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American Nietzsche: A History of an Icon and His Ideas


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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

If you were looking for a philosopher likely to appeal to Americans, Friedrich Nietzsche would be far from your first choice. After all, in his blazing career, Nietzsche took aim at nearly all the foundations of modern American life: Christian morality, the Enlightenment faith in reason, and the idea of human equality. Despite that, for more than a century Nietzsche has been a hugely popularand#8212;and surprisingly influentialand#8212;figure in American thought and culture.

In American Nietzsche, Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen delves deeply into Nietzsche's philosophy, and Americaand#8217;s reception of it, to tell the story of his curious appeal. Beginning her account with Ralph Waldo Emerson, whom the seventeen-year-old Nietzsche read fervently, she shows how Nietzscheand#8217;s ideas first burst on American shores at the turn of the twentieth century, and how they continuedand#160; alternately to invigorate and to shock Americans for the century to come. She also delineates the broader intellectual and cultural contexts within which a wide array of commentatorsand#8212;academic and armchair philosophers, theologians and atheists, romantic poets and hard-nosed empiricists, and political ideologues and apostates from the Left and the Rightand#8212;drew insight and inspiration from Nietzscheand#8217;s claims for the death of God, his challenge to universal truth, and his insistence on the interpretive nature of all human thought and beliefs. At the same time, she explores how his image as an iconoclastic immoralist was put to work in American popular culture, making Nietzsche an unlikely posthumous celebrity capable of inspiring both teenagers and scholars alike.

A and#160;penetrating examination of a powerful but little-explored undercurrent of twentieth-century American thought and culture, American Nietzsche dramatically recasts our understanding of American intellectual lifeand#8212;and puts Nietzsche squarely at its heart.

About the Author

Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen is the Merle Curti Assistant Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and the author of a variety of articles on nineteenth- and twentieth-century US intellectual and cultural history.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations


Transatlantic Crossings: The Aboriginal Intellect Abroad



The Making of the American Nietzsche

Nietzsche and the European Axis of American Cosmopolitanism

The Nietzsche Vogue

The Persona of Nietzsche

Launching and#8220;Nietzscheanand#8221; and and#8220;Nietzscheismand#8221; into American English


The Soul of Man under Modernity

Nietzsche and the Problems of Modern Thought

Unapologetic Catholic Apologetics

The Social Gospel and the Practicability of Christianity

Nietzscheand#8217;s Service to Christianity

Jesus of Nazareth, Nietzsche of Naumburg


The American Naturalization of the and#220;bermensch

The and#220;bermensch in the Popular Imagination

Self-Overcoming and Social Uplift

Modern Whirl and Romantic Self-Abandonment

The and#220;bermensch and the German National Mind

The and#220;bermensch at War and the and#8220;Made in Germanyand#8221; Generation

To Each His Own and#220;bermensch


Nietzsche as Educator

Experiencing Intellect; or, World-Making Words

Imitatio Nietzsche

The and#8220;Gay Scienceand#8221; of Cultural Criticism

The Modern Intellect and Prophetic Longing


Devotions: The Letters

Nietzsche Possession, Possessing Nietzsche

Nietzschean Self-Fashioning

Nietzsche Pilgrimage

Pathos of Distance from Democratic Culture


Dionysian Enlightenment

Walter Kaufmann, German and#201;migrand#233;s, and Nietzsche as Hitlerand#8217;s Exile

Nietzsche as Problem Thinker

Nietzsche and the Nazis

Nietzschean Experimentalism and Jamesian Pragmatism

Kaufmannand#8217;s Nietzsche for All and None


Antifoundationalism on Native Grounds

Harold Bloom and the Quest for Emersonian Priority

Richard Rorty: Fusing the Horizons between Nietzsche and the Pragmatists

Stanley Cavell: Nietzsche, Emerson, and American Philosophy Finding Its Way Home

Thinking about American Thinking


Nietzsche Is Us



Selected Bibliography


Product Details

Ratner Rosenhagen, Jennifer
University of Chicago Press
Ratner-Rosenhagen, Jennifer
United States - 20th Century
Philosophy : General
Edition Description:
Publication Date:
21 halftones
9 x 6 in

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History and Social Science » US History » 20th Century » General
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Product details 464 pages University of Chicago Press - English 9780226705811 Reviews:
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