Sunday, September 2, 2007

Who else employed the idea of the "Superman"?

A friend is looking for information on authors before or contemporaneous with Nietzsche who employed the notion of (and the word) "Superman" (Uebermensch). I came across this article:

Nietzsche's Superman
William M. Salter
The Journal of Philosophy, Psychology and Scientific Methods, Vol. 12, No. 16 (Aug. 5, 1915), pp. 421-438

Do any readers have other information/references?

10 comments:

Chris said...

In the November, 1900 issue of Modern Language Notes (Vol. 15, Issue 7), there is a mention of a new journal, Zeitschrift
für deutsche Wortforschung
, edited by Friedrich Kluge. Apparently the first issue contains an article by Richard M. Meyer, of which the note writes:

"The most notable contribution is
Richard M. Meyer's discussion of the history of the word Übermnensch, from its first appearance in the Urfaust, to the present day, and the evolution of the conception underlying it, from its primitive form in antiquity to its remarkable culmination with Nietzsche."

I can't find the journal, and don't read enough German to read the article anyway, but I hope the reference helps.

Thomas said...

Nietzsche got the phrase from Emerson--who talked of both the Overman and the Oversoul.

Brian Leiter said...

Emerson is, indeed, an obvious source, but I wonder whether Thomas or any other reader has references at hand to the particular essays by Emerson.

Daw-Nay Evans said...

In Emerson's "Self-Reliance" he talks about the concept of power, the great man, the great genius, those things that are "dictated by your nature" (naturalism?), and the self-proclamation of "I obey no law less than the eternal law" (eternal return?). In an essay entitled the "Over-soul" he talks about what could arguably be concept akin to Nietzsche's Overman or Superman. Of course, this is all open to interpretation, but worth pursuing. These are just my initial thoughts.

Ben said...

I'm not sure if your friend is just looking for strictly philosophical sources, but Dostoevsky employed the notion of a super-human (though I'm not sure what terminology he used in the original Russian), in Crime and Punishment, written in 1866.

neema said...

Emerson's essays "The Over-Soul" and "Self-Reliance" are spot on, to be sure. But also Goethe's 'Faust' (well, what else for Nietzsche?) mentions the Uebermensch in the first part of the tragedy, somewhere in the exchange between Faust and the Geist.

Peter Bokulich said...

OT, but I thought "Nietzsche Family Circus" should be brought to your attention (if it hasn't already): http://www.losanjealous.com/nfc/

Jean said...

Jules Chaix-Ruy (trans. Marina Smyth-Kok), The Superman: From Nietzsche to Teilhard de Chardin, University of Notre Dame Press, London.

Anonymous said...

How about Dante?

Anonymous said...

I was kind of curious about Dostoyevsky's Ubermensch and how it related to Nietzsche's. My 12th grade English teacher taught that Dostoyevsky got his Ubermensch idea from Nietzsche, and I now know that that's very unlikely, but I'd still like to know about the correlation (if there is any) between the two.