Nietzsche als Versucher (CLAC.50)|
Fall 2021 not offered
GRST 330, COL 287, PHIL 253|
The term "Versucher" combines three meanings: (i) a writer of essays, (ii) a maker of experiments and hypotheses, and (iii) a tempter who seductively tests convictions and provokes latent desires. Friedrich Nietzsche draws on all these senses when he proposes "Versucher" as "the not-undangerous name [he] dares to bestow" on the "philosophers of the future"--a coming generation of free spirits who will (finally) be capable of appreciating and continuing his intellectual legacy (Beyond Good and Evil, §42).
This course will interrogate Nietzsche's conception of a philosophical Versucher and examine how this concept might apply to Nietzsche himself: as an experimenter with literary style and genre (including the essay form) and as a polarizing cult figure who has attracted the fascination of generations of teenagers and the most diverse (often diametrically opposed) ideological movements. How is it that Nietzsche inspires such passionate attachment in such radically different readers? What is it about his philosophical style and literary form that cultivates a feeling of intimacy and fierce allegiance while also admitting such aggressively divergent interpretations? To explore these questions, we will read and discuss excerpts from Nietzsche's writings and correspondence alongside texts by his friends and interlocutors--such as Richard Wagner, Paul Rée, and Nietzsche's unrequited paramour, Lou Andreas-Salomé. We will also look at prominent cases of his cultural reception--notably by the Nazi party (due to the influence of Nietzsche's sister, who was a party member) and simultaneously by opponents of totalitarianism such as Robert Musil, Karl Löwith, and Walter Kaufmann.
This course is part of the Fries Center for Global Studies' Cultures and Languages Across the Curriculum (CLAC) initiative. It is taught in German and associated with COL290/PHIL252 "Nietzsche - Science, Psychology, Genealogy," though students can take either course independent of the other. No background in philosophy or literature is required for this course, but advanced-intermediate (B2+) reading and spoken German is a must.
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|Course Format: Discussion||Grading Mode: Credit/Unsatisfactory|
||Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (PHIL)(PHIL-Social Jus)
Readings (in German) from Nietzsche, his contemporary interlocutors (such as Paul Rée and Lou Salomé), and twentieth-century interpreters (such as Musil, Heidegger, and Löwith).
|Examinations and Assignments: |
Assignments will include presentations but no exams or significant writing.
|Additional Requirements and/or Comments: |
Class will be conducted in German.
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