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When Nietzsche Wept: A Novel Of Obsession Hardcover – August 23, 1992
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From Publishers Weekly
This talky first novel by psychotherapist Yalom ( Love's Executioner ) is set in 1882 Vienna, where Joseph Breuer, an eminent physician and mentor of Sigmund Freud, has applied his recently discovered talking cure to a woman afflicted with multiple symptoms of hysteria. But now it is Breuer who needs help, for he has become obsessed with the beautiful Anna O. although she is no longer his patient. On vacation in Venice, he is asked by Lou Salome, an imperious Russian woman, to treat German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, who has threatened suicide because of her rejection. Nietzsche consults Breuer in Vienna and, after a series of subtle subterfuges, agrees to a month of daily meetings; Breuer's plan is to employ the talking cure on the bristling Nietzsche under the guise of getting the philosopher to help him with his own obsession and related depression. In this intelligent, fully imagined tale, Yalom accurately evokes the encapsulated world of Breuer and Nietzsche's sessions as well as the social and intellectual milieu of the period, but the narrative is constrained by too much telling ("Perhaps dreams can express either wishes or fears," Freud observes in a discussion with Breuer)--at the expense of showing--and a manipulated, unconvincing resolution. Major ad/promo; author tour.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Kirkus Reviews
Freud's mentor, Josef Breuer, attempts to cure Friedrich Nietzsche of suicidal despair in the clinics, cemeteries, and coffeehouses of 19th-century Vienna--in this first novel by the author of the bestselling Love's Executioner: an entertaining and highly original tale of an uncompromising friendship between two brilliant men. Distinguished physician, renowned scientist, beloved husband and father, Josef Breuer finds himself at 40 simultaneously at the crest of his professional life and near the bottom of a pit of incomprehensible despair. Cursed with nightmares, insomnia, and obsessive sexual fantasies of his former patient, Anna O. (whom he cured, miraculously if temporarily, through a new technique called ``talk therapy''), Breuer welcomes the distraction when the imperious future psychoanalyst Lou Salom demands that he use talk therapy to cure the suicidal depression of her friend, Friedrich Nietzsche. Because the poverty-ridden, unknown philosopher is too proud to accept spiritual help from anyone, Breuer must somehow cure the younger man without his knowledge--but the physician welcomes the challenge, and soon solves it by posing as the patient himself and begging Nietzsche's help in relieving his own existential pain. Unable to refuse, dour Nietzsche agrees to embark on a month of daily ``talks'' with the physician. The ensuing dialogue between a man of the world and an unworldly man becomes increasingly compelling as first Breuer, then Nietzsche, uncovers his forgotten past and delves deep into his own and the other's unconscious desires and fears. Throughout, Yalom's evocation of Breuer imprisoned in a classic midlife crisis, Nietzsche stymied by his own pride, loneliness, and terror, Lou Salom cracking her feminist whip, and young Sigmund Freud eagerly following each conversation's twists and turns make for a stimulating dip into the pools of 19th-century philosophy, psychology, and culture. A delectable fantasy--in which the sole disappointment is that it didn't actually occur. -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
Top customer reviews
Should be a play! A movie.
Brilliant intriguing insight into psychological discourse.
What a great writer Ervin Yalom is!
This book is like an essential text book but in the form of
a psychological fictional thriller, without any pretense.
Essential reading for anyone looking for insight into their own behaviours.
Students and professionals in any of the social science, medical or psychology disciplines should engage and reflect while reading this book.
Most recent customer reviews
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