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Agonist Policy Statement

The Agonist is a peer review refereed journal that publishes essays, interviews, and reviews. In the future, it will also feature current translations of heretofore unavailable Nietzsche texts and overviews of 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. Although 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. 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]. Thus, although our principal concern is the aesthetic, the aesthetic is inseparable from the philosophic and therefore from life. All dimensions of Nietzsche’s thought—classical, mythic, moral, 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—to write, for example, as rabbinical scholars write on The Torah, surrounding a text with numerous conflicting interpretations that come to no resolution, reflecting a radical perspectivism that refuses to offer definitive conclusions. The ‘dangerous maybe’ and the ‘questionable question’ that Nietzsche brings to bear in his agons must, too, be brought to bear against his thought.

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. Blood, however, can also be “ the worst witness of truth.” “It is more,” Zarathustra says, “when one’s own teaching comes out of one’s own blaze.”

The Agonist will also publish reviews of works not directly concerned with Nietzsche that the editors consider relevant or of particular importance to its overall aestheticophilosophic concerns.

The Nietzsche Circle (NC) was founded in 2004 and staged its first event, Transfigurations, in April 2005 at NYU’s Deutsches Haus. It featured a performance of Nietzsche’s musical compositions, recitations of his poetry, and a presentation on the question of poetry and why poets lie.

The NC is an independent community whose primary concern is with philosophical interrogations of all modes of aesthetics. It is our intention to respond to what is in crisis in art and examine art’s bearing on life and how it functions as a reflection or interpretation of the world. The aesthetic domain however is not strictly one of objects. Life can be an art and philosophy an aesthetic expression of existence or artful mode of living.

Contributors to Nietzsche Circle publications include Christa Davis Acampora, Khalid Al-Maaly, Babette E. Babich, Paul Bishop, Daniel Blue, Arno Böhler, Sonja Boos, Christopher Branson, Thomas Brobjer, Katja Brunkhorst, Mark Daniel Cohen, Stanley Corngold, Joshua Gonsalves, Suzanne Granzer, Lawrence Hatab, Kevin Hart, Angela C. Holzer, Horst Hutter, Vanessa Lemm, James Luchte, Benjamin Moritz, Ali Mosbah, Nickolas Pappas, Bradley Park, Graham Parkes, Philip Pothen, Walter H. Sokel, Rachael Sotos, Joan Stambaugh, Yunus Tuncel, Friedrich Ulfers, Massimo Verdicchio, and Colin Wilson.

Submissions for The Agonist should be sent to the editors: or use our contact form.

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