``For even if I should be a bad German,'' the peripatetic philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche wrote to his mother in 1886, ``I am at all events a very good European.'' This heavily illustrated volume marshals considerable evidence to demonstrate just how accurate that statement was: For much of his life, Nietzsche wandered restlessly around Europe, preferring to keep his distance from a Germany he found suffocatingly oppressive and second-rate. But his wanderings were motivated by something more than flight. Philosopher Krell (DePaul Univ.) and photographer Bates argue persuasively that Nietzsche had a strong, persistent appetite for natural and man-made beauty, and that he sought out sites as different as the Alps and the Mediterranean to stimulate his creative powers. Relying heavily on excerpts from Nietzsche's letters, journals, and published works, and on the recollections of friends and colleagues, and on both period and contemporary photographs of everything from Nietzsche's various rooms and homes to street scenes in Nice, Genoa, and Turin (among the many places Nietzsche visited), the authors do make a convincing case for viewing Nietzsche as a true cosmopolitan and as a writer sensitive to a sense of place. But readers who don't have a special interest in the philosopher are likely to find this too narrow (and, at times, too much of a case of special pleading for a kinder, gentler Nietzsche) to be of use.
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