Nietzsche in Turin: An Intimate Biography

Lesley Chamberlain, Author
Lesley Chamberlain, Author Picador USA $23 (272p) ISBN 978-0-312-18145-1
Reviewed on: 12/01/1997
Release date: 12/01/1997
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-0-312-19938-8
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As 1889 began, Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) was ill with the recurrence of long-dormant tertiary syphilis. His life as a philosopher was over, although he would survive, oblivious to his surroundings, until 1900. His rebellion against moral, religious and scientific absolutes, especially in his eloquent Thus Spake Zarathustra, would make him one of the major influences on modernist thinking; but, immobile in his bed after 1897, he would never know that. Nietzsche's last creative year is the focus for British freelance journalist Chamberlain, who reflects over his prolific philosophical output in Turin, where Nietzsche was living at the time, materializing occasionally. Reaching for a lyric intensity, she succeeds intermittently in evoking Nietzsche's personality and themes, but her prose often moves toward the unintelligible. Chamberlain explains Nietzsche's last months in such lines as ""Because of the confinement of his fantasy within his head he was relatively harmless while he still existed in the present continuous."" One warms toward Nietzsche in the face of Chamberlain's effusions. (Feb.)
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