In the year 2000, some fifty years after its first publication in 1951, and exactly a century after Nietzsche’s death, a book purportedly by Nietzsche called My Sister and I was still being reprinted. “The Boy who grew up in a house full of Manless Women,” runs the advertisement for the book. “The Strange Relationship between Nietzsche and his Sister, suppressed for fifty years, Revealed At Last in the Philosopher’s own Confession. The story of a famous Brother and terrifyingly ambitious younger Sister who grew to love each other Physically as Children and continued to do so in maturity—to the exclusion of all other Men and Women. One only has to read a few Pages of this Breathless Book to Realize why it has been Hushed Up all these years. Quite simply, and in Fearful Earnest, the 19th century’s Greatest Philosopher tells how he was gradually led into this Extraordinarily Dangerous Love-trap which kept him from marrying and caused the Suicide of his sister’s Only Husband. MY SISTER AND I was written in an asylum in Jena. Undoubtedly it was his studied Revenge on his family for refusing to let him publish an Earlier and much tamer Confession, entitled Ecce Homo, which did not appear until ten years after his Death. MY SISTER AND I had to wait over fifty years because it could not be made Public until all the actors in the Great Drama had Passed Away.”
It is a loathsome tale, right from its start, with Elisabeth creeping into his bed and “the administration of her fat little fingers” occurring for the first time on the night of the death of their little brother Joseph. As Elisabeth was aged two at the time, and Nietzsche four, logic and reason are left behind at the outset. But then, good sense often finds itself trumped by sensationalism once scandal is abroad. The great scholar Walter Kaufmann unpicked the book philologically with great skill but it took years before it was unmasked as a forgery, product of the industrious fraudster and jailbird Samuel Roth, 2 whose anonymous or pseudonymous publications included Lady Chatterley’s Husbands (1931), The Private Life of Frank Harris (1931), Bumarap: the Story of a Male Virgin (1947), I Was Hitler’s Doctor (1951) and The Violations of the Child Marilyn Monroe by “Her Psychiatrist Friend” (1962).
From I am Dynamite!.