Shaw on Nietzsche and Bullying (Thatcher, 1970)

1.708-9, 720-29. David S. Thatcher, Nietzsche in England, 1890-1914, (Toronto and Buffalo: University of Toronto Press, 1970), p. 197. BL X800.70/80

An extract from George Bernard Shaw’s ‘Preface’ to Major Barbara.

Mulligan gives his bullying of Stephen at 1.720-29 a Nietzschean justification, a line of reasoning which Shaw was keen to contest:

Nietzsche, like Schopenhauer, is the victim in England of a single much quoted sentence containing the phrase “big blonde beast.” On the strength of this alliteration it is assumed that Nietzsche gained his European reputation by a senseless glorification of selfish bullying as the rule of life, just as it is assumed, on the strength of the single word Superman (Uebermensch) borrowed by me from Nietzsche, that I look for the salvation of society to the despotism of a single Napoleonic Superman, in spite of my careful demonstration of the folly of that outworn infatuation.