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This historical-biographical novel fleshes out the facts of Nietzsche's life with fictional treatment. Using untraditional narrative techniques and interweaving medical reports, actual letters, and original new text, the novel takes the last years of Nietzsche's life, the years of insanity, as a frame for the entire life.
Krell offers a fictional account of the last ten years of Nietzsche's life, the years of his paralysis and madness. Nietzsche's regression during those years, from one of Europe's leading intellectual lights to a passive mascot for his sister's "Nietzsche Archive," provides the frame for a narrative of his entire life.
The author uses all the available medical documentation and the entire collection of works and letters in order to paint his portrait. While Nietzsche has been the object of several attempts at fictional biography, no attempt to date has been based on such careful research: even the highest flights of imagination in this work are based on scrupulous reading and reflection.
David Farrell Krell is Professor of Philosophy at DePaul University. His most recent books include Lunar Voices: Of Tragedy, Poetry, Fiction, and Thought; Daimon Life: Heidegger and Life-Philosophy; and Memory, Reminiscence, and Writing: On the Verge.
"A radical philosopher deserves a radical biography, and Krell has provided such a radical presentation of Nietzsche's life and death. By telling this story from the perspective of Nietzsche's insanity Krell gives the account a Dionysian and excessive quality that I have found nowhere else in the literature on Nietzsche. This is an original and powerful work that is conceived in a remarkable intimacy with Nietzsche as a philosopher. It is a demanding, disturbing book, a creative accomplishment of the first order.
"This masterfully conceived work effectively uses Nietzsche's letters translated with clarity and verve. Krell gives expression in the style and structure of this book to many of Nietzsche's thoughts about time, madness, order, love, tragedy, and character. In its broken narrations the book achieves what is probably impossible to achieve in discursive thought: a performance of the ideas and movement whereby Nietzsche put in question many of the leading principles of order in western civilization. " — Charles Scott, Penn State University
"The biographical scholarship and literary erudition behind Krell's Nietzsche are awe-inspiring. Anyone interested in Nietzsche's life and art will be pleasurably instructed by reading this rare book--rare in that novels by scholars seldom work so beautifully. " -- Graham Parkes, University of Hawaii