Skip to main content

Composing the Soul

Reaches of Nietzsche’s Psychology

Nietzsche wrote in Ecce Homo (1888), "That a psychologist without equal speaks from my writings—this is perhaps the first insight gained by a good reader. . . . Who among the philosophers before me was in any way a psychologist? Before me there simply was no psychology."

Composing the Soul is the first study to pay sustained attention to this pronouncement and to examine the contours of Nietzsche’s psychology in the context of his life and psychological makeup. Beginning with essays from Nietzsche’s youth, Graham Parkes shows the influence of such figures as Goethe, Byron, and Emerson on Nietzsche’s formidable and multiple talents. Parkes goes on to chart the development of Nietzsche’s psychological ideas in terms of the imagery, drawn from the dialogues of Plato as well as from Nietzsche’s own quasi-mystical experiences of nature, in which he spoke of the soul. Finally, Parkes analyzes Nietzsche’s most revolutionary idea—that the soul is composed of multiple "drives," or "persons," within the psyche. The task for Nietzsche’s psychology, then, was to identify and order these multiple persons within the individual—to compose the soul.

Featuring all new translations of quotations from Nietzsche’s writings, Composing the Soul reveals the profundity of Nietzsche’s lifelong personal and intellectual struggles to come to grips with the soul. Extremely well-written, this landmark work makes Nietzsche’s life and ideas accessible to any reader interested in this much misunderstood thinker.

496 pages | 1 table | 6 x 9 | © 1994

Philosophy: General Philosophy

Psychology: General Psychology

Table of Contents

I: Seeds in Psychical Soil (1850-1870)
Goethe, Byron, Holderlin
The Mentor from Concord
Moods of the Interior
Schopenhauer and Wagner
II: The Melodic Centaur (1870-1872)
Labor before The Birth
Dionysian and Apollonian Drives
Platonic Prefigurations
Muthos versus Logos
III: Struggles for Multiple Vision (1872-1877)
Changes in Guiding Images
Flows of Phantasy
Rootings through the Past
Mastering Multiplicities
IV: Land and Seascapes of the Interior
Exploration of Psychological Space
Earth, Rock, and Stone
Suns and Vital Fires
Rivers - from Lake to Sea
Interlude 1: Art-Works against Nature
V: Husbanding the Soul: Vegetal Propagation
Trees on Stony Ground
Preparing Suitable Soil
Sowings of Psychical Seed
Cultivation, Irrigation, Fruition
Interlude 2: The Psychical Feminine
VI: Husbanding the Soul: Animal Procreation
Stalking the Wild Life
Accommodating Animals
Psychical Intercourse
True Pregnancies and Ultimate Issues
VII: Emergence of Imagining Drives
A Brief History of Psychical Polycentricity
Herder, Kant, Schiller, Fichte
Psychological Ramifications
VIII: Dominions of Drives and Persons (1869-1887)
Tyrannical Drives, Engaging Persons
Thoughts as Personal Presences
The Fabric(ation) of Experience
Unpublished Notes from 1881
Drives Archaically Imagining
IX: Archaic Casts and Psychical Regimes
Patterns Personal and Impersonal
Dreams and Archaic Inheritance
Plays of Masks
Ordering the Psyche Polytic
Epilogue: A Dangerous Life
Selected Bibliography
Index of Passages in Nietzsche’s Published works
Name Index
Subject Index

Be the first to know

Get the latest updates on new releases, special offers, and media highlights when you subscribe to our email lists!

Sign up here for updates about the Press