Breeding Superman: Nietzsche, Race and Eugenics in Edwardian by Dan Stone

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By Dan Stone

Prior to the 1st international conflict there existed an highbrow turmoil in Britain as nice as any in Germany, France or Russia, because the debates over Nietzsche and eugenics within the context of early modernism show. With the increase of fascism after 1918, those debates turned extra ideologically pushed, with technology and vitalist philosophy being hailed in a few quarters as saviors from bourgeois decadence, vituperated in others as heralding the onset of barbarism. Breeding Superman seems at a number of of the major Nietzscheans and eugenicists, and demanding situations the long-cherished trust that British intellectuals have been essentially bored with race. the result's a research of radical principles that are conventionally written out of histories of the politics and tradition of the interval.

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Extra resources for Breeding Superman: Nietzsche, Race and Eugenics in Edwardian and Interwar Britain (Liverpool University Press - Studies in European Regional Cultures)

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It was in this context, too, that Turgenev took strong exception to the English manner of laughing. They rolled about in the aisles, he complained, just like so many deranged machines. By leaving early, Turgenev completely missed a third spectacle - A Sheep in Wolf's Clothing. One hesitates to think what inferences he might have drawn from this. In spite of his excellent comprehension of written and spoken English, an aspect of being in England which Turgenev found disagreable was the necessity of talking the language himself.

It is important to register what Turgenev called the Carlyles' 'benevolence' towards him, and the fact that, in his modesty, he later thought they might have totally forgotten his visit. Whatever may have been said on this occasion, it must have been in a low and friendly key. We can therefore categorically destroy the legend, put about by Yelisey Kolbasin, that Turgenev found Carlyle 'blubbering at the mouth and propounding many absurdities' and 'grew quite hoarse refuting him'. Both Kolbasin and other memoirists do, however, offer versions of the conversation which, when taken together synoptically, allow us to fill out the picture somewhat from the bare outlines given by Turgenev in his letter to Pauline Viardot.

But we are breaking the sequence of our chronicle. May still held at least one exciting HOME AND FOREIGN HEROES AND ECCENTRICS 27 event in store: Turgenev was going to the Derby. In spite of what he had earlier told Pauline, the May weather was generally acceptable, and Wednesday 27 June dawned very fine and warm. The Times called it one of the best days ever for the stakes, but wondered none the less at the 16,000-17,000 people who had travelled down by special fast trains from London Bridge, and at the many thousands more who had gone in carriages, each long procession of which, glimpsed from the train, appeared 'attended by a small simoom which hung upon all its movements with suffocating pertinacity'.

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