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Dead Letters to Nietzsche, or the Necromantic Art of Reading Philosophy

Joanne Faulkner

Publication Year: 2010

Dead Letters to Nietzsche examines how writing shapes subjectivity through the example of Nietzsche’s reception by his readers, including Stanley Rosen, David Farrell Krell, Georges Bataille, Laurence Lampert, Pierre Klossowski, and Sarah Kofman. More precisely, Joanne Faulkner finds that the personal identification that these readers form with Nietzsche’s texts is an enactment of the kind of identity formation described in Lacanian and Kleinian psychoanalysis. This investment of their subjectivity guides their understanding of Nietzsche’s project, the revaluation of values. Not only does this work make a provocative contribution to Nietzsche scholarship, but it also opens in an original way broader philosophical questions about how readers come to be invested in a philosophical project and how such investment alters their subjectivity.

Published by: Ohio University Press


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pp. v-vi

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pp. vii-viii

Earlier versions of some of the material in this book have been published in the form of articles, and I gratefully acknowledge the assistance I received from the journal editors and anonymous readers who contributed to the improvement of this work, through their advice and commentary. The articles in question are: “‘Keeping It in the Family’: Sarah Kofman Reading ...

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Introduction: The Quickened and the Dead

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pp. 1-10

More than most philosophers, Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche commands a following of readers who attempt, each in his or her own manner, to perpetuate his legacy. Many of these thinkers have dedicated a great deal of their lives not only to reading and interpreting Nietzsche’s texts, but also attempting to actualize “the event” his writings only envisage: the ...

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1. Ontology for Philologists: Nietzsche, Body, Subject

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pp. 11-34

Everything Nietzsche published, he intended to be read. This may seem a banal observation, yet commentators frequently deem as extraneous and impertinent Nietzsche’s more “stylish” prose: whereby he sets a scene for his philosophy, or instructs his reader in the art of reading his books—as in the passage quoted above. As a philosopher who also self-identified as a ...

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2. Lacan, Desire, and the Originating Function of Loss

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pp. 35-60

If psychoanalysis can teach us anything, it is the formative effect upon the subject of the father’s death, the fantasy of which provides the conditions for the emergence of subjectivity. Freud’s various parables of parricide and incest (re)enact the experience of rupture that characterizes subjectivity: ...

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3. “The Insiders”: Nietzsche’s Secret Teaching and the Invention of “the Philosopher of the Future”

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pp. 61-94

Like a child before the lacanian mirror, Nietzsche anticipates himself in his own writing, the various self-characterizations that he draws providing the Gestalt by means of which his subjectivity is organized. Thus, in writing an “autobiography,” Ecce Homo, Nietzsche makes a wager with himself ...

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4. The Contagion of Affect in Nietzsche:Klein, Krell, Bataille

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pp. 95-123

We have seen already that the partition of Nietzsche’s writing into inside and outside—whereby a chosen few are apparently always already admitted to the text, which in turn keeps all others radically exterior—is complicated by psychoanalytic considerations of the formation of (readerly) subjectivity. This chapter will explore further this understanding ...

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5. Family Romances and Textual Encounters: Sarah Kofman Reading Nietzsche

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pp. 124-148

The hazard of family relations is well borne out by Sarah Kofman’s texts. From her book-length studies of Freud and Nietzsche, to her short discourses about her childhood and her dreams, Kofman’s writings are as personal as they are philosophical. Moreover, the personal interpenetrates the philosophical, and vice versa, because for her the two cannot properly be ...

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6. The Vision, the Riddle, and the Vicious Circle: Pierre Klossowski’s Reading of Nietzsche’s Sick Body

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pp. 149-186

In closing with an analysis of Pierre Klossowski’s Nietzsche and the Vicious Circle, we will have toured a full circle, returning to and summarizing questions of the subject’s relation to language, the philosopher’s body, and the pivotal role of interpretation in Nietzsche’s philosophy. But this chapter ...


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pp. 187-199


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pp. 200-205


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pp. 207-211

E-ISBN-13: 9780821443293
Print-ISBN-13: 9780821419137

Page Count: 211
Publication Year: 2010

OCLC Number: 794698913
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Dead Letters to Nietzsche, or the Necromantic Art of Reading Philosophy

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Subject Headings

  • Nietzsche, Friedrich Wilhelm, -- 1844-1900.
  • Subjectivity.
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