Nietzsche’s Culture War: The Unity of the Untimely Meditations
JMC fellow Shilo Brooks published the first book-length study of Friedrich Nietzsche‘s Untimely Meditations. His work, titled Nietzsche’s Culture War, is part of Palgrave’s Recovering Political Philosophy series edited by Professors Timothy W. Burns and Thomas L. Pangle. Brooks’ work reveals that in the Untimely Meditations Nietzsche’s diatribes against David Strauss and Hegelian historical school of thought is a precursor to Nietzsche’s later account of the “last man,” Nietzsche’s depiction of torpid, comfort-seeking modern man. Conversely, Brooks shows that Nietzsche’s praise for Schopenhauer and Wagner parallels Nietzsche’s later portrayal of the “overman,” the strong man who leads modern civilization out of its meaningless abyss and into self-willed greatness.
Last month, Brooks delivered a lecture on his book at St. Johns College, Sante Fe. Listen to the lecture below, or find it on the St. John’s College website.
Shilo Brooks teaches interdisciplinary courses in the social sciences and humanities in the Herbst Program of Humanities in Engineering at the University of Colorado. His latest book, Nietzsche’s Culture War, examines Friedrich Nietzsche’s critique of modern politics, culture, and science. He has also written on liberal education and the role that philosophy and the humanities should play in STEM education. He was previously a fellow in the Program on Constitutionalism and Democracy, a JMC partner program, at the University of Virginia, where he taught courses on American politics and economics. He was also a visiting assistant professor at Bowdoin College, where he taught political theory. A graduate of the Great Books program at St. John’s College, he earned his PhD in political science from Boston College. His research interests include the history of political philosophy, American political thought, leadership, and the history of science.
Professors Timothy W. Burns and Thomas L. Pangle are editors of Palgrave’s Recovering Political Philosophy series. Below is a description of the series.
Postmodernism’s challenge to the possibility of a rational foundation for and guidance of our political lives has provoked a searching re-examination of the works of past political philosophers. The re-examination seeks to recover the ancient or classical grounding for civic reason and to clarify the strengths and weaknesses of modern philosophic rationalism. This series responds to this ferment by making available outstanding new scholarship in the history of political philosophy, scholarship that is inspired by the rediscovery of the diverse rhetorical strategies employed by political philosophers. The series features interpretive studies attentive to historical context and language, and to the ways in which censorship and didactic concern impelled prudent thinkers, in widely diverse cultural conditions, to employ manifold strategies of writing, strategies that allowed them to aim at different audiences with various degrees of openness to unconventional thinking. Recovering Political Philosophy emphasizes the close reading of ancient, medieval, early modern and late modern works that illuminate the human condition by attempting to answer its deepest, enduring questions, and that have (in the modern periods) laid the foundations for contemporary political, social, and economic life. The editors encourage manuscripts from both established and emerging scholars who focus on the careful study of texts, either through analysis of a single work or through thematic study of a problem or question in a number of works.
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