Abstract

Hedwig Dohm (1831–1919) is a radical German feminist whose work critically engages Nietzsche's writings. In this article, I develop and draw out the implications of a Dohmian critique of Nietzschean nihilism by looking closely at Dohm's novella Become Who You Are! (Werde, die Du Bist!, 1894). In this novella, Dohm provides an extended case study of two distinct types of Nietzschean nihilism common to women living in Germany in the late nineteenth century. And Dohm's writings illuminate a double standard in Nietzsche's theory of nihilism: Overcoming nihilism is going to require greater effort for a woman than it will for a man. Dohm emphasizes the challenges that women face in overcoming nihilism. Women must first throw off the shackles of oppressive systems of social norms and institutions in order to reveal a new or different way of interpreting themselves and their world.

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