Max Stirner - Influence

Influence

While Der Einzige was a critical success and attracted much reaction from famous philosophers after publication, it was out of print and the notoriety it had provoked had faded many years before Stirner's death. Stirner had a destructive impact on left-Hegelianism, though his philosophy was a significant influence on Marx and his magnum opus became a founding text of individualist anarchism. Edmund Husserl once warned a small audience about the "seducing power" of Der Einzige, but never mentioned it in his writing. As the art critic and Stirner admirer Herbert Read observed, the book has remained "stuck in the gizzard" of Western culture since it first appeared.

Many thinkers have read, and been affected by The Ego and Its Own in their youth including Rudolf Steiner, Gustav Landauer, Victor Serge, Carl Schmitt and Jürgen Habermas. Few openly admit any influence on their own thinking. Ernst Jünger's book Eumeswil, had the character of the "Anarch", based on Stirner's "Einzige." Several other authors, philosophers and artists have cited, quoted or otherwise referred to Max Stirner. They include Albert Camus in The Rebel (the section on Stirner is omitted from the majority of English editions including Penguin's), Benjamin Tucker, James Huneker, Dora Marsden, Renzo Novatore, Emma Goldman, Georg Brandes, John Cowper Powys, Martin Buber, Sidney Hook, Robert Anton Wilson, german-mexican philosopher Horst Matthai, Italian individualist anarchist Frank Brand, the notorious antiartist Marcel Duchamp, several writers of the Situationist International including Raoul Vaneigem (who mentions him positively in his main work The Revolution of Everyday Life), and Max Ernst, who titled a 1925 painting L'unique et sa propriété. Years before rising to power, Benito Mussolini was inspired by Stirner, and made several references to him in his newspaper articles. The similarities in style between The Ego and Its Own and Oscar Wilde's The Soul of Man Under Socialism have caused some historians to speculate that Wilde (who could read German) was familiar with the book.

Since its appearance in 1844, The Ego and Its Own has seen periodic revivals of popular, political and academic interest, based around widely divergent translations and interpretations – some psychological, others political in their emphasis. Today, many ideas associated with post-left anarchy's criticism of ideology and uncompromising individualism are clearly related to Stirner's. He has also been regarded as pioneering individualist feminism, since his objection to any absolute concept also clearly counts gender roles as "spooks". His ideas were also adopted by post-anarchism, with Saul Newman largely in agreement with many of Stirner's criticisms of classical anarchism, including his rejection of revolution and essentialism.

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