.Schmidt, Chicago: Henry Regnery, 1965. 7.43 Kaufmann, W. Nietzsche: Philosopher, Psychologist, Antichrist, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1950. 7.44 Klossowski, P. Nietzsche et le cercle vicieux, Paris: Mercure de France, 1969. 7.45 Krell, D.F. Postponements: Woman, Sensuality, and Death in Nietzsche, Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1986. 7.46 Krell, D.F. and D.Wood, eds., Exceedingly Nietzsche, London: Routledge, 1988. 7.47 Magnus, B. Nietzsche’s Existential Imperative, Bloomington and London, Indiana University Press, 1978. 7.48 Moles, A. Nietzsche’s Philosophy of Nature and Cosmology, New York: Peter Lang, 1990. 7.49 Müller-Lauter, W. Nietzsche: Seine Philosophie der Gegensätze und die Gegensätze seiner Philosophie, Berlin and New York: Walter de Gruyter, 1971. 7.50 Nehamas, A. Nietzsche: Life as Literature, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1985. 7.51 O’Hara, D.T. ed., Why Nietzsche Now?, Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1985. 7.52 Schacht, R. Nietzsche, London, Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1983. 7.53 Schutte, O. Beyond Nihilism: Nietzsche Without Masks, Chicago and London: Chicago University Press, 1988. 7.54 Schrift, A.D. Nietzsche and the Question of Interpretation, New York and London: Routledge, 1990. 7.55 Shapiro, G. Nietzschean Narratives, Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1989. 7.56 Solomon, R.C. ed., Nietzsche: A Collection of Critical Essays, New York: Anchor Books, 1973. 7.57 Solomon, R.C. and K.M.Higgins, eds, Reading Nietzsche, New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. 7.58 Spiekermann, K. Naturwissenschaft als subjektlose Macht? Nietzsches kritik physikalischer Grundkonzepte , Berlin and New York: Walter de Gruyter, 1992. 7.59 Stambaugh, J. Nietzsche’s Thought of Eternal Return, Baltimore and London: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1972. 7.60——The Problem of Time in Nietzsche, trans. J.F.Humphrey, Lewisburg: Bucknell University Press, 1987. 7.61 Stern, J.P. Nietzsche, London, Fontana Modern Masters, 1978. 7.62 Strong, T.B. Friedrich Nietzsche and the Politics of Transfiguration, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1975; 2nd edn, 1988. 7.63 White, A. Within Nietzsche’s Labyrinth, New York and London: Routledge, 1990. 7.64 Wilcox, J.T. Truth and Value in Nietzsche, Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1974. 7.65 Young, J. Nietzsche’s Philosophy of Art, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press , 1992. Studies of Thus Spoke Zarathustra 7.66 Alderman, H. Nietzsche’s Gift, Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press, 1977. 7.67 Higgins, K.M. Nietzsche’s Zarathustra, Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1987. 7.68 Lampert, L. Nietzsche’s Teaching, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1986. 7.69 Whitlock, G. Returning to Sils-Maria: A Commentary to Nietzsche’s ‘Also Sprach Zarathustra’, New York: Peter Lang, 1990. Studies of Nietzsche in relation to other thinkers 7.70 Ansell-Pearson, K., ed., Nietzsche and Modern German Thought, London and New York, Routledge, 1991. 7.71 Hollinrake, R. Nietzsche, Wagner, and the Philosophy of Pessimism, London: George Allen and Unwin, 1982. 7.72 Houlgate, S. Hegel, Nietzsche and the Criticism of Metaphysics, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986. 7.73 Megill, A. Prophets of Extremity: Nietzsche, Heidegger, Foucault, Derrida, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1985. 7.74 Simmel G. Schopenhauer and Nietzsche, trans. H.Loiskandl, D.Weinstein and M.Weinstein, Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1986. 7.75 Stack, G.J., Lange and Nietzsche, Berlin and New York: Walter de Gruyter, 1983. 7.76——Emerson and Nietzsche: An Elective Affinity, Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press, 1992. 7.77 Williams, W.D. Nietzsche and the French, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1952. Biographical studies 7.78 Gilman, S.L., ed., Conversations with Nietzsche, trans. D.J.Parent, New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987. 7.79 Hayman, R. Nietzsche: A Critical Life, Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1980. 7.80 Hollingdale, R.J. Nietzsche: The Man and his Philosophy, London and Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1965. 7.81 Janz, C.P. Friedrich Nietzsche: Biographie, 3 vols, München and Wien, Carl Hanser, 1978. 7.82 Pletsch, C. Young Nietzsche: Becoming a Genius, New York: Free Press, 1991.
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