Nietzsche’s Übermensch: A Hero of Our Time?
Eva Cybulska dispells popular misconceptions about this controversial figure.
“Man is a rope, fastened between animal and Übermensch – a rope over an abyss.”
Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Prologue
The term Übermensch, often translated as Superman or Overman, was not invented by Nietzsche. The concept of hyperanthropos can be found in the ancient writings of Lucian. In German, the word had already been used by Müller, Herder, Novalis, Heine, and most importantly by Goethe in relation to Faust (in Faust, Part I, line 490). In America Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote of the Oversoul, and, perhaps with the exception of Goethe’s Faust, his aristocratic, self-reliant ‘Beyond-man’ was probably the greatest contributor to Nietzsche’s idea of the Übermensch.