“THE MAX STIRNER OF FEMINISM” ?

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The development of Marsden’s theory formation is of interest here only insofar as it directly relates to the theme of anarchism in the relatively short period from ca. 1912 to 1914. Until 1912, Marsden’s viewpoint had progressed from a socialist to a feminist and humanist and finally to an individualist point of view, which she termed egoist and in which all that had come previously was “alike contained and transcended.” Literary “egoisms” had come into vogue since ca. 1890, most from the Continent, penetrating the Anglo-Saxon sphere (Nietzsche, Barrès, and others) and causing the discourse in Marsden’s »Freewoman« to affirm egoism before the name of Stirner was even mentioned. Nevertheless, the American culture critic Floyd Dell addressed Marsden even then — due to her programmatic opening article (»Bondwomen,« 23 Nov 1911) — admiringly as “The Max Stirner of Feminism” (»Women as World Builders,« p.103).

After Stirner’s »The Ego and His Own« appeared in English (London, 1912) this book seemed to Marsden to be of especially remarkable value. Contrary to habit, she even spoke about the book once, enthusiastically and with unchecked superlatives: it was (not “one of the,” but rather) “the” “most powerful work” that had ever appeared (1 Sept 1913). — Only he or she who is familiar with the peculiar ways in which Stirner’s thought was received, particularly those approving (Mackay, Ruest, Jünger; see Laska, 1996), will look more closely here.

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THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ARCHISM AND EGOISM

STICXENER

While you make a distinction between anarchism and egoism, you didn’t make one between archism and egoism. Indeed, it appeared to be your point that there was no difference between archism and egoism and therein lay the difference between egoism and anarchism. I beg to differ with you on this point insofar as I perceive a difference between archism and egoism.

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THE UNIQUE ONE MEETS THE OVERHUMAN II

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Zarathustra attacks individual humans for what they are, how they live, what they value, and what they aspire to become. They are disparaged because they do not fit the spiritual ideal of the overhuman.

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SJÄLVHÄVDELSE I STÄLLET FÖR SJÄLVFÖRNEKELSE

VALORESTIRNERIANO

“De som lägga människorna på hjärtat att vara oegennyttiga, tro sig säga något oerhört viktigt. Vad mena de därmed? Förmodligen något som “självförnekelse”. Men vem är detta själv som skall förnekas och icke får ha någon egen nytta? Det synes vara du själv. Och till vems nytta rekommenderar man dig denna onyttiga självförnekelse? Återigen till nytta och fromma för dig, blott det att du måste skaffa dig din “sanna nytta” genom “oegennyttighet”.
Självförnekelse — det är högsta dygden i denna av kristendomen fördärvade tidsålder. Hur träffande är icke följande målande skildring:

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THE UNIQUE ONE MEETS THE OVERHUMAN

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Nietzsche’s concept of the Ubermensch or overhuman is easily one of the most recognized ideas in his thought. However, it actually plays a small and somewhat vague role in the entirety of his philosophy. Nietzsche’s definition and characterization of the overhuman is also very limited. The overhuman is discussed with any depth only in Thus Spoke Zarathustra.

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THE EGO AND THE ORIGINS OF HISTORICAL MATERIALISM

GERA

The dissolution of Left Hegelianism coincided with the early thinking of Marx who grew up among the ruins of their philosophy. Together with Stirner, Marx accepted the philosophical categories and problems of Hegelian thought. Placing Stirner among the many strands and mutations of Hegelian thought highlights his intellectual proximity to the thought of the young Marx.

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ANTAGONISTIC FOUNDATIONS:NIETZSCHE’S EGOISM

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Another important difference is apparent in the nature of the egoism of Stirner and N ietzsche. Like Stirner, Nietzsche clearly advocates for egoism and offers an organized criticism of altruistic morality in several of his books. At times, he describes himself as an “immoralist,” perhaps ironically, and applauds the contemporary value of independence, self interest, feeling “responsible for what one intends,” and having “pride in ourselves.”

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ANTAGONISTIC FOUNDATIONS

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If there are significant parallels in the thought of Stirner and Nietzsche, it should be possible to identify similarities in the methodological and theoretical frameworks they developed . If Stirner developed a dialectical egoist critique of modernity, then Nietzsche should have comparable views on the dialectic, egoism, and modernity. This is far from the case.

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