Nietzsche and the "English"

Nietzsche and the

Nietzsche and the "English"

The Influence of British and American Thinking on His Philosophy

By Thomas H. Brobjer; Kathleen Marie Higgins (Foreword by)

Humanity Books, Paperback, 9781591025474, 474pp.

Publication Date: January 1, 2008


Friedrich Nietzsche—one of the most read and discussed philosophers of all time—is frequently regarded as a quintessentially German philosopher, yet one who had strong anti-German tendencies and late in his development turned increasingly pro-French. However, his relation to British-American thinking and culture has been largely ignored, although its focus on progress, rationality, empiricism, and science constituted a major tradition during the nineteenth century.

This work explores Nietzsche’s explicit and implicit relation to this tradition, including utilitarianism, Darwinism, Anglo-American scholarly and scientific work, and culture in general. Based on extensive research in Nietzsche's library and unpublished material in the Goethe-Schiller Archive in Weimar, Germany, historian of science Thomas H. Brobjer demonstrates conclusively that Nietzsche was much more involved with and influenced by "English" philosophy than has previously been realized. His study reveals that Nietzsche passed through two periods of distinctly pro-British sentiment. By examining hundreds of unpublished book-bills, Brobjer is able to reconstruct Nietzsche's possession, and time of acquisition, of British and American books. Tables at the end present detailed chronological and alphabetical listings of Nietzsche’s extensive reading of British-American texts.

With thorough and detailed discussions of Nietzsche’s comments on and reading of English and American works and themes, Brobjer uncovers a different Nietzsche from the high-strung iconoclastic philosopher usually emphasized, providing many new insights into how Nietzsche thought and worked.

About the Author
Thomas H. Brobjer is an associate professor in the department of the history of science and ideas at Uppsala University, Sweden, and the author of Nietzsche's Ethics of Character: A Study of Nietzsche's Ethics and Its Place in the History of Moral Thinking.

Kathleen Marie Higgins is professor of philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin. She is the author of "The Music of Our Lives" and "Nietzsche s Zarathustra".