College of Arts and Sciences

Department of English

ESQ: A Journal of the American Renaissance

Herwig Friedl

"Fate, Power, and History in Emerson and Nietzsche"

This essay attempts to show that Emerson and Nietzsche initiated one of the most far-reaching changes in the history of thinking by responding in similar and intimately related ways to a new dispensation of Being (in Heidegger's sense). Their new and post-metaphysical mode of answering the address of Being is based on a vision of the circular structure of Being as becoming, with an awareness of the close relationship between (the will to) power and the persistent or eternal return as the ontological gesture of self-grounding. The possibility of this new interpretation of essentia (power) and existentia (eternal return) was first intuited by Emerson (in "The American Scholar," "History," "Self-Reliance," and "Fate") and then explained as constitutive of human and nonhuman beings alike by both Emerson and Nietzsche throughout their careers.

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