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Breeding Superman: Nietzsche, Race and Eugenics in Edwardian and Interwar Britain

Overview

Before the First World War there existed an intellectual turmoil in Britain as great as any in Germany, France or Russia, as the debates over Nietzsche and eugenics in the context of early modernism reveal. With the rise of fascism after 1918, these debates became more ideologically driven, with science and vitalist philosophy being hailed in some quarters as saviors from bourgeois decadence, vituperated in others as heralding the onset of barbarism. Breeding Superman looks at several of the leading Nietzscheans ...

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Overview

Before the First World War there existed an intellectual turmoil in Britain as great as any in Germany, France or Russia, as the debates over Nietzsche and eugenics in the context of early modernism reveal. With the rise of fascism after 1918, these debates became more ideologically driven, with science and vitalist philosophy being hailed in some quarters as saviors from bourgeois decadence, vituperated in others as heralding the onset of barbarism. Breeding Superman looks at several of the leading Nietzscheans and eugenicists, and challenges the long-cherished belief that British intellectuals were fundamentally uninterested in race. The result is a study of radical ideas which are conventionally written out of histories of the politics and culture of the period.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Challenging the standard assessment that British fascism failed because it was a foreign import, Stone argues from a history of ideas approach that Britain had a proto-Fascist tradition prior to 1918 representing the "extremes of Englishness." In tracing the genealogy of this first stage in fascist formation expressed in the Nietzsche and eugenics movements, the author discusses early promoters of such thought as Oscar Levy, Ludovici, and George Bernard Shaw. Stone concludes that such views are current in academic arguments for a genetic basis of the "underclass." Although 13 of his works are cited in the bibliography, no background information is given on the author. Distributed in the US by ISBS. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

Table of Contents

Introduction
1. Oscar Levy: A Nietzschean Vision
2. Anthony Mario Ludovici: A 'Light-Weight Superman'
3. Nietzsche and Eugenics
4. Race and Eugenics
5. The 'Lethal Chamber' in Eugenic Thought
Conclusion: From 'Underman' to 'Underclass'
Notes
Bibliography
Index

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