Publication details [#5290]

Gordon, Paul. 1992. Review of 'Friedrich Nietzsche on Rhetoric and Language', edited and translated with a critical introduction by Sander L. Oilman, Carole Blair, and David J. Parent. 1989. New York: Oxford University Press, 273 pages. Bakhtiniana: Revista de Estudos do Discurso 7 (2) : 103–107.
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The esteemed Nietzschean scholar Sander Oilman and his fellow editors have here assembled a collection of Nietzsche's early, unpublished writings on rhetoric and language. Because it has become, in recent years, generally accepted that "rhetoric is the essence of Nietzsche's philosophy" (p. 25), 'Friedrich Nietzsche on Rhetoric and Language' is sure to interest all those who look at metaphorical and symbolical activity from a rhetorical, literary, or philosophical perspective. Heidegger, Gadamer, Derrida, Ricoeur, and Foucault (one might easily add the names of virtually all the deconstructive critics) are but some of the philosophers of language whose works follow in the wake of Nietzsche's writings. Friedrich Nietzsche on Rhetoric and Language is divided into two parts. The first, by far the longest, is made up of Nietzsche's notes for a lecture course on ancient rhetoric he offered in 1872-1873; the second part contains a small number of short, unpublished essays from the same period that also concern, but in far less pedantic terms, questions of language and rhetoric. As is well known, Nietzsche became the youngest professor in the history of the University of Basel when, in 1869 at the age of 24, he was offered the Chair of Classical Philology. There Nietzsche remained until 1875, when ill health, the controversy set off by the publication of his first book ('The Birth of Tragedy', 1872/1956) and his increasing disinterest in philology caused him to leave academia forever. (Paul Gordon)