Monday, May 4, 2009

Nietzsche in a nutshell - History 1c (UCLA)

In the latest lecture of UCLA's History 1c, professor Lynn Hunt kicks off with Wagner's ride of the Valkyries and pays a lot of attention to Friedrich Nietzsche, which brings two suspects of Nazi-inspiration together and almost naturally will serve as a cultural explanatory to the twentieth century wars. In addition Sigmund Freud appears and it is indeed the aim of the lecture to embed Nietzsche and Freud in the history lesson.

It is, rightfully so, said that the history of the nineteenth century is the history of -isms. Rationalism, Romanticism, Liberalism, Socialism, Capitalism make up the mental landscape and if some individual thinkers can be especially influential, they get their own isms like Darwin and Marx. But Nietzsche and Freud, who so predominantly inspire the end of the nineteenth century, where everything has a place in one or several isms of various kinds, have no such suffix and stand on their complex own.

Especially Nietzsche I find hard to get a grip on and I am very grateful for the brief way in which Professor Hunt explains him. Naturally this falls short of any philosophical expose, but it amply serves to give Nietzsche's writings and persons the content it needs to clarify the historic influence. I have never had that handed to me in such a comprehensive fashion. And this is one of the many reasons why History 1c is a great history course to follow on podcast.

More History 1c:
Industrialization and Italian unification,
History since 1715.

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