Theology & Philosophy

Liberty and Necessity in Emerson and Nietzsche


Emerson is perhaps best known to a wider American public for his enthusiastic defense of individual liberty and self-reliance, his critique of politics and the active state, and his praise of the virtues of private property and even wealth. Among that same American public, it remains nearly unknown that Emerson’s writing was a significant influence on the thought of the far more controversial German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. This conference’s A detailed scrutiny of Emerson’s impact upon Nietzsche, including the many blatant differences of their respective positions, contributedwould be of considerable value to our understanding of the views of individual freedom in the broader “transatlantic” culture of the mid-nineteenth century.


Conference Readings

Emerson, Ralph Waldo. Emerson Essays & Poems. New York: Library of America, 1996.

Nietzsche, Friedrich. The Nietzsche Reader. Edited by Pearson, Keith Ansell and Duncan Large. Malden: Blackwell Publishing Ltd, 2006.

Nietzsche, Friedrich. Basic Writings of Nietzsche. Edited by Kaufmann, Walter. Translated by Kaufmann, Walter. New York: The Modern Library, 1968.