miércoles, 16 de septiembre de 2015

Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche: The Philosopher of the Second Reich

An Exemplary Study of Nietzsche & His Political Thought

by Lee Cheek

A Review of William H. F. Altman’s Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche: The Philosopher of the Second Reich 

Amazon Review:

In this imaginative and refined commentary on Nietzsche's political thought, Altman provides an incisive critique of the achievement of Nietzsche, as well as his limitations. The work is the third volume of a trilogy on German political thought, following the author's earlier studies of Martin Heidegger and Leo Strauss. Utilizing Nietzsche's own aphoristic style as evinced in his Daybreak, the main arguments of the book are presented in the course of five chapters ("books") composed of 155 essays, 63 pages of notes, and other ancillary writings. The first chapter critiques Nietzsche as the classicist who looked to the past, but equally to the future, to evaluate the crisis of liberal institutions in his own time and place. Chapter 2 even more explicitly demonstrates Nietzsche's connection to the political world of the Second Reich. Nietzsche's criticisms of Plato, and his rather limited appreciation of Aristotle, are presented in chapter 3. Nietzsche's defense of aristocratic elitism and his assimilation and use of Platonic themes, especially dualism, are assessed convincingly by the author as well. The two final chapters place Nietzsche within the historical context of the Second Reich, providing insightful reflections on Nietzsche's influence during WW I. Summing Up: Recommended. All readership levels. (CHOICE)

In this aphoristic examination of Nietzsche, Altman situates his thought exactly where it is most appropriate and understandable: in the context of German politics and society in the nineteenth century. Altman thus refutes Nietzsche’s own claim that he was an 'untimely' observer and demonstrates instead his many and intricate connections with contemporary events and individuals. Altman’s great service to Nietzsche scholarship is to remove the philosopher from the ethereal realm of philosophical speculation and to place him squarely in the Second Reich.
(Robert C. Holub, Ohio State University)

Altman’s book explores and illuminates Nietzsche’s complex relationship with the Second Reich, portraying Nietzsche not as a strict anti-nationalist but as perceptively engaging the questions of German domestic and foreign policy, expressing the contradictions of the Bismarckian era so profoundly, that he may be called the philosopher of the Second Reich.
(Don Dombowsky, Bishop's University)

Historiography about Nietzsche principally swings between a “hermeneutics of innocence”—which reduces even the most significant and fearsome views of the philosopher to metaphors—and interpretations that transform the hero of “aristocratic radicalism” into an immediate forerunner of Hitler. With good reason Altman instead takes his start from the Second Reich and, with cultivated irony, adopts Nietzche’s own aphoristic genre in order to use it against him. The result is a rigorous book—well documented on philological and historical grounds—that is both fluent and pleasant to read. (Domenico Losurdo, University of Urbino)

Ambitious, innovative and challenging: by placing Nietzsche within his historical context of the Second Reich, against those who want to claim him for the Third Reich, Altman shows, through an aphoristic commentary on Nietzsche’s aphorisms, Nietzsche to be a child of his age, fully engaged in the (geo-)politics of his time, along with foreseeing its final denouement in the first World War. (Hugo Drochon, St John's College, Cambridge)

Altman adopts Nietzsche’s aphoristic style, and produces a vibrant reading of a historicized, political Nietzsche. This work is sure to reward those patient, cautious readers interested in Nietzsche’s political thought. (Frank Cameron, University of Guelph)

By subjecting Nietzsche to a Platonic critique, Altman punctures his “pose of untimeliness” while making use of Nietzsche’s own aphoristic style of presentation. Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche—named for a Prussian King—is thereby revealed to be the representative philosopher of the Second Reich.

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