February 7, 2013

LISTEN: Walter Kaufmann on Nietzsche


Via Open Culture, here’s a recording of Walter Kaufmann delivering a lecture at Princeton titled “Nietzsche and the Crisis in Philosophy” in 1960.

Kaufmann, a renowned scholar who championed Friedrich Nietzsche’s role as an important, pioneering thinker, was also was one of the earliest American professors to introduce formal existentialism to the philosophy classroom.

According to the Internet Archive, where this recording and two subsequent lectures are stored, “Nietzsche and the Crisis in Philosophy” paints an interesting portrait of Nietzsche as a seminal, controversial figure.

Dr. Walter Kaufmann focuses on the contribution of Friedrich Nietzsche to the philosophical world, picturing him as a revolutionary heretic and the embodiment of the Socratic spirit. He traces in Nietzsche’s works the craving for intellectual integrity, his break with Richard Wagner over the composer’s anti-Semetic and anti-French sentiments, and ultimately, his madness, ascribed to having “burned himself out.”

Click the audio player to listen.


Kevin Murphy is the digital media marketing manager of Melville House.