Dead Letters to Nietzsche, or the Necromantic Art of Reading by Joanne Faulkner

By Joanne Faulkner

Lifeless Letters to Nietzsche examines how writing shapes subjectivity during the instance of Nietzsche’s reception through his readers, together with Stanley Rosen, David Farrell Krell, Georges Bataille, Laurence Lampert, Pierre Klossowski, and Sarah Kofman. extra accurately, Joanne Faulkner reveals that the private id that those readers shape with Nietzsche’s texts is an enactment of the type of identification formation defined in Lacanian and Kleinian psychoanalysis. This funding in their subjectivity publications their figuring out of Nietzsche’s undertaking, the revaluation of values. not just does this paintings make a provocative contribution to Nietzsche scholarship, however it additionally opens in an unique manner broader philosophical questions on how readers emerge as invested in a philosophical undertaking and the way such funding alters their subjectivity.

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10 Against this most austere generality, the body—insofar as it cannot be signified—is felt as dangerous, as there is no symbolic equivalent for it; no means of managing, once and for all, the anxiety to which it gives rise. This moment of splitting inaugurates "the death drive," 11 according to Lacan: It is this moment [at the end of the mirror stage, when the specular "I" becomes a social "I"] that decisively tips the whole of human knowledge into mediatization through the desire of the other, constitutes its objects in an abstract equivalence by the co-operation of others, and turns the I into that apparatus for which every instinctual thrust constitutes a danger, even though it should correspond to a natural maturation—the very normalization of this maturation being henceforth dependent, in man, on a cultural mediation as exemplified, in the case of the sexual object, by the Oedipus complex.

This is because the child only finds its wholeness outside of itself: spatially, in the mirror image; and socially, in the gaze of the other. This situation produces various consequences, felt as deleterious by the proto-subject. First, if the truth of the self is located in a relation with the other, then the coexistence of the ideals of unity and of self-sufficiency—represented by the mirror image—is continuously frustrated, so that to preserve both one must perform the double maneuver of soliciting the recognition of the other (in order to access that unity), while also denying the need for such recognition (thus preserving the illusion of autonomy).

For the wielding of force has come to be regulated by the law rather than by individuals, and the master is thus equally subject to law as the slave. This is where we find the subject returning to its bodily depth: for this enjoyment through the infliction of pain upon the other is redeployed to become the very impetus of social behavior. Enjoyment is reconfigured as bad conscience, wherein the persecutor takes her or himself as the object of cruelty. In bad conscience, "will to power" turns in upon itself—makes itself its own victim—in order to practice a cruelty that is not only socially permissible, but also necessary to the formation of the subject.

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