By Seth Taylor
Nietzsche the elitist individualist, or Nietzsche the social critic? Nietzsche the common existentialist, or Nietzsche the militant nationalist? "Become what you are," or "the will to power"? those are many of the questions in relation to the impact of the "un-timely" German philosopher and poet upon a number of the ideological activities of the 20 th century, starting from fascism at the correct to anarchist socialism at the left. whereas at the political aspects (both correct and left) the claims and disclaims to Nietzsche have usually resulted from distorted variants and quotations taken out of the context of his works, the highbrow fans of Nietzsche frequently observed it essential to abandon their "teacher" within the face of the realities of the twentieth-century political and social advancements. No different staff of intellectuals (with another way no universal denominator yet that in their rebel opposed to the political and cultural conservatism in their time) may relate so together to at least one non secular ancestor because the German Expressionists did to Friedrich Nietzsche. consequently, whilst at first of the recognized Expressionism debate of the Nineteen Thirties Gyorgy Lukacs made the declare that Expressionism were a foreplay to nationwide socialism, it really appeared to supply credence to the label of pioneer of German nationalism formerly bestowed upon Nietzsche through the representatives of the "conservative revolution." In view of the generally contested assertion by means of Lukacs, Nietzsche's effect upon the Expressionists has deserved a more in-depth glance to be able to make certain his and their precise positions throughout the sharp flip to the perfect of German politics and public sentiments through the moment decade of the 20 th century. this sort of glance has now been undertaken, and its findings represent the topic of the current book.
Following a summarizing evaluation of the costs opposed to Nietzsche and the Expressionists as forerunners of German fascism, Taylor offers a scientific research of significant Expressionists' (including additionally Dadaists') figuring out of Nietzsche's philosophy. because the pressure this is evidently on philosophical connections and impacts, the names we stumble upon usually are not these of the extra well known writers of Expressionist poems and dramas, equivalent to Heym, Stramm, Toller, or Kaiser, yet these of the theoretical exponents and practitioners of the Expressionist, in addition to Dadaist, hobbies, in particular: Kurt Hiller, Otto Gross, Salomo Friedlander, Anselm Ruest, Hugo Ball, and Richard Huelsenbeck. hence either the extra political department of Expressionism (Hiller, Gross, and the Berlin Dadaists) and its apolitical facet (Friedlander and Ruest) are visible of their relationships to Nietzsche, in addition to Expressionism's debt to different German thinkers, both without delay or through Nietzsche, e.g. Sigmund Freud (in the case of Gross), Immanuel Kant (in the case of Friedlander), or Max Stirner (in the case of Anselm Ruest). As Taylor is ready to show convincingly, the tip of Expressionism in Germany coincided with the top of the left-wing Nietzsche fashion, hence leaving simply the representatives of German nationalism and militarism - who, even though, distanced themselves from Expressionism - to make their carrying on with claims upon Nietzsche. yet seeing that in addition they claimed to be the one actual heirs of that German tradition which had continually been the article of Nietzche's assaults, they ignored the essence of this considering. mockingly the explanation why the Expressionists and particularly the Dadaists deserted Nietzsche was once precisely that they, too, thought of him too heavily tied to the German cultural culture. The politics of global conflict I and of the failed postwar revolution triggered the Expressionists to take a stand at the query in their changing into politically lively or chickening out into entire highbrow isolation. even though the entice to both of those positions might be noticeable in Nietzsche's works, neither the Expressionists nor the thinker himself was once in a position to harmonize the 2 polarities of his considering, and either Lukacs's and the Nazis' assaults opposed to the Expressionists have been unwarranted.
It is a pity publication containing quite a bit solid information regarding an immense interval of German highbrow background is marred through such a lot of flaws. whereas a few of them are easily the results of unsatisfactory proofreading many typographical blunders, but in addition carelessness with names, comparable to Giinter, rather than Gunter, Martens (61), Hoffmannsthal rather than Hofmannsthal (39), and inconsistent capitalization of "Dionysian" - others appear to replicate the author's all too restricted wisdom of German. The latter turns into obtrusive in his retention of the German be aware Geist in his English translations with either summary ("spirit of a movement") and urban ("mind") meanings, yet with inconsistent utilization of the plural shape (cf. sixty eight, seventy nine, eighty three, 222), or in such words as "the Das discussion board" and "the Die WeiBen Buecher Verlag." additionally Taylor's use of either Burger and "bourgeois" within the English textual content turns out to signify much less a contrast in that means than an inconsistent utilization of the 2 phrases. contemplating the predicament that any translator faces with international phrases by no means having the very same which means in one other language, wouldn't it be extra worthwhile to the reader to give an explanation for a be aware in translation after which use it always, instead of to intersperse the English translation with such German phrases as Geist, geistig, Burger, buergerlich, der Einzige, etc.? If the writer of a booklet on German Expressionism doesn't suppose that his readers will comprehend his quotations in German, he must also now not anticipate their higher knowing if he leaves very important key phrases untranslated.