Nietzsche's impact on the world of culture, philosophy, and the arts is uncontested, but his political thought remains mired in controversy. By placing Nietzsche back in his late-nineteenth-century German context, Nietzsche's Great Politics moves away from the disputes surrounding Nietzsche's appropriation by the Nazis and challenges the use of the philosopher in postmodern democratic thought. Rather than starting with contemporary democratic theory or continental philosophy, Hugo Drochon argues that Nietzsche's political ideas must first be understood in light of Bismarck's policies, in particular his "Great Politics," which transformed the international politics of the late nineteenth century.
Nietzsche's Great Politics shows how Nietzsche made Bismarck's notion his own, enabling him to offer a vision of a unified European political order that was to serve as a counterbalance to both Britain and Russia. This order was to be led by a "good European" cultural elite whose goal would be to encourage the rebirth of Greek high culture. In relocating Nietzsche's politics to their own time, the book offers not only a novel reading of the philosopher but also a more accurate picture of why his political thought remains so relevant today.
Hugo Drochon is a historian of nineteenth- and twentieth-century political thought and a postdoctoral research fellow at CRASSH, the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences, and Humanities, at the University of Cambridge.
"The task that Hugo Drochon sets himself is to reinsert some political content into Nietzsche and show that he had a systematic political theory. The result is a superb case of deep intellectual renewal and the most important book to have been written about him in the past few years."--Gavin Jacobson, New Statesman
"This book is not so much a reclamation of his [Nietzsche's] thinking on the subject as a reconstruction of the development of political thinking in the philosopher's works, so often missed by those who require thinking and expression less profound to make sense of such. Coherent, detailed and balanced."--Daniel Binney, Times Higher Education
"The book achieves its stated goal with aplomb as it follows the development of political ideas in Nietzsche's works, and it deserves to become a standard reference text for advanced students and Nietzsche scholars."--Mina Mitreva, Past Imperfect
"In this compelling and accessible study, Drochon--a historian of 19th- and 20th-century political thought--argues the affirmative case, contending that Nietzsche articulated a ‘great politics' centered on the unification of Continental Europe under the aegis of a cultivated, interbred class of superior individuals who would ultimately lead a geopolitical struggle against Great Britain and Russia for world supremacy. . . . One can find lots of books on Nietzsche, but this one stands out for its clarity and excellence."--Choice
"[Nietzsche's Great Politics] is among the most illuminating studies that have been written on the topic of Nietzsche's political thought. . . . Those who confidently maintain that Nietzsche has no ‘politics' will be forced, if not to abandon their view completely, then seriously to reconsider it."--Andrew Huddleston, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews
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