College of Arts and Sciences

Department of English

ESQ: A Journal of the American Renaissance

Russell B. Goodman

"Moral Perfectionism and Democracy: Emerson, Nietzsche, Cavell"

This essay introduces Emerson, Nietzsche, and their relationship through textual comparisons between Zarathustra and "Self-Reliance"—an essay Nietzsche was rereading in the summer of 1881, when he first had the thoughts that led to Zarathustra. It then moves to the question of whether such virtues as Emersonian "self-reliance" or Nietzschean "self-overcoming" are compatible with, opposed to, or required for democracy.

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