In this scholarly, spirited, and at times spellbinding book, Jungian analyst Trudy Bendayan boldly ventures into the soaring and abysmal inner world of Friedrich Nietzsche. Tracing the neglected influence of the feminine in Nietzsche's life and thought, she offers a profound empathetic reading of relevant outer events and relationships as well as of the thinker's fantasies as revealed not only in his published philosophical works but also in poems, letters, notebooks, and other less well known writings. As each main phase of Nietzsche's life is rigorously and sensitively explored, there emerges an increasingly persuasive account of the connections between the nature of his primal relationships, the trajectory of his professional and creative career, his desolate personal life, and his eventual mental breakdown. As well as providing an invaluable resource for analytical psychologists, Bendayan's groundbreaking work of Jungian psychobiography teems with insights that could refresh the understanding of even seasoned scholars of Nietzsche.—Roderick Main, PhD, author of The Rupture of Time: Synchronicity and Jung's Critique of Modern Western Culture and Revelations of Chance: Synchronicity as Spiritual Experience
Creativity and madness, sparked by the intrusion of unconscious symbolism, arised from the same feminine depths—what Jung, following Goethe, called the realm of the Mothers. Which one triumphs depends on the strength of the ego under the onslaught of unconscious contents. In this book the author charts the developmental course of that ego, and its archetypal aspects. She has written a pyschobiography
that ventures into the realm of the Mothers, so that the creativity and madness of Friedrich Nietzsche can be better understood.
begins with a presentation of the existential factors and movements of Nietzsche’s soul during his early life. The author discusses his childhood, adolescence, and early adult years—represented by his natal home, early childhood, boarding school, studies in Bonn and Leipzig, practice in Basel, and fundamental and pivotal interpersonal relationships. She focuses particularly on the subjective life of that period, represented by Nietzsche's early poems, reflections in his first autobiographical works, personal letters and initial writings, as well as the symbols of his dreams and hallucinations as reported by Nietzsche himself.
Dr. Ostfeld de Bendayán continues with Nietzsche's phase as a solitary wanderer, marked by the crucial breakup with Wagner and giving up of his professorship in Basel at the end of the 1870s. Here, she reveals the "human, all too human" man in his relationship with the feminine, using his experiences during continuous journeys and his psychological approach to the imagery found in Nietzsche’s most significant creative works.
Finally, the author offers evidence of the enactment of the Dionysus and Ariadne myth and the way Nietzsche is consumed eventually by living his own myth unconsciously:
"In such instances, the personal domain of choice and conscious differentiation has been lost, thus producing a life lived out on an archetypal and not human level. In a fascinating yet often tragic way, the fate of individuals caught in such transpersonal coupling often parallel the eternal dramas described by myths of these archetypal figures." (Michael Conforti, Field, Form, and Fate)
By tracing the manifestations of this myth throughout Nietzsche’s life and work, Dr. Ostfeld de Bendayán offers an unique look at one of the most important thinkers of modern Western philosophy and a valuable addition to Jungian literature.