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Nietzsche and the Feminine by Peter J. Burgard


Nietzsche and the Feminine by Peter J. Burgard

You are going to women? do not forget the whip! This admonition, from Thus Spoke Zarathustra , may be the most notoriously misogynistic line in all literature and philosophy. It is also only one of the many denigrations of women in the work of the philosopher who has most influenced our century: Friedrich Nietasche. But while Freud's disturbing pronouncements on demininity have received sustained attention, studies of the place of the feminine in Nietzsche's work are still few and far between. This volume has brought together new studies by outstanding scholars in philosophy, feminism, comparative literature, and German studies, including Sarah Kofman, Luce Irigaray, Benjamin Bennett, Laurence Rickels, Susan Bernstein, and David Farrell Krell. It has been easy to label Nietzsche a misogynist and leave it at that, but to do so is to ignore the problem. For Nietzsche's statements about women are not invariably reprehensible; there are other less misogynistic and even sympathetic comments, and many of the reprehensible lines themselves occur in contexts that shed a rather different light on them. Nietzsche and the feminine, as Burgard demonstrates in his introduction, is a problem of great complexity, and it is this complexity that the contributors to the volume set into play. Addressing Nietzsche's work in its own context as well as in conjunction with the work of contemporary theorists (Cixous, Derrida, Kristeva, and others), their essays reveal the central importance of this aspect of his philosophy. Collectively, the essays disclose the irreducibly ambivalent position of the feminine in that philosophy and raise the question of whether Nietzsche's treatment of women amounts to the kind of essentialization of femininity that a phrase like the feminine suggests. By offering multiple perspectives on the perspective on the feminine of this philosopher of perspectivism, by refusing either to dismiss, ignore, or excuse his misogyny, Nietzsche and the Feminine provides an appropriate response to Nietzsche's excessive articulations of the feminine. This book should be of interest to scholars and students in women's studies, philosophy, literary theory, comparative literature, and German studies, as well as to any readers concerned with the backgrounds of twentieth-century culture.

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Book Info

Publication date

29th April 1994


Peter J. Burgard

More books by Peter J. Burgard
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University of Virginia Press


384 pages


History of Western philosophy

Literary studies: c 1800 to c 1900
Cultural studies



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