Customer Service | Help | FAQ | PEP-Easy | Report a Data Error | About
Tip: To contact support with questions…

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

You can always contact us directly by sending an email to

For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Opatow, B. (1992). Nietzsche's Enticing Psychology of Power: By Jacob Golomb. Ames: Iowa State University Press, 1989. 350 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 61:668-670.

(1992). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 61:668-670

Nietzsche's Enticing Psychology of Power: By Jacob Golomb. Ames: Iowa State University Press, 1989. 350 pp.

Review by:
Barry Opatow

In late nineteenth century Europe, two men, via heroic introspection, discovered an abyss in the human soul. Separated by twenty years and dissimilar methodology and temperament, they differed in what they saw and reported back. While each found an unsuspected realm and mapped a similar terrain, they disagreed on what non-terrestrial life forms dwelled there. The book under review convincingly demonstrates its main thesis: Nietzsche's psychological insight is the key to a philosophy that essentially anticipated the Freudian revolution.

Friedrich Nietzsche, renowned metaphysician (the last, according to Heidegger), "vivisectionist" of conventional morality, champion of the individual, and arch enemy of the state, religion, and anti-Semitism, clearly emerges as the first great psychoanalyst (in our meaning of the term). It indeed becomes apparent that Nietzsche's psychological insight provided the epistemological instrument that created his entire philosophy. Not least among the considerable merits of this book is the novel perspective it provides on a relation that agitated Freud—that between psychoanalysis and philosophy. Freud once indicated that psychoanalysis stood midway between medicine and philosophy. To emphasize its scientific aspect, he had to repudiate the antipode. Golomb's book implicitly vitalizes this crucial question regarding the nature of our field. It shows how far philosophical introspection by itself can go.

This book offers a scholarly and accessible distillation of the doctrines of a subtle thinker of supreme emotional and intellectual power. I am grateful to the author for helping me fill an intellectual lacuna in so pleasurable a way. Any psychoanalyst will be spellbound following the relentless progress of Nietzsche's thought toward the theoretical core of psychoanalysis. I felt astonished and not a little disturbed that the major elements of Freud's dynamic topography were explicitly anticipated by the solitary philosopher. Freud acknowledged that an "anxiety of influence" prompted him to avoid Nietzsche's writings.

Nietzsche's research began with the finding that the mind (and life in general) develops from two natural instincts which become perspicuous in the study of art.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

Copyright © 2021, Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing, ISSN 2472-6982 Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Download PEP Bibliography | Report a Data Error | About

WARNING! This text is printed for personal use. It is copyright to the journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to redistribute it in any form.