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Nietzsche in Turin: An Intimate Biography

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During 1888 in Turin, Italy, Nietzsche wrote three of his most important works--Ecce Homo, Twilight of the Idols, and The Antichrist. In this accessible, moving biography, Lesley Chamberlain examines with passion and insight the mind of a genius at its creative pinnacle. In her account, Freidrich Nietzsche emerges as a gentle, tortured man, dominated by his rigorous mind a During 1888 in Turin, Italy, Nietzsche wrote three of his most important works--Ecce Homo, Twilight of the Idols, and The Antichrist. In this accessible, moving biography, Lesley Chamberlain examines with passion and insight the mind of a genius at its creative pinnacle. In her account, Freidrich Nietzsche emerges as a gentle, tortured man, dominated by his rigorous mind and his love of music, and soothed by the strangely otherworldly city of Turin


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During 1888 in Turin, Italy, Nietzsche wrote three of his most important works--Ecce Homo, Twilight of the Idols, and The Antichrist. In this accessible, moving biography, Lesley Chamberlain examines with passion and insight the mind of a genius at its creative pinnacle. In her account, Freidrich Nietzsche emerges as a gentle, tortured man, dominated by his rigorous mind a During 1888 in Turin, Italy, Nietzsche wrote three of his most important works--Ecce Homo, Twilight of the Idols, and The Antichrist. In this accessible, moving biography, Lesley Chamberlain examines with passion and insight the mind of a genius at its creative pinnacle. In her account, Freidrich Nietzsche emerges as a gentle, tortured man, dominated by his rigorous mind and his love of music, and soothed by the strangely otherworldly city of Turin

30 review for Nietzsche in Turin: An Intimate Biography

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jonfaith

    We might take a mental snapshot of him now, as a brilliant wanderer in search of passing princely patronage, somehow strayed into the modern world. Nietzsche in Turin is a dreary muck. A spectacular mess would have been at least engaging, if only because of the ambition displayed. Not so, here. This effort, however, became gradually immobilized by authorial self-regard and our poor Fritz was left commiserating with the nag on the Turin street. Chamberlain documents Nietzsche's time in Turin befor We might take a mental snapshot of him now, as a brilliant wanderer in search of passing princely patronage, somehow strayed into the modern world. Nietzsche in Turin is a dreary muck. A spectacular mess would have been at least engaging, if only because of the ambition displayed. Not so, here. This effort, however, became gradually immobilized by authorial self-regard and our poor Fritz was left commiserating with the nag on the Turin street. Chamberlain documents Nietzsche's time in Turin before his mental collapse. She divides the time with focus on his body and his mind, the latter implying emergence of the syphilitic paralysis. Such an approach should have been fascinating. Instead, it is an annoying round of citation leap frog, prompting one to gather that the author wasn't exactly immersed with Nietzsche's thought. The books Nietzsche composed in Turin are examined, but too much time and parsing goes to convince the reader of a maddening decline in the professor. Chamberlain is more than fair towards Nietzsche with respect to the philosopher's views on anti-Semitism, Germany and women. The book beckoned for rigor and an editor. Readers should pursue Ronald Heyman's masterful biographyNietzsche: A Critical Life or even for The Philosopher's Touch: Sartre, Nietzsche and Barthes at the Piano its treatment of Nietzsche and music.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jim Coughenour

    Another book purchased and started years ago (in this case, March 1995), long buried at the back of my shelves. I disinterred it over Christmas and began again. Last year I read (or re-read) Untimely Meditations; Beyond Good and Evil and Thus Spake Zarathustra - so this time around, the book was more accessible. Chamberlain picks up the story at the beginning of 1888, the last year of Nietzsche's sanity, during which he wrote three short impassioned books: Twilight of the Idols; The Antichrist an Another book purchased and started years ago (in this case, March 1995), long buried at the back of my shelves. I disinterred it over Christmas and began again. Last year I read (or re-read) Untimely Meditations; Beyond Good and Evil and Thus Spake Zarathustra - so this time around, the book was more accessible. Chamberlain picks up the story at the beginning of 1888, the last year of Nietzsche's sanity, during which he wrote three short impassioned books: Twilight of the Idols; The Antichrist and as his final testament, Ecce Homo – in which brilliance is laced with madness. Chamberlain does a masterly job of blending the philosophy with the life, bringing us close to both the misery and the heroism of this brilliant, doomed man. This is indeed an "intimate biography," brimming with intellectual sympathy, illumination and almost harsh humor. Her writing is fresh, sometimes startling, as tender as it is penetrating. I can't say if this is the best book on Nietzsche, but it's now my favorite.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Erik Graff

    Impressionistic and, to me, obscure, Chamberlain attempts to get at the character of Friedrich Nietzsche by means of an account of his final years (1888-89) in Turin, Italy and Sils Maria, the years during which he composed 'The Wagner Case', 'Twilight of the Idols', 'The Antichristian', 'Ecce Homo', 'Contra Wagner' and 'The Dionysus Dithyrams', as well as a voluminous correspondence. While ostensibly sympathetic, I found the portrait off putting and this in contrast to the more accessible repre Impressionistic and, to me, obscure, Chamberlain attempts to get at the character of Friedrich Nietzsche by means of an account of his final years (1888-89) in Turin, Italy and Sils Maria, the years during which he composed 'The Wagner Case', 'Twilight of the Idols', 'The Antichristian', 'Ecce Homo', 'Contra Wagner' and 'The Dionysus Dithyrams', as well as a voluminous correspondence. While ostensibly sympathetic, I found the portrait off putting and this in contrast to the more accessible representations found in the Kaufman and Hollingdale biographies.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Brent McCulley

    The Pros: Chamberlain does a good job at being fair to Nietzsche in his historical context; this includes, but is not exclusive to, Nietzsche's views towards woman, imperialism, fascism, etc. Anything, quite frankly, on Nietzsche is going to peak my interest. The Cons: Chamberlain is a little disingenuous to call this a biography, in especially an "intimate biography" when, in fact, we learned more about Chamberlain herself than we did about Nietzsche. To be sure, no excitingly new insights or sub The Pros: Chamberlain does a good job at being fair to Nietzsche in his historical context; this includes, but is not exclusive to, Nietzsche's views towards woman, imperialism, fascism, etc. Anything, quite frankly, on Nietzsche is going to peak my interest. The Cons: Chamberlain is a little disingenuous to call this a biography, in especially an "intimate biography" when, in fact, we learned more about Chamberlain herself than we did about Nietzsche. To be sure, no excitingly new insights or substances was given, but instead merely Chamberlain's exegesis of Nietzsche's philosophy and her own philosophical views as well. Furthermore, the work on the whole lacks direction, and coherence, and instead rumps around listlessly as Chamberlain struggles to ground her thesis accurately, and definitely fails to do so objectively. In fact, the book fails also to explain situations, peoples, and places so terribly, that anyone picking this book up with only minimal knowledge of Fritz would have absolutely in no wise been able to follow Chamberlain's train of thought. She presupposes the reader knows intimately who people such as Reé, Deuson, Overbeck and Gast are. Moreover, she discusses off the cusp so flippantly people such as Freud, Kierkegaard, Dostoyevsky, Kafka, Wittgenstein, Spinoza, and many more, that anyone who was not very well versed in philosophy would be wholly unable to follow her comparisons and analysis vis-á-vis Nietzsche. True to point, the book should have been retitled "a psycho-philosophical analysis," and definitely not a biography. In fact, the only real biographical material of which Chamberlain intended to write about, namely Nietzsche's last two years in Turin before his collapse, come at the very end of the book, only in the last two chapters or so. In sum, I can't recommend this book, but would rather direct the reader's attention to Hayman's biography simply entitled "Nietzsche" which is one of the best comprehensive Nietzsche biographies ever penned in English. I did enjoy reading this work simply because it was about Nietzsche, but Chamberlain's "Nietzsche in Turin" lacked the biographical coherence and objective cogency to have procured anything lasting or substantive in Nietzsche scholarship.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Nathan

    I purchased this book prior to a trip to Italy. I had read a lot of Nietzsche's writings in college, but hadn't read that much about the man himself. I found the book to be very enlightening and can now place the philosophy of this famous existentialist into better context. Chamberlain is an engaging writer and is dealing with a complex subject. Nietzsche was clearly a genius, but ended up a madman and at times it can be difficult to separate the two. It was in Turin that he enjoyed the last of h I purchased this book prior to a trip to Italy. I had read a lot of Nietzsche's writings in college, but hadn't read that much about the man himself. I found the book to be very enlightening and can now place the philosophy of this famous existentialist into better context. Chamberlain is an engaging writer and is dealing with a complex subject. Nietzsche was clearly a genius, but ended up a madman and at times it can be difficult to separate the two. It was in Turin that he enjoyed the last of his sanity and wrote some of his most important works. They come to life along with their author in this "intimate biography."

  6. 4 out of 5

    William West

    Well written, enjoyable account of Nietzsche's last days. Paints a very endearing portrait of its subject.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Leanne

    This is one of the best biographies of Nietzsche I have ever read!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Dirk Dierickx

    Kan dit boek echt niet aanraden, het heeft mij weinig meer inzicht gegeven in het laatste levensjaar van Nietzsche. Verduidelijking in zijn werken heb ik ook niet gekregen, daar ik Nietzsche wel ken, maar de auteur gaat echter uit van een diepere kennis dan de gemiddelde man heeft over de persoon en zijn werk. Tenslotte zou je denken dat boeken zoals deze hier meer inzicht zouden in verschaffen. Meermalen had ik meer de indruk een eindwerk student filosofie te lezen dan een biografisch boek. Heb Kan dit boek echt niet aanraden, het heeft mij weinig meer inzicht gegeven in het laatste levensjaar van Nietzsche. Verduidelijking in zijn werken heb ik ook niet gekregen, daar ik Nietzsche wel ken, maar de auteur gaat echter uit van een diepere kennis dan de gemiddelde man heeft over de persoon en zijn werk. Tenslotte zou je denken dat boeken zoals deze hier meer inzicht zouden in verschaffen. Meermalen had ik meer de indruk een eindwerk student filosofie te lezen dan een biografisch boek. Heb ik dan niets bijgeleerd, natuurlijk wel. Echter maar bitter weinig voor het aantal pagina's waar ik me heb moeten doorheen worstelen.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kenzie

    I think I was expecting this book to only cover what the last two chapters covered. That would have been a short book, so I'm glad there was more to it, but I often found myself wanting to skip to the end of the book. I really appreciated Chamberlain's tone--her willingness to treat Nietzsche as a friend allowed the man to shine in all his genius and tragedy. I feel that I've come away with a nuanced understanding of what kind of person Nietzsche was.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Benjamin Crawford

    When I was a collegiate English major, I discovered Nietzsche. He seemed to be the drug of choice among the "cool" people I encountered, who impressed me with their cynicism, and so I signed up for a course featuring Fritz and his prose stylings. The book, itself, I enjoyed; it was written in a way that was cogent and somehow familiar, as if the author were writing about someone she knew, cared about, and perhaps somewhat pitied, or with whom she empathized.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Luke Nichol

    A moving biography of Nietzsche's discovery and time in Turin before his mental collapse. His daily routines and final thoughts shed light on what he intended to be his 'revaluation of all values'. Nietzsche's increasing loneliness, anxiety, insomnia and nausea are a saddening portrait of a great mind whom was taken away far too soon.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Eepman

    I gave this book at least 100 pages. I thought it was going to be about Nietzsche's time in Turin but the author went on a much too long tangent about Nietzsche and Wagner's relationship. I wound up not finishing this book either.

  13. 4 out of 5

    G0thamite

    Some interesting tidbits of Nietzsche's life in the first chapter or two. After that, it all turns to psychoanalyzing his music, sexuality, art and philosophy based on (IMHO) on very thin historical ice.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Karen Renee Collins

    I'm not really sure about this book yet... I read it for the 0.5 hour before bellydance every week. Stay tuned.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Fernando Jimenez

    No es tanto una biografía de los últimos meses de lucidez, nunca mejor dicho, del filósofo, sino un análisis de su obra a la luz de su personalidad. Muy interesante.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Tomas Bjornstad

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jesseca

  18. 5 out of 5

    Emma Jones

  19. 4 out of 5

    Outis

  20. 5 out of 5

    Simon Armstrong

  21. 4 out of 5

    Giovanni Garcia-Fenech

  22. 5 out of 5

    MMohammadi

  23. 5 out of 5

    Katie

  24. 4 out of 5

    James McAdams

  25. 4 out of 5

    Phyl

  26. 4 out of 5

    Awet Moges

  27. 5 out of 5

    mjo

  28. 4 out of 5

    Alex

  29. 4 out of 5

    Rick

  30. 5 out of 5

    Aaron Herbig

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