On The Uses and Abuses of History


13cm x 20cm

36 pages


From the introduction:

“The essay Vom Nutzen und Nachtheil der Historie für das Leben* by Friedrich Nietzsche (1874) became an important text for the research project ‘The Nietzsche Memorial Hall’ (Knight & Bogner, 2012) in Weimar, Germany. The artistic project examined how the building had been subjected to re-appropriation and instrumentalisation through ideological forces of the twentieth century: beginning with the National Socialists who commissioned the building in 1937, continuing through the German Democratic Republic and ending in its current state of abandonment. On the Uses and Abuses of History for Life describes the worth and worthlessness of historical knowledge and problematic subjectivities surrounding historicity.


The book-cover scans presented in this publication are an on-going collection of German-language editions of *On the Uses and Abuses of History for Life. The essay was originally published in 1874 in a collection known as Unzeitgemäße Betrachtungen alongside three other essays. The 1924 edition is the first time the essay had been published separately. The changing frequency of publishing throughout the twentieth century indicates how Nietzsche’s legacy undergoes constant revision and politicisation. Proportionally the majority of copies were published in the pre-war period; particularly through the nineteen-thirties and early forties.  Publishing slowed down considerably in the post-war years only returning in frequency in the latter part of the twentieth/early twenty-first century. Opposite each scanned cover are notations describing differences in the editions and additional information on editors and contributors.”