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Rhetorics of Degeneration: Nietzsche, Lombroso, and Napoleon

Rhetorics of Degeneration: Nietzsche, Lombroso, and Napoleon <p>Abstract:</p><p>In this commentary on Ken Gemes&apos;s "The Biology of Evil," I endorse the general reading of Nietzsche&apos;s philosophical project proposed by Gemes while contesting his account of Nietzsche&apos;s rhetorical engagement with degeneration theory. In particular, I show that Nietzsche is mobilizing a rhetoric of degeneration that invokes, and partially subverts, the picture of degeneration proposed by Caesare Lombroso in which (contra Gemes&apos;s adoption of Nordau&apos;s view of degeneration) genius and degeneration are linked in a way that enables a positive view of degeneration as a source of social transformation. Focusing on Nietzsche&apos;s rhetorical use of the figure of Napoleon in the <i>Genealogy</i>, I argue that Nietzsche&apos;s engagement with the tropes of Lombroso&apos;s theory provides support for Gemes&apos;s claim concerning the ethical aim of Nietzsche&apos;s project in a way that his own account of Nietzsche and degeneration cannot.</p> http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Journal of Nietzsche Studies Penn State University Press

Rhetorics of Degeneration: Nietzsche, Lombroso, and Napoleon

The Journal of Nietzsche Studies , Volume 52 (1) – Apr 20, 2021

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Publisher
Penn State University Press
Copyright
Copyright © The Pennsylvania State University.
ISSN
1538-4594

Abstract

<p>Abstract:</p><p>In this commentary on Ken Gemes&apos;s "The Biology of Evil," I endorse the general reading of Nietzsche&apos;s philosophical project proposed by Gemes while contesting his account of Nietzsche&apos;s rhetorical engagement with degeneration theory. In particular, I show that Nietzsche is mobilizing a rhetoric of degeneration that invokes, and partially subverts, the picture of degeneration proposed by Caesare Lombroso in which (contra Gemes&apos;s adoption of Nordau&apos;s view of degeneration) genius and degeneration are linked in a way that enables a positive view of degeneration as a source of social transformation. Focusing on Nietzsche&apos;s rhetorical use of the figure of Napoleon in the <i>Genealogy</i>, I argue that Nietzsche&apos;s engagement with the tropes of Lombroso&apos;s theory provides support for Gemes&apos;s claim concerning the ethical aim of Nietzsche&apos;s project in a way that his own account of Nietzsche and degeneration cannot.</p>

Journal

The Journal of Nietzsche StudiesPenn State University Press

Published: Apr 20, 2021

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