Review by Choice Review
Krell is the author of two previous books on Neitzsche: Postponements: Women, Sensuality, and Death in Nietzsche (1986), which reconstructs Nietzsche's abortive effort to write a poetic drama, and Infectious Nietzsche (1996), which examines the genealogies and legacies of central Nietzschean images and ideas. Nietzsche: A Novel begins with Nietzsche's catastrophic mental breakdown in Turin, Italy, in January 1889 and goes on to trace in detail Nietzsche's ever-worsening psychosis and paralysis until his death in 1900. Krell spins something like a narrative by combining imaginary monologues and dialogues with passages from Nietzsche's medical records and selections from his correspondence over the previous 30 years. The result is a dazzling exercise in imaginative scholarship that flows directly from Krell's extraordinary ability to identify with Nietzsche, in effect to be once again the voice that madness silenced. Krell's creative synthesis of Nietzsche's stream of consciousness during his last years with passages from his youthful correspondence enables the reader to realize the overwhelming mental and physical malaise that Nietzsche suffered for most of his life. This work brings that pain excruciatingly to life and in so doing transforms the reader's perspective on Nietzsche's thought and writing. Indispensable for any serious Nietzsche collection. Upper-division undergraduate through faculty. N. Lukacher University of Illinois at Chicago
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
Sometimes intriguing, more often impenetrable, this biographical novel attempts to recreate Friedrich Nietzsche's experience of mental and physical deterioration. Following the philosopher from 1889, when he is first institutionalized in Basel, to his death in Weimar in 1900, Krell, a professor of philosophy at DePaul University, constructs a bizarre first-person narrative to give voice to Nietzsche's torment and delusion in the last 10 years of his life. But it is only through Nietzsche's letters and medical records, imported into these fictionalized rantings, that we get a glimpse of the man who continuously struggled against physical ailments and self-imposed intellectual alienation. Krell tries (unconvincingly) to imbue Nietzsche's life and madness with the pathos of a Greek tragedya son raised without a father, thwarted in his quest for his mother's love by his sister's manipulative interference. Ultimately, readers of what might have been a philosophical and psychological high-wire act are left neither a good read nor new insights into the philosopher's contributions. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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