Fraktur-ed Fairy Tales

A stimulating post by L. M. Bernhardt that responds to and develops in new directions my post The Faces of Nietzsche.

The Deaccessioned Philosopher

In a recent blog post, Harvard philosophy librarian Eric Johnson-DeBaufre tells the story of how Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche took over her brother Friedrich’s literary and philosophical legacy and remade it toward her own (proto-Nazi, German Nationalist, anti-semitic) ends. One of the most fascinating things in the tale told in Johnson-DeBaufre’s post is the way in which even the typface of a book could be (and in fact was) a part of promoting claims about national identity and establishing the nationalist bone fides of its author. Elisabeth didn’t just edit her brother’s work and re-frame it — she reprinted it, republishing material that had already been printed in Antiqua in iconically German Fraktur.

As I read the post, it occurred to me that not only had I seen a Fraktur edition of Nietzsche’s work, I actually owned one. When my employer’s library did a round of weeding many years ago (not long…

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