What is it that makes Nietzsche Nietzsche? In The Shortest Shadow, Alenka Zupancic counters the currently fashionable appropriation of Nietzsche as a philosopher who was ahead of his time but whose time has finally come -- the rather patronizing reduction of his often extraordinary statements to mere opinions that we can share. Zupancic argues that the definitive Nietzschean quality is his very unfashionableness, his being out of the mainstream of his or any time. To restore Nietzsche to a context in which the thought lives on its own credit, Zupancic examines two aspects of his philosophy. First, in Nietzsche as Metapsychologist, she revisits the principal Nietzschean themes -- his declaration of the death of God (which had a twofold meaning, God is dead and Christianity survived the death of God ), the ascetic ideal, and nihilism -- as ideas that are very much present in our hedonist postmodern condition. Then, in the second part of the book, she considers Nietzsche's figure of the Noon and its consequences for his tion of the truth. Nietzsche describes the Noon t as the moment when all shadows disappear but as the moment of the shortest shadow -- t the unity of all things embraced by the sun, but the moment of splitting, when one turns into two. Zupancic argues that this tion of the Two as the minimal and irreducible difference within the same animates all of Nietzsche's work, generating its permanent and inherent tension.
Alenka Zupancic, a Slovenian psychoanalytic theorist and philosopher, teaches at the European Graduate School and is a researcher at the Institute of Philosophy at the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and the Arts. She is the author of The Shortest Shadow: Nietzsche's Philosophy of the Two and The Odd One In: On Comedy, both in the Short Circuits series, published by the MIT Press.