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The amount of writing on Nietzsche in English alone is now growing at a rate that is both a tribute and a threat. The most magisterial book on him, by someone deeply sympathetic yet firmly critical, is Erich Heller’s The Importance of Nietzsche (University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1988). A book somewhat similar in tone, but following patiently through Nietzsche’s development, is F. A. Lea’s The Tragic Philosopher (Athlone Press, London, 1993). Originally published in 1957, it is a trailblazing work, written, like Heller’s and unlike almost everyone else’s, with notable grace and a Nietzschean passion. Unfortunately Lea uses old and discredited translations for quotation; and he ends surprisingly by finding that Nietzsche rediscovered the teachings of Christ and Paul for our time. Walter Kaufmann’s ill-organized transformation of Nietzsche into a liberal humanist has its place in the history of Nietzsche reception (Nietzsche 4th edn, Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ, 1974).
Of more recent works, the most acclaimed, often setting new standards in detailed analytic working-through of Nietzsche’s positions, is Alexander Nehamas’s Nietzsche: Life as Literature (Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass., 1985). It is a demanding but rewarding book, but Nehamas relies too heavily on unpublished notebooks of Nietzsche’s. More impressive still, as I have indicated in the text, is Henry Staten’s Nietzsche’s Voice (Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY, 1990), a moving and profound series of meditations on some basic themes in Nietzsche. A less demanding and more critical work on an aspect of Nietzsche which has received little in the way of book-length attention is Julian Young’s Nietzsche’s Philosophy of Art (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1992). Young finds a lot to be indignant about, but his criticisms, in their downrightness, are thought-provoking. A full-length book on BT by M. S. Silk and J. P. Stern is Nietzsche on Tragedy (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1981), which leaves no stone unturned, so far as the biographical background, the accuracy of Nietzsche’s account of Ancient Greece, and so on, are concerned. The essence of the work itself, and the source of its fascination, eludes them, but this is a mine of absorbing information. Nietzsche’s politics, or rather his seeming lack of them, are dealt with at length in two overlong but intermittently helpful books, both rather badly written. Tracy Strong’s Friedrich Nietzsche and the Politics of Transfiguration (expanded edn, University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1988) ranges very widely, and contains a particularly bizarre account of the Eternal Recurrence. Mark Warren’s Nietzsche and Political Thought (MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass., 1988) distinguishes between what Nietzsche’s political views, never presented systematically, were, and what they should have been, from the standpoint of the Frankfurt School of Critical Theory.
There are many collections of essays by various commentators: one that has some excellent contributions to the reading of particular books is Reading Nietzsche, edited by Robert C. Solomon and Kathleen M. Higgins (Oxford University Press, 1988). The way that Nietzsche tends to be read in France now is usefully illustrated in a book of translations of Derrida, Klossowski, Deleuze, and so on: The New Nietzsche, edited by David B. Allison (Delta, 1977). I find Gilles Deleuze’s celebrated Nietzsche and Philosophy (trans. Hugh Tomlinson, Athlone Press, London, 1983) quite wild about Nietzsche, but interesting about Deleuze. Many people swear by it. And we are in for an invasion of works from France, where Nietzsche has been idiosyncratically cultivated since World War II.

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