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A Kinder, Gentler Nietzsche

Behind the fiercely ambitious texts of the iconoclastic philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche was a kind man who was nice to children and terribly polite, writes Jonathan Rée.

Nietzsche himself turns out to have been a likable sort of guy. Despite his over-the-top persona as an “antichrist”, he always “remained a Christian”, according to Young, if not theologically then at least “emotionally.” And despite his hatred of slipshod scholarship, he had no truck with the petty pedantry of the “anal-retentive control-freak”. Politically, he was not really an individualist, still less a disagreeable elitist or an apostle of violence: he would have hated the “war on terror” and “mass hysteria” over “the death of Princess Di”, and as an advocate of “soft” power he would have opposed the invasion of Iraq.


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