FNS 09: The Italian Job. Nietzsche Texts and Studies

Primary version of this post, with visual content, at Barry Stocker’s Weblog.

One interesting thing I noticed at the Friedrich Nietzsche Society 2009 Conference (see last two posts) was the contribution of Italian commentators, who were present in greater numbers than from any nation after the USA and UK, more than Germany. One distinctive aspect of this is Nietzsche editions, and associated work in philology, and thoughts about Nietzsche on language, philology and rhetoric.

This was most apparent through the participation of Paolo d’Iorio, who directs NietzscheSource (see list of favourite sites in another section of this blog). This is itself supported by the European Union backed Discovery Project: Digital Semantic Corpora for Virtual Research in Philosophy. Discovery supports projects to put reliable digitised versions of the complete archives of major European philosophers online.

D’Iorio spoke at a special session of the conference about the work to digitise the standard Colli/Montinari edition of the complete works of Nietzsche and to put the complete Nietzsche archive online, including his written manuscripts. D’Iorio passed round stunning editions of printed versions of this, which were an extraordinary pleasure to examine. Now everything will be online and far more complete, and freely available through European Union support. This builds on the extraordinary fact about Nietzsche editions, the role Italians have played. Giogio Collini and Mazzino Montinari produced the standard print edition of Nietzsche in German and now D’Iorio is working with Italian collaborators to have very complete Nietzsche texts and archives online. This is not a purely Italian project, D’Iorio himself works in Paris and Oxford. This is not just philology for its own sake, D’Iorio gave a paper on ‘From dissolution into dead matter to the artistic construction of reality. Mind and nature in Nietzsche’s notebooks of Summer 1881’, which combined his research on texts and manuscripts with a major theme in Nietzsche’s philosophy. Another Italian working on the NietzscheSource project through Discovery was present at the conference, Benedetta Zavatta and gave a paper on ‘Nietzsche on mind and language: rhetorical reasons and embodied knowledge’, again combined the philological work with philosophical questions connected with philology.

Most of the Italian participants were not working on NietzscheSource and there was a broad spread of interests, so a really interesting scene there. A bit of that might be due to the time Nietzsche spent in various Italian cities. In Turin his final collapse of 1889 is commemorated and I have found an image online, but unfortunately not complete enough for me to post here.

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