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Nietzsche and the Drama of Historiobiography

Nietzsche and the Drama of Historiobiography

Roberto Alejandro

In this extraordinary contribution to Nietzsche studies, Roberto Alejandro offers an original and unifying interpretation of Nietzsche’s entire oeuvre. He traces the evolution of Nietzsche’s thought by analyzing Nietzsche’s complex array of stories and historical narratives and by assessing the importance of each of Nietzsche’s philosophical moves, including his many detours and dead ends.

Alejandro’s analysis places Nietzsche’s stories within a tradition of genealogical theorizing and interprets them in terms of one of Nietzsche’s unique features, his use of “historiobiography.” Historiobiography blends the idea of an attunement with all history with one’s awareness of this attunement. As a mode of philosophizing, it allows Nietzsche to view all of human history as if it runs through his own life and thoughts. He is thus able to feel the anguish of all missed opportunities and yet exult in his own strength in the eternal recurrence of these opportunities. In a tradition of inquiry begun by Socrates, Nietzsche, through his genealogical stories, ends up advocating the paradigm of the philosopher as a physician and philosophy as a kind of self-therapy.

“I am confident that this book will be considered essential reading for any scholar doing serious research into Nietzsche’s thought and its implications.The author carefully traces the shifts and turns and occasionally the contradictions and dead-ends in the development of Nietzsche’s major themes. I have never read an account of Nietzsche’s thought as fully and convincingly supported by textual reference as this book. Others will disagree with the author’s readings of Nietzsche, that is the nature of scholarship, but I cannot see how they could be ignored.” — Edward Portis, Texas A & M University

“This is a major work on Nietzsche. Roberto Alejandro offers us a reading of Nietzsche’s herculean efforts that Nietzsche scholars and scholars who write about modernity and postmodernity will be unable to ignore. This wide ranging and deep book addresses major issues in cultural history, psychoanalysis, cultural anthropology, and the vast literature on modernity and secularization. I expect this to be a book that generates debate and discussion for years to come.” — Robert Hollinger, Iowa State University

“Roberto Alejandro delivers a rich, lively account of Nietzsche’s quest for meaning. By focusing on the theme of historiobiography, Alejandro illuminates Nietzsche’s bold attempt to place himself at the center of a comprehensive account of the rise and fall of Western civilization. A thoughtful, well-crafted book, written very much in the spirit of Nietzsche himself.” — Daniel Conway, Texas A & M University

ISBN: 978-0-268-02037-8
392 pages
Publication Year: 2011

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Roberto Alejandro is professor of political science at University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

“Alejandro may have put his finger on the secret to Nietzsche’s appeal by emphasizing the redemptive motif in Nietzsche’s writings. Nietzsche saw humans as ‘religious animals’—unique among living creatures in demanding meaning for their lives. And he presents himself as a redeemer (ecce homo) who offers meaning. . . . The three major metaphors of Nietzsche’s story are the will to power, the overman, and eternal recurrence. Taken together they enable Nietzsche ‘to relate the real story of Christianity’ and make him, as Erich Heller has pointed out, one of the most radical religious writers of the 19th century.” — Choice

“In Nietzsche and the Drama of Historiobiography, Roberto Alejandro challenges this tradition and attempts to redefine the meaning of Nietzsche’s entire corpus, offering an interpretation that integrates man and work, and highlights parallel tensions in both. His book offers a fresh and thoughtful reconsideration of Nietzsche’s lifelong project. . . . Ultimately, this book records a unified vision of Nietzsche’s work that is stimulating, fresh, and valuable.” — Dialogue

“Alejandro’s critical reflections cut to the core of Nietzsche’s arguments for constructing a healthy culture, and his prescriptions for becoming an authentic thinker.” — Foucault Studies

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P03364

William Desmond and Contemporary Theology


Edited by Christopher Ben Simpson and Brendan Thomas Sammon

P03313

Linguistics and Philosophy

An Essay on the Philosophical Constants of Language

Étienne Gilson
Translated by John Lyon

Nietzsche and the Drama of Historiobiography

Roberto Alejandro

 Nietzsche and the Drama of Historiobiography
Paper Edition

In this extraordinary contribution to Nietzsche studies, Roberto Alejandro offers an original and unifying interpretation of Nietzsche’s entire oeuvre. He traces the evolution of Nietzsche’s thought by analyzing Nietzsche’s complex array of stories and historical narratives and by assessing the importance of each of Nietzsche’s philosophical moves, including his many detours and dead ends.

Alejandro’s analysis places Nietzsche’s stories within a tradition of genealogical theorizing and interprets them in terms of one of Nietzsche’s unique features, his use of “historiobiography.” Historiobiography blends the idea of an attunement with all history with one’s awareness of this attunement. As a mode of philosophizing, it allows Nietzsche to view all of human history as if it runs through his own life and thoughts. He is thus able to feel the anguish of all missed opportunities and yet exult in his own strength in the eternal recurrence of these opportunities. In a tradition of inquiry begun by Socrates, Nietzsche, through his genealogical stories, ends up advocating the paradigm of the philosopher as a physician and philosophy as a kind of self-therapy.

“I am confident that this book will be considered essential reading for any scholar doing serious research into Nietzsche’s thought and its implications.The author carefully traces the shifts and turns and occasionally the contradictions and dead-ends in the development of Nietzsche’s major themes. I have never read an account of Nietzsche’s thought as fully and convincingly supported by textual reference as this book. Others will disagree with the author’s readings of Nietzsche, that is the nature of scholarship, but I cannot see how they could be ignored.” — Edward Portis, Texas A & M University

“This is a major work on Nietzsche. Roberto Alejandro offers us a reading of Nietzsche’s herculean efforts that Nietzsche scholars and scholars who write about modernity and postmodernity will be unable to ignore. This wide ranging and deep book addresses major issues in cultural history, psychoanalysis, cultural anthropology, and the vast literature on modernity and secularization. I expect this to be a book that generates debate and discussion for years to come.” — Robert Hollinger, Iowa State University

“Roberto Alejandro delivers a rich, lively account of Nietzsche’s quest for meaning. By focusing on the theme of historiobiography, Alejandro illuminates Nietzsche’s bold attempt to place himself at the center of a comprehensive account of the rise and fall of Western civilization. A thoughtful, well-crafted book, written very much in the spirit of Nietzsche himself.” — Daniel Conway, Texas A & M University

ISBN: 978-0-268-02037-8

392 pages

“Alejandro may have put his finger on the secret to Nietzsche’s appeal by emphasizing the redemptive motif in Nietzsche’s writings. Nietzsche saw humans as ‘religious animals’—unique among living creatures in demanding meaning for their lives. And he presents himself as a redeemer (ecce homo) who offers meaning. . . . The three major metaphors of Nietzsche’s story are the will to power, the overman, and eternal recurrence. Taken together they enable Nietzsche ‘to relate the real story of Christianity’ and make him, as Erich Heller has pointed out, one of the most radical religious writers of the 19th century.” — Choice

“In Nietzsche and the Drama of Historiobiography, Roberto Alejandro challenges this tradition and attempts to redefine the meaning of Nietzsche’s entire corpus, offering an interpretation that integrates man and work, and highlights parallel tensions in both. His book offers a fresh and thoughtful reconsideration of Nietzsche’s lifelong project. . . . Ultimately, this book records a unified vision of Nietzsche’s work that is stimulating, fresh, and valuable.” — Dialogue

“Alejandro’s critical reflections cut to the core of Nietzsche’s arguments for constructing a healthy culture, and his prescriptions for becoming an authentic thinker.” — Foucault Studies