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In this beautifully written account, Julian Young provides the most comprehensive biography available today of the life and philosophy of the nineteenth-century German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. Young deals with the many puzzles created by the conjunction of Nietzsche's personal history and his work: why the son of a Lutheran pastor developed into the self-styled ...more
Hardcover, 649 pages
Published March 31st 2010 by Cambridge University Press
(first published 2010)
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I am considering the possibility of writing an "intellectual biography" of Margaret Fuller. A rather voluminous body of biographical narratives of MF's life appears to exist, and I've read at least five books that recount the sequence of events in Fuller's life as an interested contemporary might have observed and recorded them. Then there is Murray's examination of the emotional/psychological domains of MF's inner life. And of course, there exists shelf upon shelf of books that critics have ...more
exhaustive look at Nietzsche's life and philosophy. honestly his life interested me more than his philosophy. i only read this so i could read on nietzsche by bataille. the author sometimes injects snark and sarcasm that always falls flat and seems resolutely intent on debunking the Nietzsche was Gay theory every time he can. other than that it is written in a very readable manner and his philosophy is presented in an approachable way. it is not an exaltation nor demonization of nietzsche. it ...more
An exhaustive biography on one of the most controversial thinkers of the 19th century. Young demonstrates an encyclopaedic knowledge of Nietzsche's life and work and he also engages in some pressing analysis of the German thinker. He avoids either side of the partisanship surrounding Nietzsche. He neither condemns Nietzsche nor does he eulogise over him. He presents in very bald terms Nietzsche's thought and also his unusual lifestyle. His great works were explored and presented in a short, but ...more
It took me four months to read and along the way I dipped into much of Nietzsche’s early writing as I went along, and read up on 19th century Germany, while listening to Wagner and Beethoven to get a feel for the times. It was a journey. Nietzsche was a strange, tortured, and passionate man. I’m glad to have learned more about him and his thinking. Much of that thinking is repellent but then some of it is heroic and inspiring. Some of it touched by madness. This bio was an incredible, ...more
A very well put-together intellectual biography. I found myself skimming parts of the philosophical exegesis in favor of following Nietzsche's wild life, but those parts came together very nicely in the last arguments against misrepresentations of his philosophy.
A judicious mix of biography and philosophy, Juilan's book does a very nice job summarizing and developing the main strands of Nietzsche's thinking. He does well to also downplay the significance of the Nachlass, and it's problematic child, the notion of Will to Power. In the end, a good read and valuable tool.
This excellent book gives the modern reader deeper insight into and understanding of the unusual life of this legendary and often misunderstood philosopher. I commend this book to all who wish to know what Nietzsche really meant when he wrote that "God is dead" and about "free spirits" and the existence of "superman."
“In the later part of his creative life Nietzsche suffered acutely from loneliness. Like his alter ego, Zarathustra, he found himself alone on a (Swiss) mountain top. But, intellectually at least, he accepted this condition. Since, he reasoned, a radical social critic, a 'free spirit' such as himself, sets himself ever more in opposition to the foundational agreements on which social life depends, he reduces the pool of possible comrades, and so of possible friends, to vanishing point.”
“He sank more and more into apathy; little interested him apart from dolls and other children’s toys. He still spoke occasionally, but mainly to produce stock sentences in the style of a brainwashed schoolboy. Franziska made a record of some of them: ‘I translated much’. ‘I lived in a good place called Naumburg’. ‘I swam in the Saale’. ‘I was very fine because I lived in a fine house’. ‘I love Bismarck’. ‘I don’t like Friedrich Nietzsche’. It would be a mercy to think that he experienced at least a kind of vegetative contentment, but this seems not to have been the case. He suffered from his life-long curse of insomnia, and visitors downstairs were often disturbed by groans and howls coming from the upstairs bedroom. Towards the end of Franziska recorded him uttering ‘More light!’ (Goethe’s dying words) and ‘In short, dead!’ suggesting that that is what he wanted to be.”More quotes…