Composing the Soul

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Nietzsche wrote in "Ecce Homo" (1888) `that a psychologist without equal speaks from my writings - this is perhaps the first insight gained by a good reader...Who among the philosophers before me was in any way a psychologist? Before me there simply was no psychology'. This study focuses on this pronouncement, examining the contours of Nietzsche's psychology in the context of his life and psychological make-up. Beginning with essays from Nietzsche's youth, the author shows the influence of such figures as Goethe, Byron and Emerson on Nietzsche's development. He goes on to chart the development of Nietzsche's psychological ideas in terms of the imagery, drawn from the dialogues of Plato as well as from Nietzsche's own quasi-mystical experiences of nature, in which he spoke of the soul. Finally, Parkes analyzes one of Nietzsche's most revolutionary ideas - that the soul is composed of multiple "drives", or "persons", within the psyche. The task for Nietzsche's psychology, then, was to identify and order these multiple persons within the individual. Featuring new translations of quotations from Nietzsche's writings, this book reveals the profundity of Nietzsche's lifelong personal and intellectual struggles to come to grips with the soul. Its aim is to make Nietzsche's life and ideas accessible to any reader interested in this complex thinker.

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The University of Chicago Press
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