In Defence of Reason? Friedrich Nietzsche in Thomas Mann’s Nietzsches Philosophie im Lichte unserer Erfahrung and Georg Lukács’ Die Zerstörung der Vernunft

In the immediate aftermath of the Second World War, Thomas Mann and Georg Lukács both sought to come to terms with the multifaceted role of philosophy in the catastrophe of fascism. The figure of Nietzsche is examined in Mann’s Nietzsches Philosophie im Lichte unserer Erfahrung and Lukács’ Die Zerstörung der Vernunft. It is generally recognised that Mann’s lecture helped to shape the post-war Nietzsche reception in the West as much as Lukács’ treatise did in the East. In contrast, I argue that Mann’s and Lukács’s contributions have more in common than is generally acknowledged and, given Mann’s esteem in the field of Nietzsche studies, that these similarities call into question the general repudiation of Lukács’ Nietzsche-Bild. After sketching the phenomenon of partisanship in the reception of Nietzsche through the lens of Kant’s notion of a ‘Kampfplatz’, some of the key topoi of Lukács’ work are identified, highlighting the aforementioned similarities in content and methodology as well as the contrasts with Western academic approaches.
Keywords Georg Lukács  Nietzsche reception  Thomas Mann
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DOI 10.1515/nietzstu-2018-0017
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