Revenge and Nostalgia: Reconciling Nietzsche and Heidegger on the question of coming to terms with the past

Philosophy and Social Criticism 38 (1):25-38 (2012)
In certain respects, contemporary thought treats the politics of revenge with disdain while celebrating and employing a politics that is decidedly nostalgic. And yet, following Nietzsche’s work regarding the inherent vengefulness of nostalgic political programs, one is led to an impasse. This article attempts to make plain for politics what is at stake in Nietzsche’s account of revenge, and how political and social action might navigate the distance between revenge and nostalgia. The article brings the thought of Nietzsche and Heidegger together in a new way by asking whether and how Heidegger’s thought could suffer from a hidden vengefulness by adopting a nostalgic pose, one that haunts Nietzsche’s own drive for overcoming. Through an elucidation of the difference between nostalgia and revenge, the article gestures towards the nostalgic and vengeful possibilities that politics holds
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DOI 10.1177/0191453711421602
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