Klossowski’s Nietzsche

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    Along with Deleuze, the philosopher, writer, translator, and artist Pierre Klossowski (1905-2001) was one of the key interpreters associated with the “Nietzsche revival” in France in the 1960s and 70s. Klossowski translated Heidegger’s lectures on Nietzsche, and authored the celebrated book Nietzsche and the Vicious Circle (1969). This chapter focuses on the surprising reading of Nietzsche Klossowski develops in this book and related essays. Dwelling on the relationship between Nietzsche’s ill health and his philosophical thought, Klosowski develops a radical theory of the relationship between the body, thought and language. For Klossowski’s Nietzsche, conscious thought expressed in language (the “code of everyday signs”) is a misinterpretation of the body’s impulses. The philosopher needs to develop a “semiotic of impulses” which treats thoughts as signs, and allows us to better interpret the bodily impulses from which they arise. Klossowski’s Nietzsche thus takes the side of the body, against conscious thought and language, as the true locus of philosophical significance. Furthermore, Klossowski develops an influential reading of the eternal return as a thought which radically disrupts the unity of subjectivity. Klossowski’s reading of Nietzsche was an important, and vastly under-appreciated source of many of the ideas which were developed by other French philosophers of his generation, and which came to be associated with “post-structuralism” and “postmodernism.”
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationInterpreting Nietzsche
    Subtitle of host publicationReception and Influence
    EditorsAshley Woodward
    Place of PublicationLondon
    ISBN (Electronic)9781441129260
    ISBN (Print)9781441120045, 9781441152411
    Publication statusPublished - 2011


    • Nietzsche, Friedrich


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