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Traveling South

Traveling South

(p.6) Chapter One Traveling South
Nietzsche's Journey to Sorrento
Paolo D’Iorio
University of Chicago Press

This chapter follows Nietzsche's path as he travels to Sorrento. It relates Meysenbug's passionate desire to help him recover his health and her organization of the journey as well as the stay. It explores in great detail Nietzsche's encounter with a young woman named Isabelle von der Pahlen on a night train in Italy, who claims, in her autobiography, to have coined the term "Free Spirit" in her conversation with Nietzsche on this occasion, as a preferable alternative to "freethinker." D'Iorio then leads us through the textual genesis, in Nietzsche's writings, of the notion of the Free Spirit, its connection to the idea of The Light Life (Das leichte Leben), and the meaning it comes to have in Things Human, All Too Human, as a term for one who lives and thinks differently from the way in which the determining factors of his socio-economic position would predict. The chapter ends with Nietzsche's arrival in Naples and his experience of release and connection to truth in the Southern landscape. D'Iorio quotes the phrase Nietzsche writes in his notebook, upon his arrival: "I have enough spirit for the South."

Keywords:   south, Italy, spirit, Naples, Sorrento, freethinker, Free Spirit

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