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Thinker on Stage

Nietzsche’s Materialism

1989
Author:

Peter Sloterdijk
Translated by Jamie Owen Daniel
Foreword by Jochen Schulte-Sasse

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A study of Nietzsche’s first published work which offers an abundance of fresh insights into both Nietzsche and modernity.

A study of Nietzsche’s first published work which offers an abundance of fresh insights into both Nietzsche and modernity.

“Sloterdijk’s dramaturgical approach to Nietzsche in Thinker on Stage rewards us with an abundance of fresh insights into both Nietzsche and modernity” Southern Humanities Review

Thinker on Stage is Peter Sloterdijk’s audacious, empathetic reading of Friedrich Nietzsche’s first published work, The Birth of Tragedy out of the Spirit of Music. Intended originally as a postscript to a new edition of Nietzsche’s book, Sloterdijk’s text grew and became a book in its own right. Sloterdijk characterizes Nietzsche as a centaur - a philologist/musician, a philosopher/poet; the possessor of multiple talents inseparable from one another - who, in consequence, led the life of an obscure outsider on the fringes of organized cultural life. To Sloterdijk, Nietzsche is not a hairsplitting philologist behind a lecturn but rather a thinker on stage, enacting a psychodrama on the origins of tragedy in universal human suffering. Reaching beond philology, and risking his career, Nietzsche used this stage to present a glimpse of Greek antiquity quite unlike that cherished in nineteenth-century bourgeois culture.

Sloterdijk, in turn, uses his subtle reading of Nietzsche to make his own cultural evaluations. Above all, he finds in The Birth of Tragedy, and in Nietzsche’s life, a refutation of the will to power, and a sign that Nietzsche - fragile, wounded, endangered, yet self-affirming - is our contemporary.

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Peter Sloterdijk holds a doctorate in German literature from the University of Hamburg; he is the author of Critique of Cynical Reason, published in translation by Minnesota in 1988.

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“Sloterdijk’s dramaturgical approach to Nietzsche in Thinker on Stage rewards us with an abundance of fresh insights into both Nietzsche and modernity” Southern Humanities Review