Nietzsche's Journey to SorrentoGenesis of the Philosophy of the Free Spirit

Nietzsche's Journey to SorrentoGenesis of the Philosophy of the Free Spirit

Paolo D'Iorio

Print publication date: 2017

ISBN: 9780226164564

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

Abstract

Nietzsche's Journey to Sorrento situates the turning point in Nietzsche's philosophy at the moment of his 1876 sabbatical in Sorrento. Nietzsche traveled to Southern Italy, accompanied by his friends Malwida von Meysenbug and Paul Rée, to recover his health, which was declining in the Northern climate of Basel, where he was a professor of philology. In Sorrento, he underwent a transformative experience that would lead him to renounce his earlier work, highly influenced by the metaphysics of Schopenhauer, and to abandon his professorship at the University of Basel so as to become a true philosopher. Also in Sorrento simultaneously to him was Richard Wagner, previously a figure of towering importance to the philosopher, but who had disappointed him irreparably with the first Bayreuth Festival. It was in Sorrento that Nietzsche saw the composer for the last time and made the definitive decision to forego the metaphysics of the artist, which he had placed so much faith in with The Birth of Tragedy. It is also at this time that he initiated his Philosophy of the Free Spirit, writing the book Things Human, All Too Human. D'Iorio advances the thesis of a continuous development from Nietzsche's early research on the scientific aspects of the pre-Platonic philosophers and this new step in his thinking. The upshot of the overall argument is Nietzsche's new affirmation of life and of all that is human, in the face of the Platonic devaluation of human things, which the philosophical tradition previously tended to support.