Two New Looks at Friedrich Nietzsche

It’s no secret that Aleister Crowley was a fan of the philosophical writings of Friedrich Nietzsche and certainly elements of the latter’s thought have echoes in former’s canon… for better and worse. The New York Times recently reviewed two new books addressing Nietzsche’s life and work I AM DYNAMITE! A Life of Nietzsche By Sue Prideaux which is primarily a biography and HIKING WITH NIETZSCHE On Becoming Who You Are By John Kaag which is more of a meditation of the impact his work had on this particular author. The review begins with a few lines that I think spotlight Crowley’s debts to Nietzsche:

“Nietzsche has probably been more things to more people than any other philosopher. In the years after World War II, he seemed irreparably stained by his association with National Socialism. His open contempt for equality as a form of slave morality, his language of superior and inferior peoples and races, and his advocacy of a new elite that might reshape the future of Europe seemed more than enough to banish him from the canons of serious philosophical thought, if not simple decency.”

The review also points out how some of these issues arose from deliberate distortions of Nietzsche’s work:

“The reconsideration of Nietzsche began as early as 1950 with Walter Kaufmann’s influential Nietzsche: Philosopher, Psychologist, Antichrist,” which portrayed him as a German humanist in the tradition of Goethe and Schiller. Kaufmann traced the misappropriation of Nietzsche by Hitler to the influence of Nietzsche’s sister, Elisabeth, and her husband, Bernhard Förster, who bowdlerized his texts to support their own anti-Semitic and pro-Nazi sympathies. While few today accept the details of Kaufmann’s analysis, the rehabilitation of Nietzsche has been in full swing in recent years.”

Read the whole review here:

Frater Lux Ad Mundi

One Comment

  1. I wonder how it is that Max Stirner never made it into Mr. Crowley’s list of favorite philosophers

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