Northern Illinois University Press


Nietzsche's Tragic Regime

Culture, Aesthetics, and Political Education

Thomas Heilke

"Original and thought-provoking."—Nineteenth-Century Prose

"A very sound piece of scholarship.... It is informing, engaging, perturbing (as any good book on Nietzsche should be), and a joy to read."—Leslie Thiele, University of Florida

"As thorough a treatment of the early Nietzsche as has probably been written in English. Heilke gives us a deeper Nietzsche than the one to which many English speakers have been exposed."—Joshua Mitchell, Georgetown University

This provocative study explores Nietzsche's political education as a means of understanding his wider political thought. Incorporating biographical details of Nietzsche's own education, it outlines the course of political education that Nietzsche recommends as an antidote to the crisis in Western European culture.

Heilke begins by examining Nietzsche's formulation of this crisis, especially his conceptions of "Romantic Pessimism," "Socratism," and Christianity. For Nietzsche, only a properly ordered education could resolve the problem of how one can transform a society whose fundamental cultural and political premises one rejects. Through education Nietzsche sought to establish a new political and social system founded upon the principles of tragedy and grounded in the aesthetic tradition of German Romanticism.

Nietzsche's Tragic Regime focuses on Nietzsche's political philosophy until his resignation from his post as professor in 1876, with attention also to the later writings. The book is divided into three parts, the first devoted to Nietzsche's understanding of human existence and its relation to Greek tragedy. The next analyzes the three major components of Nietzsche's new political education: history, philosophy, and music. Finally, Heilke investigates the reasoning behind Nietzsche's eventual revision, and even rejection, of his earlier works. For Nietzsche, human life is based on a vision of tragedy. Heilke shows how Nietzsche strove to create a new kind of political education rooted in this vision that would transform Western culture.

(1998) 231 pp.
ISBN: 978-0-87580-233-6
cloth $35.50

Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction
Part One: The Problem of "Life"
1. Life and Pessimism
2. The Appearances of Life
Part Two: The Horizons of a Tragic Education for Life
3. History as Transfiguration of Things Past
4. Philosophy as Transfiguration of the Present
5. Music as Transfiguration of the Future
Part Three: Realizing the Tragic Regime
6. The Politics of Genius
7. The Metaphysics of the Genius
8. Nietzsche beyond Tragedy
Notes
Selected Bibliography
Index

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ISBN: 978-0-87580-233-6
cloth $35.50