The Janus Face of Decadence: Nietzsche's Genealogy and the Rhetoric of Anti-Semitism

by Eva M. Knodt
The Janus Face of Decadence: Nietzsche's Genealogy and the Rhetoric of Anti-Semitism
Eva M. Knodt
The German Quarterly
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Indiana University

The Janus Face of Decadence: Nietzsche's Genealogy and the Rhetoric of Anti-Semitism

Nietzsche-peut-6tre-a-t-il Bprouv6 et montre ce que produit la distance idnie resorbhe dans le m6me, et la difference demeurant sans visage ni physionomie. De vouloir surmonter le tout, il s'enfonce dans les t6n&bres--illuminh et sans perspective. Devenant l'ensemble du temps du monde, il ne lui reste aucun point de vue qui lui permette de voir.

Luce Irigaray, Amante marine: De Friedrich Nietzsche

On the evening of 20 October 1871, shortly after returning from a trip to Leipzig, Nietzsche writes a letter to Erwin Rhode in which he reminisces about a photograph taken on the occasion of a recent reunion with friends at the Leipzig fair:l

Mein lieber Freund,

heute sende ich Dir nur ein Wortchen zur Begleitung der MeRphotographie, die Hennig zu meiner Ergetzung vorgestern abgeliefert hat. . . . Wir stehen auf dieser Photographie etwas verschoben und ich vornehmlich "unschon gekrummt," mit einem stumpfen Blicke, aus dem die ganze Durnrnheit der Mesy, sarnrnt ihren Spiri- tuosen, redet. Im Ubrigen-senza frivo- lita-wir waren doch die gliicklichsten MeBjuden in Leipzig, ja wir durften die Rollen aus dem Lumpacivagabundus unter uns vertheilen, wobei ich aufden Schu- ster Anspruch erhebe, von wegen des deli- rium tremens clemens demens. (KSB 3:


There is nothing overtly anti-Semitic in this letter unless one reads the mere mentioning of the Jew, playfully innocent as it may sound, as a sign of repressed hostility. On the face of it, that would seem absurd. And yet, why mention the Jew at all? What, in other words, accounts for the introduction of this figure if not an implicit chain of associations that points beyond the picture's framed sur- face to the cultural code that generates its meaning according to a structure of percep tion rooted in 19thcentury racial prejudice? That Nietzsche would indeed establish an associative link between the sense of "stu- pidity" emanating from the fair and an excessively "Jewish" spirit of commerce is con- sistent with the anti-Semitic bias that informs his thinking while under the in- fluence of Richard Wagner. Although never as ferocious as Wagner's in his promotion of this bias, Nietzsche's cultural criticism of the early 1870s, especially in Die Geburt der lhgodie (1872) and the second of the Unzeitgemwe Betrachtungen (Vom Nutzen und Naclzteil der Hisbrie fir das Leben;

1873), is based on a set of conceptual opposi- tions compatible with, ifnot reducible to, the Wagnerian antithesis between Deutsclztum and ~udentum.~

Like Wagner, the young Nietzsche condemns as "Jewish" just about everything he finds wrong with contem- porary Germany: its shallow optimism, its lack of depth and true passion. Indicating a state of utter degeneracy, these "symptoms" point to a decentered culture led astray by the false idols of "Socratic" scientism and "Jewish" materialism, hence a culture much in need of redemption.

The German Quarterly 66.2 (Spring 1993) 160

What is remarkable, therefore, about the letter to Rhode is not its latent anti- Semitism per se, but the particular use of anti-Semitic rhetoric in the construction of an idealized communal identity with dis- tinct political overtones. In a manner char- acteristic ofhis correspondence at the time, Nietzsche evokes an emphatic notion of friendship, an inclusive "we" implicitly defined by its rejection of contemporary German culture, but then, curiously enough, locates this collective at precisely the point where the actual experience of its identity coincides with its own dissolution. In the image of the ugly Jew rich vor- nehmlich 'unschon gekriimmt'"), the dis- tance between self and Other is erased. Placed at the center of the group as its rep- resentative, this "ich" is not only indistin- guishable from the Other, but has literally become the Other, the emanating source of its mental degeneracy ("aus dem die ganze Dummheit der Messe redet"). And yet, the voice that records the delirium of the self, its submergence into the "plebejisch politi- scher Tageslarm" (KSB 3: 105), cannot do so without denying-ue1.17.ei17.en in the Freudian sense-the elimination of dif- ference that constitutes the quasi-Diony- sian quality of the experience. For not only does the supplementa~y "little word ("nur ein Wortchen zur Begleitung") that estab- lishes the semiotic link between the image and itsmeaning assert the identity between selfand Other, but it simultaneouslyunder- cuts this assertion by way of an ironic dis- tancing, thus introducing a semantic am- bi,guity into the picture which inevitably reconstitutes difference, at least as a pos- sibility. This is in fact what the concluding reference to Nestroy's Lumpnciuc~gnbic.n.- dus seeks to accomplish. In retrospect, Nietzsche dissociates hi~nself from the epi- sode by reducing its content (i.e., the loss of identity) to a frivolous game of self-con- scious mimicry. The "delirious gaze" (stumpfer Bliclz) attributed to a self re- constituted in memory merely acts out a literary script, the role of the wandering Jew whose passion for alcoholic beverages makes him resistant to the redemptive ef- forts of good fortune and love.* And finally, the very act of ironic self-objectification is ironized yet again in its blatantly trans- parent presentation as mere masquerade, a parodistic gesture that exploits precisely the talent for mimicry which Nietzsche in his later work explicitly identifies with both the woman and the Jew.

The ironic use of anti-Semitic rhetoric in the construction of an experience of non- identity suggests an entire spectrum of pos- sible dispositions toward the Other ranging from idealization to undisguised contempt. The letter to Rhode presents both ends of the spectrum-the Jew as de'cadent and as a master of sinlulation-but plays these projections off against each other in a self- parodyinggame of mock-identification that makes it inlpossible to assign a unequivocal value to either one of them. Chronologically, however, the contradictory values attributed to the Jew tend to c~ystallize around what appears to indicate a major shift in Nietzsche's basic attitude toward Judaism, especially when one compares, for example, the anti-Semitic "gut reactionsVof the student at Leipzigwith the ostentatious "anti-anti-Semitism" (KSB 7: 147) of the lS80~.~

Somewhere along the line, the hos- tilities must have undergone a reversal that turned them back upon the agg-re~sor.~

But if Wagnerian politics provide a general framework for Nietzsche's cultural critique during the 1870s, his subsequent revalua- tion of the "Jewish ingredient" within the history of the West merely seems to displace the object of Nietzsche's projective stereo- typing, rather than to affect these mech- anisms then~selves.~

For not a single anti- Semitic stereotype remains unexploited in Nietzsche's diatribe against the decadence of German culture even after this diatribe turns against anti-Semitism itself as a predominant trait of that culture.8

If the rhetorical structure of these ste~eotypesis generally as complex as the letter to Rhode suggestsand I shall argue that this is indeed the case-a non-reductive account of Nietzsche's contradictory at- titude toward Judaism will have to turn away from the content of his "images of Otherness" and focus instead on the logic of their production.g Sander Gilman's workon Nietzsche offers a fruitful point ofdeparture for such an analysis. By tracing Nietzsche's anti-Semitism to a "complex form of self- hatred" rooted in his divided sense of self as a violent critic of the dominant patriar- chal-Christian society, Gilman shows how, with growing isolation, Nietzsche was led to identify with what his society stig- matized as the "epitome of Otherness": the degenerate Eastern Jew. When, on the other hand, Nietzsche sought an analogue for what he feared most within himself, he fell '%back upon that rhetoric which for him (as a German Christian) and his time pos- sessed the peatest negative force, the

rhetoric of anti-Semitism."1°

As a cultural historian, Gilman seelrs to relate Nietzsche's discourse to anti-Semi- tism as apolitical force in 19th-century Ger- many, and hence to identify his use of anti- Semitic stereotypes as either positive (the "good" Jew as the object of anti-Semitism) or negative (the '%ad" Jew as Christian) withina broad, culturally peivasive, discur- sive context. My own emphasis here is a different one: I propose to examine the role of anti-Semitic stereotypes within the process oftlzeol yformation, more specifical- ly, within the constitution of what is com- monly referred to as Nietzsche's "theoiy of power." To the extent that self-hatred operates in the realm of theory, it does so in two distinct, albeit related, ways: on theone hand, it functions as the source of a dis- course that externalizes inner conflicts and fears in the negative image of the Jew as the prototypical de'cadent; on the other hand, self-hatred becoines the explicit ob- ject of an increasingly self-conscious geneal- ogy that recognizes its own iinplication in the discourse of decadence and turns back upon itself to analyze what Rainer Nagele has described as the "economy of resent- ment,"ll in the hope of breaking the vicious cycle of self-negation that perpetuates this discourse.

The strongly negative, yet inherently equivocal, rhetoric of anti-Semitism is con- stitutive of this project in that it provides the semantic resources for a critique of cul- ture that can accommodate not only genealogy's theoretical impulse (physiologi- cal explanation) but also its political desire to overconle decadence through a radical "transvaluation" (Umwertung) of values. The paradoxical construction of the Jew as the "anti-decadent decadent," a figure com- bining both degeneracy and cultural hope, displays this double motive in form of an irreducible tension. What interests me here are the theoretical complications resulting from this tension as they surface in projec- tions of Otherness which simultaneously reflect and mask these complications. By confronting these projections with the sys- tematic implications of Nietzsche's "theory of power," I intend to show how genealogy's iinpossible search for the law of its own production remains caught within a struc- ture of perception whose sociocultural dimension inevitably eludes its grasp. It is therefore not the inability of reconciling the theoretical and the political which accounts for the ultimate failure of Nietzsche's project, but rathel; as I shall argue, the im- possibility of maintaining a clear-cut separation between the two.

Inorder to understand the contradictory logic that governs Nietzsche's use of anti- Semitic stereotypes, it will be necessary to cut through several layers of reflexivity. To begin with, the project of determining the exact role of such stereotypes submits to analysis a discourse that itself implies a Yheoiy of interpretation," i.e., a systematic account of the deep structures that generate the binary logic of cultural codes. Secondly, the mode in which Nietzsche presents his "theory" is genealogy, a strategy of reading which, qua interpretation, is subject to the very mechanisms of discourse production it seeks to analyze.

Given this circularity, any attempt to trace the mechanisms underlying Nietz- sche's projections of Otherness amounts to entering a hall of mirrors. If this is in- evitable, the most convenient entrance may well be through the back door, the door through which Nietzsche appeals to exit the system in what could be read as a retrospec- tive effort to close it off by ''grounding' genealogy in a "theoiy of power." What I am referring to is the project of reconstituting the relationship between morality andepis- temology by systeinatically reinscribing both within the evolutionary framework of a "natural history of the intellect."The idea reaches back to the early essay "~ber Wahrheit und Luge iln aufiermoralischen Sinne" (1873) and is elaborated through the 1880s innun~erous notes and sketchespost- humously published by Elisabeth Forster- Nietzsche under the title Der 'IKlle sur M~rclzt.~~

In the section 'The Will to Power as Cognition," Nietzsche traces the "origin" of values to the preconscious level where the boundaries between inside and outside are first established: "Alles Denlen, Ur- theilen, Wahrnehmen als V e r g 1e i c h e n hat als Voraussetzung ein 'Gleich = s e t- z e n,' noch fruher ein 'Gleich = m a c h e n.' Das Gleich=machen ist Dasselbe, was die Einverleibungder angeeipeten Materie in die Anlobe ist" (WM 2: 21). By implication, the primitive organism-the ainoeba as a kind of body that consists of nothing but a stomach-spits out as indigestible what- ever it cannot "mal~e equal." The biological model suggests that, once the physiological is posited as primary, linguistic predica- tions such as goodbad or truelfalse can be analyzed as metaphorical displaceinents of "literal" digestive processes, strategies of domination within an econoiny of self-preservation that function the more effec- tively the better they inanage to repress ("forget") their true origin.

Nietzsche, for good reasons, never took that final step of grounding cognition or, for that matter, language in physiology. 'R-I ignore this fact is to fall prey to the effects of a selective arrangement of "exoteric" inaterial posthumously compiled so as to suggest systematic closure. That Nietz- sche's "theory of power" is a fabrication based on questionable editorial principles has become evident with the critical edition of his posthumous work.13 If I emphasize here the systematic implications of Nietz- sche's thought, I do so in view of what I referred to earlier as the tension in.his cul- tural critique between two conflicting mo- tives: the theoretical impetus to account for the decline of Western culture, on the one hand, and the political ambition to reverse the course of this development, on the other. In this critique, a strongsystematic impulse is in coilstant battle with an equally strong tendency to counteract this impulse. And although the episteinological status of the physiological remains infinitely problem- atic for Nietzsche, he constantly resorts to physiology as a source of analogies whose heuristic value, let alone their rhetorical force, derives precisely from their systeinatic implications, not to mention the "scielltific" connotations associated with such analogies in the popular imagination of the time.

Nietzsche's use of digestive metaphors is a case in point. While his propensity for such inetaphors has often been noted, their racist implications seem less obvious at first, but come to the fore once the physi- ological analogy is applied on the level of the social. Cultures degenerate-Nietzsche repeats this ad nauseam-when their digestive systems begin to malfunction and their "instinctive" resistance against for- eign influences breaks down. As early as in Die Geburt der Dagtjdie, Nietzsche evokes this model to condemn contemporary Ger- man culture (Jetstzeit) as a disease caused by the virus of an excessively "Socratic" Franco-Judaic tradition (KSA 1: 148-49). His political aspirations concerning a

rejuvenation of that culture are couched in the figure of areturn to origins Cdem reinen und kraftigen Kerne des deutschen We- sens"), a cure that amounts to exorcising ("ausscheiden") from the Geiman soul all those "violently implanted foreign elements" (gewaltsam eingepflamte fivemde Elemente) that corrupt its purity (KSA 1: 149). The normative appeal to a heavily charged organicist ideology suggests a strong affinity, if not overt complicity, with 19th-century racial theories that aimed at demonstrating the alleged inferiority of the Jewish race.14 Years later, Nietzsche re- verts to the same type of argument to voice his concerns, in view of what by 1885 he considers the historic mission of the Jews, that the purification of their race ("der Gang, von AuRen nach Innen, voin 'Schein' zum 'Sein"') might retrograde irreversibly ("ins Unliisbare zuriickgeschoben werden") unless they themselves set limits ("Grenzen . . . setzen") against the "schauerliche und verachtliche HaRlichkeit" of Eastern Jew- ish immigrants (KSA 11: 688). Despite the remarkable shift of emphasis in the content of Nietzsche's racial prejudices, their struc- ture remains virtually unchanged.

If one radicalizes the systematic iin- plications of these two passages in light of Nietzsche's hypothesis of the "will to power," their juxtaposition reveals a predicament which eventually forces him to subordinate his theoretical speculations to practical political concerns. As we have seen, the systematic reduction of validity claims to "the yes and no of the palate," and the corresponding notion of the "will to

physiological impulses, the notion of her- meneutic, or philological, adequacy is replaced by the question as to how a par- ticular set of values functions within the struggle of the human species for survival and domination. While this line of question- ing provides the leverage for Nietzsche's critique of the philosophy of consciousness from Descartes to Kant, it seems nonethe- less troubled by its inability to demask the %ill to truth" as a veiled "will to deception" without presupposing at least implicitly some lrind of truth; otherwise it makes no sense to spealr of "deception" in the first place.1G Moreovel; if the naturalist perspec- tive provides anempirical framework to ac- count for the genesis of the huinan intellect in evolutionaiy terms, Nietzsche's refusal to insist on a systelnaticdistinctionbetween tl-uth and error seems to eliminate any basis for an evaluation of such a develop- ment. Which is to say that the hypothesis of the "will to power," while entailing the possibility of distinguishingbetween "good" and "bad" values as manifestations of "strong" and "weak" instincts, is unable to supply specific criteria to decide in any given instance whether a particular set of values does in fact indicate a life-affirming (active) or life-negating (reactive) force.

At this point, thevery logic ofNietzsche's reasoning reveals its cultural context. For precisely such evaluative criteria are needed if the hypothesis of the 'kill to power" is to be of any use for a critique of ideology that longs to escape the impoverished values of an imperfect age. For lack of such criteria, Nietzsche could never

power" as "fabrication" (Zu1-ecl7tn~acI~urIg)

quite make up his mind as to whether the

of a given reality or textual tradition, ap- pears to provide a "scientific" basis for a critical strategy that seeks to make those traditions transparent with respect to their underlying power c1aimsl"at least if read against the background of expectations generated by the positivist ideology of 19th- century science. To the extent that Nietzsche understands cultural expressions as metaphorical displacements of

emergence of the human intellect marks an advance over the raw, unsublimated force of non-intelligent species, or a process of decline. And this indecision, aggravated by the recognition that the "will to power" tends to conceal its tiue nature, charac- terizes Nietzsche's ambivalence toward decadence in general. The superficiality, for example, which Die Geburt der ?).agodie condemns as "foreign" to the German char- acter-elsewhere, Nietzsche speaks of a "flattening-ou t" (Verflachung) of German culture (KSB 3: 203ban be read with equal justification as either the indication of a fundamental "lack in the heart of this culture" (itfangel im Herzen diesel. Cultur.; KSA 1: 149) or as a mask that conceals the depth of Germany's true "Dionysian" na- ture. It is the latter possibility which sug- gests a Wagnerian politics of redemption through art, whereas the former accounts for Nietzsche's shift, after his break with Wagner, from a nationalist to a cosmopoli- tan perspective, and for the corresponding revaluation of the Jewish race.

Such shifts and sudden turns ofperspec- tive-any number of them could be cited- are symptomatic of the kind of self-reflexivity which, as I indicated earliel; prevents Nietzsche's "theory ofpower" from operating as theory in a rigorous sense, i.e., as a neutral "scientific"meta-language. The very nature ofNietzsche's project inevitably implicates genealogy in its own theoretical postulates.17 To the extent that Nietzsche plays with the idea of an exit from the semi- otic chain, he does so only to demonstrate that no such exit exists. Rather than tiying to avoid self-referentiality (as if this were possible), he sacrifices systematic consis- tency for the salte of the "unspealtable com- plications" involved in deciphering the lan- guage of the body (KSA 11: 434). Moreover, to take the body as a "point of departure" (Ausgangspunlzt;WM 2: 17)is not to postu- late the physiological as the literal, a separate realm outside of history, but, as Nietzsche insists in Zto. Genealogie der. Moral, to read it as a script, the concrete embodiment of forces "eng~aved (ein.- geritzt) on its marred surface (KSA 5: 29596).18 The body, in other words, together with the entire instinctual economy that makes up its particular physique, is cul- turally coded through and through. In evolutionary terms, the "theoretical instinct" exemplifies merely one particular configuration of such forces, and a belated one at that, "sharpened" (uel-sclzkft) by the negativity that characterizes instincts that have "turned inward" (verinnerlicht). Therefore, a 'Yheory" that seeks to account for itself does not escape the necessity of reading of tracing its own "emergence" (En,tstelaung)as an inscription within a cul- tural (con)text from which it is unable to disentangle itself completely. Grounded in nothing but an unstable aggregation of con- flicting impulses and desires, for which Western philosophy invented the concept of a unified "subject" to ward off the fear of disintegration, genealogy "plugs in" direct- ly into the "semiotic chain" (Zeichen-Kette) as one further metaphoric displacement in an unending series of "ever-new interpreta- tions and fabrications" (uon immer neuen Intelpl.etation.en und Zureclatmachungen) without origin (KSA 5: 314).

The proliferation of truth into a plurality of shifting attitudes gives rise to a discourse whose potential success as a critique of ideology is systematically linked to its failure as theoiy to account for itselfwithout contradiction. Having abandoned philos- ophy's quest for a neutral meta-language, Nietzsche counts on the practical eficacy of a critical strategy that destroys in order to make room for new, better values. The theoretical impulse to explain cultural phenomena in terms of general principles survives in this critique, but the impulse does not affect or interfere with genealogy's constitutive, value-positing quality as long as Nietzsche avoids the infinite regress that resides in the possible self-application of such principles.lg Thus Nietzsche can embrace the positionality of his own dis- course as an indication of "strength"-"Ich habe es jetzt in der Hand, habe die Hand dafur,Perspektiven umzustellen" (KSA 6: 266hand even admit to fabricat- ing evidence if it serves his cause of revers- ing the entire course of Western history (KSA 2 :14). However, by virtue of its very

positionality, Nietzsche's discourse neces- sarily conceals-and rhetoric, particularly the rhetoric of anti-Semitism, plays a cru- cial role in this regard-the extent to which this "reversal" takes place witlzin a system of cultural values replete with popular prejudice. This system in fact accounts for the enormous efficacy of many of Nietz- sche's "truths." The valorizations these truths imply at any given moment acquire their polemical force through a process of figuration during which they are charged with the evocative force of cultural stereo- types, particularly those kinds of stereo- types which appeal to racial and sexual prejudices likely to be accepted by a 19th- century audience as "scientifically" demon-

strated facts.

Consider, for example, the antithesis be- tween Hellenistic and Judaic culture which serves as a fundamental interpretive tive-or, in an even more negative version, as castrated, sterile, unproductive.

Nietzsche's genealogy of the Prome- thean sphere prefigures his later attempts, especially in Zur Gen.ealogie der Moral, to refoimulate the Hellenism/Judaism dis- tinction in terins of a systematic opposition between master and slave. For one thing, the argument suggests that the notorious doubts concerning the masculinity of the Jew are rooted in self-~ti~patization,

the iilteriorization of hostile instincts which Nietzsche considered to be the essence of re~entment.~~

The history of the Jewish race can thus be read as the self-denigration of an entire culture, culminating in the transformation of the scornful (masculine) God of the Old Testament into the feminizedlcastrated "God of Love." Of course, Nietzsche wants to condemn the Christian God as a symptom of cultural

paradigm throughout Nietzsche's worl~.~~ Gottheit der dhcadence,


In Die Gebuvt de~. Tragoclie, Nietzsche in- troduces this distinction by juxtaposing two myths, the Aiyan myth of Proinetheus, centered around the idea of Fr.evel, and the Semitic myth of the fall, based on the notion of original sin, guilt, and the need for redemption (KSA 1: 70). The veiy act of positing a differential relationship between the two cultures implies a hidden valoriza- tion which is obviously not derived from the mere juxtaposition of their distinct, heterogeneous "origins" alone, but from the inscription of these respective origins within an explicitly gendered, culturally pervasive ideological perspective: "So wird von den Ariern der Frevel als Mann, von den Semiten die Sunde als Weib verstan- den, so wie auch der Urfrevel voin Manne, die Ursunde vom Weibe begangen wird" (KSA 1:70). It is the mythic transfoirnation of culture into nature, the encoding of cul- tural difference in terms of a sexual dif- ference considered as "natural," which en- genders the figure of Prometheus as an emblem of masculinity, active, life-affirm- ing and productive, whereas Semitic cul- ture appears as effeminate, passive, seduc-

beschnitten an ihren mannlichsten Tugen- den und Trieben, wird nunmehr nothwen- dig zuin Gott der physiologisch-Zuruck- gegangenen, der Schwachen" (KSA 6: 183) -and inust therefore insist on the pos- sibility of a nondegenerate morality of "strength."Throughout the first book of the Gen.ealogie, Nietzsche is at pains to estab- lish such a notion. But the "aristocratic equation of value" (aristok~.atisclze Werth- gleichung) "gut = vornehm = machtig = schon = glucklich = gottgeliebt" (KSA 5: 267), the moral codification of the Prome- thean ethos of transgsession, owes much less to the dubious etymology Nietzsche fabricates in its support than to his appeal, once again, to racial prejudice and the lan- guage of disease. One may well question whether there can be such a thing as a morality originating in a spontaneous act of affirmative self-positioning without a trace of "reactive" (re)sent(i)ment, the evo- cation of the Other as the black, diseased Jew ("'lzic niger* est-"; KSA 5: 263), and the subsequent projection of racial difference (blondblack) onto a hierarchically struc- tured social space (highllow, masterlslave) will immediately dispel such doubts. Never mind that the force of Nietzsche's "argu- mentUderives from seduction (the appeal to archaic fears entrenched within Nietzsche's cultural vocabulaly), that he mimics the corrupted language of the Other to de- nounce the Other, and that, ultimately, the Other's scintillating negativity proves in- finitely more "interesting," more resilient and powerful, than its positive counterpart. Discrepancies of this sort abound through- out the Genealogie: the application of a generalized interpretive paradigm generates difficulties which Nietzsche cannot "solve" except by way of rhetorical circum- vention. It is the inherent instability of this "solution" which provides the conditions of possibility for Nietzsche's "transvaluation of values" while at the same time prescrib- ing the internal limits of this project.

As a rhetorical construct predicated upon the assun~ption of a spontaneously (self-)generating force, the conceptual frame- work underlying the Gen,ealogie remains fraught with the ambiguities of the cultural codes Nietzsche exploits in its support. Nietzsche can neutralize the destabilizing effects of these ambiguities as long as he restricts the application of his interpretive model to relatively unproblematic cases and refrains from explicitlyposing the ques- tion as to the origin and status ofthis'Ybrce." That is to say, the masterlslave distinction can "explain" the genesis of "reactive in- stincts" only among peoples whose subal- tern status can be assumed from the outset, e.g., '"primitive" peoples subjugated by in- vading hordes of brutal strength. Yet, despite appearances to the contrary, the presence of such instincts among "inferior" races is not the major issue for Nietzsche. What really puzzles him is the emergence of resentment from within the "master- race" itself. After all, the revolt of the Tschandala has not only proved victorious in the long run, but owes its victory to the fanaticism of a small caste of priests which at some point "ranched off' (sic11 abzweig[tlen.) from the aristocracy to develop into its most dangerousenemy (KSA5:286). This suggestion raises a number of trouble- some questions: Can disease befall a healthy body that is not, in some ways, cor- rupted by a receptivity toward its devastat- ing effects? And if so, wouldn't this recep- tivity belie the vely notion of health, just as the sheer possibility of a "castrated God" places the entire sphere of the Promethean under the law of castration?

The Gen,ealogie never squarely confronts this difficulty for obvious reasons: the theoretical possibility of self-negation with- in the positive poses a threat to the integrity of a discourse that not only seeks a diag- nosis, but also an antidote to the "blood- poisoning" (Blutuetgiftung; KSA 5: 269) induced by the "ascetic ideal." Either Nietzsche resists the temptation of further exploring the corruptibility ofpower, or else he must abandon the hope of ever finding a cure for the disease he holds responsible for the cultural decline of his age. In order to escape this dilemma, Nietzsche strikes a rhetorical compromise in which political and speculative motives coexist in a kind of semi-stable suspense. He concedes that, as a matter of plain historical fact, the "in- toxication" has been successful ("unzweifelhaft ist aber diese Intoxikation g e 1 u n g e n"; KSA 5: 269). But, at the same time, he plbesents this concession in quotation marks, as part of the fictional "epilogue" of a Freigeist whose strategic in- tervention supplements, and thus covers up, a "silence" in the midst of Nietzsche's own text: "Er hatte mir bis dahin zugehtirt und hielt es nicht aus, mich schweigen zu hijren" (KSA 5: 270). At a crucial juncture in the argument of the Genealogie, this silence suppresses what Nietzsche openly admits in his unpublished notes to the work: namely, that the Raman Empire fell into the hands of Christianity like a ripe fruit (KSA 12: 546). To make things worse, this 'Tall" was unavoidable, for-as Nietzsche is forced to admit-the "sweetJJ voice of the castrates cannot unfold its "al- luring power" (Vet.fiilz? unless it responds to a deeply buried desire within those who succumb to its effects: "(--der Rtimer hat das idyllische Hirtenstuck er- funden--d.h. n o t h i g g e h a b t)" (KSA

12: 547).

Not this recognition per se but its dis- placement onto the discourse of an Other provides the key to Nietzsche's concept of decadence. For it is only by virtue of this rhetorical detour that the text can "name" what for the sake of argument must remain unnamed: its own fascination with the dicadent. The emblem for this textual desire is the Jew. Once Nietzsche confronts in full the possibility that power may be undermined by an inherent negativity, he will turn his back upon the Germans in order to place his political hopes for a regeneration of German culture on precise- ly the race he holds accountable for its decline. The Gen.enlogiemarlrs the turning point in this development: it indicates the point at which the "transvaluation of values" in form of an overturning of the con- ceptual structure underlying this work be- comes not only possible but inevitable.

Such, then, is the strategic role of anti- Semitic stereotypes in Nietzsche's cultural critique: on the one hand, their negative rhetorical effectsconceal, and thus compen- sate for, genealogy's lack of a stable ground, its inability to cut through to the literal and speak with the authority of a "science." On the other hand, it is the inherent semantic ambiguity of such stereotypes-what Gil-man refers to as their "protean," "Janus- faced" quality22-which provides the basis, albeit a slippeiy one, for the political project of overcoming decadence from within by way of a "transvaluation" of values which systematically explores the creative poten- tial within the negative. Chronologically, this project marks Nietzsche's break with Schopenhauerian metaphysics and Wag nerian politics. Systematically, it resides as a possibility in an interpretive paradip in which master and slave (or any figuration of this dichotomy) designate antithetical positions within an abstract system of values whose binaiy structure can be ap- plied to process cultural codes, but not to regulate orjustify (in the senseof a theoreti- cal g~ounding) any particular application. Once these designations themselves are called into question, master and slave ex- change their roles and the entire structure begins to unravel. The 'fransvaluation of values" is nothing but the result of this- inevitable-unraveling. I shall illustrate this process with reference to two paradig- matic cases, Nietzsche's polemic against Wagner and his critical reappraisal of the Apostle Paul, in order to show how

Nietzsche's "transvaluation of values" af

fects his attitude toward Judaism in general.

The political significance of the "case" of Wagner-the internal nexus that links Nietzsche's campaign against Wagner with his diatribe against anti-Semitism in general--cannot be g~asped within a nar- rowly conceived biogaphical context. For what is at stake in this campaignis nothing less than the entire aesthetic historico- philosophical scheme that cairied the cul- tural prognosis of Die Geburt der Tragiidie. The severity of Nietzsche's attacks on Wag- ner is intelligible only with regard to the expectations placed upon Wagnerian music within this scheme-expectations that were tainted by doubts from the start. At a time when Nietzsche was still promoting Wagner in public as the incarnation of a German-Hellenistic "Dionysian" spirit, his noteboolts register the growing suspicion that Wagner's genius may be corrupted by a tyrannical rigidity that indicates the presence of reactive sentiments. "Die Gefahr fiir Wagner ist gross," he writes in the spring of 1874, "wenn er Brahms usw. nicht gelten 1aRt: oder die Juden" (KSA 7: 765). "Smellingf' resentment as the secret of Waagner's success, Nietzsche even admits playing with the idea that Wagner may not have any musical talent at all: "Ich habe oft unsinnigerweise bezweifelt, ob Wagner musikalische Begabunghabe" (KSA7: 759). What initially triggers such doubts is the vague intuition, transformed later into the hard evidence supplied in D~I,

Fall Wagner, that Wagner's musical excesses ("Unban- digkeit," "Maasslosigl~eit") may be nothing but simulation, the rhetorical escapades of the 'born actor" ( Sclzauspieler). Rather than expressing the unconditional afI%-mation which Nietzsche takes to be the essence of music, Wagnerian opera mimics affirmation in order to distract attention from its own nihilistic desire: "Sie hat etwas wie Flucht aus dieser Welt, sie negirt dieselbe, sieverklart diese Welt nicht" (KSA

7: 767). Although the published version of Riclzard Wagner. in Bayreutlz successfully manages to mute these doubts, they were nevertheless strong enough to delay the

publication of the work c~nsiderabl~.~:~

It is not until after Nietzsche's final break with Wagner that these initial reser- vations resurface in the forin of a polemic which systematically exploits the semantic reservoir of anti-Semitic rhetoric (mimicry, feminization, self-castration) in order to condemn Wagner as a Jew, driven by hatred, "greed" (Neid), and an inexorable desire for revenge: "sollte Wagner ein Se- mite sein? Jetzt verstehen wir seine Ab- neigung gegen die Juden" (KSA 8: 500).24 Intended as a paradigmatic diagnosis ofthe dkcaden.t, the Wagner polemic contains ob- servations which Nietzsche does not hesitate to generalize beyond the individual "case": "sie [the Germans] merken nicht ein- ma1 w e m sie damit zum Verwechseln ahnlich sehn? ein Anti-Semit ist ein neidi- scher d.h. stupidester Jude-" (KSA 13: 581).To stigmatize the anti-Semite as Jew, that is to define a reactive force (anti-Sem- itism) in terms of precisely that which it rejects, is to suggest that anti-Semitism as a historical movement is a collective form of cultural self-hatred. According to Gil- man, self-hatred arises when a "mirage" of the self, generated by a certain reference group (this can be the dominant society in the case of minorities; the French, or a heroic past, in the case of the German dicadent) is accepted "as a reality."25 The self, whether individual or collective, is fra,pented by this introjection to the point of self-induced schizophrenia: while deni-

itself in the name of a merciless superego, it longs to overcome its Other- ness, indeed believes this to be possible. The anxieties produced by this tension are released in form of "secondaiy projections" which externalize the aspects rejected by the self in the negative features of an Other perceived as the enemy.

Although Nietzsche does not concep- tualize resentment in exactly these terms,

his pathogenesis of the modern d6caden.t suggests a keen awareness of the self- replicating structure of a psychic mech- anism that entraps both master (German) and slave (Jew) in a vicious circle of mutual projection. If decadence is the manifesta- tion of negative instincts rooted in self- hatred, then to negate these instincts will simply produce more of the same, more decadence. In Also spraclz Zarathustra, Nietzsche captures the self-perpetuating logic of revenge in the image of the "wanderer" whose iconoclastic path of destruction is overcast by a projected image of his own negativity. Confronting his shadow, a caricature of the "eternal Jew" whose features reveal unmistakable signs of physical and mental exhaustion, Zara- thustra recognizes with terror a distorted mirror iinage of himself: "Als er ihn namlich init Augen priifte, erschraker wievor einem plotzlichen Gespenste: so dunn, schwarz- lich, hohl und uberlebt sah dieser Nachfol- ger aus" (KSA 4: 339).26 But the specular moment of self-recognition can only re- verse, not overcome, the antagonism be- tween self and Other. Rather than chasing his own projection and thus turning into a "shadow" of his shadow, Zarathustra acts upon a sudden impulse into the opposite direction: "Dorthin fiihrt der Wegzu meiner Hohle. Und jetzo will ich schnell wieder von

dir davonlaufen. Schon liegt es wie ein Schatten auf mir. Ich will allein laufen, daR es wieder hell un~ mich werde" (KSA4: 341). To suggest that the shadow recuperate in the darkness of the cave while Zarathustra continues his path alone is, of course, an optical impossibility. The point is precisely that the shadow is not overcome by running away from it, nor, for that matter, by any other act of sheer willpower. Being contin- gent upon conditions outside the self (name- ly, the relative position of the sun with regard to the wanderer), the shadow can be put to rest, temporarily, only ifthe wanderer himself takes refuge from the sun in the "cave" of oblivion (sleep, forgetting). To see

oneself as Jew in the Other is to fashion an image which one may hate, but from which there is no escape.

Given Nietzsche's insight into the self- perpetuating logic of negation, the reasons for his lifelong fascination with the Apostle Paul, as well as for the privileged position he assigns to this figure within the geneal- ogy of Christianity, become cleaxP7 For Paul, like Zarathustra (whose transfonna- tion represents in many ways a parodistic overturning of the Pauline conversion nar- rati~e),~~

not only manages to break the vicious cycle of self-negation, but, in doing so, effects a creative reversal that institutes an entire system of new values 'hit Einein Schlage," as it were, and all at once. There- fore it is Paul, and not the Crucified, who deserves credit for "inventing Christianity by erectingthe cross as a syn~bol ofultiinate revenge. However, what interests Nietz- sche more than the mere factual evidence of Paul's conversion is its internal dynam- ics. InMorgeni.ote, he portrays Paul as the prototypical de'cndent, "hitzig, sinnlich, melancholisch, bosartig in1 Hass" (KSA 3: 65-66), the "eternal Jeflobsessed with the idea of immortality and tortured by his own inability to fulfill the demands of a law which he knows by definition cannot be ful- filled ("welches sich fortwahrend als unerfiillbar beweisen m u s s und mit un- widerstehlichein Zauber zur ~bertretung lockt"; KSA 3: 66). It is by virtue of his in- sight into the nature of the law that Paul becomes its hostage and most fanatic agent, compelled relentlessly to inflict upon others what he cannot tolerate within himself. But it is precisely this disposition, the inten- sification of resentment to the point of vir- tual self-desti.uction, which makes Paul's convei-sion inevitable: being "nailed to the cross" of the law, yet unable to die, he is bound to recognize in Christ his own un- acknowledged desire for self-erasure, and

in his crucifixion the fulfillment of this desire as a supreme form of revenge. Nietzsche thus locates theUorigin" of Chris- tianity in a syn~bolic act of transgression: the 'Ylash of insigh t"(Einfal1) by which Paul perceives in Christ "the destroyer of the law"(den.Ve~.n.icIzte~.

des Gesetzes) prompts an identification with the Cru- cified that places him radically outside of the law: "ich bin ausserhalb desselben" (KSA 3: 67). Becoming one with Christ, he can realize the ultiinate oedipal fantasy of murdering the father by canying out his cominands without suffering the consequences of this act. Paul's "death," in other words, is purely symbolic: Saul dies in Christ for Christ to be reborn in Paul. This is the instant of resurrection, the clearing of a space momentarily free of all con- straints in which the new law, the Law of the Cross, is erected upon the ruins of the old (Jehovah's law).

It is easy to see how Nietzsche's deniga- tion of Wagner and the corresponding rehabilitation of Paul translate into a politi- cal strategy. Both Wagner and Paul repre- sent inverted mirror images of each other: pursuing the insinuation that power may be erected upon a repression of negative instincts, Nietzsche's attacks on Wagner culminate in the condemnation of the Ger- man (Wagner) as a Jew, and thus establish the basis for his increasingly militant cam- paign against German anti-Semitism. Con- versely, in his attempt to grasp theUessence" of decadence by tracing its "origins," Nietzsche directly confronts the Jew as the epitome of moral degeneracy, and is forced to recognize the enorlnous creative poten- tial within the negative. On the basis of this insight, he can accredit to the Jewish race an "instinctive interest" (Instinkt-Inte~.esse) in the liquidation of Christianity (KSB 8: 500) and predict the dawning of a future in which Israel's "eternal revenge" will have turned into an "eternal blessing" (''wenn Is- rael seine ewige Rache in eine ewige Seg nung Europa's verwandelt haben wird"; KSA 3: 183). If the German and the Jew thus reappear in the guise of the Othel; they do continue, as I argue by way of conclusion,

to function as masks of a discourse that must project its own fear of contamination in order to maintain its integrity amidst a configuration of cultural forces ultiillately beyond its control.

Indeed, Nietzsche's relentless preoccupation with Wagner and Paul-perhaps the two most admired and abhorred among all the negative heroes that populate his writings-suggests that genealogy as a dis- course of suspicion is bound to turn back: upon itself, if it does not always already operate with one eye glancing over its own shoulder. 'Wer seine Zeit ang-reift, kannnur s i c h angreifen: was kann er denn sehen, wenn nicht sich?" (KSA8: 500). Jotted down apropos Wagner in the early summer of 1878, this observation is clearly meant to be applied to both subject and object of the polemic, suggestingnot only that Nietzsche uses Wagner as a mask, but also that he is perfectly aware of the fact tlznt he is doing so. In an aphorism from Die fi~o121iclze l%ssensclzafl entitled "Mein Hund," Nietzsche explicitly comments upon the projective nature of his use of proper names and the resulting reflexivity of his own discourse: 'lch habe meinem Schmerze einen Namen gegeben und rufe ihn 'Hund,'--er ist ebenso treu, ebenso zudringlich und schamlos, ebenso unterhaltend, ebenso klug, wie jeder andere Hund-und ich kann ihn anherr- schen und meine biisen Launen an ihm aus- lassen: wie es Andere mit ihren Hunden, Dienern, und Frauen machen" (KSA3: 547- 48). The "dog" bears all the characteristics of the social underdog: the woman, the slave, the Jew. It is devoted, submissive, and-by implication-it also smells bad.

Nietzsche was convinced that he could "smell" decadence in all its deceptive shapes, that in fact this ability was an un- mistakable sip of his 'healthy instincts": "eine Reaktion des Instinkts, 2.B. gegen Wagner's] Musik bei mir-" (KSA 13: 389). Equipped with what he proudly referred to as his "inner nostrils" (mehe in,neren Niistern; KSA 13: 581), a kind of sub- limated, refined sense organ, Nietzsche "sniffs out" and projects as the enemy whatever "spoils his ailp (wasuns d i e Lu f t uerdirbt; KSA 10: 241): the Jew (''riilpsend und gahnend") encountered at the train station after a sleepless night, the foul breath of beer-drinking Germans, the third act of'l).istan., the New Testament, the lack of "inner cleanliness" (innere Sauber- Izeit) at the heart of the "beautiful soul."But the "dog' is also a name for precisely this hypersensitivity, this agonizing inability to "digest" such encounters. Like Zarathustra's shadow, the "dog' is "everywhere" and "nowhere" (Ubet.all, Nirgendwo), the "eternal," nomadic Jew consumed by his vain search for a home: 'Dieses Suchen nach m e i n e m Heim: oh Zarathustra, weisst du wohl, diess Suchen war m e i n e Heimsuchung, es frisst mich auf. 'Wo ist- in e i n Heim?"' (KSA 4: 340-41).

Having renounced the redemptive cul- tural hopes for which Wagnerian music once provided a source and a symbol, genealogy externalizes the negativity it suspects is its own hidden motive in order to identify the point at which this negativity may turn into its opposite. To the extent that this point is inaccessible to theory, genealogy depends on the semantic am- biguity of the values it analyzes in order to find evidence of such a "creative reversal" (sclzopferisclze Umwertung). In the figure of the Jew-Paul as the prime exainple- Nietzsche can simultaneously evoke and condemn the sum total of reactive forces he holds accountable for the degeneration of Western culture, while at the same time this figure stands for the hope that the process may in fact be reversible, as it were, by its own internal logic. And yet, the exact nature of this reversibility remains elu- sive-"ein Wunderstiick" (KSA 5: 116)-for the face of decadence is a Janus face, like the face of the Jew which serves as its emblem. Does this face conceal a hidden vitality behind its emaciated expression? Or is this vitality but the effect of self-con- scious mimicry, an optical illusion created via "action in distance" (Wi1.1:ung in die Fe1.n.e)-the kind of deception Nietzsche ascribes to the fen1inine?e9

Instead of an answer, this question generates the endless proliferation of a dis- course in whose changing (sur)faces Nietzsche can "see himself," but never that which determines his seeing. The redou- bling of the self in the act of reflection produces a mask that "inasl~ its Paul, Socrates, Pascal, Wagner-indeed, the entire line of illustriousde'cadents down to Zarathustra and the fictitious persona of Nietzsche's Ecce Homo-are nothing but figurations of this mask, projections of a Socratic desire for self-knowledge that al- ways arrives too late to answer the ques- tion, "wer s i n d wir eigentlich?" (KSA 5: 247), and therefore always inistalres itself for what it is not: 'tvir m ii s s e n uns ver- wechseln . . .-fiir uns sind wir keine 'Erkennenden'. . ." (KSA5: 24748).

For this reason, the notion of the Jew as the anti-decadent decadent remains a fan- tasy generated by an inherently a~nbiguous cultural code whose effects Nietzsche can register but ultimately neither explain nor control. The "transvaluation of values" never actually takes place because it remains trapped in collective instincts whose deep structure remains unexanlined by default and therefore continues to

operate behind Nietzsche's back What Nietzsche could not realize was the extent to which the signals he received from his proprirtm (the "inner nostrils") were in fact overdetermined by collective fears originat- ing in an "instinctual economy" (Seelen- Izaushalt) subjected through centuries to the violence of cultural encoding and recod- ing. As a member of the White Christian establishment, he was conditioned to iden- tify the Other on the basis of a set of stereotypical characteristics, and to respond within a range of possibilities pre- scribed by that establishment. A general ban on the use of garlic, as Nietzsche sug- gests in a letter written to his sister toward the end of 1885, may well have been "die einzige Form des Antisemitismus, welche Eurem lrosmopolitischen Nashorn gut riecht" (KSB 7: 129)-an anti-Semitism in parentheses perhaps, but a form of anti- Semitisin nonetheless. This "blind spot" in Nietzsche's racial politics is most evident in the hygienic measures he kept recommend- ing for the purification of the Jewish race once he had decided that the Jews would forin the vanguard in his "internation- al campaign" (In.te?.n.ation.ale Bewegung) against Christianity. Presupposing an im- plicit distinction between the 'bad" Eastern and the "good" European Jew, all of these measures are directed in some way or other toward the goal of "spiritualization" (Ver- geistigung), a negation of the body that per- petuates, ironically, the vely asceticism he decries in the Platonic-Christian tradition.

As a result of these limitations, Nietzsche's campaign against German anti-Semitism is of little political significance as a battle against anti-Semitism. To say that much is to suggest in turn that the expression of anti-Semitic resentment in Nietzsche's worlrs cannot provide the rhetorical aminunition for a fascist racial politics, either, unless they are twisted beyond recognition. Being essentially a lost battle against himself, Nietzsche's political crusades of the 1880s mark a trajectory of despair that culminates in the evocation of

violence as the last resort to gain the peace of mind his philosophy promised but failed toprovide: "Ich lasseeben alle Anti-Semiten erschiessen. . ." (KSB 8: 575).31 If there is anything in Nietzsche that foreshadows the events of the coming century, it is the logic of despair disclosed in such a statement.


lThe original version of this paper was pre- aented at the annual meeting of the American Association of Teachers of German in Washing- ton, D.C., on 24 November 1991. I am grateful to my colleague5 Bill Raach and Marc Weiner fortheir critical comments on earlier drafb of the paper.

?Friedrich Nietzsche, Shtliche Briefe: Kriti- sche Studienausgabe, ed. Giorgio Colli and Mazzino Montinari. 8 vols. (Munich: Deutscher Taschenbuchverlag, 1986). All fhrther references to Nietzsche'a lettera are from thia edition and will appear with volume and page numbers in the text. Translations are my own.

especially Wagner's essays "Das Juden- tum in der Musik" (l850), Was ist deutsch?" and "Erkenne dich selbst" (1865-78) in Richard Wagner, Gesammelte Schriften und Dichtungen (Leipzig: E. W. Fritzsch, 1887) 5: 85-108; 10: 36- 53; 10: 263-74.

4Although the wandering cobbler in Nestroy's drama is nwer explicitly identified as a Jew, the association of this figure with the "eternal Jew" is an integral part of the Ahasver legend. See Alex Bein, Die JucEenfiage: Biographie eines Weltpre blems, 2 vols. (Stuttgart: Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, 1980) 2: 76.

51n his letters from Leipzig, Nietzsche fre- quently complains about the bad, overpriced food and "foul odors" Pettgeruch) of restaurants and public places overcrowded with Jews. See especially his letters to Herman Mushacke, Leipzig, 27 April 1866 (KSB 2: 127), and to Franziska and Eli- sabeth Nietzsche, 18 October 1868 (KSB 2: 326).

should be cautious not to identify Nietz- sche's "anti-anti-Semitismn with a pro-Semitic at- titude (Peter Heller, 'Wietzsche and the Jews," in SigridBauschinger et al., eds., Nietzsche heuk Die Rezeption seines Werks nach 1968 [Bern: Francke, 19881 151). This tendency, characteristic of post- World War I1 scholarship, is exemplified by Walter Kaufmann's influential study Nietzsc?~:Philose

pher, Psychologist, Antichrist, 4th. ed. (Princeton: Princeton UP, 1974). Kaufmann builds a case upon a selective reading of Nietzsche'a correspondence with hia siater during the 1880s, but, in doing so, ignores the pereonal motives (jealousy, frustration, growing alienation from his family and the Germans as a whole) behind these letters. Nietz- ache's polemical use of "anti-anti-Semiticn rhetoric was clearly meant to upset Elisabeth by implicat- ing her in what he increasingly believed to be a German conspiracy against himself. This fear also accounta for Nietzsche's growing hostility toward his publisher Schmeitzner, whose anti-Semitic ac- tivism he held directly responsible for the poor reception of his work (see his letter~ to Peter Gast of 24 January 1886 mB 7: 1421 and to Overbeck of December 1885 WB 7: 1171). At the same time, the Jewish race emerges aa a bastion of "Geistig- keit" in Europe (to Peter Gast, 20 July 1886 [KSB

7: 2121); it waa a Jew aRer all (GeorgBrandes) who promoted Nietzsche'a work outside of Germany. For a discuaaion of Nietzsche's relationship with his publiaher, aee Malcom B. Brown, Friedrich Nietzsche und sein Verleger Ernst Schmeitzner: Eine Darstellung ihrer Beziehung (Frankfurt: Buchhandler-Vereinigung, 1987). For an early attempt to clear Nietzsche's name from its associa- tion with National Socialism, see Richard Maximi- lian Lonsbach, Friedrich Nietzsclw und die Juden: Ein Versuch [I9391 2nd ed.(Bonn: Bouvier, 1985). While the book is clearly of historical interest as an early Jewish response to Nietzsche, there is a tendency in Lonsbach, just as there is in Kauf- mann, to overemphasize the pro-Semitic aspect of Nietzsche's attitude toward Judaism.

'~ander L. Gilman, 'Wietzsche, Heine, and the Idea of the Jew: the Other and the Self," in Inscribing the Other (Lincoln:U of Nebraska P, 1991) 121-

22. Lonsbach, by contrast, is oblivious to the fad that Nietzsche continues to use the rhetoric of anti- Semitism as a weapon to condemn anti-Semitism itself. He fails to realize that Nietzsche's sense of an inner affinity between himself and the Jews becomes the source of both his admiration and his condemnation of the Jewish race.

8Throughout Nietzsche's work, Jews are asso- ciated withbad smell (grease, garlic), certain phys- ical characteristics (ugliness, extreme beauty), sexual deviation (femininity, castration), nomad- ism (the wandering "eternal Jew'), corrupted language (lies, mimicry, "S~hauspielertum'~), commerce (money, finance), and, most importantly, "the spirit of revenge" (resentment, self-hatred). For a historical account of such stereotypes, see


THEGERMAN spring 1993

Alex Bein's comprehensive study, Ikon Poliakov, The History of Anti-Semitism, 4 vols. (New York: The Vanguard Press, 1965-77), and Sander L. Giman, Jewish Self-Hatred. Anti-Semitism and the Hidden Language of the Jews (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1986).

qo focus on the psychological and sociocultur- al sources of Nietzsche's anti-Semitism amounts to abandoning as fruitless the question as to whether Nietzsche was for or against the Jews. After all, it is this line of questioning that has left us with two seemingly exclusive images of Nietzsche as either the mastermind of fascist ideology or the propaga- tor of self-perfection in the tradition of 19th- century humanism. While it is impossible to explain away the textual material used in the fab- rication of proto-fascist readings of Nietzsche, post-World War I1 scholarship, most notably Walter Kaufmann, tends to trivialize Nietzsche's anti-Semitism as an isolated episode due to his short-lived flirtation with Wagnerian politics. But to infer from a selective compilation of letters that Nietzsche's attitude toward Jews was "uncompro- mising" (Kaufmann 45) is to overstate the case. For a pertinent critique of Kaufmann's depolitization of Nietzsche, see Walter H. Sokel, "Political Uses and Abuses of Nietzsche in Walter Kaufmann's Image of Nietzsche," Nietzscl~ Studien 12 (1983): 43642.

IOGilman, Inscribing the Other 127-28.

llRainer Nagele, 'Qrinking the Witch's Brew: Nietzsche and the (K)nots of Resentment," in Reading after Freud: Essays on Gbethe, Holderlin, Habermas, Nietzsche, Brecht, Celan, ancl Freud (New York: Columbia UP, 1987) 104.

12~riedrichNietzsche, Nachgelassene Werke: Der Wlle zur Macht, 2nd ed., 2 vols. (Leipzig: Kroner, 1912). Hereafter quoted as WM with page references in the text.

13See Colli/Montinari's commentary concern- ing the original shape of Nietzsche's Nachla# in Friedrich Nietzsche, Swntliche Werke: Kritische Studiemsgabe in 15Bihden, ed. Giorgio Colli and Mazzino Montinari (Munich: Deutscher Ta- schenbuch Verlag, 1980) 13: 651-52 and 14: 383-

400. All further references to Nietzsche's works are to this edition, herehr cited as KSAwith volume and page in parentheses. Translations are my own.

14For a discussion of such theories, especially those of Gobineau and Diihring, see Malcom 244-


15Jiirgen Habermas, Tintritt in die Postmo- derne: Nietzsche als Drehscheibe," Derphibsophi- sche Diskurs der Moderne (Frankfurt: Suhrkamp, 1988) 119. Habermas's primary interest is to expose the aporias inherent in Nietzsche's thought in order to demonstrate his failure of overcoming the philosophy of reflection. See also his "Nietz- schesErkenntnistheorie"(1968),ZurLogik derSo- zidwissenachaften (Frankfurt: Suhrkamp, 1985) 505-28.

1&'Ein Motiv fiir die Leugnung des Unter- schieds zwischen Illusion und Erkenntnis ist sicher ein uneingestandener Traditionalismus. Nietzsche hat immer den ontologischen Wahr- heitsbegriff im Auge gehabt" (Habermas, Erkennt- nistheorie 525). Needless to say, I do not agree with this account.

17Habermas, of course, cannot appreciate this. He construes Nietzsche's physiology of cognition as if it werejust another epistemology (and a system- atic one at that) in the tradition of Kant, only to blame him for not being Kantian enough, i.e., for leveling the distinction between object-realm and theoretical meta-language (Erkenntnistheorie 525-27). Habermas chooses to ignore those aspects of Nietzsche's genealogy which Foucault high- lights in his brilliant essay on 'Wietzsche, Geneal- ogy, History," in Donald F. Bouchard, ed., Language, Counter-Memory, Praris (Ithaca and London: Cornell UP, 1977) 139-64. For an inter- esting critique of Habermas from a Foucauldian perspective, see David E. Wellbery, 'Wietzsche ArdPostmodernism: A Reply to Jiirgen Haber- mas," Stanford Italian Review 6 (1986): 77-100.

181 do not mean to suggest that these "forces" exist prior to, and independently of, the inscrip- tion. Nietzsche explicitly cautions against the hy- postatization of the concept of "force" or "will," and locates the source of this common error in ad'eeduc- tion of language" whichtemptsus to posit a subjed whenever we speak of a "doing, effecting, becom- ing" (KSA 5: 279).

lgSee ~ietzsche's preface to ~ur

Genealogie &r Moral (KSA 5: 24748).

mWith this distinction, Nietzsche explicitly positions himself as the heir to a modern sensi- bility originating in the 18th century's "invention" of classical antiquity. Nietzsche's indebtedness to this tradition (e.g., to Goethe's condemnation of&- manticism as a "disease," or to Schiller's aesthetics of the "sentimental") warrants much closer atten- tion than it has received so far. On the relationship between Nietzsche's and Schiller's aesthetics, see Benjamin Bennett, 'Wietzsche's Idea of Myth: The Birth of Tragedy from the Spirit of Eighteenth- Century Aesthetics," PMLA 2 (1979): 420-33.

210n the historical dimension of the feminiza- tion of the Jew, and the linkage between misogyny and anti-Semitism, see Gilman, Self-Hatred 244- 46 and Inscribing the Other 138-39, 19&98.

=Sander L. Gilman, Difference and Pathology: Stereotypes of Sexuality, Race, and Madness (Ithaca and London: Cornell UP, 1985) 29 and Gilman, Self-Hatred 4.

23While working on the work (which did not appear until July 1876), Nietzsche was plagued by self-doubts and disgust. For details, see the "Chronik zu Nietzsches Leben" (KSA 15: 64-69).

24For an elaboration of the motif of castra- tion/feminization in Nietzsche's Wagner polemic, see Wellbery, "Nietzsche-&t-Postmodemism."

25Gilman, Self-Hatred 2.

20Signilicantly, the shadow does not reveal his true identity except by a gesture of denial: Tin Wanderer bin ich, der vie1 schon hinter deinen Fersen her gieng: immer unterwegs, aber ohne Ziel, auch ohne Heim: also dass mir wahrlich wenig zum ewigen Juden fehlt, es sei denn, dass ich nicht ewig, und auch nicht Ju& bin" (KSA 4: 339; my emphasis).

27For an extensive discussion of Nietzsche's love-hate relationship to the Apostle Paul, see Jorg Salaquarda, "Dionysus versus the Crucified One: Nietzsche's Understanding of the Apostle Pau1,"in James C. O'Flaherty et al., eds., Studies in Nietz- sche and the Judaeo-Christian Mition (Chapel Hill: U of North Carolina P, 1985) 100-29.

ZsEspecially with regard to the rhetoric of mys- ticism evoked in Zarathustra to account for the transition from self-negation to a state of affma- tion. While the possibility of such a transformation makes perfect sense within the logic of optical pro- jection (the shadow disappears when the sun reaches its peak in "Der groi3e Mittag"), it is quite clear that the optical metaphor explains nothing whatsoever as to the nature of Zarathustra's trans- formation. On the contrary, to present his trans- formation as a revelation amounts to a retreat from an "ad" (his biting off of the serpent's head) that may well have been his own, after all. It is precisely this mystifying use of language which Nietzsche objecta to in Paul. 'Wie kann einer," he asks in Morgendte, "seine eigene Meinung iiber die Dinge als eine Offenbarung empfinden? Dies ist das Problemvon der Entstehungder Religionen: jedes- ma1 hat es dabei einen Menschen gegeben in welchem jener Vorgang mdglich war" (KSA 3: 62). The rhetoric of revelation which announces the in- stitution of a new order aRer the fad contributes nothing to an understanding of such "events": by attributing the "cause" of his transformation to an outside murce (God), the visionary distracts from, and thereby obfuscates, precisely what he tries to capture in words (KSA 3: 62).

29~ctioin distans characterizes the feminine mode of producing "depth," "truth," and "essencen as a surface effect based on mimicry (KSA 3: 424- 25). This explains the affinity Nietzschepostulates between the woman and the Jew, the ador par excellence (KSA 3: 608-09). However, this affinity remains a mere kinship that can never collapse into an identity. As Spivak points out in her cri- tique of Derrida, the "feminization of discoursen culminating in the decentering of the phallocentric tradition remains eternally separated from the "feminine" by an ineradicable "pathos of longing' which is absent in the feminine. Gayatri Chakra- vorty Spivak, "Displacement and the Discourse of Woman," Displacements: Derrida and After, ed. Mark Krupnik (Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1983) 169-95. Deconstruction, in other words, is a "Jewish" (castrated/self-castrating) discourse, whereas Nietzsche's woman knows that castration never actually happens: "Man halt das Weib fir tief-warum? weil man nie bei ihm auf den Grund kommt. Das Weib ist noch nicht einmal flach" (KSA 6 :63).

30Gilles Deleuze, "Nomad Thought," The New Nietzsche: Contemporary Styles of Interpretation, ed. and introd. David B. Allison (New York: Dell Publishing Company, 1977) 147.

31The quote is from Nietzsche's last letter to his friend Overbeck-dated 4 January 1889, signed: "Dionysus."

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