Reading Nehamas’s Nietzsche: An Overview of the Project of Self-Fashioning (7-29)

Filip Čukljević

ABSTRACT: In this article I shall investigate Alexander Nehamas’s classic interpretation of Friedrich Nietzsche in relation to the idea of self-fashioning. My aim is to dispel certain misconceptions about Nehamas’s Nietzsche and to explore what his vision of life actually involves. First, I shall expose some basic presuppositions about self-fashioning, that have to do with the nature of the self. Then I shall examine the concept of style, which is related to the concept of the self, and what it means to give style to oneself. This endeavour will further expand on the prominently literary model of life espoused by Nehamas’s Nietzsche. We will see that Nietzsche’s (in)famous idea of the eternal return plays a pivotal role within this framework. Afterwards, it will be argued that realizing the idea of self-fashioning is a pluralistic affair, unique to each person. Subsequently, the temporal structure of self-fashioning will be addressed in greater detail, by focusing on two aspects: coming to terms with the past and being open to the future. Finally, the processual nature of this project will be further revealed with the analysis of its slogan ‘become who you are.’

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