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New Left Review 3, May-June 2000

If uncritically lyrical receptions of Nietzsche are receding, who has truly resisted his ultimate seduction—‘reading for victory’? Mere rejection of Nietzsche’s ideals does not escape his lure, Malcolm Bull argues. Only the standpoint of the subhuman is proof against his ecology of value.



Opposed to everyone, Nietzsche has met with remarkably little opposition. In fact, his reputation has suffered only one apparent reverse—his enthusiastic adoption by the Nazis. But, save in Germany, Nietzsche’s association with the horrors of the Second World War and the Holocaust has served chiefly to stimulate further curiosity. Of course, the monster has had to be tamed, and Nietzsche’s thought has been cleverly reconstructed so as perpetually to evade the evils perpetrated in his name. Even those philosophies for which he consistently reserved his most biting contempt—socialism, feminism and Christianity—have sought to appropriate their tormentor. Almost everybody now claims Nietzsche as one of their own; he has become what he most wanted to be—irresistible.

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Malcolm Bull, ‘Where is the Anti-Nietzsche?’, NLR 3: £3

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