Domenico Losurdo, Nietzsche: The Aristocratic Radical – hardback Brill 2019; paperback Haymarket November 2020
Good to see news of the forthcoming paperback publication of this major study.
Translated by Gregor Benton. With an Introduction by Harrison Fluss.
Perhaps no philosopher is more of a conundrum than Nietzsche, the solitary rebel, poet, wayfarer, anti-revolutionary Aufklärer and theorist of aristocratic radicalism. His accusers identify in his ‘superman’ the origins of Nazism, and thus issue an irrevocable condemnation; his defenders pursue a hermeneutics of innocence founded ultimately in allegory. In a work that constitutes the most important contribution to Nietzschean studies in recent decades, Domenico Losurdo instead pursues a less reductive strategy. Taking literally the ruthless implications of Nietzsche’s anti-democratic thinking – his celebration of slavery, of war and colonial expansion, and eugenics – he nevertheless refuses to treat these from the perspective of the mid-twentieth century. In doing so, he restores Nietzsche’s works to their complex nineteenth-century context, and presents a more compelling account of the importance of Nietzsche as philosopher than can be expected from his many contemporary apologists.
Originally published in Italian by Bollati Boringhieri Editore as Domenico Losurdo, Nietzsche, il ribelle aristocratico: Biografia intellettuale e bilancio critico, Turin, 2002.
Full details including Table of Contents here.
Update: there is a review essay in Historical Materialism.
Update 2: there is a review at Marx and Philosophy
Update 3: and a discussion at the New Books Network
IDK Stuart I kind of feel there’s a strong ad-hominem here. I don’t think any serious leftist defender of Nietzsche (Foucault, Deleuze, Lefebvre, Derrida, Benjamin) has overlooked the problematic aspects of his thinking be it his treatment of women or his hostility to popular revolution. What they do recognize and what they do champion in Nietzsche is his challenge to standard Enlightenment tropes about civilization, reason and humanism, providing an anti-foundational account of civilization they find useful for their own critical projects, even if combined with other insights to drive it in a more progressive or less problematic direction. That to me is far from being an uncriticAl “apologist” reading of Nietzsche. Sorry, but this book looks really suspicious to me and seems like a continuation of the interpretation put forth by Malcolm Bull.
I’ve not read the book yet, though I’m not sure it’s ad hominem since it’s grounded in a reading of his work. I’m sympathetic to the readers you mention, but that doesn’t mean Nietzsche is without significant problems. I’d see this as a useful addition to the Anglophone literature so I welcomed an affordable version of the translation – although £27 the book is huge, so it’s a significant investment for a publisher to translate a work of that length.