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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential, 26 Sep 2006
Mr. TJP Mcmahon "thomas" (thomas) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Nietzsche and the Vicious Circle (Continuum Impacts): 27 (Paperback)
This is an extremely valuable book for students of Nietzsche. Particularly recommended are the exposition of the eternal return - as a thought that selects the best, and as the thought that transcends the illusion of conscious goals (or allows its transcendence)- and the excavation of Nietzsche's last letters for threads of his earlier thought. The book treats Nietzsche's thinking pathologically, in such a way as he intended to write himself - of himself and of others.

A reservation: Klossowski may go off the rails in considering Nietzschean tropes and modern societies. For example, he takes what appears to be a Marxist-influenced position on the modern age: there is a 'strangeness' to modern society for all its inhabitants (alienation, surely is the idea here). Klossowski claims this is not accounted for in Nietzsche's distinction between overmen and the last men - masters and sensually-satisfied drones. This seems suspiciously like an attempt to sneak in a slave morality - a concern for the plight of the masses - and to say that Nietzsche's problematic could only be solved in a world where such strangeness was overcome by all. I doubt very much whether the 'strangeness' is a phenomenon Nietzsche would wish to recognize, relying as it seems to on a materialistic view of our experience. I'm not sure that his idea of the increasing perfection of the pleasure-economy could not account for such a phenomenon were it to exist (outside of ressentiment-filled bourgeois, bourgeois-hating intellectuals). I certainly do not think he would give two hoots for the plight of the 'rabble'. One has to be aware of the spread of the Marxist sickness after the liberation in France.

Nonetheless, this is a fantastic book. The influence of Bataille and Bergson is evident in places, and students will see some Deleuzian concerns appearing here. (There are moments when one suspects that some Deleuzian ideas are translations of Klossowski's. In particular, the explication of the will to power early in the book seemed to me to be an example of this.) I can not recommend this highly enough for all those with a passion for Nietzsche.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Daring, beautiful and compassionate, 25 July 2010
This review is from: Nietzsche and the Vicious Circle (Continuum Impacts): 27 (Paperback)
It takes an extraordinary mind, like that of Klossowski, to face the truth about Eternal Return as primarily a mad idea. It sprang from Nietzsche's lived experience in early August of 1881 and left an indelible imprint on his soul and on his entire oeuvre. One might say that for the rest of his (ostensibly) sane life he was trying to come to terms with it. At first he thought of turning it into a scientific doctrine (see chapter 5 of the book), then he poeticised into `Zarathustra'. But the Medusa of madness never lessened her petrifying hold on his soul; ultimately she prevailed.
The originality and courage of Klossowski cannot be overemphasised, and he stands almost alone. Far too many PhDs have been awarded to those who tried to sanitise Eternal Return, followed by many appointments to the chairs of philosophy. And yet, the emperor has no clothes! One can be a great, insightful genius and come up with an idea that is close to delusion. If you wish to follow this unusual, poetic and compassionate line of interpretation also read Ernst Bertram's 'Nietzsche: Attempt at a Mythology'. Be prepared to join the club of disinherited minds, though.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One Circle Ensquared, 23 Aug 2011
Dr. Delvis Memphistopheles "FIST" (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Nietzsche and the Vicious Circle (Continuum Impacts): 27 (Paperback)
Difficult to digest in one sitting akin to Deleuze and Guattari with its obtuseness. Takes the eternal return as the main theme. Not sure if Friedrich meant it literally or metaphorically. The eternal return is an idea to live each moment to the max not in terms of squeezing every piece of dionysian frenzy but ensuring the quality is maintained.

Klossowski seems to think he meant it as a reality which would undermine Heraclitis and the meaning of flux; who is to know we are not already living the return? This leads to an iron determininism the opposite of what he was saying- we have thousands of choices every moment but are constrained by culture expectation and peers. If we are trapped in a groundhog day then this entails living everymoment trapped in an endless repeat leading to exhaustion and surrender. Nietzche wanted liberation, so the eternal return must always be metaphorical rather than a reality.

The chapter on his illness brought home how sick he was when he wrote, each sentence was wrenched from him and he went into some form of stupor afterwards. The letters detailed in the book bring home the energy expended in delving into himself. I am not sure as Klossowski states the two are intertwined. Nietzsche's illness seems to have been created when he was younger and maintained as an adult. It has no obvious causes and had certain elements of psycho-somatic except its effects were real. This seems to point to cataclysmic trauma as a child and adolescent.

His solitary life entailed deep thought and he dredged into himself to sharpen the barbs aimed at Christianity and anything that enslaved man or him. As he said philosophy is based on the personal choices and his attack arose from his senses. His connection to others transcended his realm.

This book opens the cupboard to engage with his ideas. Klossowksi takes a left stance on Nietzsche which is welcome from the waft of embittered childhoods that drift in from the right. Nietzsche was all about finding a purpose to build somethimg more constructive than lots of stiff right arms and making strangebedfellows with the Pope. This just showed how far his ideas were perverted by the herd.

Take it as a starting point if you have the hours to spare. If not go to Vanegeim, De Bord and Stirner to jump start the brain.
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Nietzsche and the Vicious Circle (Continuum Impacts): 27
Nietzsche and the Vicious Circle (Continuum Impacts): 27 by Pierre Klossowski (Paperback - 7 April 2005)
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