A companion to Nietzsche / edited by Keith Ansell Pearson. . Solomon), The Cambridge Companion to Nietzsche (with Bernd Magnus), and. The Cambridge Companion to Nietzsche (Cambridge Companions to Philosophy ) [Bernd Magnus, Kathleen Higgins] on portal7.info *FREE* shipping on. portal7.info: A Companion to Nietzsche (): Keith Ansell This item:A Companion to Nietzsche by Keith Ansell Pearson Paperback $ . The Cambridge Companion to Nietzsche (Cambridge Companions to Philosophy ).
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Cambridge Core - Literary Theory - The Cambridge Companion to Nietzsche - edited by Bernd Magnus. PDF; Export citation. Introduction to the Cambridge. PDF · HTML; Export citation. Other Volumes in the Series of PDF · HTML; Export citation. The New Cambridge Companion to Nietzsche - Title page. pp iii- iii. Introduction to The Cambridge. Companion to Nietzsche. The importance to the humanities and to our culture of the nineteenth-century German philosopher and .
He was quite simply one of the most influential modern European thinkers. His attempts to unmask the root motives which underlie traditional Western philosophy, morality, and religion have deeply affected subsequent generations of philosophers, theologians, psychologists, poets, novelists and playwrights. Indeed, one contemporary Englishspeaking philosopher, Richard Rorty, has characterized the entire present age as "post-Nietzschean. An ardent foe of nationalism, anti-Semitism, and power politics, his name was later invoked by Fascists and Nazis to advance the very things he loathed. It might also be useful to recall that, according to Martin Heidegger, Nietzsche is the consummation of the Western philosophical tradition, the thinker who brings metaphysics to its end; that Michel Foucault frequently regarded Nietzsche as the progenitor of his own genealogical method and its stress on discursive practices,that Jacques Derrida considers Nietzsche the deconstructive thinker par excellence.
But Nietzsche broke with Wagner personally and intellectually in the late s, and his assessments became increasingly negative and more and more explicit as time went on.
Nevertheless, even after their break, Nietzsche was still reminiscing wistfully in about how his days with Wagner had been the best of his life. The Swiss university offered Nietzsche the professorial position, and he began teaching there in May, , at the age of Nietzsche also cultivated his friendship with Richard Wagner and visited him often at his Swiss home in Tribschen, a small town near Lucerne.
He witnessed the traumatic effects of battle, took close care of wounded soldiers, and contracted diphtheria and dysentery. As Nietzsche continued his residence in Switzerland between and , he often visited Wagner at his new home in Bayreuth, Germany. During this time, Nietzsche completed a series of four studies on contemporary German culture—the Unfashionable Observations —76 —which focus respectively upon 1 the historian of religion and culture critic, David Strauss, 2 issues concerning the social value of historiography, 3 Arthur Schopenhauer and 4 Richard Wagner, both as heroic inspirations for new cultural standards.
At this point, he had been a university professor for ten years, and had just less than another ten years of productive intellectual life remaining. His travels took him through the Mediterranean seaside city of Nice during the winters , the Swiss alpine village of Sils-Maria during the summers, located near the present-day ski resort of St. Moritz , Leipzig where he had attended university, and had been hoping to resume his teaching career in , Turin, Genoa, Recoaro, Messina, Rapallo, Florence, Venice, and Rome, never residing in any place longer than several months at a time.
He quickly fell in love with her. On the morning of January 3, , while in Turin, Nietzsche experienced a mental breakdown which left him an invalid for the rest of his life. Coincidentally, on virtually the same date, viz.
That he had an extraordinarily sensitive nervous constitution and took an assortment of medications is well-documented as a more general fact. To complicate matters of interpretation, Nietzsche states in a letter from April that he never had any symptoms of a mental disorder.
During his creative years, Nietzsche struggled to bring his writings into print and never doubted that his books would have a lasting cultural effect. After a brief hospitalization in Basel, he spent in a sanatorium in Jena at the Binswanger Clinic, and in March his mother took him back home to Naumburg, where he lived under her care for the next seven years in the house he knew as a youngster.
This became the new home of the Nietzsche Archives which had been located at the family home for the three years preceding , where Elisabeth received visitors who wanted to observe the now-incapacitated philosopher. On August 25, , Nietzsche died in the villa as he approached his 56th year, apparently of pneumonia in combination with a stroke.
Although he remained proud of the work, Nietzsche also describes it as questionable, strange and almost inaccessible, filled with Kantian and Schopenhauerian formulas that were inherently at odds with the new valuations he was trying to express. He concludes that European culture since the time of Socrates has remained one-sidedly Apollonian, repressed, scientific, and relatively unhealthy.
As a means towards a cultural rebirth, Nietzsche advocates in contemporary life, the resurrection and fuller release of Dionysian artistic energies—those which he associates with primordial creativity, joy in existence and ultimate truth.
The seeds of this liberating rebirth Nietzsche perceives in the German music of his time viz.
As one of his early books, The Birth of Tragedy has a strong Schopenhauerian flavor, and scholars disagree about the extent to which Nietzsche departs from Schopenhauer in this work and in later works. Viewing our existence from a vast and sobering distance, Nietzsche further notes that there was an eternity before human beings came into existence, and believes that after humanity dies out, nothing significant will have changed in the great scheme of things.
The first of these attacks David Strauss, whose popular six-edition book, The Old and the New Faith: A Confession encapsulated for Nietzsche the general cultural atmosphere in Germany. This parallels how, in The Birth of Tragedy, Nietzsche had looked at art through the perspective of life.
The third and fourth studies—on Schopenhauer and Wagner, respectively—address how these two thinkers, as paradigms of philosophic and artistic genius, hold the potential to inspire a stronger, healthier and livelier German culture.
The idea of power for which he would later become known sporadically appears as an explanatory principle, but Nietzsche tends at this time to invoke hedonistic considerations of pleasure and pain in his explanations of cultural and psychological phenomena. Given his harsh criticisms of hedonism and utilitarianism in later works e. There are some differences of scholarly opinion concerning whether Nietzsche primarily intends this doctrine to describe a serious metaphysical theory, or whether he is offering merely one way to interpret the world among many others, which if adopted therapeutically as a psychologically healthy myth, can help us become stronger.
In , The Gay Science was reissued with an important preface, an additional fifth Book, and an appendix of songs, reminiscent of the troubadours. It is a manifesto of personal self-overcoming, and a guidebook for others towards the same revitalizing end.
Thirty years after its initial publication, , copies of the work were printed by the German government and issued as inspirational reading, along with the Bible, to the young soldiers during WWI.
Though Thus Spoke Zarathustra is antagonistic to the Judeo-Christian world-view, its poetic and prophetic style relies upon many, often inverted, Old and New Testament allusions. Nietzsche also filled the work with nature metaphors, almost in the spirit of pre-Socratic naturalist philosophy, which invoke animals, earth, air, fire, water, celestial bodies, plants, all in the service of describing the spiritual development of Zarathustra, a solitary, reflective, exceedingly strong-willed, sage-like, laughing and dancing voice of heroic self-mastery who, accompanied by a proud, sharp-eyed eagle and a wise snake, envisions a mode of psychologically healthier being beyond the common human condition.
Vorspiel einer Philosophie der Zukunft, is arguably a rethinking of Human, All-too-Human, since their respective tables of contents and sequence of themes loosely correspond to one another. Nietzsche alternatively philosophizes from the perspective of life located beyond good and evil, and challenges the entrenched moral idea that exploitation, domination, injury to the weak, destruction and appropriation are universally objectionable behaviors.
As he views things from the perspective of life, Nietzsche further denies that there is a universal morality applicable indiscriminately to all human beings, and instead designates a series of moralities in an order of rank that ascends from the plebeian to the noble: some moralities are more suitable for subordinate roles; some are more appropriate for dominating and leading social roles. What counts as a preferable and legitimate action depends upon the kind of person one is.
The deciding factor is whether one is weaker, sicker and on the decline, or whether one is healthier, more powerful and overflowing with life.
The first essay continues the discussion of master morality versus servant morality, and maintains that the traditional ideals set forth as holy and morally good within Christian morality are products of self-deception, since they were forged in the bad air of revenge, resentment, hatred, impotence, and cowardice.
He also discusses how punishment, conceived as the infliction of pain upon someone in proportion to their offense, is likely to have been grounded in the contractual economic relationship between creditor and debtor, i. In the third essay, Nietzsche focusses upon the truth-oriented ascetic ideals that underlie and inform prevailing styles of art, religion and philosophy, and he offers a particularly scathing critique of the priesthood: the priests are allegedly a group of weak people who shepherd even weaker people as a way to experience power for themselves.
In the Genealogy, Nietzsche offers a competing account of the origin of moral values, aiming to reveal their life-negating foundations and functions. Nietzsche ultimately advocates valuations that issue from a self-confident, self-reinforcing, self-governing, creative and commanding attitude, as opposed to those that issue from reactive attitudes that determine values more mechanically and subordinatingly to those who are inherently more powerful.
From the standpoint of a leader, in the appropriate circumstances it is good to be able to inflict pain and instil fear among those who are led, and bad not to be able to do so. From the standpoint of those who are led, the infliction of pain and instillation of fear upon subordinates does not appear typically to be good at all, but rather evil.
Nietzsche, writing almost thirty years later, here accuses Wagner of having done the same. Nietzsche reiterates and elaborates some of the criticisms of Socrates, Plato, Kant and Christianity found in earlier works, criticizes the then-contemporary German culture as being unsophisticated and too-full of beer, and shoots some disapproving arrows at key French, British, and Italian cultural figures such as Rousseau, Hugo, Sand, Michelet, Zola, Renan, Carlyle, Mill, Eliot, Darwin, and Dante.
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Bestselling Series. Even the genealogical method, which Nietzsche employs in Toward the Genealogy of Morals21 to undercut belief in Christianity and the philosophical, moral, and intellectual habits that he considers linked to it, stem fundamentally from the same historical orientation that originally initiated his loss of faith.
Nietzsche's tendency to become more strident in his polemics against Christianity in his later writings stems not from a change of conviction but from his growing disturbance over the inertia of his contemporaries, who seemed unwilling to draw the conclusions that their own intellectual and religious convictions entailed. Strong sheds light on this question by reading The Birth of Tragedy as a political work that shows how the ancient Greeks constructed a political identity for themselves.
The Apollonian and Dionysian principles that Nietzsche viewed as constitutive of Greek tragedy principles that respectively urge one to take appearances at face value and to recognize that the world has no ultimate foundation required the Greek to assume an aesthetic stance toward phenomena. By providing a dual perspective toward the self, these principles undercut the possibility of a Greek's finding identity in terms of a single "meaning. Political appropriations that profess to have discovered such a meaning in Nietzsche are essentially projections of the readers' own political concerns, Strong argues.
Ironically, however, Nietzsche's writings lend themselves to such projections, precisely because he deliberately wrote in a fashion that sought to preclude any definitive, canonical reading.
The second ensemble of essays, a quartet, consider Nietzsche primarily as a philosopher. Richard Schacht considers some of Nietzsche's specific strategies in "Nietzsche's Kind of Philosophy.
Nietzsche was committed to philosophy, Schacht argues, albeit philosophy of a nonstandard sort. Primarily concerned with the nature and quality of human life, the problems he thought about concerned morality, religion, psychology, and aesthetics more than the metaphysical and epistemological concerns that are often considered the philosophical "mainstream.
Nietzsche's perspectivism led him to examine particular "cases'7 in human experience, the case of the Greeks, for example, and the case of Richard Wagner.
Nietzsche's philosophy is also consistently antidogmatic, Schacht points out. He insists on the provisional nature of all of our suppositions, and, accordingly, the kind of philosophy that Nietzsche advocates is open-ended in character, experimentally employing models and metaphors from various domains and eager to draw upon the diversity of human experience. Solomon focuses on one of Nietzsche's more striking and peculiar philosophical devices, his employment of the ad hominem.
Defined as the fallacy of attacking the person instead of the position, the ad hominem argument is usually considered inadmissible in philosophical argumentation.
Solomon contends, however, that the ad hominem is an appropriate expression of Nietzsche's conviction, linked to his perspectivism, that the person and the philosopher are inextricably connected. Insofar as any philosophical outlook is a particular person's interpretation, it makes good philosophical sense to ask what kind of person formulated it, Solomon argues.
Nietzsche therefore defends a radically contextualized understanding of what it means to assert a philosophical claim. Nietzsche views philosophy as emerging from one's living engagements. So understood, philosophy should admit ad hominem arguments and dispense with the pretension that anyone's arguments are purely "objective" in a sense that divorces theory from theorist.
Nehamas rejects the readings of Jiirgen Habermas, Richard Rorty, Martin Heidegger, and Alasdair Maclntyre, who characterize Nietzsche as, respectively, a nostalgic romantic, an ironist convinced of reality's blind contingency, the last metaphysician, and a radical relativist.
Nehamas regards each of these descriptions as overly simplistic. Nietzsche, he contends, did not believe that we were beyond the need to demand truth or beyond the need to make choices and evaluate some possibilities as superior to others. What Nietzsche has abandoned is the quest for absolute truth, universal values, and complete liberation.
For this reason, Nehamas characterizes Nietzsche as a postmodernist. Robert B. Pippin challenges Habermas's characterization of Nietzsche as a counterEnlightenment thinker.
Pippin contends instead that Nietzsche did not place much emphasis on the Enlightenment or modernity as such. What does concern him is the nihilism that he believes has arrived in our era.
Indeed, Nietzsche is dissatisfied with the current situation, but he does not prefer the premodern or some postmodern alternative to the modern era. Instead, Nietzsche's self-irony in the presentation of his ideas reflects his recognition that he himself is implicated in modernity, a feature especially evident in his commitment to attending to the tensions inherent in the modern situation.
The final three papers in this anthology consider Nietzsche's influence on the twentieth century. Ernst Behler's "Nietzsche in the Twentieth Century" traces the stages of the European and American reception of Nietzsche over the past hundred years.
Among the high points of this chronology are: the early biographies written by Nietzsche's sister and Lou Salome, the object of his unrequited love; Georg Brandes's presentation of the first public lectures on Nietzsche's philosophy, lectures that presented him as radically aristocratic,- the interest in Nietzsche exhibited by George Bernard Shaw and other British socialists,- Nietzsche's influence on such literary figures as Andre Gide, Thomas Mann, Gottfried Benn, and Robert Musil; the influential academic interpretations of Georg Simmel, Karl Jaspers, and Martin Heidegger,- Walter Kaufmann's rescue of Nietzsche from National Socialism,- and some of the recent German and French interpretations of the "new Nietzsche" that became available after the unreliable editing of Nietzsche's posthumous notes by his fascist sister was exposed and a scholarly edition of his complete works and letters made available.
Alan D. One tendency among the poststructuralist thinkers is to emphasize "the will to power" in their readings of Nietzsche. They also tend to place considerable emphasis on Nietzsche's style, contending that the style is an essential part of the content of a philosophical work.
Schrift considers the interpretations of Gilles Deleuze, Jean Granier, Bernard Pautrat, and Sarah Kofman as poststructuralist thinkers who place emphasis on Nietzsche's style and thereby bring under-appreciated thematics to light.
Schrift goes on to analyze the work of Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, Gilles Deleuze, and Jean-Francois Lyotard as moving beyond Nietzsche's work but nonetheless "Nietzschean" in its adherence to a number of Nietzschean themes. Nietzsche's influence is not limited to Europe and America. Similarly, Nietzsche's initial impact on Japan and China was more enthusiasm based on rumor than detailed scholarly knowledge. However, Nietzsche came to be a significant concern of twentieth-century Japanese thinkers.
Besides being a central influence on such literary figures as Mishima Yukio and Akutagawa Ryunosuke, Nietzsche has had an important impact on the thinking of Watsuji Tetsuro and the philosophers of the Kyoto School especially Nishitani Keiji.
One omission which will strike some readers is the lack of any discussion of recent feminist readings of Nietzsche. When the contents of this book were originally conceived many years ago, however, feminist discussions of Nietzsche were much more common in the French-speaking world than in the English-speaking world. Moreover, many of the leading French feminist interpretations of Nietzsche are only now being translated and published.
Nevertheless, if this anthology were being assembled today for the first time, the topic of feminism would certainly justify more discussion than it, unfortunately, receives here, despite the fact that no single treatment of Nietzsche and feminism, in English, has as yet managed to define the parameters of that debate - as has arguably been done by most of the contributors on the topics covered in this anthology.
Nehamas and Krell highlight to differing extents the roles of Nietzsche's many styles. Bloom, among those who use Nietzsche for other arguments, retains the humanistic-anthropological emphasis and adds a critique of the politics,Rorty downplays the politics and drops the belief in a foundational human nature" p. However, this standardization has not been imposed on other contributors to this anthology who have not already adopted such changes themselves as Behler and Parkes have, for example, in this volume.
Both translations are misleading, yet their usage continues to this day. Had he wanted to convey the genealogy of morals, the book's title would have been Die Genealogie der Moral. The title is better translated as Toward [not The or On] the Genealogy of Morals, in our view, since the contraction "zur" is quite different than the German definite article or the prepositions "von" on; about or even "uber.
Nietzsche would most assuredly have written "von der. Instead, the header for this fifth part of BGE is translated by Kaufmann as "the natural history of morals. This difference betweeen the prepositions "toward" and "on" in Nietzsche's GM title is not a niggling difference. It is philosophically significant, because "on the genealogy of morals" suggests an antecedent topic upon which one is remarking; whereas "toward the genealogy of morals" does not imply the prior existence of the subject or method upon which Nietzsche is remarking.
The one preposition "toward" suggests that Nietzsche is working in the direction of the genealogy of morals in a way that the preposition "on" does not suggest. A similar case concerning a lack of nuance in previously existing translations is corrected by Richard Gray's nuanced and novel retranslation of the title Unzeitgema. This practice occurs throughout this volume.
The reader should be able to infer without difficulty the intended title from the abbreviation. Because of his avoidance of any conventional philosophical system and his many experiments with styles and genres, Nietzsche's writings seem to demand a sense of active reading.
The "Nietzsche" that emerges from scholarly discussion typically depends on the interests of the interpreter and especially often those of the interpreter's discipline. Themes which are taken to be most central to Nietzsche's philosophy often depend on which works are regarded as most important or most accessible; but the relative importance which attaches to each of Nietzsche's works is by no means obvious. Indeed, Nietzsche scholarship has experienced fads with regard to given points of interest.
As we will consider below, Thus Spoke Zaiathustia's celebrity outside of Germany declined after the Nazis invoked it for propagandistic purposes, while Nietzsche's early essay "On Truth and Lies in a Nonmoral Sense" has assumed new importance in recent literary-critical discussion, in part because it suggests that all language is metaphoric.
In what follows, we shall trace the chronology of Nietzsche's writings, mentioning themes that are prominent in each work. We shall also indicate central interpretive issues provoked by particular works and themes. While the Nietzsche that emerges here will, of necessity, be "our" Nietzsche, we hope that this synopsis will offer a basic map of the terrain of Nietzsche's works.
His first book was, therefore, awaited with great expectations by his fellow classicists. Unfortunately, The Birth of Tragedy from the Spirit of Music was far from what Nietzsche's philological colleagues had had in mind. The book, which defended a theory of the origins and functions of Greek tragedy, was largely speculative and utterly devoid of footnotes.
It began by appealing to its readers' experiences with drunkenness and dreams, and it ended with an appeal to popular culture in the form of a paean to Richard Wagner. In this work, Nietzsche theorizes that Greek tragedy was built upon a wedding of two principles, which he associated with the deities Apollo and Dionysus. The Apollonian principle, in keeping with the characteristics of the sun god Apollo, is the principle of order, static beauty, and clear boundaries.
The Dionysian principle, in contrast, is the principle of frenzy, excess, and the collapse of boundaries. These principles offered perspectives on the position of the individual human being, but perspectives that were radically opposed to one another. The Apollonian principle conceived the individual as sufficiently separate from the rest of reality to be able to contemplate it dispassionately. The Dionysian principle, however, presents reality as a tumultuous flux in which individuality is overwhelmed by the dynamics of a living whole.
Nietzsche believed that a balance of these principles is essential if one is both to recognize the challenge to one's sense of meaning posed by individual vulnerability and to recognize the solution, which depends on one's sense of oneness with a larger reality. Greek tragedy, as he saw it, confronted the issue of life's meaning by merging the perspectives of the two principles. The themes of Greek tragedy concerned the worst case scenario from an Apollonian point of view - the devastation of vulnerable individuals.
Scholarship had concluded that the chanting of the chorus was the first form of Athenian tragedy. Nietzsche interpreted the effect of the chorus as the initiation of a Dionysian experience on the part of the audience.
Captivated by music, audience members abandoned their usual sense of themselves as isolated individuals and felt themselves instead to be part of a larger, frenzied whole.
Feeling oneself to be part of the joyous vitality of the whole, one could take participation in life to be intrinsically wonderful, despite the obvious vulnerabilities one experiences as an individual. The aesthetic transformation of the audience member's sense of the significance of individual life aroused a quasi-religious affirmation of life's value. Already incited to a Dionysian state before the tragic hero appeared on stage, the audience would see the character before them as a manifestation of the god Dionysus.
Unfortunately, Euripides restructured tragedy in such a way that the chorus's role was diminished. Euripides wrote plays that would encourage an Apollonian stance of objective interest in the drama. Nietzsche contended that in his attempt to write "intelligent" plays, Euripides had killed tragedy. He had done so, moreover, because he had fallen under the influence of Socrates. The Birth of Tragedy is the first of many works in which Nietzsche re-evaluates the traditional view that Socrates was the quintessential philosopher.
Although granting that Socrates was a turning point in world history, Nietzsche contends that Socrates was responsible for directing Western culture toward an imbalanced, exaggerated reliance on the Apollonian point of view. A defender of reason to an irrational degree, Socrates had taught that reason could penetrate reality to the point that it could correct reality's flaws. This had become the fundamental dream of Western culture, a dream that was later manifested in the modern approach to scholarship.
Unfortunately, the optimism of the Socratic rational project was doomed to failure. Reason itself, through Kant, had pointed to its own limits. Whatever reason might accomplish, it could not "correct" the most basic flaws in human reality - the facts of human vulnerability and mortality. The Birth of Tragedy also involves an indictment of contemporary culture as well as an account of the significance of tragedy.
The repression of vulnerability was psychologically disastrous, in Nietzsche's view. The only hope for modern culture was that it might turn to myth, which could compensate for the culture's excesses, before a crisis.
Nietzsche's defense of Wagner as a cultural hero emerged in connection with this endorsement of myth as the necessary antidote to reason. Nietzsche believed that Wagner's operatic embodiments of Germanic myths had the potential to effect a new merger of the Apollonian and Dionysian principles, with redemptive effects on German culture. Nietzsche's great expectations of Wagner were not only central to his first book - they were also fundamentally important to him personally.
Nietzsche and Wagner shared an enthusiasm for Schopenhauer, and for a number of years Nietzsche was a personal friend of Wagner's, visiting him regularly at his home in Tribschen - and sufficiently close to have been sent on one occasion to do some of the Wagners' Christmas shopping. Nietzsche's endorsement of Wagner in the context of a philological work struck many of his professional colleagues as jarring. One, Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Mollendorf, responded to The Birth of Tragedy's publication with a hostile pamphlet called " Zukunftsphilologie" ["Philology of the Future"], playing on Wagner's grandiose aspirations to create a Kunstwerk der Zukunft [artwork of the future].
The pamphlet presented The Birth of Tragedy as thoroughly unscholarly, filled with omissions and inaccuracies. With Nietzsche's encouragement, his friend Erwin Rohde wrote a pamphlet October replying to Wilamowitz-Mollendorf, entitled Afterphilologie [Ass's Philology], which emphasized WilamowitzMollendorf's own inaccuracies in citing from The Birth of Tragedy.
The Birth of Tragedy failed initially to secure esteem for Nietzsche among his philological colleagues. Nevertheless, the work has had enduring influence. In particular, the analysis of Apollo and Dionysus has had an impact onfiguresin diversefields,among them Thomas Mann and C.
David Strauss was an eminent theologian, whose The Life of Jesus Critically Examined had had a tremendous impact due to its demystification of Jesus' life. Although Strauss defends Christianity for its moral ideals, his demythologizing of Jesus appealed to Nietzsche. Nevertheless, Wagner had been publicly denounced by Strauss in for having persuaded Ludwig II to fire a musician-rival. Not one to forget an assault, Wagner encouraged Nietzsche to read Strauss's recent The Old and the New Faith , which advocated the rejection of the Christian faith in favor of a Darwinian, materialistic, and patriotic worldview.
Wagner described the book to Nietzsche as extremely superficial, and Nietzsche agreed with Wagner's opinion, despite the similarity of his own views to Strauss's perspective on religion. This Unfashionable Observation, accordingly, was Nietzsche's attempt to avenge Wagner by attacking Strauss's recent book.
In fact, the essay is at least as much a polemical attack on Strauss as on his book, for Nietzsche identifies Strauss as a cultural "Philistine" and exemplar of pseudoculture. The resulting essay appears extremely intemperate, although erudite, filled with references to many of Nietzsche's scholarly contemporaries. The climax is a literary tour de force, in which Nietzsche cites a litany of malapropisms from Strauss, interspersed with his own barbed comments.
Not surprisingly, the elderly Strauss was stunned and stung by Nietzsche's essay.
He wrote to a friend, "The only thing I find interesting about the fellow is the psychological point - how one can get into such a rage with a person whose path one has never crossed, in brief, the real motive of this passionate hatred. When he heard that Strauss died six months after its publication, he wrote to his friend Gerdsdorff, "I very much hope that I did not sadden his last months, and that he died without knowing anything about me.
It's rather on my mind. Nietzsche argues, in contrast, that historical knowledge is valuable only when it has a positive effect on human beings7 sense of life. Although he acknowledges that history does provide a number of benefits in this respect, Nietzsche also contends that there are a number of ways in which historical knowledge could prove damaging to those who pursued it and that many of his contemporaries were suffering these ill effects.
This genre of history has value for contemporary individuals because it makes them aware of what is possible for human beings to achieve. Antiquarian history, history motivated primarily out of a spirit of reverence for the past, can be valuable to contemporary individuals by helping them to appreciate their lives and culture.
Critical history, history approached in an effort to pass judgment, provides a counterbalancing effect to that inspired by antiquarian history. By judging the past, those engaged in critical history remain attentive to flaws and failures in the experience of their culture, thereby avoiding slavish blindness in their appreciation of it.