CONVERSATIONS WITH NIETZSCHE: A Life in the Words of His Contemporaries by Sander L.--Ed. Gilman

CONVERSATIONS WITH NIETZSCHE: A Life in the Words of His Contemporaries

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A selection of 84 memoirs, anecdotes, and reminiscences spanning the life of the famed philospher. The collected memories range from stilted testimonies to the informal anecdotes of casual non-philosopher acquaintances. The entries written by those who went to school with Nietzsche are afflicted by a sycophantic, sermonizing tone (everyone claims to be a kindred spirit), but they paint a picture of an extraordinary boy, overweight, myopic, but already possessing definite ideas about music and art, sure of his purpose in philosophy, confident of his potential impact. By the time he is in his mid-20s, young professor Nietzsche, already notorious for The Birth of Tragedy, emerges as an unforgettable personality--a firebrand of the mind who is also a gentle, painfully sensitive teacher and seeker. The power of the mature Nietzsche is captured best by the passionate Lou SalomÉ (complete with a defensive counterpoint from Nietzche's notoriously jealous sister). By far the most wrenching and revealing passages are from the period spent in Sils-Maria, where Nietzsche lived in stark simplicity, writing Zarathustra between the terrible headaches; the memoirs show him walking and talking with old and new friends, gentle and attentive even as the madness closed in. Not for Nietzsche scholars only, this exemplary collection is for anyone interested in a unique man, one as unforgettable for the exquisite fineness of his outer life as for the fire within.

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1987
Publisher: Oxford Univ. Press