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Nietzsche looms over modern literature and thought; according to Gottfried Benn, "everything my generation discussed, thought through innerly; one could say: suffered; or one could even say: took to the point of exhaustion -- all of it had already been said . . . by Nietzsche; all the rest was just exegesis." Nietzsche's influence on intellectual life today is arguably as great; witness the various societies, journals, and websites and the steady stream of papers, collections, and monographs. This Companion offers new essays from the best Nietzsche scholars, emphasizing the interrelatedness of his life and thought, eschewing a superficial biographical method but taking seriously his claim that great philosophy is "the self-confession of its author and a kind of unintended and unremarked memoir."
Each essay examines a major work by Nietzsche; together, they offer an advanced introduction for students of German Studies, philosophy, and comparative literature as well as for the lay reader. Re-establishing the links between Nietzsche's philosophical texts and their biographical background, the volume alerts Nietzsche scholars and intellectual historians to the internal development of his thought and the aesthetic construction of his identity as a philosopher.
Contributors: Ruth Abbey, Keith Ansell-Pearson, Rebecca Bamford, Paul Bishop, Thomas H. Brobjer, Daniel W. Conway, Adrian Del Caro, Carol Diethe, Michael Allen Gillespie and Keegan F. Callanan, Laurence Lampert, Duncan Large, Martin Liebscher, Martine Prange, Alan D. Schrift.
Paul Bishop —
Paul Bishop is Professor of German at the University of Glasgow.
A Companion to Friedrich Nietzsche: life and works, ed. by Paul Bishop. Camden House, 2012. 449p index afp; ISBN 9781571133274. Reviewed in 2013feb CHOICE.
The scholarly literature on Nietzsche is beyond voluminous. It approaches the astronomical. But this companion to the life and corpus of the German philosopher is unusually rich in substance, form, and contextualization. Among the work's many virtues are these: stellar contributors, fresh perspectives, comprehensive scope, and superb organization. Moreover, the 15 original essays Bishop (German, Univ. of Glasgow, Scotland) collected offer much of value to specialists and nonspecialists alike, and of special benefit is the guiding Nietzschean principle that structures the compilation: the intimate connection between "biography and creativity." In practice, this means that each contribution focuses on an individual text (one essay considers the Nachlass) and provides biographical and conceptual links between and among the particular titles. The significance of this sustained effort to contextualize Nietzsche's philosophical efforts is twofold: it effectively reveals the internal developmental dynamics of the oeuvre, and it adds a welcome layer of analytical depth to the presentation as a whole. Nietzsche has exerted enormous influence over modern thought across the disciplines, and this edited volume does an excellent job of canvassing the man and his paradigm-shifting ideas.
Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above. -- H. I. Einsohn, Middlesex Community College