Saturday, March 13, 2010

New Nietzsche Biography by Julian Young

CUP has just published a new "philosophical biography" of Nietzsche by Julian Young (Wake Forest). It doesn't go quite to the Curt Janz level of mind-numbing detail, but it is certainly a comprehensive biography, like Safranski. Unlike Safranski, Young knows some philosophy and so his interpretive comments are more interesting. Young is the author, of course, of the contrarian but extremely interesting Nietzsche's Philosophy of Art and, more recently, of the less successful and plausible Nietzsche's Philosophy of Religion. It is very nice to have a philosopher with interesting ideas about Nietzsche write a biography. I think this will displace the Safranski volume for those interested in philosophy who want to learn about Nietzsche's life.

8 comments:

Rob said...

17 downloadable musical compositions related to the book.

Will said...

How would you say this book compares with Brobjer's Nietzsche's Philosophical Context?

Kurt said...

Thanks for your blog and for this entry - I've just ordered the book and look forward to receiving it and (hopefully) reading it (got too damn many books in the queue). I enjoyed the Safransky book - would be curious as to some of the criticisms of that book and how Young's book compares on those criticisms.

Again - thanks for your blog - love to read posts whenever you post!

Brian Leiter said...

I reviewed the Safranski book in TLS several years back, not sure whether that is on-line. The Safranski book has lots of virtues, and it offers generally competent summaries of N's books. But Safranski is no philosopher, and he doesn't tackle any hard philosophical or interpretive question, whereas Young does. So Young's biography is more philosophically ambitious and successful than Safranski's. But if one has no background in philosophy, Safranski's biography is a good place to start.

Brian Leiter said...

In reply to Will: Brobjer's book isn't a biography at all, but a detailed documentation of what Nietzsche was reading when. So it's a useful resource for scholars, but not a biography.

Kurt said...

Brian - funny thing - your review in TLS in 2002 introduced me to the Safransky book (in fact, I found the copy of your review in my file cabinet); your blog post here introduced me to the Young book. I'm well into the new book and enjoying it very much. Thanks for all your references!

Jeremy said...

Brian: you may find this of interest -
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/09/books/review/Fukuyama-t.html?ref=review

Narziss said...

Seems young was a bit uncareful in his documentation and the biography contains some seeming plagiarism:
Telling the Same Story of Nietzsche’s Life, Mark Anderson