Tuesday 28 February 2012

Late words – Christopher Hitchens

Vanity Fair have continued their generous practice of making some of their finest commissioned writing available at no cost via their website.

One of the very last essays by Christopher Hitchens is a meditation on the supposed quote by Friedrich Nietzsche: ‘Whatever doesn’t kill me makes me stronger.’ Christopher did not agree and his essay will convince you with his argument. It is one of his bravest texts and will stun you with its honesty.


The final paragraph of Christopher’s great essay begins:
‘I am attracted to the German etymology of the word “stark,” and its relative used by Nietzsche, stärker, which means “stronger.” In Yiddish, to call someone a shtarker is to credit him with being a militant, a tough guy, a hard worker.’

Here is a distinguished writer who knows that Yiddish can express meanings that no other language can share so effectively.

Photograph of Christopher Hitchens courtesy of the blog of Charles P. Peirce and Esquire.

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