This book explores Friedrich Nietzsche's understanding of modern political culture and his position in the history of modern political thought. Surveying Nietzsche's entire intellectual career from his years as a student in Bonn and Leipzig during the 1860s to his genealogical project of the 1880s, Christian Emden contributes to a historically informed discussion of Nietzsche's response to the political predicaments of modernity, and sheds new light on the intellectual and political culture in Germany as the ideals of the Enlightenment gave way to the demands of the modern nation state. This is a distinguished addition to the series of Ideas in Context, and a major reassessment of a philosopher and aphorist whose stature among post-enlightenment European thinkers is now almost unrivalled.Read more
- Explores Nietzsche's political thought in its historical context
- Second book from one of the emerging stars of intellectual history
- Nietzsche is a figure of huge but still growing interest, with scholars of philosophy, literature, culture, politics and history all having to engage with the implications of his thought
Reviews & endorsements
'It is one of the great merits of Christian Emden's Friedrich Nietzsche and the Politics of History that he attempts one of the richest and most detailed accounts of Nietzsche's relationship to late nineteenth-century Germany's cultural and political inheritance, situation, and challenges. … It is to Emden's credit that he has begun a far more serious and historically informed investigation of who Nietzsche as a thinker of the historical and the political was and what he wanted.' R. Kevin Hill, Political TheorySee more reviews
'Christian Emden's Friedrich Nietzsche and the Politics of History is an ambitious, provocative work. It aims to provide a synthetic reinterpretation of Nietzsche's intellectual itinerary during the quarter century between his earliest university notebooks and the texts produced immediately preceding his mental collapse.' John E. Toews, H-Net: Humanities and Social Sciences Online
'Emden brings alive not just the intellectual debates, but also the internal and geopolitical manoeuvrings, of the age of Nietzsche. … Emden succeeds in this important book in showing why, in the words of Human, All-Too-Human, 'we need history'.' Paul Bishop, Journal of European Studies
'Emden's account of German intellectual life is detailed and engaging. … [He] likens Nietzsche's political vision to those of Burke and Tocqueville, critical of unrestrained (though not all) democracy while praising an open-textured notion of moral community.' Vincent Lloyd, The Heythrop Journal
'[Emden] aims, through a contextualist reading, to reconstruct the political content that Nietzsche's writings would have been understood to have in their contemporary context. At the same time, he holds that we can thereby recover a distinctive and compelling contribution to political thought. … Emden's detailed, scholarly, and original interpretation brings to light important themes in Nietzsche's work.' Tamsin Shaw, Perspectives on Politics
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- Date Published: October 2011
- format: Paperback
- isbn: 9780521155076
- length: 404 pages
- dimensions: 229 x 152 x 23 mm
- weight: 0.59kg
- availability: Available
Table of Contents
Abbreviations and translations
Part I. The Failure of Neohumanism:
1. Philologists, liberals, and the nation
2. The Austro-Prussian War in Leipzig
3. The demands of history
4. Toward a cautious materialism
5. Teleology and the laws of history
Part II. The Formation of Imperial Germany, Seen from Basel:
1. Intellectual culture in Basel
2. The practice of cultural history
3. The need for philosophical education
4. The 'German Spirit' and the Franco-Prussian War
Part III. The Crisis of Historical Culture:
1. The crisis of historicism
2. What is orientation in history?
3. The political mobilization of myth
4. 'The Soul of the Antiquarian'
5. The impossible critical historian
Part IV. Political Lessons from Cultural Anthropology:
1. The view from outside
2. Lessons from anthropology
3. Metaphor, myth and cultural reality
4. 'Survivals': religion and the state
5. Political realism and the 'Free Spirit'
Part V. Geneology, Naturalism and the Political:
1. The path to geneology
2. A natural history of moral communities
3. Sovereign individuals and the ethic of responsibility
4. The task of geneology
5. 'To translate humanity back into nature'
Part VI. The Idea of Europe and the Limits of Geneology:
1. 'The creation of the European individual'
2. Beyond the modern nation state
3. Political realities in Imperial Germany
4. Modernity and the limits of geneology.
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