Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Was Nietzsche Left-Handed?

Charles Huenemann, a philosopher at Utah State University, writes:
I'm wondering whether you could ask, on your Nietzsche blog, if anyone knows whether Nietzsche was left-handed (and what source their knowledge is based upon). I'm asking because I'm working on an article on his illness, and a neurologist I'm consulting thinks it's relevant.


Michael Sevel said...

An intriguing topic. I don't know the answer, but I'm almost certain the curator at either the Nietzsche Archiv in Weimar or the Nietzsche Haus in Sils Maria ( would know the answer.

Patrick R. Leland said...

A little googling of the phrase 'Linkshänder Nietzsche" yields lots of hits, including the following two articles from German newspapers, both of which claim Nietzsche was left-handed:

"Rechts vor Links", 13.08.03
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

"Alles mit links", 04.08.07
Welt Online

If the claim's false, it appears to be a widely held falsehood.

Charlie H said...

I have finally received an authoritative answer from the Nietzsche Archive in Weimar: Nietzsche was certainly right-handed. The next question is how it came to be so widely believed that he was left-handed.

Anonymous said...

How can they prove it ? Did they say ? But anyway, in those days people (not sure for Germans though) were rarely permitting children to write left-handed.

Anonymous said...

I forgot to say that left-handed people are left-brain dominant, contrary to the popular belief. I came to this conclusion by my own life observations and logic. You could do some personal research on this fascinating subject. Now to try answering the question, look at Nietzsche's eyes in the vid where he sits still in a chair and you will see his "mind" lays more in his right eye, just like the vast majority of left-handed people, while the other eye seems to be scanning like some kind of computer, more hazy-like.

Charlie H said...

His handwriting, I guess, is clearly that of a righty.