Nietzsche’s illness

The last few months I’ve been working away at an essay for the Oxford Handbook to Nietzsche. The essay is on Nietzsche’s illness; it’s been a surprisingly hard one to write — difficult to get it right. Here it is, for anyone interested.

UPDATE: New and improved (final?) version here.

About Huenemann

Curious about the ways humans use their minds and hearts to distract themselves from the meaninglessness of life.
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7 Responses to Nietzsche’s illness

  1. Rob says:

    Thanks for making this and other of your essays on Nietzsche available. I’m eager to dive into them, especially this one. I noticed, however, while printing it out, something to which I would like to call your attention:

    The first passage (“One is least related…”) on page 32 strikes me as perhaps ill-chosen because of its fairly clear continuities with and connections to views in Nietzsche’s published works — e.g., TI, “Skirmishes”, section 44 and BGE 213, 264 — in which he invokes the explanatory primacy of distant over immediate predecessors.


  2. Huenemann says:

    Thanks for the comment, Rob. Actually, I have you to thank for two of the references in the paper (two of the psychiatric papers). I probably would not have come across them if you hadn’t mentioned them on Leiter’s Nz page.

    I will have to revisit those four passages. It’s difficult to clip out passages from Nz’s works that look “crazy” without worrying about taking things out of context (and feeling a bit like a creep). I might end up losing the whole paragraph; it’s been in and out twice now.


  3. Rob says:

    I’m very glad to see that those articles have been put to such good use. (Although I’ve thus far generally avoided delving into Nietzsche’s biography much beyond what either he clearly invites the reader to consider, or what can be inferred from his published works, I’ve long wondered, with BGE 18 in mind, if the protracted states of euphoria during his final half-year or so of productivity might not have contributed in some way to an intensification of his longstanding preoccupation with the epiphenomenalism of the will and consciousness.)

    The paragraph in question strikes me as making a usefully illustrative point about the unease even a most sympathetic reader of ECCE HOMO probably feel at (perhaps many) moments in the text at which the difference between parodic and pathological megalomania feels like a tenuous one of far too few degrees! So, before you decide to scrap it altogether, perhaps there’s another quotation which could be installed in place of the first one, and which bears less affinity to substantive views in his published works. In any case, thanks for producing what is, for me at least, the most interesting account yet that I’ve read about the relation between Nietzsche Health and thought.


  4. Huenemann says:

    High compliment! Thanks very much. I have written some more about Nietzsche’s notion of health in a paper forthcoming from British J Hist. Phil. The SSRN link is here:


  5. Rob says:

    In case this merits attention:

    It appears to be pretty short.


  6. Huenemann says:

    Yes, very short! But I’m glad it supports my conclusion.


  7. Rob says:

    We are told of Marx’s genital carbuncles, Nietzsche’s syphilitic coprophagy and Freud’s cancerous cheek growth, so malodorous that it repelled his favorite dog, a chow.


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