Zarathustra's Secret: The Interior Life of Friedrich Nietzsche

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Yale University Press, 2002 - Biography & Autobiography - 278 pages
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More than a century after his death in 1900, Nietzsche remains a seminal figure in the history of European intellectual life. Celebrated as a liberator by some, maligned as a pernicious influence by others, he was the subject of controversy during his lifetime, pursuing a hedonistic individualism and espousing concepts such as the Superman and the Will to Power until he died after a decade of institutionalized insanity.

In this groundbreaking biography, Joachim K hler seeks for the first time to understand Nietzsche’s philosophy through a reconstruction of his inner life. In a revealing reinterpretation of his letters, diaries, and writings, K hler shows that Nietzsche’s suppressed homosexuality, generating a hatred of Christianity and conventional morality, was a central influence on his work. Further, K hler argues, his philosophical position was fundamentally compromised by the concealment of his forbidden sexual desire. Throughout his life, the unhappy genius was also plagued by horrible nightmares, stemming from his much-loved father’s death, which led to a profoundly disturbed conscience and an intense loathing of metaphysics.

Seeking to disguise the truth of his innermost torments, Nietzsche contrived the persona of Zarathustra. The story of the great Persian philosopher, contends K hler, reveals Nietzsche’s own suppression and dionysiac liberation, and presents the culmination of his secret yearnings in the new myth of the Superman who, in his naked beauty, resembled the gods of classical Greece.
 

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Zarathustra's secret: the interior life of Friedrich Nietzsche

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With unabashed frankness, Kohler has written a very engaging psychosexual investigation into the tragic personal life of iconoclastic philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche (l844-l900), from the untimely ... Read full review

Contents

A Plant from the Graveyard
1
The Pangs of Adolescence
29
The Knight Death and the Dominatrix
50
The Redemption of the Gods
76
In Klingsors Enchanted Garden
89
The New Columbus
159
On the Isles of the Blest
181
The Bird of Prey Masquerading as a Canary
194
Zarathustras Secret
223
Epilogue to the English Edition
254
A Chapter of Accidents
263
Further Reading
269
Copyright

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About the author (2002)

Joachim K hler is a leading German writer, journalist, and former publisher. His previous books on Nietzsche have been translated into eleven languages. Ronald Taylor is the author of Berlin and Its Culture, published by Yale University Press.

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