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Nietzsche's Animal Philosophy explores the significance of human animality in the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche and provides the first systematic treatment of the animal theme in Nietzsche's corpus as a whole.
Lemm argues that the animal is neither a random theme nor a metaphorical device in Nietzsche's thought. Instead, it stands at the center of his renewal of the practice and meaning of philosophy itself. Lemm provides an original contribution to on-going debates on the essence of humanism and its future. At the center of this new interpretation stands Nietzsche's thesis that animal life and its potential for truth, history, and morality depends on a continuous antagonism between forgetfulness (animality) and memory (humanity). This relationship accounts for the emergence of humanity out of animality as a function of the antagonism between civilization and culture.
By taking the antagonism of culture and civilization to be fundamental for Nietzsche's conception of humanity and its becoming, Lemm gives a new entry point into the political significance of Nietzsche's thought. The opposition between civilization and culture allows for the possibility that politics is more than a set of civilizational techniques that seek to manipulate, dominate, and exclude the animality of the human animal. By seeing the deep-seated connections of politics with culture, Nietzsche orients politics beyond the domination over life and, instead, offers the animality of the human being a positive, creative role in the organization of life.
Lemm's book presents Nietzsche as the thinker of an emancipatory and affirmative biopolitics.Nietzsche's Animal Philosophy will appeal not only to readers interested in Nietzsche, but also to anyone interested in the theme of the animal in philosophy, literature, cultural studies and the arts, as well as those interested in the relation between biological life and politics.
Vanessa Lemm is Associate Professor at the School for Political Science and the Institute of Humanities at the Universidad Diego Portales, Santiago de Chile. She previously taught at Northwestern University and at the European College for Liberal Arts, Berlin.
"[...] Convincingly reveals the positive political core of Nietzsche's work and successfully moves it beyond his own epch, highlighting its relevance for the twenty-first century."
– Foucault Studies
"Lemm's important contribution lies in complicating Nietzsche's political theory, in distinguishing between a politics of civilization and of culture."
– Perspectives on Politics
"Vanessa Lemm's Nietzsche's Animal Philosophy is an important contribution to the debate about the animality of human life. Deeply scholarly and rigorous, Lemm's book points to the centrality of the animal in Nietzsche and will be an important resource for those seeking to understand the breadth and passion of Nietzsche's writings on life, art, and creativity."
– Theory & Event
"[Lemm] consolidates her reputation as one of Nietzsche's most original, attentive, and lively readers."
– Journal of Nietzsche Studies
"[For] anyone who is brave enough to open up and embrace the question of animality in the face of contemporary problems."
– The Agonist
"Lemm offers a fresh and ultimately persuasive interpretation of several of Nietzsche's core concepts, including culture, civilization, morality, freedom, and truth [...] Simply put, this is a must-read for Nietzsche scholars. Highly recommended."
"A scholarly and measured philosophical study by author Vanessa Lemm, recommended for college library philosophy shelves."
– Midwest Book Review
"Topics include the German philosopher's emphasis on the continuity between animal and political life."
– The Chronicle of Higher Education
"Vanessa Lemm's book is a wide ranging and richly insightful work that quite persuasively ties Nietzsche's treatment of the theme of animality to his political thought and to his engagement with the topics of decadence, the body, and the _Übermensch_. It is an outstanding addition to contemporary Nietzsche scholarship and a major contribution to the growing literature on Nietzsche's significance as a philosopher of culture. I highly recommend it!"
– Robert Gooding-Williams, The University of Chicago
"Vanessa Lemm's book is not only an original and convincing interpretation of Nietzsche's thought, but it also opens up a new perspective on the meaning and future of an affirmative biopolitics. Contrary to what an old humanist tradition has asserted, it is precisely the biological continuity between human being and animal that withholds the secret of a resistance to disciplinary mechanisms as well as the potential for a radically new development of individual creativity."
– Roberto Esposito, Italian Institute of Human Sciences (Istituto Italiano di Scienze Umane)
"Vanessa Lemm's study of the animals populating Nietzsche's work is careful, scholarly and splendidly imaginative. It will alter received understandings of Nietzsche's humanism and anti-humanism, and contribute as well to contemporary theoretical inquiries into human/animal boundary breaches. The prose features beautiful combinations of gravitas and whimsy, philosophical abstraction and figurative concreteness – combinations that befit the subject and provide rare pleasure for the reader."
– Wendy Brown, University of California, Berkeley
"1. "A highly readable book that offers an original and stimulating treatment of Nietzsche's views on culture, politics, and philosophy."
2. "The scholarship that has gone into Lemm's work is both thorough and impressive."
– Steven Hicks, Queens College
"A well-written, well-researched, original contribution to the literature."
– Christa Davis Acampora, Hunter College and The Graduate Center of the City University of New York
"The 'animal philosophy' theme in Nietzsche is an interesting one that should appeal to a wide audience both inside and outside the field of Nietzsche studies."
– Steven Hicks, Queens College