There’s no doubt that Sue Prideaux’s I am Dynamite is a highly entertaining read, and rattles along wonderfully well as a late-night distraction. It has its jaw-dropping moments. Wagner comes across as a ludicrously bombastic figure (who could possibly have guessed that from the music?). And Nietszche cuts a sad figure, plagued with ill-health, fizzing with quarter-baked ideas, writing far too fast when he does, and never slowing, it seems, for the hard graft of actually working things through, and worrying little about contradicting himself. So he leaves us with cloudy and fragmentary mirrors in which all kinds of readers can and do glimpse what they want to find.
Reading (or rereading) more Nietzsche was on my retirement list of cultural gaps perhaps to fill — though I can’t say I’ve been attracted by past acquaintance. I’m quite grateful, then, to Sue Prideaux, for she has rather inoculated me against that idea. (Her concluding pages of Nietzschean aphorisms which had particularly struck her obviously struck me very differently!). I might well, however, be reading more Prideaux …
1 thought on “Not so explosive …”
Dear Mr. Smith,
There are two very full, academic biographies of N that are available. They are both fairly recent. One is by Young, the other by Cate. If you are familiar with them, you need not read further in this comment.
These two books give a very different picture from the one Prideaux paints. They would be books you would find interesting and invigorating, in your retirement, if you had not read only P’s book.
I have not read any of P’s book, but I saw a video interview she gave about the book. She seemed to faking it about her knowledge of N’s thought. For all I know she could be giving a better picture of N and his place in the world, but from the interview, I seem to think even there she’s more or less pretending to know a lot about N’s life.
Thank you for all the work you do for the public with your website and books.