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When Nietzsche Wept

4.34  ·  Rating details ·  51,979 ratings  ·  3,397 reviews
In 19th-century Vienna, a drama of love, fate, and will is played out amid the intellectual ferment that defined the era.

Josef Breuer, one of the founding fathers of psychoanalysis, is at the height of his career. Friedrich Nietzsche, Europe's greatest philosopher, is on the brink of suicidal despair, unable to find a cure for the headaches and other ailments that plague h
Paperback, 310 pages
Published January 4th 2005 by Harper Perennial (first published 1992)
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Arghavan یکی از بهترین و دلچسب ترین کتابهاییکه خودندم، و البته که ارزش بارها و بارها خوانده شدن رو داره، کسانیکه به فلسفه و روانشناسی علاقه دارند، شک نکنن این …moreیکی از بهترین و دلچسب ترین کتابهاییکه خودندم، و البته که ارزش بارها و بارها خوانده شدن رو داره، کسانیکه به فلسفه و روانشناسی علاقه دارند، شک نکنن این کتاب بهترین گزینه ست.(less)
Marc Partly, but Nietsche and Breuer never met, and thus psychoanalysis was not 'created' during their non-existent physiscian-patient relatinship.
Breuer w…more
Partly, but Nietsche and Breuer never met, and thus psychoanalysis was not 'created' during their non-existent physiscian-patient relatinship.
Breuer was close to Freud, though, and Freud to Lou Andrea Salomé. (less)

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Ahmad Sharabiani
When Nietzsche wept, Irvin D. Yalom

When Nietzsche Wept is a 1992 novel by Irvin D. Yalom.

The novel starts with Dr. Josef Breuer, sitting in a cafe in Venice, Italy waiting for Lou Salomé, who was involved with Friedrich Nietzsche.

She has written a letter stating that the future of the philosophy of Germany is at stake and that the German philosopher needs help desperately.

The plot develops into a therapy where Breuer needs to have his soul treated, i.e. to help him get over a patient who he t
Jun 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Wow. Simply fantastic. If you spend half as much time in your own head as I do mine, this might be the book for you. If you analyze yourself and your actions, enjoy the process of self discovery, or simply love psychology then I suggest you hit your nearest used book shop ASAP. This book makes no effort to hide its loftier aspects. I was not in the least surprised to learn that its author is a professor of psychology at Stanford and has written several text books on the subject. Yalom, however, ...more
Oct 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
The Doctor of Despair

The fin de siecle Viennese satirist, Karl Kraus, took a dim view of the emerging field of psychiatry: “Psychoanalysis is that mental illness for which it regards itself as therapy.” And, somewhat surprisingly, this is the main theme of this novel by an eminent psychotherapist. Psychiatry is indeed a field of Byzantine relationships. Perhaps that is Yalom’s point.

Friedrich Nietzsche and Josef Breuer never really met; but Yalom puts them in an intense relationship of mutual th
Talia Carner
Oct 06, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I am not in the habit of trashing a book. However, since this novel had been published as a "Perennial Classic," there is no danger that I might destroy a writer's career. However, the choice of this book as a "classic" left me perplexed: why this book is held in such a high regard?

The premise of Yalom's novel is interesting: Get two of the most innovative thinkers of modern times to meet. And then what? Friederich Nietzsche and Josef Breuer--the father of modern philosophy and the father of mod
Reading this and looking at some of the other titles Yalom has published the suspicion grew that he might like to write a series of adventures about an enigmatic doctor who travels through time and space solving complex mysteries. Of course ideally this doctor would need some kind of charming but hapless companion, in this case the young Freud whose suggestions nearly lead Dr. Breuer into disaster but who eventually turns good thanks to his handy use of a watch to hypnotise the good Doctor into ...more
Apr 24, 2007 rated it liked it
Beach reading for the brainy set. Keeping in mind that this is one of Yalom’s “teaching novels,” envisioned not to entertain, or even to achieve artistically, but to serve as a type of literary experiential learning tool for therapists and therapists-to-be, really helps with tolerating the expository nature of much of the book. Also, Yalom’s nerdy and passionate enthusiasm is infectious, and if one surrenders to it, it allows the reader to join in with the fun he clearly was having writing this ...more
Jul 18, 2007 rated it it was amazing
In this amazing novel Yalom blends philosophy, psychoanalysis and history and imagines what would have happened had Nietzsche gone into therapy with Breuer. The plot thrives on the tensions that arise between Nietzsche's nihilistic philosophy and Freud's belief in the fundamental role of relationships on human life and development. This book is an emotional and intellectual tour de force and brings to life two of the most magnificent thinkers of the 20th century. Yalom at his best! ...more
Nov 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I literally have no words to describe my feelings about this book (which is an appalling misuse of the word "literally", but who cares?). Maybe it's too soon to say that this book changed my life? But it did. It really really did. Well, what else? I guess, as Mr. Bingley once said to Emma, "If I loved it less, I could talk about it more." Yeah, that's it. That sums the whole thing up. I'm weeping. ...more
♥ Ibrahim ♥
Jul 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Thanks to this book, I have grown to love, respect and have a tender spot in my heart for Nietzsche. Based on the infamous quote "God is Dead" I always took him to be an arrogant man who didn't know what he was talking about. A book like this helps me take Nietzsche in his own context. It is so easy to read, fun, intellectually stimulating, and I keep feeling that I am getting more and more educated. Nietzsche had such a gentle soul but in his books he sounded shrill, often combative. How is tha ...more
Katayoon Salehi
Aug 19, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mind blowing book! Mixing up Nietzsche' philosophy and psychology by Irvin Yalom is just brilliant. Also a pretty good fiction. Enjoyed every second of reading this book. ...more
Gary  Beauregard Bottomley
Sep 25, 2017 rated it did not like it
Nietzsche was anything but one dimensional as this novel tries to make him. There is a reason why all 20th century philosophy went through Nietzsche in one way or another. This book and this author have no idea why and clearly they only understand Nietzsche as if he were a comic book character. He's not. Aphorisms are a dangerous thing to quote out of context. This author does that and tries to make a whole book out of muddled psychoanalytical babble with a weak story melding a shallow plot.

Mehdi Khazaeian
Nov 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I couldn't stop reading it! Five stars with no doubt...
An avenue through which not only a great historical biography is depicted, but an invaluable psychological method is illustrated in perceivable words.
Rick Slane
Historical-fiction explores the possible origin of psychoanalysis along with some of Nietzsche's philosophy. ...more
In reading this book I was hoping to better understand the German existentialist philosopher Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (1844 - 1900), both the man and his particular form of existentialism. The book takes place in the last months of 1882 when Nietzsche was 38 years old; at this date he was neither widely read nor publicly acclaimed as he posthumously came to be. Some of the events of the story did not happen, but they very easily could have happened, this being a definition of fiction put fort ...more
Oct 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: five-star-books

"Fiction is history that might have happened." - Irvin D. Yalom

"When Neitzsche Wept" is a phenomenal novel that creatively marries fact and fiction. It fires the imagination even as it simultaneously engages both the heart and mind.

Its author, Irvin Yalom, an American existential psychiatrist, intended it as a teaching novel. However, it did not read like one. How ingenious to create a pedagogical device "to introduce the student to the fundamentals of existential therapy"!

At center stage were
Bob Nichols
Similar to his novel on Schopenhauer, Yallom's novel on Nietzsche illustrates the cathartic value of the "talking cure" approach used in psychotherapy. Yallom sets the stage (early 1880s, Vienna) by using two historic figures, Dr. Joseph Breuer (who is associated with laying the foundation of psychoanalysis) and the philosopher Nietzsche, both of whom were afflicted with obsessive love interests with two beautiful women. In the background, the young Freud serves as a sounding board for Breuer.

Marina (Sonnenbarke)
For a review in Italian, please visit:

Irvin D. Yalom is a famous American psychiatrist and psychotherapist, who writes with this book a novel about the history of psychotherapy. So he must know what he's writing about. It is important to keep in mind that this is a novel and not a non-fiction book. At the end of the book the author adds a note where he explains which parts are fiction and which are factual. This is very useful in order to better understan
Sara Ghotb
May 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book was great, not only it had a great storyline but also it was very informative. I found it very enjoyable and from philosophical perspective it was very easy to read and yet informative.
Aug 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A quiet and slow conversation piece on the surface but what unbelievable depth and literary language! I enjoyed it immensly.
robin friedman
Mar 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Learning To Love One's Life

Irvin Yalom is a psychiatrist with a deep interest in philosophy. In works of fiction and non-fiction he has tried to combine these two disciplines for the insights they may jointly offer to people. "When Nietzsche Wept" (1992) is probably Yalom's most successful novel. In his book, Yalom imagines a lengthy encounter between Josef Breuer (1842-1925), a Viennese physician who, among other accomplishments helped found psychoanalysis, and the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsc
Shaimaa Ali
Jun 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I raised my case .. 5/5 and straight to my favorite shelf :-)

Page 82:
"My whole life has become a journey, and I begin to feel that my only home, the only familiar place to which I always return, is my illness.”

P103 :
Is it my duty to impose a truth on others that they do not wish to know?"
“Who can determine what one wishes not to know?” Nietzsche demanded.

Dying is hard. I’ve always felt the final reward of the dead is to die no more!”

You wonder about a conversation
I approached this book with considerable doubt. For decades, Nietzsche has been a mentor to me and the tenor of his life and works have deeply impregnated my worldview. So, one is bound to be disappointed by novelistic impersonations of this complex and demanding human being, thinker, poet. Particularly when its title already suggests emotional entanglements and melodrama. My initial impressions seemed to validate these expectations. The first few chapters struck me as rather cartoonish and I wa ...more
Heshot MeDown
I completely and utterly loved this book!
Generally, I like Yalom's writing style but this book also had a very intriguing plot.
I enjoyed every minute of this masterpiece and I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in taking a walk through psychology and philosophy.
Apr 04, 2007 rated it it was ok
Too much fiction, too little philosophy. Ironically, somewhere in the book Nietzsche abhors the idea of reading the recast philosophy. That's why he learned Greek. Drinking from the source spring rather than the still water in the carafe, he learned to read the firsthand writings and then the philologer became a philosopher. Keeping this point in your mind, imagine if you can learn Nietzsche's philosophy by reading merely the excerpts of his early works quoted now and then in the text.

Even so, t
Dec 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I really love "what if" books. This one has the great benefit of introducing me to Nietzsche, whom I deeply ignored before. Now I am more than ever interested in his work and philosophy. The book reminded me of A Dangerous Method, a film that is so similar with the story in this book, except that it's about Jung and Freud. I took a great deal of pleasure in Breuer and Nietzsche's witty dialogues, and I was so in awe that I read a few of them twice. What a shame that this encounter never happened ...more
Sep 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in understanding oneself better
Shelves: psychology
Obsession. The domination of one's thoughts or feelings by a persistent idea, image, desire. We’ve all had obsessions. Some can last longer, others can vanish before we know it. In fact, isn’t the very act of “falling in love” sort of an obsession? I was in the 12th grade when one of my teachers told me that. It struck me as odd, but the idea must’ve made me ponder quite a lot since I still remember it after all this time.

Yalom plays a bit with history in this book. He takes two famous character
Ammara Abid
Feb 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
~"Time cannot be broken;
that is our greatest burden.
And our greatest challenge is to live
in spite of that burden".

What a phenomenal book it is!
Exceptionally written.
Simply awesome & awestruck. I really don't have appropriate words but if I didn't write something now later I wouldn't be able to.
"When the Nietzsche wept" a historical fiction based on the real life story of intricate genius.
A man with exceptional ideologies suffering from a dozens of disease. Gone through a number of treatments
Jan 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2018
This book was surprisingly good, I didn't expect to like it as much as I did.
Actually a friend recommended this to me and the same day one of my lecturers at university talked about it, so I just had to give it a try.

I highly enjoyed the mixture of philosophical and psychoanalytic aspects, as I am interested in both topics. It was definitely one of those books, where you should always have a marker ready to highlight all of these beautiful philosophical sentences, that might change the way you
Jan 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
The writing is complex and sometimes dense; the story and relationships are fascinating, especially the relationship between the 2 men (and, I think, between the doctor and himself); the historical details are interesting and the underpinning idea intriguing. I loved it, although it was a slow read-not because of any flaws in the book but because I stopped often to think about the text, which also presents many interesting concepts: philosophical, psychological, social, relational-and all kinds ...more
Jan 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was my first read of Irvin D. Yalom and it's so beautifully written that I couldn't put it down. In this book he acknowledges Sigmund Freud and his pioneering theory of the unconscious mind as one of the significant contributions to psychoanalysis. The writer has successfully connected different theories to psychoanalysis and has positively managed to gain access to the most secretive part of the mind and uncovered all the veiled thoughts. So relatable is this worth reading material !!! ...more
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Irvin David Yalom, M.D., is an author of fiction and nonfiction, Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry at Stanford University, an existentialist, and accomplished psychotherapist.

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