The Unmanned Autohagiography
by D. Harlan Wilson
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Pub Date 03 Sep 2023 | Archive Date 01 Oct 2023
In this remarkable exploration of Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche’s Native American roots, D. Harlan Wilson explodes all former notions of the German philosopher, amoralist, and über-saint in the same vein that his Zarathustra exploded universal principles. Based upon extensive research in the Nietzsche Archives at the University of Arts-Gatlinburg, this so-called “autohagiography” reveals what it meant for Nietzsche to be a person of color and a “gay scientist” masquerading as one of the whitest, straightest, most entitled men in the history of Western civilization. Do not look to these pages for an exegesis of yet another archbishop of heteronormative patriarchy. Nietzsche was much more than an Anglo-Saxon descendent crying wolf from a Swiss mountaintop, and unlike most career-spanning monographs, Wilson completely ignores his insanity and preoccupation with Christian morality in favor of his Cherokee affect and early-American genealogy as much as his transgender proclivities. This is the unmanning that Nietzsche Studies has been waiting for—utterly absorbing, insufferably profound, and a testimony to the hammer of truth that forged an entire arsenal of modern thought.
"I have never been so unreservedly offended and confounded by a book. Nor have I enjoyed a book so much or recognized its scholarly valence. To some degree, Nietzsche: The Unmanned Autohagiography reads itself. It may have even written itself. One thing is clear: D. Harlan Wilson is not, as many critics have claimed, a ghost in the machine of history. He is the machine in the ghost of futurity." —NATHAN BEDFORD FORREST, Professor of Art History and Chair of the Department of Viticulture and Enology at Fostoria University
"Friends of this book, eagle and serpent, here are the blistered berries of joy, amor fati. Here is the abyss, gazing back." —JAMES REICH, author of Soft Invasions
"No one does it like D." —GABINO IGLESIAS, author of The Devil Takes You Home
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 4 members
My thanks to both NetGalley and the publisher Raw Dog Screaming Press for an advanced copy of this work of speculative biography and confessional fiction with a dash of alternative history and unadulterated wonder.
Sometimes the abyss gazes back. To paraphrase the writer D. Haran Wilson adding quotes to a paper makes people think I am smart and really fills things out well. However the quote about the abyss really reflects what the author is trying to do here. How can one examine, add to the long lists of biographies and studies of the same person without adding something new, and after all this time and a tremendous amount of books, facts, good hooks to hang a book idea on are far and few. To write a great biography one has engage in autohaigiography, writing a book in praise, as one would a saint. Chisel your own pedestal, because the chiselers of reputation will likely ignore you. Another quote, this review is getting longer and longer. Nietzsche: The Unmanned Autohagiography is the look at the life of a great writer distracting himself from writing a difficut biography, by writing another biography as part of a series of other biographies of famous me, while drawing on his own life for reference. Sounds complicated, but this book is a literary voyage to the moon, down to the soul of a writer at the top of his game.
The book begins with a little about the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, Nitch to the author, and a lot about the author D. Harlan Wilson, we learn of his earlier books in this series books on Frederick Douglass, Freud and Hitler, early novels and publishers. Wilson talks of his early poems, works he published but never wanted to admit he had, plus works of nonfiction on movies and science fiction writers. The book on Nietzsche is more of a distraction from his planned book on the noted film director Stanley Kubirck, a book that is as much a monolith as the one that appeared in the film 2001. Readers learn about Wilson's family, his addictions, life in academia, publishing, his group of supporters who keep him writing and more. Oh and a bit about Nietzsche.
A book that I can't really describe without saying amazing, awesome and hmm astonishing, yes that works. Each page has word play, jokes, deep thoughts, fake information, real information, and sentences full of beautiful writing. I was lost, confused, angry, and at the end, started from the beginning and enjoyed it even more. More risks are taken in a paragraph then fill a chain bookstores fake bestseller's list. The writing, the ideas, the sheer just going for it aspect is wonderful, fresh and everything writing should be. I'm not sure what is true, I do doubt that college life, and small publishing pay much, but maybe it is this freedom that lets Wilson do what he does so well. A book that really stays with one, and a book that makes one look up a lot of things to see what is real. And a book that made me a fan.
Immediately after I finished I ordered some other books and found some podcasts by Wilson that I will have to listen to. Probably when walking so people don't wonder too much who I am talking to. For readers who want something new, but don't know where to start. For readers of Mark Leyner, Jim Krusoe, Steve Erickson, Grant Morrison, and other writers that make one think. I can't recommend this book enough, though it has to be the right people. I know people will be tired of me talking about it. This is the first that I have read by D. Harlan Wilson, and I kick myself for being so late to the party. I can't wait to read more.
I had to research D. Harlan Wilson and stay miles away from him. But then you are justified in asking why I read it after all when I had the option to ignore it. I believe that when you request and receive an advance copy of The Covenant of Water or Stolen Family and read, review, and revel in it, you are also responsible for owning others like Nietzsche's The Unmanned Autohagiography. That, and my eternal optimism that something good will result from reading 150 pages of this
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