Philosophy in the manner of Plato should rather be defined as an erotic contest, as a further development and inward intensification of the old agonal gymnastics and their Presuppostions. —Nietzsche, Twilight of the Idols, Sum 23.”
But when he peered about himself and searched for the comforters of his solitude, oddly enough, it was cows huddled together on a knoll; their nearness and smell had warmed his heart.” – Thus Spoke Zarathustra
Welcome to the new issue of The Agonist! Thus Spoke Zarathustra is many different things to different readers: proto-modernist manifesto, convoluted prose-poem, Nietzsche’s failed attempt at a novel, a parody of scripture, a revisionist Socratic dialogue, recitation of the eternal return, etc. Historically speaking, it is perhaps best remembered as announcing the end of humanism, with Zarathustra prophesizing the coming of the enigmatic “overhuman.” Nietzsche certainly thought it was his masterpiece, and never tired of singing its praises. As he proclaimed triumphantly in Ecce Homo: “Among my writings my Zarathustra stands by itself. With this book I have given mankind the greatest gift it has ever been given.” It would seem like hyperbole if not for the thousands of pages of ink spilled since its publication. Perhaps most confounding, is that while Nietzsche’s radical intellectual challenges to moral and cultural values may have been too early for the late nineteenth century, we may be too late. Like all of his mature works, the text invites a multitude of interpretations, and we have included what we hope to be several fresh contributions to the conversation.
We would like to thank all of our contributing writers, the members of our new advisory board, the editorial staff of at The Agonist, and of course our readers. We look forward to hearing from you along with suggestions for any future topics.
The Editorial Board, April 2018