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Vaslav Nijinsky Dagboek

3.83 of 5 stars 3.83  ·  rating details  ·  283 ratings  ·  28 reviews
In 1917 maakte Vaslav Nijinski op dramatische wijze een einde aan zijn fabelachtige carrière als danser en choreograaf. Hij keerde zich af van de werkelijkheid en hield dit vol tot zijn dood in 1950. Tijdens de eerste fase van zijn geestesziekte hield Nijinski een dagboek bij dat zijn intiemste bekentenissen bevat. Het toont ons de lijdensweg van een genie dat - evenals Ni ...more
Paperback, 181 pages
Published 2011 by De Arbeiderspers (first published 1953)
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Reads like a disorienting fusion of high Modernist stream-of-consciousness, Kafka's psychological claustrophobia and the postmodern penchant for shifting personas and unreliable narrators. It could be considered a quite impressive (if impenetrable) literary achievement if stripped of its context-- that is, a record of its author's descent into the schizophrenia from which he would never reemerge. Basically, it's several hundred pages of this type of thing:

"I am the artist who loves shapes and al
total freak. you get the feeling the term "free spirit" was coined specifically for him. i had no idea, what a creative force he was. he was a dancer in a truly golden age, when dancers were famous, and real artists. amazing life story.
Quite possibly THE most fascinating book I have ever read, and ever will read. This book is literally the diary of one of the greatest ballet legends as he takes a nose-dive into insanity. It's not just written to mimic madness; it actually is raw madness. This is definitely not a family-friendly book. It's kind of hard to read because his thought process is so random, and it's very candid and sometimes kind of gross. The diary covers the last few months of his life, during which his wife has hi ...more
Tony Gualtieri
This extremely moving diary was written as Nijinsky struggled with symptoms of schizophrenia in the spring of 1919. It's a painfully honest book. Throughout the text Nijinsky struggles with the horrors of the First World War, his acrimonious relationship with his ex-lover Diaghilev [who had spitefully fired him from Ballets Russes after Nijinsky married a Hungarian woman on a South American tour], his revulsion at eating meat, his deteriorating marriage, and the delusions that increasingly cloud ...more
He is simply beautiful in every way. He makes me sad and he makes me happy. He makes me think about everything and he makes me think about nothing. One of the most beautiful things one can read is a pure genuine, bare and bold person's diary. Which is precisely what this is. His personal writing describes why human beings are endlessly beautiful, and that there is nothing more impacting than purity and genuineness. Why this is not a full five stars rating is for no other reason that it simply do ...more
Justin Davis
It's unfortunate that the other version, published by the University of California Press, I believe, is not listed here (edit: it is listed here! I merely had to change editions (

It is out-of-print, but secondhand copies are widely available, and it is by far superior, in my opinion, to this newer release.

The version I'm mentioning is translated and edited by Nijinsky's wife, Romola, and just seems far more delicate, and beautiful. From what little I re
Lydia St Giles
The principle underlying this book is attractive. However, I think the finished book is relevant mainly to those with a professional interest in the human psyche. The low rating is for its interest for the mainstream reader.
I bought it because of my interest in the arts, including ballet. The period in question - the inter-war years - was a rich one, especially in France, where people such as Diaghilev, Cocteau, Chanel, Stravinsky and Chagall found a congenial base.
The introduction (pages Vll -
Lyrically beautiful. Account of yet another persecuted artist experiencing the emotional extremes we call "mental illness" b/c of the pressures of being exploited by his manager Dhiagelev. Read it too long ago, wanna read it again.
I always finish books, but can't make it through this one. Although it's interesting, after a while it feels a little sad and voyeuristic. Nijinsky repeats and contradicts himself constantly, there's no real constant train of thought.
Repetitive, pedantic, contradictory, ecstatic.
I'm overwhelmed with love for these simplistic rants - amazing, cyclical arrogance.
Apparently, all you have to do is chant "god", "meat", "heart", and "blood", and I am won.
Mi ha sempre affascinato la figura di Nijinsky ma forse era meglio se leggevo una biografia....Era veramente fulminato!
Alex Diaz
I am a biography fanatic, and seeing as Nijinsky is one of the most famous and influential dancers of all time, I figured this would be a pretty rewarding read. What I didn’t anticipate was how uncomfortable I would feel while reading it. This diary captures Nijisnky’s descent into madness over the course of one month, and between Nijinsky’s unfortunate love of repetition and his insistence that he is God, much of it reads like a compendium of Gertrude Stein’s “what-would-i-say” posts (out of co ...more
Rase Tuvi
Divine book (for he actually calls it "a book"). I read it in the original, Nijinsky titles it "The Feeling". So sad english translation doesn't give all these...
He is translucent, limpid, transparent. Every paragraph is a quote.

"I do not like merriment, I like living."

"I do not like this life, so I asked her(the life) to leave me, making her feel. She felt, and so did not give me the opportunity to keep talking."
despite nijinsky's several indications of his wishes for his diary to be widely read and translated into many langauges, i still felt like i was committing an unforgivable trespass against him by reading it. here we have a document of schizophrenic writing (doesn't have much to teach you about dance, by the way, in case that's why you're here) that is utterly depressing, almost unreadable, and yet kind of hard to put down... but by the time i got to the mad logorrhea of the fourth notebook, i di ...more
Hillary White
I have recently started diving head-first into the world of nonfiction literature and have found that I really do enjoy it. Although, I'm not sure if Nijinsky's diary is exactly the same because this book, even though it was translated, read like a novel and I was pulled into his world. Nijinsky's slow descent into madness took me right along with him. I have always loved Nijinsky's work and the different way he thinks but delving into this book gave me a whole different perspective in who Nijin ...more
Sebastian Melmoth
One of the saddest books I have ever read.
Franco Alesci
Le pagine di questa opera, dalla prima all’ultima, sono scritte senza inibizioni, come solo un bambino, un artista o uno spirito libero, possono fare, e Nijinsky era contemporaneamente tutte e tre queste cose. La scrittura di questo diario è semplice ma, veramente, molto efficace. Dice bene H. Miller in quarta di copertina: “se non fosse finito in manicomio, se questo diario fosse stato solo il suo battesimo con la letteratura, avremmo avuto in Nijinsky uno scrittore paragonabile al ballerino”. ...more
this is another true account of a (brilliant) man's deterioration into schizophrenia. nijinsky was an extremely talented dancer, and a legend at that. apparently, he knew he was going mad???? and kept this journal as a record of his descent. it's plain to see.

while this was a good book, i couldn't finish it all because his ramblings made me feel as if i was going insane. what i did read was crazy (no pun intended) good, though.

"femmka (little wife), you are bringing me my death-warrant."
I fell in love with this angst-ridden diary when we read it in "Madness in Literature" with Don Levine at UMASS in the late 70's. I was at a point in my life where I could immerse myself in other peoples woes and be riveted and woe-filled myself.... utterly absurd in retrospect. But it was an interesting insight into the dance world of Diaghelev and the Ballet Russe in the teens and twenties, and the mind of a brilliant dancer spiraling down into his own abyss.
Okay, so I didn't ACTUALLY finish it. But, I'm finished WITH it. It's fascinating, but very difficult to focus on, and there are SO many other things I want to read right now. So I'm putting it on an indefinite hold- if I can get my hands on it in the future and read through a few more pages whenever I am so inspired.
This book is fanasinating to read. It's right at that brink of being sane and insane. The delicate desires mixed with the ravings of a mad man. It was also interesting to see how he kept getting fixated on some words and themes. SO many I wants'.
these diary entries really make one question the line between art and madness. both romantic and painful to read.
He thinks he is god and than thinks he is not god; and that 180 pages long. Madness never was so boring.
The mind of a genius in the midst of a storm of madness. Insane, beautiful, illuminated.
Few books are more heartbreaking.
Sep 03, 2008 Nathanial is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
Diary of the Dancer as a Crazy Man
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Vaslav Nijinsky (December 28, 1889 - April 8, 1950) was a Russian ballet dancer and choreographer of Polish descent. Nijinsky was one of the most gifted male dancers in history, and he grew to be celebrated for his virtuosity and for the depth and intensity of his characterizations. He could perform en pointe, a rare skill among male dancers at the time and his ability to perform seemingly gravity ...more
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“I danced frightening things. They were frightened of me and therefore thought that I wanted to kill them. I did not want to kill anyone. I loved everyone, but no one loved me, and therefore I became nervous.” 17 likes
“People like eccentrics. Therefore they will leave me alone, saying that I am a mad clown.” 14 likes
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