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By Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen

"If you have been searching for a thinker more likely to entice american citizens, Friedrich Nietzsche will be faraway from your first selection. in any case, in his blazing profession, Nietzsche took goal at approximately all of the foundations of contemporary American lifestyles: Christian morality, the Enlightenment religion in cause, and the assumption of human equality. regardless of that, for greater than a century Nietzsche has been a highly popular--and surprisingly Read more...

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should you have been searching for a thinker more likely to attract american citizens, Friedrich Nietzsche will be faraway from your first selection. the writer delves deeply into Nietzsche's philosophy, and America's Read more...

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Overwhelmingly, Americans took an interest in Nietzsche's criticism of democratic equality, in his cultural insights about democratic man. When Nietzsche appeared in American political thought, he did so as a thinker about the human culture American democracy fosters. If Nietzsche's influence crossed the perceived intellectual borders between America and Europe, it also traversed the borders traditionally thought to divide "elite" from "average" Americans. By investigating the responses to and appropriations of Nietzsche's thought across a wide spectrum of readers, this history shows the porosity of "highbrow," "middlebrow," and "popular" cultureY For one, it demonstrates that moral inquiry and reverence for ideas were not reserved for professional intellectuals and that anti-intellectualism was not exclusively a feature of mass culture.

Why Nietzsche? Why in America? For over a century, generations of American readers have encountered anew Nietzsche's bold claim that if a culture were teetering on the edge of collapse, one might as well give it a final push and get it over with. That's exactly what he tried to do. In book after book, this "philosopher with a hammer" (as he called himself) whacked away at Western ideals he regarded as petrified human artifacts. First on his list was the notion of eternal truth. He sought to demonstrate that no values are inherently good or evil but rather are culturally and historically contingent.

With what is aesthetically going on in the more civilized countries, ... "45 Mencken considered Huneker not only America's "official" ambassador for European philosophy and aesthetics but also, more significantly, the "first [in America] to sense the true stature of Nietzsche. "46 Over the course of his three-decade-plus engagement with Nietzsche's philosophy, Huneker promoted a thinker who stripped himself of"all metaphysical baggage" and "dared to be naked" of every vestige of speculative thought.

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