In 1881 Friedrich Nietzsche received his first piece of fan mail from the United States. Though only a handful of letters came to him during his lifetime, many more would follow after his death in 1900. During the early twentieth century, Nietzsche admirers from all over the country wrote to the Nietzsche Archive in Weimar for memorabilia, to ask for biographical information about him, and to explain how his philosophy influenced them. These letters reveal how a general reading audience put the German philosopher's texts and image to work in their early twentieth-century American contexts. This article analyzes how the letter writers' uses of Nietzsche resulted from the friction between the transnational traffic of his philosophy and their daily needs, the image and reality of his remoteness from their own time and place, and the immediacy of their lived experiences. The letters thus shed light on how Nietzsche's texts traversed national, cultural, and linguistic borders, while helping reconstitute them in the imaginations of his American readers.
Worldly Possessions: Nietzsche's Texts, American Readers, and the Intimacy and Itinerancy of Ideas
Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen; Worldly Possessions: Nietzsche's Texts, American Readers, and the Intimacy and Itinerancy of Ideas. New German Critique 1 August 2011; 38 (2 (113)): 25–50. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/0094033X-1221776
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