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Open SecretsLiterature, Education, and Authority from J-J. Rousseau to J. M. Coetzee$
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Michael Bell

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199208098

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199208098.001.0001

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Nietzsche as Educator and the Implosion of Bildung

Nietzsche as Educator and the Implosion of Bildung

(p.130) 5 Nietzsche as Educator and the Implosion of Bildung
Open Secrets

Michael Bell (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter shows how Nietzsche develops Goethe's critique of Bildung. The early essays on Schopenhauer as Educator and on The Uses and Disadvantages of History raise questions about the authority of the mentor and of the relation of humanistic culture to historical agency. These themes come to a culmination in Thus Spoke Zarathustra, which until the late 20th century was commonly read as an expression of Nietzschean doctrine through a rather idealised eponymous mouthpiece. Only recently has it been recognised that Zarathustra is a character who represents the conscious crisis of Nietzsche's own authority, or capacity to make himself understood, is less troubled by his critics than by his disciples, and is at his most despairing the more accurately these repeat the formulae of his doctrine. At the same time, it is precisely his radical, and self-encompassing, critique which gives Nietzsche's thought its almost unique and enduring power.

Keywords:   Nietzsche, Bildung, Zarathustra, Schopenhauer, mentor

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