Skip to content Skip to navigation

Nietzsche: Philosopher of Lightness and Dynamite

Tuesday, June 6, 2017 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm
Registration is NOT required
Free and open to the public

Nietzsche: Philosopher of Lightness and Dynamite

Christopher Hamilton

Few, if any, other contemporary philosophers have achieved a level of influence to rival that of Nietzsche. Largely ignored during his lifetime, he was, as he predicted, born posthumously. In this lecture, Christopher Hamilton will trace the outlines of Nietzsche’s thought, exploring his most famous theories—eternal recurrence, the Übermensch, slave revolt in morality, and the death of God—as well as some lesser-known elements of his work, revealing a thinker of immense generosity and subtlety, full of lightness and mischief. Hamilton offers an introduction to Nietzsche’s life and work and a profound reflection on his body of thought, perfect for beginning learners as well as those already familiar with this “prophet of modernity.”

Christopher Hamilton is a senior lecturer in philosophy of religion at King’s College London. Educated in London, Cambridge, and Bonn, he has been a scholar in residence at the University of Salzberg and a visiting professor at the University of Trent. Hamilton is the author of five books, the most recent being A Philosophy of Tragedy (2016), as well as numerous articles on Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Simone Weil, Primo Levi, Alain Resnais and W.G. Sebald, and others. He is as interested in literature and film as he is in philosophy, and teaches and writes always with an eye on these neighboring disciplines.

The Boston Athenæum acquired a German-language biography of Nietzsche, Friedrich Nietzsche: Ein Lebensbild in 1899, almost a year before the philosopher’s death in August 1900. Today the Athenæum’s shelves house more than 50 volumes about Nietzsche and his philosophies and approximately 30 more by Nietzsche himself.

Athenæum members interested in philosophy can join the Athenæum Philosophy Discussion Group, which meets on the third Thursday of every month from September to May. Contact Arnold Serapilio at or at 617-720-7633 for more information about discussion groups.

Assistive Listening Devices image

Most programs held in the Bayard Henry Long Room on the Athenaeum's first floor are amplified and assistive listening devices are available for patron use.

ASL Interpretation image

To request ASL interpretation services for any of the Athenaeum's programs, please contact Hannah Weisman at 617-720-7617 or