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It wasn’t him, it was her

Jenny Diski: Nietzsche’s Bad Sister, 25 September 2003

Nietzsche’s Sister and the Will to Power: A Biography of Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche 
by Carol Diethe.
Illinois, 214 pp., £26, July 2003, 0 252 02826 0
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... novelist or scriptwriter would do well to attend to the entangled and twisted lives of Friedrich and Elisabeth Nietzsche, which present ready-made a nearly perfect narrative. Most real lives need a good deal of cutting and pasting to get them into story shape. Here no complicated restructuring is required: you ...

Pound & Co.

August Kleinzahler: Davenport and Kenner, 26 September 2019

Questioning Minds: Vols I-II: The Letters of Guy Davenport and Hugh Kenner 
edited by Edward Burns.
Counterpoint, 1817 pp., $95, October 2018, 978 1 61902 181 5
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... In​ 1882, the year Virginia Woolf and William Carlos Williams were born, Friedrich Nietzsche bought a typewriter, a Malling-Hansen Writing Ball. It wasn’t as good as a Remington but it was cheaper. Nietzsche was losing his eyesight, probably as a result of syphilis, and hoped the Writing Ball would help ...


J.P. Stern, 30 August 1990

Unmodern Observations 
by Friedrich Nietzsche, translated by Herbert Golder, Gary Brown and William Arrowsmith.
Yale, 402 pp., £30, February 1990, 0 300 04311 2
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The Importance of Nietzsche 
by Erich Heller.
Chicago, 200 pp., £23.95, February 1989, 0 226 32637 3
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... The four essays the young Nietzsche wrote between August 1873 and July 1876 (as part of a larger project that was never completed) are linked by his concern over the state of German culture after the victorious conclusion of the Franco-Prussian War and the proclamation of the Reich at Versailles in January 1871. These Unzeitgemässe Betrachtungen, written while Nietzsche was Professor of Classical Philology at Basle, are here translated as Unmodern Observations by different hands, under the editorship of Professor William Arrowsmith of Boston University ...

Orpheus in his Underwear

Harold James, 1 November 1984

My Life 
by Richard Wagner, translated by Andrew Gray, edited by Mary Whittall.
Cambridge, 786 pp., £22.50, November 1983, 0 521 22929 4
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Untimely Meditations 
by Friedrich Nietzsche, translated by R.J. Hollingdale, introduced by J.P. Stern.
Cambridge, 256 pp., £15, December 1983, 0 521 24740 3
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Wagner: A Case-History 
by Martin von Amerongen.
Dent, 169 pp., £8.95, September 1983, 0 460 04618 7
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... was chaste. Doubtless he was teasing Cosima as he dictated. R.J. Hollingdale’s translation of Nietzsche’s four essays, Untimely Meditations, on the other hand, is highly accomplished, and captures well the tone of the irascible and argumentative original. The essays were written when the philosopher was most under Wagner’s influence, and were ...

For the hell of it

Terry Eagleton: Norberto Bobbio, 22 February 2001

In Praise of Meekness: Essays on Ethics and Politics 
by Norberto Bobbio, translated by Teresa Chataway.
Polity, 186 pp., £50, October 2000, 0 7456 2309 3
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... since the very concept implies a scarcity which would have been surpassed. Morality, rather as for Nietzsche, belongs to prehistory; it is a child of the realm of necessity, and there will be no place for it in the kingdom of freedom. Marx’s contempt for morality is especially ironic, since he himself was a moralist in the most classical sense of the ...

This jellyfish can sting

Jonathan Rée, 13 November 1997

Truth: A History 
by Felipe Fernández-Armesto.
Bantam, 247 pp., £12.99, October 1997, 0 593 04140 2
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... on general linguistics in Paris in 1907’. And it is diverting to be told that the ferocious Friedrich Nietzsche was a ‘sexually inexperienced invalid’ who ‘hated people but loved animals’ and ‘died defending an abused horse’. And it is delightful to reflect that the ‘selfish’ Søren Kierkegaard was so idle that he ‘published ...


Michael Neve, 8 November 1990

The Double in 19th-Century Fiction 
by John Herdman.
Macmillan, 174 pp., £35, August 1990, 9780333490242
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Romanticism and the Sciences 
edited by Andrew Cunningham and Nicholas Jardine.
Cambridge, 345 pp., £40, June 1990, 0 521 35602 4
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Schizophrenia: A Scientific Delusion? 
by Mary Boyle.
Routledge, 248 pp., £35, September 1990, 0 415 04096 5
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... understand Love itself, within these Christian terms. This is of course the magnificent belief of Friedrich Nietzsche, only he wants to keep the Big Joke: all this, and no God around after all. What an achievement! But in all these cases, and in the relations between Christianity and madness, the point is the same: the psychologist who denies the content ...

The One We’d Like to Meet

Margaret Anne Doody: Myth, 6 July 2000

Splitting the Difference: Gender and Myth in Ancient Greece and India 
by Wendy Doniger.
Chicago, 376 pp., £43.95, June 1999, 0 226 15640 0
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The Implied Spider: Politics and Theology in Myth 
by Wendy Doniger.
Columbia, 212 pp., £11.50, October 1999, 0 231 11171 1
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... of fin de siècle writers who invented their own ideologies of the splitting of good from evil – Friedrich Nietzsche, Sigmund Freud and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. As quickly becomes clear, the solutions of splitting and multiplicity are by no means peculiar to the West: differences in slants and biases between cultures do not disguise the basic ...

I want it, but not yet

Clair Wills: ‘Checkout 19’, 12 August 2021

Checkout 19 
by Claire-Louise Bennett.
Cape, 224 pp., £14.99, August, 978 1 78733 354 3
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... on a shelf beneath the printer that printed out receipts all day long and the book was written by Friedrich Nietzsche and it was called Beyond Good and Evil and on the cover was a painting of a woman with large naked breasts and her hands are resting down, her hands are resting down because she is a sphinx, a sphinx as depicted by Franz von Stuck in ...

Wedded to the Absolute

Ferdinand Mount: Enoch Powell, 26 September 2019

Enoch Powell: Politics and Ideas in Modern Britain 
by Paul Corthorn.
Oxford, 233 pp., £20, August 2019, 978 0 19 874714 7
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... he had grown, he told Malcolm Muggeridge in 1940, in imitation not of Ronald Colman but of Friedrich Nietzsche, whom he adored and to whom he bore a resemblance. Above all, that harsh, thrilling, unnaturally slowed-down voice. Has anyone else ever made the loveable Brummie accent sound sinister, at least until Peaky Blinders came along? In my ...

The Past’s Past

Thomas Laqueur, 19 September 1996

Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning: The Great War in European Cultural History 
by Jay Winter.
Cambridge, 310 pp., £12.95, September 1996, 0 521 49682 9
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... We understand explicitly, as Nietzsche remarked in the Genealogy of Morals, what earlier generations felt in their bones: ‘Only that which does not cease to hurt remains in memory.’ Remembering and mourning demand that the past is somehow kept present; they demand recollection as the pain of immediate loss diminishes ...

Is Michael Neve paranoid?

Michael Neve, 2 June 1983

... else. If degenerationist psychiatry had not been given Richard Wagner, Ludwig II of Bavaria, and Friedrich Nietzsche, it would have invented them – would have written and composed Parsifal. This act of recognition is best seen in the compilations of paranoid cases carried out by that terminal figure of one strain of European psychiatry, Richard von ...

Princes, Counts and Racists

David Blackbourn: Weimar, 19 May 2016

Weimar: From Enlightenment to the Present 
by Michael Kater.
Yale, 463 pp., £25, August 2014, 978 0 300 17056 6
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... three – the central figures at the Muses’ Court – were joined in 1787 by the young Swabian Friedrich Schiller. Together they turned Weimar into Athens on the Ilm, a nickname that pointed to their re-evaluation of the classical legacy. Wieland was a poet who translated Horace and Lucian and edited Germany’s leading literary journal, Der teutsche ...

Half-Finished People

Thomas Meaney: Germany Imagines Hellas, 11 October 2012

The Tyranny of Greece over Germany 
by E.M. Butler.
Cambridge, 351 pp., £23.99, March 2012, 978 1 107 69764 5
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... counter modern disenchantment by undermining all rationalistic assumptions about human society. Nietzsche rebelled against Romantic idealisations and took issue with the historicist approach that had been incubating in German philology departments since the days of Friedrich August Wolf half a century earlier. As a ...
The Bayreuth Ring 
BBC2, October 1982Show More
directed by Hans-Jürgen Syberberg.
Edinburgh Film Festival, September 1982
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by Lucy Beckett.
Cambridge, 163 pp., £9.95, August 1981, 0 521 22825 5
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Wagner and Literature 
by Raymond Furness.
Manchester, 159 pp., £14.50, February 1982, 0 7190 0844 1
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Wagner to ‘The Waste Land’: A Study of the Relationship of Wagner to English Literature 
by Stoddart Martin.
Macmillan, 277 pp., £20, June 1982, 0 333 28998 6
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Wagner and Aeschylus: ‘The Ring’ and ‘The Oresteia’ 
by Michael Ewans.
Faber, 271 pp., £12.50, July 1982, 0 571 11808 9
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... Wieland’s revolutionary emphasis on ‘psychodrama’, then the Ring productions of Götz Friedrich and Joachim Herz might be thought more substantially challenging than Chéreau’s. The contrasts between Chéreau’s Ring and Syberberg’s new film, and between Syberberg’s view of Parsifal and Lucy Beckett’s, are most illuminating. Beckett’s ...

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