The Struggle with the Daemon: Hölderlin, Kleist and Nietzsche

By Stefan Zweig

The fight with the Daemon is a superb research of the eu psyche through the nice novelist and biographer Stefan Zweig. Zweig stories 3 giants of German literature and proposal: Friedrich Holderlin, Heinrich von Kleist and Friedrich Nietzsche – robust minds whose principles have been at odds with the medical positivism in their age; bothered spirits whose intoxicating passions drove them mad yet encouraged them to nice works. of their fight with their internal inventive strength, Zweig displays the clash on the middle of the eu soul – among technological know-how and artwork, cause and inspiration.

Both hugely own and philosophically wide-ranging, this can be probably the most interesting of Zweig’s popular biographical experiences.

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Strangers came upon him, the fellow who was once so nice a stranger to his personal epoch, mendacity in a highway at Turin. They conveyed him to a wierd room within the through Carlo Alberto. None witnessed the dying of his brain. His highbrow finish is shrouded in obscurity, in a saintly isolation. Solitary and unknown, the main lucid genius of the epoch used to be prompted into the evening of his personal soul. APOLOGIA FOR affliction What doesn't kill me makes me improved. NIETZS CHE’S physique was once bothered with such a lot of and sundry tribulations that during the tip he may with ideal fact claim: “At all ages of my existence, discomfort, giant ache, used to be my lot. ” complications so ferocious that each one he may perhaps do used to be to break down onto a sofa and groan in discomfort, belly issues culminating in cramps whilst he might vomit blood, migrainous stipulations of each type, fevers, lack of urge for food, exhaustion, haemorrhoids, intestinal stasis, rigors, evening sweats—a grotesque enumeration, certainly. further to those used to be the truth that he was once approximately blind, that when the smallest pressure his eyes might swell and water in order that he shouldn't have imposed on them a couple of and a part hours of labor an afternoon. Ignoring such precautionary measures, he may spend ten hours at a stretch over his writing desk. yet his mind took revenge for this extra; cephalalgia was once the end result. His fearful pressure could at such instances be so severe that it was once most unlikely for him to chill. even though his physique used to be wearied to exhaustion he couldn't sleep. until he pressured concerns by way of a dose of veronal or the like, his brain endured in elaborating ideas and visions; and to result in this urgently wanted relaxation, more and more substantial doses of the hypnotic needed to be absorbed (in months Nietzsche fed on as many oz of chloral hydrate). the tummy could then insurgent, and the vicious circle could begin anew—vomiting, complications and so on, to which clean treatments needed to be utilized. His physically organs have been a battlefield, reacting upon each other to their universal drawback. with out permit or pause his sufferings have been a regular martyrdom; he was once by no means allowed a month of contentment within which to overlook himself and his miseries. In all his correspondence there are slightly a dozen letters during which a groan or a cry of lamentation doesn't move up from each web page. Goaded to melancholy by way of his delicate nerves, he wrote: “Lighten the weight of your fate—die! ” Or, back: “A pistol is for me now a resource of really friendly concepts. ” And once more: “This negative and nearly unceasing martyrdom makes me yearn for the top, and, judging by way of convinced symptoms, I fancy the brainstorm that may unfastened me is close to handy. ” A time got here while his vocabulary of superlatives was once exhausted, and he discovered no phrases to explain his pain. The rack known as forth monotonous cries, repeated with expanding rapidity and changing into much less and no more human. They succeed in our ears from the depths of what he defined as “a dog’s life”. Then, abruptly, like lightning in a transparent sky—and none folks can fail to be shocked by means of so remarkable a contradiction—he introduced in his Ecce Homo: “Summa summarum,* i've got loved reliable future health” (he is touching on the fifteen years which preceded his psychological death)—a superb career of religion, powerful, proud, straight forward, seeming to tax with falsehood the groans of melancholy that had long gone ahead of.

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