This review is not sufficient to tell the story of this great thinker. He has done so himself and if I tried, it may appear as being unfair to this great mind and for that, I will encourage all of you dear readers and philologists to read the book for yourself. That said, allow me to just give a brief overview of my thoughts on this text.
This autobiography in the words of Nietzsche about his works gives us a glimpse as to how he saw himself among the people of his time. In his words, he says my time has not yet come, some people are born posthumously.
He starts by stating Seeing that shortly I must confront mankind with the heaviest demand ever put on it, it seems to me indispensable to say who I am. and this is what he does in this small volume.
It is clear from this writing that he felt he had no equal at his time or even before. He says of Zarathustra: Among my writings my Zarathustra stands by itself. With this book I have given mankind the greatest gift it has ever been given. This book, with a voice that carries over millennia, is not only the highest book that there is, the true mountain-air book — the whole fact of man lies at a tremendous distance beneath it — it is also the deepest book, born out of the innermost abundance of truth, an inexhaustible well into which no bucket descends without coming up filled with gold and goodness.. He has no kind words for scholars and Germans in particular. He has praise for the French. On Christianity he doesn’t mince words.
He wears the badge of the first immoralist with honour. He says of himself thus I am even the opposite in nature to the kind of man who has hitherto been revered as virtuous.
Of those who read his books, this is what he says He who knows how to breathe the air of my writings knows that it is an air of the heights, a bracing air. One must be made for it, otherwise the danger is no small one of catching cold in it.
From this book he tells us he is a disciple of Dionysus. In his early days he had Wagner as his idol. In his youth he felt he[Wagner] represented the new man, the aspiration to superman that Nietzsche so wanted to exalt and towards the end of his life we find his disappointment with Wagner.
In Why am I so clever, he lists the things necessary for the development of a clever person: nutrition, climate and locality and here he says all men of great intellect have been nurtured in warm areas. He talks of Paris, Athens, Rome, Provence, Jerusalem and concludes that genius is conditioned by dry air[did Einstein live in Germany all through? The brother doesn’t mention Germany as a place fir for breeding intellect]. Third he talks about the choice of recreation and in his case all reading is part of his recreation. Parents take note if you want to raise clever children! The last requirement for a great intellect is an instinct of self-preservation is in command, expressing itself most unambiguously as an instinct of self-defense. Not to see many things, not to hear them, not to let them approach one — first act of prudence, first proof for one’s being not an accident but a necessity. On a side note I think this explains why yours truly should be considered a genius. I live in a place with the right weather for developing intellect, apart from the occasional beer and a cup of coffee, my nutrition will pass as good, I have for recreation the music of Beethoven [this guy was just great] and books written by giants and an instinct of self-preservation to boot lol.
The rest of the book gives accounts as to the conditions, times and where some of the works were written and also helps the reader new to his works have an understanding of his views on morals, man and philosophy.