Nietzsche’s Greek Campaign: Tragedy, Myth and Cultural PoliticsOwen David (University of Southampton)
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Abstract: This paper argues that in The Birth of Tragedy and related unpublished writings from 1866-1874, Nietzsche engages in a concerted project of cultural politics designed to generate cultural renewal in what, in this period, becomes the newly established German state. More specifically he aims to exploit the resources provided by German philohellenism and Bismarckian nationalism to generate a foundational myth for the new German state that will transform its culture. Focusing on Nietzsche’s relationship to Schopenahuer as this is mediated through his relations to Burckhardt and Wagner, the argument of the paper proposes that this reading of Nietzsche’s early work can resolve existing debates concerning both (a) Nietzsche’s relationship to Schopenhauer’s metaphysics in BT and (b) Nietzsche’s decisions concerning composition of BT, particularly his exclusion of the material that is ‘The Greek State’ that is present in a late draft of BT and his non-inclusion of ‘Homer on Competition’ in this work.
Bio: David Owen is Professor of Social and Political Philosophy at the University of Southampton. He works primarily on (1) 19th and 20th century German and French philosophy, especially Nietzsche, Foucault and the Frankfurt School and on (2) the ethics and political of migration. His books include Maturity and Modernity: Nietzsche, Weber, Foucault and the ambivalence of reason(1994), Nietzsche, politics and Modernity (1995), Nietzsche’s Genealogy of Morality (2007), Prospects of Citizenship (co-authored, 2011) and What is owed to refugees? (forthcoming 2020) as well as edited volumes such as Multiculturalism and Political Theory (2007) and Recognition and Power (2007).
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