cover of book

Nietzsche's Sister and the Will to Power: A Biography of Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche
by Carol Diethe
University of Illinois Press, 2002
Paper: 978-0-252-07467-7 | Cloth: 978-0-252-02826-7 | eISBN: 978-0-252-05469-3
Library of Congress Classification B3316.D54 2003
Dewey Decimal Classification 193

A penetrating study of the sister who betrayed and endangered her famous brother's legacy

In 1901, a year after her brother Friedrich's death, Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche published The Will to Power, a hasty compilation of writings he had never intended for print. In Nietzsche's Sister and the Will to Power, Carol Diethe contends that Förster-Nietzsche's own will to power and her desire to place herself--not her brother--at the center of cultural life in Germany are centrally responsible for Nietzsche's reputation as a belligerent and proto-Fascist thinker.

Offering a new look at Nietzsche's sister from a feminist perspective, this spirited and erudite biography examines why Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche recklessly consorted with anti-Semites, from her own husband to Hitler himself, out of convenience and a desire for revenge against a brother whose love for her waned after she caused the collapse of his friendship with Lou Salomé. The book also examines their family dynamics, Nietzsche's dismissal of his sister's early writing career, and the effects of limited education on intelligent women. Diethe concludes by detailing Förster-Nietzsche's brief marriage and her subsequent colonial venture in Paraguay, maintaining that her sporadic anti-Semitism was, like most things in her life, an expedient tool for cultivating personal success and status.

A volume in the series International Nietzsche Studies, edited by Richard Schacht

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