Q. What is the Nietzsche Circle?
A. The Nietzsche Circle is a philosophical community whose primary concern is to interrogate all dimensions of aesthetics, to respond to the crisis of art and reflect on art’s bearing on life, which concerned Nietzsche from his first to his last works. The Nietzsche Circle is devoted to the question: What kind of art is vital to our existence?
While aesthetics is our primary concern, our pursuits are not strictly limited to art; we also explore other dimensions of Nietzsche’s philosophy, while we recognize that life itself can be an art and philosophy an artistic expression of existence or artful form of living. In the Nachlass, Nietzsche stated that his general task was “to show how life, philosophy, and art can have a deeper and familial relationship to each other, without philosophy becoming shallow and the life of the philosopher becoming untruthful” (KSA 8: 104). In our own way, we struggle with this task.
Q. When was the Nietzsche Circle founded, and by whom?
A. In 2002, the founding members of the Nietzsche Circle met to discuss the possibility of staging a festival to respond to the question, “What would Zarathustra have to say to us if he were here today?” Over the course of the next two years, the idea for the Nietzsche Circle was born and its vision fleshed out; its first event, Transfigurations: An Evening of Nietzche’s Poetry & Music, was staged in April of 2005 to celebrate the American publication of James Luchte’s The Peacock & the Buffalo, the first complete edition of Nietzsche’s poetry in English. The founders include Yunus Tuncel, Rainer J. Hanshe, Cem Aydogan, and Corbin J. Morris. Biographies for three of the founders can be found on the Board of Directors section of the website. For information on Cem Aydogan, who is also a Nietzsche Circle advisor, see his website.
Q. Who is on the advisory board of the Nietzsche Circle?
A. The advisory board of the Nietzsche Circle includes not only renowned artists and writers, but some of the most eminent Nietzsche scholars in the world. To see who our advisors are, check our Board of Advisors list.
Q. Where is the Nietzsche Circle located?
A. Our primary location is New York City, which is where all of our events currently take place, though we have yet to establish a permanent location; some of our events have been staged at NYU, Mercy College, Manhattan, New School University, and other private locations. In the distant future, we may stage events in other countries, or conduct lecture tours along the paths Nietzsche traversed throughout Europe. However, through our website, the domain of the Nietzsche Circle is global, thus opening up wider dimensions of communication and creating communities which are not bound by time and space. Our blog is currently under development. It will serve as but one means for sustaining a global community.
Since it was established in January of 2006, our website has received over 45,000 visits. The site has been viewed everywhere from Canada, to Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, South Africa, Morocco, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Spain, France, Ireland, England, Switzerland, Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Luxembourg, Russian Federation, Poland, Germany, Vienna, Hungary, Slovak Republic, Greece, Italy, Turkey, Kuwait, Iran, Israel, Pakistan, India, China, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Taiwan, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Australia, et cetera.
Q. How do I find out more about your events?
A. If you join our mailing list, we will send you direct notices about all of our events. Otherwise, visit THE CIRCLE section of our website and go to EVENTS; there you will find the sections CURRENT and PAST EVENTS, with detailed information for both. Our PAST EVENTS section functions as a kind of history of the Nietzsche Circle; under some events there are essays as well as reviews of the event.
Q. If I cannot attend an event, is it possible to receive a recording of it?
A. While most of our events have been documented, though more for archival purposes, we do not yet have the means to distribute recordings of any kind, but it is something we are considering. In the meantime, some of the essays which have been presented for the Nietzsche Circle are available on the website.
Q. Does the Nietzsche Circle have a journal?
A. Yes. The name of the NC journal is The Agonist. It is is a peer review refereed journal that features essays, interviews, and reviews as well as current translations of heretofore unavailable Nietzsche texts and rare, obscure, or overlooked studies on Nietzsche’s thought or aspects of it that have received scant attention or been deemed marginal by the philosophical establishment.
The primary concern of The Agonist is with critical interrogations of Nietzsche’s aesthetics, which remain in demand of more significant attention. If art to Nietzsche “is the great stimulus to life,” there is no total valorization of it in his work. As Philip Pothen noted in Nietzsche and the Fate of Art, “Nietzsche’s suspicion concerning art is perhaps the greatest of any since Plato’s, and even, it might be said, including Plato’s.” If this is true, a revaluation of Nietzsche’s aesthetics is duly in order.
Although our principal concern is the aesthetic, the aesthetic is inseparable from the philosophic therefore from life. All dimensions of Nietzsche’s thought—classical, mythic, literary, poetic, sacred, ecstatic, etc.—are, we attest, interwoven in the most complex manner and therefore pertinent to our vision.
A further intention of The Agonist is to instigate and spur new modes of writing on Nietzsche in order to embrace and develop different methods of examining his thought, methods that incorporate notions of experimentation and riddling.
In order to enact one of the practices of writing that Nietzsche engaged in, The Agonist will include a section strictly devoted to exegesis. No journal on Nietzsche currently features such writing. This unique section will contain ruminative reflections on passages from Nietzsche’s oeuvre in the manner of the third essay of On the Genealogy of Morals: A Polemic. Its purpose is to foster the art of reading like a cow and writing with blood that Nietzsche struggled to instigate and that his work demands.
The Agonist will also publish reviews of works not directly concerned with Nietzsche that it considers relevant or of particular importance to its overall aesthetico-philosophic concerns.
Through the blog that is in development, visitors to the site can offer reflections or responses to material on the site or post questions to other readers while those affiliated with the NC may respond to questions as well.
Q. What are some of the goals of the Nietzsche Circle?
A. Primary goals of the society include the further refinement of this web site, which will include various resources on Nietzsche as well as the Nietzsche Circle's own activities; staging a major festival in the near future to celebrate the anniversary of Zarathustra to respond to the question, What would Zarathustra have to say to us today?; if there is sufficient funding, scholarships will be provided for graduate students who are focusing on Nietzsche in their doctoral dissertations (though all work on Nietzsche will be considered, dissertations which explore Nietzsche's conception of aesthetics will have priority); creating a resource center of all of Nietzsche's works in English, German and other languages, as well the works he studied and studies on his work; and, finally, creating a searchable cd-rom of Nietzsche's corpus in English. Lecture trips may be organized to study Nietzsche's works in the places where he lived and traveled (Germany, Switzerland, Italy, and France), embodying Nietzsche's spirit of thinking before the earth, not merely in cloistered academic cells - through this work, we intend to develop relationships with any international centers, such as the Nietzsche Haus in Sils-Maria, and encourage a more global consciousness, keeping in mind Nietzsche's idea of the “good European.”
Since Nietzsche suffered from a debilitating eye condition which threatened his ability to see, the Nietzsche Circle feels that it is vital to provide Braille editions of Nietzsche's work and hopes to do so in the future, perhaps working directly with an organization devoted to the sight-impaired. Also, we would like to make recordings of all of Nietzsche's works on compact disc or cassette, specifically a dramatic rendition of Thus Spoke Zarathustra, as well as a recording of the complete poems of Nietzsche. Finally, the Nietzsche Circle will seek to dispel many of the apocryphal myths, propaganda, and misconceptions which surround Nietzsche and his work, encouraging more direct and thorough engagement with Nietzsche's texts to help open up new relations with his work; it is only through such intimacy with his ideas that there will be a clearer understanding of them.
Q. What does the Nietzsche Circle do to fulfill its vision statement?
A. The NC sponsors or organizes festivals, workshops, symposia, lectures, conferences, and textual analysis sessions to respond to its vision statement. To further pursue some of these desires, and to reach a more global community, we have developed our website, which includes, as stated above, book reviews, essays, interviews, and other material.
Through our various activities, including our website, scholars, students, artists and others who are interested in Nietzsche and such work are invited to explore his ideas and transform them in their own manner.
Q. How can I become a member of the Nietzsche Circle?
A. Membership is open to everyone and requires no special background except interest in the organization's pursuits. Members will receive free admission to one Nietzsche Circle event, free textual analysis sessions, discounts on books when available, e-mail announcements, and an electronic copy of essays or interviews one month before they are posted on our web site and made available to the general public. Membership is for one year and a modest form of support for the organization; even if you do not live in New York City, becoming a member can be a way of offering your support and helping to sustain the community. Membership fees are as follows:
If you wish to become a member of The Nietzsche Circle, please print out and complete the membership form and send your check or money order to the address noted on it. All checks or money orders are to be made out to: Nietzsche Circle. All checks must be drawn on a US bank account; otherwise, international money orders or traveler's checks are acceptable.
Q. Are there other forms of support which I can provide for the Nietzsche Circle?
A. While membership dues provide a measure of financial support that is meaningful, it is not a sufficient means of sustenance; more substantial contributions are needed in order to achieve our goals and continue our work. A financial contribution is far more than a form of economic support that enables the Nietzsche Circle to continue its work; it is a form of support which identifies you as a member of the Nietzsche community and underscores your belief in the relevancy and need of that community’s work. However, if certain donors wish to remain anonymous, the Nietzsche Circle will honor such requests.
If you wish to assist the Nietzsche Circle in pursuing its goals, please download our pledge form to read of the various levels of support which you can provide and to learn of the benefits which such support yields.
For further information, please contact us. Contributions to the Nietzsche Circle are tax-deductible to the extent provided by law. Please make checks payable to our Fiscal Sponsor: Fractured Atlas, and write Nietzsche Circle in the memo section of the check.
If anyone is interested in contributing work to the site, please contact the Editors of the Nietzsche Circle for further information. Whatever works are received will be reviewed by our editorial board.