Bluster (an Argumentative Mode)
What is bluster? What kind of genre, style, or form does it describe, and what aims and subject positions does it entail? This paper seeks to answer that question through the work of Friedrich Nietzsche and his contemporary, the theologian David Friedrich Strauß, of whom Nietzsche himself wrote a blistering critique in the Untimely Meditations. Through readings of these two rivals, the paper argues for “bluster” as the rhetoric of would-be authority and ressentiment, an attempt at power and norm-enforcement of those outside both power and norms. The paper also examines the historical situatedness of bluster as a style of discourse, as well as the question of what happens when the blusterers enter into the corridors of power after all.
About the German Studies Seminar
The Newberry Library German Studies Seminar series provides a forum for scholarship-in-progress in the area of German studies. The seminar is particularly interested in papers that cross disciplinary boundaries and that reconceptualize the materials and conventions of German Studies as a field, including beyond the frames of the German language and nation state. Like all Newberry Scholarly Seminars, meetings are conversational and free and open to faculty, graduate students, and members of the public, who register in advance to request papers.