Sex and the Superman

An Analysis of the Pornographic Content of Marinetti’s Mafarka le futuriste
  • Carol Diethe
Part of the Insights book series


The Superman whose coming was announced by Nietzsche to an incredulous reading public in Thus Spoke Zarathustra (1883–5) was destined to receive his most thorough literary characterisation in Marinetti’s only full-length novel, Mafarka le futuriste (written in French and swiftly banned for obscenity when it appeared in Paris in 1909). This cannot be explained by any similarity between the two writers: Nietzsche was an academic and a recluse who was unsuccessful with women and never married, while Marinetti, rich and extrovert, thrived on publicity and eventually, after a turbulent youth, became a model paterfamilias. However, although Zarathustra and Mafarka may differ as literary characters, they are clearly linked in so far as Zarathustra is a prophet who preaches belligerent and misogynist ideas, and Mafarka is a rapacious warlord who puts these ideas into effect.


Sexual Violence Female Anatomy Immortal Creation Pornographic Content Copper Peni 
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  1. 3.
    See Peter Gay, The Bourgeois Experience 2 vols (New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1984 and 1986) vol. i, p. 153.Google Scholar
  2. 4.
    See Otto Weininger, Sex and Character (London and New York: Heinemann, 1906). First published in German in 1903.Google Scholar
  3. 6.
    Franz Kuna, Kafka: Literature as Corrective Punishment (London: Paul Ellek, 1974) p. 36.Google Scholar
  4. 7.
    Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra tr. R. J. Hollingdale (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1961). Page references in text. First published in German, 1883–92.Google Scholar
  5. 8.
    Mary Wollstonecraft, Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792; Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1983) p. 118.Google Scholar

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© the Editorial Board, Lumiere (Co-operative) Press Ltd 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carol Diethe

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