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Young nietzsche   becoming a genius (carl pietsch - carl plersch Young nietzsche becoming a genius (carl pietsch - carl plersch Document Transcript

  • ..persuasive ...[Pietsch] has illuminated
  • Copyright © 1991 by Carl PIetsch All rights reseIVed. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Publisher. The Free Press A Division of Macmillan, Inc. 866 Third Avenue, New York, N. Y. 10022 Maxwell Macmillan Canada; Inc. 1200 Eglinton Avenue East Suite 200 Don Mills, Ontario M3C 3N1 Macmillan, Inc. is part of the Maxwell Communication Group of Companies. First Free Press Paperback Edition 1992 Printed in the United States of America printing number 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data PIetsch, Carl. Young Nietzsche: becoming a genius / Carl PIetsch. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 0--02-925042-0 1. Nietzsche, Friedrich Wilhelm, 1844 -1900-Contributions in notion of genius. 2. Genius. I. Title. B3318.G46P57 1991 193-dc20 [B] 91-11612 CIP
  • For Laura
  • Contents Preface and Ackrwwledgments IX ONE A Genealogy of Genius 1 TWO The Birth of a Genius? 17 THREE Without a Father 31 FOUR Learning to Learn 46 FIVE A Student of Genius 63 SIX Emulating Geniuses 103 SEVEN First Works 126 EIGHT Struggle for Autonomy 159 NINE Redefining Genius 205 Notes 219 SU(!gt!Stinns forFurtherReLu1ing 249 Index 253
  • Preface and Acknowledgments, !was first attracted to Friedrich Nietzsche as an undergraduate at Brigham Young University. He represented a radical indepen­ dence of thought to me, and I wrote my senior honors paper on what then seemed the most provocative of his ideas. As a graduate student in intellectual history at the University of Chicago, I de­ cided to write my dissertation about Nietzche as well. By that time, the fog of adolescent enthusiasm had cleared somewhat, and the / categories of psychoanalysis came naturally to hand as a means of explaining his unusual manner of thinking. Fortunately, Profes­ sor William McNeill, my adviser, countenanced and even en­ couraged my interest in psychobiography. The psychoanalytic focus of the dissertation also led me to a rewarding association with Dr. George Moraitis of the Institute for Psychoanalysis in Chicago, who helped me to appreciate my own psychological in­ volvement with Nietzsche as well asto avoid some of the pitfalls of historical diagnosis. I became dissatisfied with my psychoanalytic treatment of Nietzsche's life as I realized that it did not suffice to illuminate the conjuncture of his ideas. Nietzsche had carefully constructed both his life and his works as monuments ofcreativity and had cast him­ self in the role of the genius. I began to explore the theory of ge­ nius, which had become, in the nineteenth century, a veritable ideology, a vehicle for conveying the grand aspirations of unusual individuals to the culture at large. Many writers and artists em­ ployed it, both to marshal their own energies and to construct themselves and their oeuvres to fit this new archetype of creative life, thus making themselves recognizable to the public. The question ofhow Nietzsche became a genius, or how he con­ structed himself as a genius, linked what I knew about his unique personality to the cultural category of genius, a socially con­ structed role. Nietzsche learned about it from widely revered exam-
  • x Preface andAcknowledgments pIes like Goethe and Schiller. With his need for fatherly mentors, he fastened his attention upon these men and emulated them. And after an extended apprenticeship to Schopenhauer and Wagner, he assumed the mantle ofgenius for himself. With this understand. i�g ofNietzsche's development, I was in a position to write a quite dI�ferent book. In fact, I found that the complementary relation­ ShIp of personal psychology and the culture of genius provides a strategy for investigating many other great and unique creative fig­ ures. I had a research agenda that went far beyond Nietzsche. I have a great many friends and colleagues to thank for their confidence in me and my gradually developing project, and for their friendship. Thanks first to my far-flung friends who believed that I could bring this to fruition; to former colleagues in the De­ partment ofHistory at the University ofNorth Carolina; in the De­ partment of German at the University of Pittsburgh; and in the Departments of History at Appalachian State University and the University ofNorth Carolina at Wilmington; and finally to my cur­ r�nt colleagues at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. In the years SInce I began to write this book, I have incurred many other debts too personal to mention here, but no less gratefully remembered. For her sustaining confidence I am particularly grateful to Joyce Seltzer at The Free Press. Without herencouragement during the last several years, this book might not have been published. Without her intellectual advice and editorial criticism, it would be much less satisfactory than it is. To my daughter Laura, who can hardly know how much she has helped with the book, I dedicate it.
  • ONE A Genealogy of Genius • F riedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche was born in 1844, the son of a Prot­ estant pastor, whose conservative family expected the boy to be­ �ome a pastor too. But Friedrich was also born into aEurope where By�on, Goethe, Mozart, Rousseau, and other romantic heroes loomed as large as kings. People h(id flocked to Weimar from all over Europe to pay homage to Goethe as a genius, and by the time Nietzsche was a boy Goethe had become the national hero of Ger­ many. The idea of genius was hardly a century"ol,� in 1850, but among many educated people creative heroes like Goethe and Schiller had already replaced both clergymen and kings as figures of veneration. Goethe would be one of the young Nietzsche's first heroes, and the cult of genius would provide Nietzsche with an al­ ternative vocation to that ofthe pastorate. The"idea of genius emerged from the Enlightenment, the pro­ gressive intellectual movement of the eighteenth century. Even as radical writers prepared the way for democratic revolution, they were also setting the stage for the nineteenth century's romantic heroes, and its cult of genius. All across Europe and in America commoners were taking the place of the privileged orders. Bour­ geois intellectuals created new roles for themselves as they de­ clared their independence from clerical careers and noble patrons, and claimed the right to reform society according to their own
  • 2 YOUNG NIETZSCHE lights. They presented themselves as representatives of the middle classes generally, and even called themselves the "party of human· ity." But soon the idea emerged that they constituted an aristocracy of i?tellect. That would become one of the bases of the theory of genIus. . Voltaire's career il�ustr�tes ho� the intellectual assumed a sig­ nIficant new role and Identity dUring the course of the eighteenth ce . ntury. Born a bourgeois as Franc;ois Arouet in 1694, by 1725 Vol­ taIre had conquered Paris with his plays and added the aristocratic "de Voltaire" to his name. The nobility took umbrage at his inso­ lence, had Voltaire beaten, arrested, and sent to the Bastille, and eventually had him exiled from France. But Voltaire remained an iconoclast, and another half-century of strictly literary combat made him rich and famous. The public bought his writings, and such royal patrons as Frederick the Great ofPrussia and Catherine of Russia entreated him to attend them at their courts. When Vol­ taire died in 1778, he was vindicated precisely by his writing.I He had broken the rule ofdeference to aristocracy and to institutional religion, a rule that men ofletters had obeyed for centuries. And he had established the intellectual as an independent force in West­ ern society. Voltaire became a model for others. A century later he would also be one ofNietzsche's heroes. But, even in Voltaire's own time, a whole generation ofemancipated thinkers and writers-thephilo­ sophes-venerated him in France. These rationalist critics of the a . ristocratic social order placed great faith in knowledge and educa­ tIon. Under the leadership of Denis Diderot they produced The Grand Encyclopedia (1751-1772). The first such compendium of knowledge, theEncyclopedia was not merely a reference work open­ ing hitherto obscure and often secret knowledge to the public; it was also the repository of every subversive opinion of the eigh­ teenth century. It met with repression from both the Catholic Church and the French monarchy. Diderot and some of his collab­ orators were arrested for the opinions expressed in it; later vol­ u�es were banned and had to be printed in Holland; and shI�ments of th� book were impounded. Nevertheless, the Encyclo­ pedza was finanCially successful, and the views expressed in it be­ came the ideological foundation of the Revolution of 1789.2 For the first time, perhaps, the pen was proving mightier than the sword.
  • A Genealogy ofGenius 3 While Diderot and his colleagues were publishing the Encyclope­ dia in France, a far less radical man in a more li.beral country single­ h dedly wrote the first Dictionary of the Englzsh Language. Samuel J::nson was an impoverished poet and essayist, but he had . bee� led to believe that a certain Lord Chesterfield would underWrite hIS efforts on a dictionary. After he had been repeatedly rebuffed by vants at Chesterfield's door, however, Johnson found another ser '11' d rce of support-several booksellers who were WI Ing to a - sou fi ' f ce him the necessary money, with a view to pro lung rom even- van D·· . tual sales. But when Johnson completed the great zctzonary I? 1754, he was surprised to learn that Chesterfield had t . ake . n credIt for having supported the creation ofhis work.Johnson IndIgnantly penned a letter to Lord Chesterfield, pointin? out that he .h�d not been the great man's beneficiary while workIng on the Dzctzonary, and he did. not need his recommendation to sell it now that the work was finished. "Is not a patron, my Lord, one who looks with unconcern on a man struggling for life in the water, and, when he has reached ground, encumbers him with help? ,, 3 This became the definitive declaration of independence from literary patronage. The success of Voltaire, Johnson, the encyclopedists, and oth­ ers proved that there was a market for books and idea� that would make intellectuals independent of patrons and clerical careers. And this financial independence provided the basis for a new intel­ lectual independence, and even for new genres ofthought-and rep­ resentation. Eighteenth-century writers created (or recreated) autobiography, the novel, and biography, genres that permitted the public to think about great individuals in ent!!�ly new ways. Thinking in terms ofgenius was one of the results. The reading public ofthe time subscribed not only to great ed- ucational works but to novels and biographies as well, especially in England. Biography and the novel dignified the details ?f �iddle class life, and put bourgeois individuals before the pubhc In ways in which only the privileged orders had been represented pre­ viously. When the individual was a creative man, the impression could be dramatic.James Boswell' s Life ofSarttuelJohnson (1791), for example, became tremendously popular. It is one of the first in­ stances in which a biography defined a genius for the public mind. It gave such a lively portrait ofJohnson as a wit and conversational­ ist-with an intelligence far surpassing that of his interlocutors­ thatJohnson is better remembered today for this biography than
  • 4 YOUNG NIETZSCHE for his own writings. For Johnson did not portray himself as a ge­ nius, and the term in its modern sense did not appear in his dictio­ nary. Among all the novels and biographies of the late eighteenth century, the works ofJean:Jacques Rousseau andJohann Wolfgang Goethe were perhaps the most important in forming the ideal of the life ofgenius. They focused more particularly upon the interior life of the young artist and intellectual. Rousseau'sJulie, Dr the new Heloise (1761), and Goethe's SDrrDws 'Ofthe YDung Werther (1774) were highly romantic stories ofartistic young men, prototypes of the ro­ mantic hero and misunderstood genius, great in imagination and sensitivity but frustrated in love. Werther was translated into every European language and had such a profound impact that it actu­ ally provoked a wave ofsuicides in imitation ofits hero. Immensely popular with middle-class readers, these novels were the first mod­ ern best-sellers. In some vague but profound way they also contrib­ uted to the reeducation ofEuropean sensibility, turning attention from the aristocrat to the artist and his noble soul. Both Goethe and Rousseau addressed the subject of education in virtually all oftheir works, returning again and again to the ques­ tion of how to nurture and develop one's own self. Theirs was no longer the critical education ofthephilDsDphes, who wanted to liber­ ate the middle classes from the shackles of tradition and supersti­ tion by conveyingmaximum knowledge. It was rather an education of sensibility, and a liberation ofthe innate talents and abilities in individuals. In his Emile, Rousseau eschewed discipline and rote learning and advocated drawing out what was already present in the child. And Goethe, with his Wilhelm Meister novels, gave the term Bildung (education) the new sense of developing unique po­ tential rather than learning what other people had to teach. Curiously enough this romantic view of education returned at­ tention to birth and innate qualities. The aristocrats of the old re­ gime had placed their confidence in noble blood; romantic writers invested theirs in innate talent. As if to illustrate how their own innate talent emerged, Goethe and Rousseau wrote autobiogra­ phies as well. Rousseau's CDnfessiDns, and Goethe's Out 'Of My Life (Aus meinem Leben, or Dichtung und Wahrheit, as it is often called), pointed totheuniqueness and organic development ofthe creative personality.4 Rousseau announced in the opening passage of his CDnfessiDns that, once God had made him, He broke the mold.5 For his part, Goethe was fond ofbiological metaphors for the life ofthe
  • A Genealogy ofGenius 5 artist that, like a flower, opened gradually into its foreordained glory. These autobiographi . es pr?voked a�mirati�n of th� roman­ tic literary hero while settIng hl� and hIS creatI . ve . gen . lus . apart from even the most talented ofordInary men. By dIStInguIshIng ge­ nius as inherent, the product of birth rather than education, the autobiographies set in motion an extraordinary new model of human excellence and achievement. By the beginning of the nineteenth century a new understand- ing of human greatness ha? develope� in . Europe and . �merica. Based initially upon educatIon and a faIth In the educablhty of all men, a theory ofgenius had emerged that focussed upon a very few individuals born to lead creative lives. Genius was a new aristoc­ racy in a much more literal sens� than the philDsDp�es in their quest for legitimate social status had Intended. The Enhghtenment had created the social space for the nineteenth-century genius and had offered one of its first definitions in The Grand EncyclDpedia. The great romantic heroes like Rousseau, Goethe, and Byron actually stepped onto the stage that that social space provided, and lived out the role of the creative individual as genius. They were, or seemed to have been, born to create. The difference between genius and talent was categorical. Only a genius could create, and his creations were so remarkable that contemporaries could not recognize them immediately. As one of Nietzsche's later mentors put it, Talent is able to achieve what is beyond other people's capacity to achieve, yet not to achieve what is beyond their capacity of apprehen­ sion; therefore it at once finds its appreciators. The'achievement of genius, on the other hand, transcends not only others' capacity of achievement, but also their capacity of apprehension; therefore they do not become immediately aware of it. Talent is like the marksman �ho hits a target which others cannot reach; genius is like the marks­ man who hits a target . . . which others cannot even see.6 The works ofthose who were deemed geniuses seemed so different from the work of their contemporaries that it was easy to believe they had been born for their tasks. The genius became the demi­ god ofthe nineteenth century, and the beliefarose that "a genius is born, not made." Genius was thus defined by qualities not formerly ascribed to humans at all, but reserved for God. The romantic generation rev-
  • 6 YOUNG NIETZSCHE olutionized aesthetic theory by making the artist a creator. It rede­ fined the artist as the maker ofcompletely new objects, notjust the imitator of God's creations that he had been for centuries. Works of art ceased to be mirrors of nature and became independent sources ofinsight and illumination.7 The genius-artist was credited with imagination, origin�lity, and creativity-terms and qualities that at the turn of the nineteenth century were as new as the con­ cept ofthe genius itself.8 Ascribing such qualities to the genius cul­ minated in the belief that the genius could create ex nihilo, out of nothing, as God had supposedly done, or at thevery least out ofhis own soul. The capacity to create was, however, accompanied by psycho­ logical stress and social isolation, at least in the popular imagina­ tion. The genius seemed obsessed, and burdened by a responsibility to create. Insanity was associated with genius as well, and there were enough unbalanced and suicidal creators to con­ firm this prejudice. EvenGoethe suffered from morbid tendencies, evident in The Sorrows ofthe Young Werther. Goethe, however, over­ came his depression. But another hero of Nietzsche's youth, the poet Friedrich Holderlin, lost his mind in 1806 at the age of36, and lived on in an asylum until 1843. Holderlin was considered an "un­ healthy" influence on young people, and when as a schoolboy Nietzsche wrote an essay praising Holderlin's poetry, he was repri­ manded.9 Society was uncomfortable with such unpredictable members. The association of genius with insanity was largely de­ fensive: the imputation ofinsanity served to protect society against the unexpected and often unwanted eruptions of genius. It was a time when many harmless creative people were incarcerated in asy­ lums by their relatives and physicians, simply for fear of the un­ usual.10 Even when geniuses were not suspected of insanity, they were often perceived to be maladapted and never very conforming to s?cial conventions. By 1850 it was apparent that the bourgeois pub­ he could not keep up either in taste or progressive conviction with the innovations of the avant-garde in art or philosophy. The natu­ ral partnership struck in the late eighteenth century between such public men as lawyers and the gentry on the one hand, and artists and intellectuals on the other, did not survive the triumph of the bourgeoisie; it degenerated into mutual hostility. The middle classes had become complacent, and in their view, the artists and intellectuals were becoming progressively more shrill and anti-
  • A Genealogy ofGenius 7 social. The ideology ofgenius encouraged creative heroes to follow their own natural paths ofdevelopment, paths that most often ran ainst the grain of conventional bourgeois society. Geniuses as �fsparate as the flamboyant French composer Hector Berlioz, the youngRichardWagner, and the revolutionary Ka�l Marx were clas­ sified as "bohemian" in the 1840s, both for theIr works and for their life-style. As the genius was becoming alienated from a self-satisfied mid- dle class, he became a law unto himself. A romantic artist like Ber­ lioz thought he was better qualified to know the virtues of his own music than the middle-class audience who only wanted to hear something familiar. He was contemptuous ofthe public and would not be deterred from following either his musi(all agenda or his outrageously egotistical life-style.I I Marx, too, was schooled in the romantic mythology, and found his mission in a similarly defiant struggle against the theory ofthe new ruling class. His project was to critique the whole bourgeois system, but an integral part of the project was to explain the resistance of the bourgeoisie to innova­ tion of any sort. He showed that the bourgeoisie had been a pro­ gressive force only as long as they were in revolutionary opposition to the old aristocratic regime. Now that they in turn had become the dominant class, thebourgeoisie could be relied upon to oppose every artistic or intellectual provocation of the avant-garde,just as they opposed the economic interests ofthe working classes. Genius was a provocation to middle-class complacency. But the provocation was not limited to challenges to the social position of the middle classes, as Marx's logic might suggest._The figure of the genius was well calculated to incite many kinds of anxiety and am­ bivalence. Different in dress and habits, perhaps even psycho­ pathic, driven to create regardless ofthe consequences, the genius seemed strangely motivated and highly unpredictable. What is more, the genius seemed to create by magic. Mozart, for instance, wrote down whole symphonies out of his head without revising a single note. Goethe too awoke mornings with complete poems in mind. And geniuses did not perform such featsjust once, but regu­ larly throughout long careers. It seemed as ifthey did not have time in a single life-time to create all that they were capable of. To ordi­ nary people, such men were either demi-gods or devils; perhaps like Faust, they had contracted with the powers of evil to get their god-like gifts. In either case they were disturbing. The genius had become a formidable figure, towering over his
  • 8 YOUNG NIETZSCHE contemporaries and inspiring both admiration and resentment. With his power to create ex nihilo, the genius had become a kind of "unmoved mover," in Aristotle's terminology, forcing his contem­ poraries to orient themselves to his creations. This was a function that had formerly been assigned to God, who had presumably cre­ ated heaven and earth and given direction to all life. But now there emerged a pantheon of artists and thinkers who had evidently cre­ ated the world ofthought and perception from within which nine­ teenth-century people apprehended life. For many educated people, God was retreating to the wings, and the genius was taking his place at the center ofthe stage. Thus the genius emerged as the focus of something approaching a secular religion-ironically, since the invention ofthe genius in the late eighteenth century was a function ofan emancipation from traditional religion. Most edu­ cated people still needed powerful yet recognizable heroes to pro­ vide authoritative direction. In a democratic century, this need could only inspire ambiva­ lence. The awed respect that the public paid to the genius was diffi­ cult to reconcile with the rights ofpopular sovereignty everywhere asserted by the middle classes. The contradiction was more often implicit than recognized by contemporaries, but it was quite evi­ dent in Napoleon's case. The great admiration that people across Europe felt for the military genius who tamed the French Revolu­ tion and humiliated the crowned heads of Europe was matched only by their resentment of the dictatorial nature that Napoleon revealed as he crowned himselfEmperor ofFrance and subjugated other European nations. Once the hero ofcreative people through­ out the continent, once the very embodiment of individual initia­ tive, he earned the ire of men as far apart as Beethoven and Francisco Goya for becoming a tyrant.12 The public seems to have envied not only the creative powers ofthe genius, but also his corresponding freedom from social con­ vention and even his willful behavior. At the same time, the public disapproved ofprecisely the thing it admired, and often perceived depravity and immorality in the genius. Thus, what the genius in­ spired most ofall was ambivalence. Greatadmiration could quickly be transformed into bitter disappointment and rejection, as when Beethoven angrily struck Napoleon's name from the title page of his Third Symphony and renamed it "the Heroic Symphony."13 Perhaps this profound ambivalence lies at the root ofthe idea that the genius is always "ahead of his time," for in spite of the most
  • A Genealogy ofGenius 9 rofound admiration, contemporaries repeatedly found it difficult p accept geniuses on their own often dictatorial terms. Psycholog­ ��allY at least, the genius had become more difficult to approach than the kings of the old regime. Even now, some of us find it as difficult to look directly upon the creativity ofthe genius as Moses did to look upon God in the burning bush. This ambivalence was naturally reflected in biography, which became a primary means ofpropagating genius, as well as a .��ans of policing the pantheon of genius through eulogy or cnt�C1sm. The genre of multi-volumed "lives and works" was invented In the nineteenth century to monumentalize genius. But as Lytton Strachey noted, the welter ofbiog:ap�ic det�il tended to trivial . ize the creative achievements of genIUS. And In a speech acceptIng the Goethe Prize in 1930, Freud worried that "even the best and the fullest" biographies could "not throw any light upon the riddle of the miraculous gift that makes an artist." Such detailed investiga­ tions inevitably uncover disappointing moments in the life of a great man, and even the most lau�atory biographies entail oe�ipal rivalry and tend to bring the genIUS down to human proportIons. Nevertheless Freud concluded that educated people must"putup" with biography, because ambivalence about the great is inescapa- bly human: Our attitude to fathers and teachers is, after all, an ambivalent one since our reverence for them regularly conceals a component of hos­ tile rebellion. This is a psychological fatality; it cannot be altered with­ out forcible suppression of the truth and is boun<t,to extend to our relations with the great men whose life histories we'wish to investi- gate.15 Freud emphasized the undercurrent of emotional hostility to­ wards genius, rather than the admiration of genius. Disappoint­ ment had diverted many people's attention from the greatness of a Goethe or a Napoleon. The very difficulty of the musical composi­ tions ofBerlioz and Wagner disappointed nineteenth-century con­ certgoers and occasionally brought bedlam to concert halls. But the tendency to denigrate geniuses was (and is) only a compensa­ tion for the often excessive worship ofcreative heroes. Such extrav­ agant admiration seemed incongruous and even embarrassing to some people, who found it easy, for example, to ridicule the syco­ phantic admirers who gathered in Bayreuth to worship at the altar
  • 10 YOUNG NIETZSCHE of Wagner's genius. However, awe and admiration have been the dominant attitudes toward genius and underlie every disappoint­ ment. Genius worship thus entailed the desire to experience some measure ofthe genius's creativity. Listening to the music ofMozart, Beethoven, Berlioz, or Wagner, reading the works of Rousseau or Goethe, afforded (and still affords) the vicarious exhilaration of creativity. And it helped the citizens of the nineteenth century be­ come more aware oftheir own creative resources. (In fact much of the art and philosophy ofthat century was about creativity.) People found it inspiring even to read biographies of geniuses, and biog­ raphy became a genre in which potent "ego ideals"-personal models suitable for emulation-were realized and circulated. In the middle classes particularly, the subjects of biographies often became the heroes ofyoung men and women deciding upon their own ambitions. Thus biography became a genre not onlyforbring­ ing demi-gods down to human proportion, but for enlarging the experience of educated people. And genius became a self-propa­ gating ideology. Genius begat genius, and even ordinary people could identify with the creative lives oftheir heroes. In this sense at least, genius was democratic. When Nietzsche was a boy in the 1850s, every young man with talent and access to a good education could wonder ifhe was a ge­ nius. Nietzsche was inevitably exposed to Goethe, Beethoven, and other cult-figures at an early age. But his family ofProtestant pas­ tors had its own tradition. Not only were the boy's father and two grandfathers parsons, but most of his other known ancestors as well. It probably never occurred to the Nietzsches that Friedrich might discover in himself an ambition to genius that would carry him away from the study oftheology or the vocation ofpastor, even though the Lutheran pastorate was the intellectual elite of Protes­ tant Germany. Being born the first son in such a family practically guaranteedthatFriedrich would receive a university education. As he grew older and his educational horizons expanded, his expo­ sure to genius in the intellectual and popular culture became ever broader. When Friedrich was barely five years old, family tragedy struck when his father, Pastor Ludwig Nietzsche, died. His mother Franziska would never remarry, so Friedrich grew up in a house­ hold that consisted ofhis mother and sister, two paternal aunts, his grandmother, and several maids, but no men. Throughout his early
  • A Genealogy ofGenius 11 rfi Nietzsche would be unusually attracted to father figures, olderI e, f m whom he seemed to crave guidance if not precisely affec-m�ro .. The fathers of Wilhelm Pinder and Gustav Krug, two of hISuon. . I dI · . dboyhood friends, first inspired ?is mUSlCa an Iterary Interest a� II d his attention to such genIuses ofthe day as Goethe and Fehxca e ·bl . d I· Mendelssohn. Nietzsche would remain susceptI e to mUSIC an It- t re as well as to fatherly mentors. His early attachments to theera u 'I c · . . helder Pinder and Krug prefigure Nietzsche s ater lasClnation WIt Schopenhauer and Wagner in the most remark�ble way. Nietzsche went mainly to private school until 1858, when at the age offourteen he was awarded a free place at the famous boarding school of Schulpforta. There it was remarked that he was an ear­ nest, sickly boy, a hard worker, and ul�imate!y an excellent scholar. No one noticed whether he was a genIus. PrIvately he wrote poetry and composed music, and he wrote a short autobio�aphy that he entitled Out ofMyLife, in imitation ofGoethe. Yet he dId not record any intention ofbecoming either a poet or a musician. By the time he graduated from Schulpforta, however, he had . thor�)l�ghly �as­ tered Greek and Latin and was already engaged In OrIgInal phIlo- / logical research. As he passed his final examinations, one of his teachers remarked that he was the best student of philology that Schulpforta had seen in a generation. He seemed a budding scholar, but nothing more. His record at school suggests that he possessed considerable native intelligence, good discipline, and ambition. Predictably, Nietzsche enrolled at the university as a student of theology. Within a year, however, he told his mot��r that he did notbelieve in God, and declared he would not become a pastor. He found a fatherly mentor in Professor Friedrich Ritschl, a philolo­ gist. A skillful and productive student, Nietzsche became Ritschl's favorite pupil. In fact the fatherless Nietzsche and the childless Ritschl became mutually involved in the roles of surrogate father and son. Ritschl thoughtwell enough ofNietzsche's seminar papers to publish several of them in the journal that he edited-an ex­ tremely unusual distinction. Nietzsche was highly motivated by this nurturance and for a time he felt certain that he was destined for a career in philology. Just as Nietzsche was gaining recognition in philology, how­ ever, he discovered the philosophy ofArthur Schopenhauer, who became another paternal mentor, and Nietzsche's interest in phi­ losophy began to rival his interest in the classics. Nietzsche was
  • 12 YOUNG NIETZSCHE struck by the ethical dimension of Schopenhauer's philosophy, and his life took on new meaning and direction as a result. He was unable, however, to resolve his conflicting feelings toward his two teachers, or to decide between the two fields ofstudy before he was invited to apply for thejob ofprofessor ofclassical philology at the University ofBasel. Ritschl recommended him extravagantly, and he was given thejob, even without writing a thesis. At twenty-four Nietzsche seemed destined for a brilliant career in philology. Nietzsche was still trying to clarify his ambitions as he took up his duties atBasel and came into the orbit ofRichard Wagner, who was also living in Switzerland. Wagner was an extravagant person­ ality, an acclaimed genius with truly grandiose pretensions who fas­ cinated Nietzsche more than any of his earlier heroes. Since Wagner professed to be a disciple of Schopenhauer as well, Nietzsche wasableto merge his idealization ofthe one with his per· sonal fascination for the other. Wagner, furthermore, was eager to have Nietzsche as his disciple. He was not at all reluctant to direct Nietzsche's career, and encouraged Nietzsche to orient his philo­ logical writing to problems of contemporary culture. The fruit of this intense relationship was Nietzsche's first book, The Birth of Tragedy out ofthe Spirit ofMusic. From 1870 to 1876 Wagner was the primary influence in Nietzsche's life, and Nietzsche's emotional de­ pendence upon Wagner became profound. He subordinated him­ self to the composer in the most abject fashion. Nevertheless, this servitude was apparently an essential step in Nietzsche's creative development. Nietzsche had been exposed to the culture ofgenius since early childhood, admiring Goethe, Holderlin, and others as heroes. Then, in Schopenhauer, Nietzsche found an explicit theory of ge­ nius as well as a philosophical hero whose accomplishments of­ fered him a starting point for his own creative life's work. But these men were distant idols who lived in books. Wagner was a tangible presence who would activate Nietzsche's affinity with genius and give him apersonal connection to it.Wagner's personal magnetism led Nietzsche into the magic circle of genius, a field of forces in which he saw Wagner's creativity drawing to itself great talents working to realize the master's works, the love of an adoring and self-effacing wife, sycophantic hangers-on, great expense, publicity and scandal, and true popular adulation. Thus in his relationship with Wagner, the whole phenomenon of genius was crystallized in the most personal way. Nietzsche had finally found an approach-
  • A Genealogy ofGenius 13 able model ofgenius !ro� whom he could learn the role and then visualize himselfplayIng It. N· tzsche's intellectual persona changed from the moment heIe d . . h came under Wagner's influence. The Birth ofTrage ry, WrItten In t e fi t flush ofhis Wagnerian enthusiasm, reveals that he had already b 1rs to think and write more ambitiously. The book's speculativeegun h . e betrays the work ofa philosopher rather t an a precocIouSnatur . . . . f; h'l logy professor. It was so speculatIve, so InnovatIve, In act,p 1 0 h'l I ' d " I that Nietzsche was suddenly isolated as a p 1 0 OgiSt an VICIOUS y ttacked for his lack of professionalism. The Birth of Tragedy pro­ a kes the question about Nietzsche as an emerging genius: How ��dhe manage to go so far and so audaciously beyond the limits of his professional training, even in his first book? . By his mid-twenties Nietzsche had already become a creatIve force who knew how to think and express things that no one could have taught him-not Friedrich Ritschl, not Schopenhauer, and certainly notWagner. Trying to please Wagner, however, Nietzsche had synthesized his knowledge of the ancient Greeks with an ethi­ cal impulse derived from Schopenhauer. In the process he had cre­ ated an original interpretation of ancient Greek culture. He had apparently devised-ortaught himself-his own way oflearning, a method that would permit him to continue to extend his ideas and the range ofhis thinking throughout his life. This is characteristic of genius. Nietzsche's deep admiratjon for his "fathers" . and es�e- dally his desire to please Wagner were the catalysts of thIS creative leap. �, Wagner kept Nietzsche in thrall foranother fou! years after the publication of The Birth ofTragedy. Nietzsche remained in the role of disciple and even permitted Wagner to dictate what he should write and publish. His own susceptibility to fatherly mentors and Wagner's tyrannical nature conspired together. And the culture of genius, which exalted such men as Wagner out of all proportion, foresawjust such feudal relationships. Thus Nietzsche did not be­ come a fully independent creator until after his definitive break with Wagner at the first Festival ofWagner's Ring ofthe Nibelungen in Bayreuth in 1876. But in that period he learned a great deal more about the role of the genius from Wagner's example: in par­ ticular, the absolute egotism of the genius, which did not come at all naturally to Nietzsche. It was this role, that Nietzsche learned from Wagner, that fitted him to his creative mission. It permitted him to complete his transformation from a provincial son of a Lu-
  • 14 YOUNG NIETZSCHE theran pastor and sometime professor of philology into a world­ renowned nihilist philosopher. When Nietzsche did finally clarify his own creative mission, it turned out to be "the transvaluation of all values-die Umwertung aller Werte," overturning culture itself. He undermined the episte­ mology, metaphysics, morality, science, and the very logic ofWest­ ern thought. He attempted to discredit nearly every ideal and heroic figure, starting with Socrates, whose influence he had al­ ready decried in TheBirth ofTragedy, but extending even to his own genius-mentors: Schopenhauer, and especially Wagner. Nietzsche's attack was unusually radical, insofar as he eschewed any systematic alternatives to the idols he toppled. He aspired to abolish truth itself. Yet his strategy was not mere iconoclasm. It was an oddly affirmative sort of nihilism, entailing cheerful truthful­ ness about the absence of objective truth. Nietzsche proposed to affirm life after the death ofGod, when life could have no intrinsic meaning. He attempted to impose values where none were to be found, and preached a gospel ofloving one's fate (amorfati). It was a form of moral life without the reassurance of truth or morality. This was perhaps the most drastic assault upon Western thinking that had ever been mounted. It carried to an extreme a certain crit­ ical tendency that is inherent in Western thought, but its effect was to undermine the entire tradition for the first time. The radical and unanticipated nature ofNietzsche's attack highlights the ques­ tion ofhow he, in particular, came to make it. Nietzsche exerted himself at every stage of his life in order to become what he was. His youth was a struggle against his family's determination that he become a pastor. But Nietzsche's rebellion against family and religion did not free him for a life ofhedonism. Quite the contrary, his life turned out to be one ofalmost monastic austerity and perseverance, primarily because he retained a deep and very spiritual need for a calling in life. With a strong sense of the "protestant ethic" he worked hard in school and throughout his early years to fulfill his potential. Tothe end ofhis life, he con­ tinued to describe his work as "a mission"-Nietzsche did not be­ come the radical thinker easily. More was required, however, than intelligence and dedication. These qualities made Nietzsche a professor at an early age. And if he had been more certain that his calling was philology, he might have had a rewarding life as a scholar and professor in Basel, like his colleague, the great historianJacob Burckhardt, writing great
  • A Genealogy ofGenius 15 books without any further revolution in his life. But Nietzsche w�s h younger man than Burckhardt, and lacked Burckhardt s a· muc . h '11' f. . dI'stanCe from the world. Further, Nletzsc e was Stl In atu- IronIc . ated with the power ofgenius as exemphfied by Schop�nhauer and Wagner. Their examples provided t�e impetus for hIm to trans­ form and transcend himself once agaIn. Nietzsche does not conform well to the popular definition of the genius as the nineteenth century understood it. Rather, his ca­ suggests that genius is a role that has to be learned and nur- reer f h' d'ed. Nietzsche learned about genius not only rom IS rea lng, tur f h . f h· but from his extended discipleship to tw� 0 t e genIuses 0 IS time. Having lost his own father so early, hIS youth and early man­ hoodwere consumed by a search for a surrogate father, and when he found Schopenhauer and Wagner, he apprenticed himself to them and reformed himself as much as possible in their image. Niet;sche's early career thus reveals something about the role of genius that is not so apparent in the lives of other creative individ­ uals, namely, that it must be learned. Genius as a culturally defined role did not even exist before the mid-eighteenth century. It is specific to the modern era that an ex­ tniordinarily gifted individual can hope to be an economically self­ sufficient specialist. The modern genius is quite distinct from the so-called Renaissance Man, who was not far removed from a crafts­ man and had to perform a variety of services for his patron. A ge­ nius must by definition have a mission unique to himself, defined by and for himself. Instead ofserving others, he must become com­ pletely dedicated to himselfas well as to his calling-or�mbition. The role is psychologically rigorous, in open conflict with the social mores ofmodern society that require cooperation and reciprocity from,most people. Absolute egotism does not come naturally. It must be learned. Nietzsche learned it in a painful and well-docu­ mented way. Others have undoubtedly learned the role of the ge­ nius too, but without the humiliating apprenticeship that Nietzsche underwent with Wagner, and privately enough for it not to become apparent to their contemporaries. Nietzsche's life demonstrates that genius is not born, but made, and by a process far less magical than the romantic ideology of ge­ nius may make it seem. Like every other creative individual, he had to make his life in the world as he found it. Karl Marx wrote, "Men make their own history, but notjust as they wish; notunder circum­ stances of their own choosing, but under the given and inherited
  • 16 YOUNG NIETZSCHE circumstances that directly confront them."16 It could be a descrip­ tion of genius. Nietzsche created himself in rebellion against the circumstances ofhis birth. But he was also the beneficiary ofthose circumstances. Nietzsche had to overcome the narrow expectations ofhis fam­ ily and reject the religious and ethical values that he had inherited before he could even imagine himselfas a philosopher. But he also inherited a sense ofduty and calling. He absorbed the nineteenth­ century assumption that mastery ofthe classical languages and ini­ tiation into historical methods of thinking were prerequisites of intellectual excellence and accomplishment. Perhaps most impor­ tantly, he learned the theory of genius, and oriented himself per­ sonally to genius in the figures ofSchopenhauer and Wagner. And finally, rebelling against his mentors too, he created himself as a genius. Making himselfa genius, he made his own history.
  • TWO The Birth ofa Genius? • T he philosopher Nietzsche was born in the village parsonage of Rocken (near Liitzen) in the Prussian part of Saxony on the fifteenth ofOctober, 1844. The child's father, the pastor Karl Lud­ wig Nietzsche, had been in the village little more than a year. He had formerly been a tutor at the ducal court atAltenberg, where he had come to the attention of the 'new Prussian king, Friedrich Wilhelm IV (r. 1840-1861). The king personally had Ludwig ap­ pointed to the pastorate at Rocken, an appointlgent that greatly improved Ludwig Ni�tzsche's finances and social status. It enabled him to gather his widowed mother and his two sisters into a house­ hold oftheir own; and it not only put him in a position to marry­ it virtually obliged him to marry. As the new pastor visited the other parsonages in his district, making the acquaintance ofhis fellow-ministers and their families, he was also lookingfor a wife. Ludwig soon found himselfattracted to Franziska Oehler, one of the daughters of Pastor David Oehler in the neighboringvillage ofPobles. A few months later the couple were married on Ludwig's birthday, in October 1843, and Franziska joined the Nietzsche household. Franziska Oehler was only eighteen years old; Ludwig was thirty.l Our Nietzsche was their first child, born just a year after their marriage, and, as fate would have it, on the birthday ofthe king, Friedrich Wilhelm IV. It
  • 18 YOUNG NIETZSCHE was for this reason, as well as because of the monarch's patronage ofLudwig Nietzsche, that the child was named Friedrich Wilhelm.2 Nietzsche's parentswere dissimilar in many respects and came from quite different families, but his genealogy is remarkably ho­ mogeneous in at least one respect. Max Oehler, a cousin of Nietzsche who collected the genealogy, indicates that more than twenty percent ofthe ninety-six male ancestors known to him were pastors, most of the rest being merchants or officials, thus Burger, rather than farmers. Furthermore, Oehler notes a tendency of Nietzsche's ancestors to move from the upper middle class, or Burgertum, into theLutheran ministry on both thepaternal and ma­ ternal sides. Thus, in the several generations immediately prior to Friedrich's birth, virtually all ofhis relatives occupied parsonages.3 This made Nietzsche an example of why the Lutheran pastorate was considered the genealogical source of Germany's intelli­ gentsia. In fact, the ministry, orPfarrerstand, was almost a caste. The best minds in Germany were selected from all classes by rigorous examination. Trained for the pastorate at the university, they be­ came the educated elite of the country. And they tended to inter­ marry, forming a sub-society within German society at large.4 Genealogical explanations of intellectual brilliance and cre­ ativity are always after-the-fact, and never very satisfying. However, we cannot reject the hereditary explanation of Nietzsche's bril­ liance, because it is, after all, a version of the theory of the genius according to which genius consists ofinborn ability-a notion that has prevailedin all Western countries since the eighteenth century. Unfortunately, we cannot know precisely what part biological he­ redity played in Friedrich Nietzsche's abilities. But even ifwe admit that Nietzsche was the beneficiary of an unusual degree of native intelligence, this did not make him a genius. His intelligence might have developed in many different ways other than the path it ulti­ mately took. Hereditary intelligence is not the only explanatory hypothesis that can be drawn from the genealogy. It is important, for example, thatNietzsche was born into an educated elite sufficiently distinct and self-conscious to be called a Stand or estate. The Lutheran pas­ tors were the German mandarins ofthe nineteenth century.5 To be born into such an exclusively ministerial family as Nietzsche's was to inherit social status, educational privilege, and a responsibility to carry on the tradition. Whatever genetic advantages and liabili­ ties his ancestors may have bequeathed to him, they also willed him
  • The Birth ofa Genius? 19 great expectations. At the minimum he should go to the university, study theology, and become a pastor. It might also be hoped that he would rise to a high position in the clergy, perhaps even fulfilling the promise of his father by becoming the official preacher at the prussian court. Certainly these aspirations were set before him. Karl Ludwig Nietzsche's own father-Friedrich Nietzsche's grandfather-had been dead for years by the time Friedrich was born in 1844. He was Friedrich August Ludwig Nietzsche, born in 1782, himselfthe son ofan important Lutheran bureaucrat. By the age of twenty-eight, he had earned his masters degree in theology and had already been appointed independent pastor in the town ofWollmirstadt, where he remained for twenty years. He proved to be a prolific writer on both pastoral and theological subjects. His publications and faithful service to his congregation eventually led to promotion to the office ofchiefpastor in the city ofEilburg and superintendent of the pastors in the surrounding area. Shortly after this move his wife died, leaving him with seven children. But he soon married the widow of another important clergyman, twenty-two years hisjunior. This marriage yielded three more chil­ dren. Late in his life Friedrich August Nietzsche's theological writ­ ings were again recognized and he was awarded a doctorate by the university at Konigsberg.6 His writings have naturally been men­ tioned by many Nietzsche biographers as genealogical omens ofhis grandson's career.7 But he had another, indirect influence upon his grandson's life. At his death at the age of seventy in 1826 he left his forty-eight-year-old wife a widow for the se<::ond time, with three dependent children (including the twelve-year-old future pastor Ludwig, father of Friedrich).8 She lived on until 1856, play­ ing a prominent role in Friedrich's early childhood. Karl Ludwig Nietzsche lived only halfas long as his father, but his life bore the stamp ofhis father's biography in several respects. Ludwig grew up in a family securely embedded in the elite of the provincial bureaucracy: his father was a clerical superintendent, one grandfather an archdeacon, and so on� They were loyal ser­ vants ofthe conservative aristocratic order and highly conscious of their responsibility in maintaining religion and order in Lutheran society. When his father died, the twelve-year-old Ludwig, now the only male in the family, took his new role and responsibility very seriously, working hard to please his mother and to prepare him­ self for his profession. At an early age he was placed in a position
  • 20 YOUNG NIETZSCHE to imagine himself the head ofthe household and to assume the re­ sponsibilities of his social class. At the same time, however, he was deprived of an important source ofexperience that could have tem­ pered his concern with his future roles-the constant comparison thatan adolescentboymakesbetween himselfandhis father. Perhaps partly as a result of this pressure to follow in his departed father's footsteps, Ludwigwas for the rest ofhis life a rigidly earnest man. The report summarizing Ludwig Nietzsche's performance in the Gymnasium and a letter of recommendation written by one of his professors as he completed his university studies are verita­ ble catalogues of the virtues of the educated middle class, or Bildungsbiirgertum. At school, he had earned the love and respect of his teachers by being punctual, obedient, industrious, and persistent; and his love of order and untiring zeal for duty were exenlplary. In the university he was reportedly a perfect student-industrious, pious, earnest, and modest; he had also won the annual preaching contest. His practice sermons were meticu­ lously prepared and elaborately presented. This record apparently earned him the position of tutor at the ducal court. And when he came to the attention of the Prussian King a few years later, moral earnestness, correct manners, and fastidious personal presentation were his most salient characteristics. Friedrich Wilhelm IV was im­ pressed.9 In his position as pastor at Rocken, Karl Ludwig carried on his meticulous personal presentation. Especially noted were his fine dress and stilted preaching. When Ludwig visited the Oehlers in Pobles before the wedding, Franziska was impressed that his clothes were of "a fineness which one only wore at court." Of course Ludwig had lived at the provincial court as a tutor, and his daughter recorded that some people thought he might reach the position of Hofprediger or court preacher in Berlin, probably be­ cause of his acquaintance with Friedrich Wilhelm IV.lO But what­ ever his aspirations for the future, his fancy attire was out of place in Rocken and must have put a distance between himself and his rural congregation. His supervisor approved of his work as a pas­ tor, calling it praiseworthy in every respect, emphasizing that he was energetic and hard-working; but he noted that Ludwig's preaching was excessively ornamented. Besides being the very model ofa loyal, conservative pastor, Ludwig was apparently dan­ dified and histrionic. Perhaps even by nineteenth-century stan­ dards he took himselfand his responsibilities too seriously.
  • The Birth ofa Genius? 21 Ludwig's wife Franziska, on the other hand, grew up in a free and vigorous family environment, the sixth ofeleven children. The Oehlers seem to have been Christian in belief, but profane in char­ acter.ll Franziska's father David Oehler had a hard youth as the or­ phaned son ofa weaver. But his quick intelligence was noticed and he managed to get an education and become pastor of the little village of Pobles. He courted and married Johanna Hahn, appar­ ently the wealthiest girl in his home town. Her ancestors comprised a richly endowed family which had resided in the region as long as anyone could remember; her father had extensive possessions of his own as well as lands in fief from the king. WhenJohanna mar­ ried David Oehler, her fathergave her a coach, a coachman, a cook, and other servants-a rather unusual dowry for a simple pastor's bride, to say nothing ofan orphaned weaver's son. To his granddaughter Elisabeth, writing long after Pastor Oehler's professional and marital successes had become matters of fact, David Oehler seemed a cheery and intelligent man. He was one ofan old style ofeasygoingpastors who didn'tfind anything at all wrong with riding in the hunt (with a mounted servant behind him to carry his guns), or playing an occasional game of cards. Al­ though Pastor Oehler was neithermusician nor poet, his house was filled with music, his children recited poetry, and the family consti­ tuted its own theater troupe with more than enough actors for most purposes. He loved to have people about him and seems to have succeeded in maintaining a house full of guests. He had time left over to be enterprising, however, and his parsonage was a real farm in competition with his neighbors and parishinl1ers. In short, he was a man ofgreat'energy who not only knew how to work, but how to enjoy the fruits ofhis labor.12 His wifeJohanna, coming from a comparatively wealthy back­ ground, was nonetheless a "genuinely healthy German Hausfrau." She did not worry overmuch about her children; in fact, her grand­ daughter Elisabeth Nietzsche had the impression that she had raised them rather callously. Yet she had nursed all of her eleven children herself and was extremely indulgent with her grandchil­ dren. The difference probably was the size ofthe families:Johanna had so many children and such a large household that she must have been something of a manager, letting the children raise each other as much as possible; the contrast with the way in which Franziska was to raise her children, Friedrich and Elisabeth, could not have been greater. At any rate, none ofJohanna's children had
  • 22 YOUNG NIETZSCHE the difficulty cutting their apron strings that Ludwig Nietzsche did. It seems that the Oehlers had a life-style almost opposite that ofthe Nietzsches: they had health, energy, a zest for life in all of its as­ pects, and a tendency not to take things too seriously.13 Franziska Oehler's problem was how to fit into the Nietzsche family. Before the wedding both families had doubts about the out­ come. Pastor Oehler forecast the solution on an awkward occasion whenLudwig's mother made an unannounced visit. She was nearly knocked off her feet by Franziska's hearty embrace and obviously unsettled by the lack of formality in the Oehler home. The pastor commented that Frau Nietzsche would have to make herself the gardener of this wild young plant when Franziska moved into her household; only then would Franziska become the dignified wife thatLudwig required.14 And after the marriage, Frau Nietzsche was in a position to play just the role that Franziska's father had sug­ gested, for Ludwig modeled the family on his adolescent home, with his mother in charge and all major departments of domestic responsibility delegated to his sisters, Rosalie and Augusta. Franziska was the only youth in the family where even her husband was twelve years her senior. She had little to do and no authority in a family whose roles had long been defined; only as her own chil­ dren arrived did she acquire a domain ofher own. As her daughter Elisabeth later described the division of labor in the family, tend­ ing the children appears to be the only responsibility granted to Franziska.15 It seemed to Franziska's own brothers and sisters that she had quickly adapted to her new family, becoming "horribly courteous and cultivated almostovernight." But she herselfpreserved a mem­ ory ofthe traumatic adjustment. Especially difficult were her rela­ tionships withthe other women, particularly with her temperamental sister-in-law Rosalie, who was constantly giving her orders. Ludwig's response on the occasions when Franziska defended herself from the other women was to withdraw to his study, where he stayed, de­ nying himself food, drink, and conversation until harmony was fully restored.16 Although Franziska may have been brought into line by such behavior, she seems also to have preserved her own inner balance. She was usually able to observe herearnest new fam­ ily with a sense ofhumor quite foreign to them, as in the record she made in her diary of her husband's sudden enthusiasm for patent medicine. He wanted to cure the family even when they were not sick, she thought; she would not submit to his cure, for she was sure
  • The Birth ofa Genius? 23 that she could cure herselfquicker with water in the event that she really fell ill. Perhaps her own family background gave her strength to maintain her sense of selfin spite of a rigorous outward adapta- Co '1 17tion to her new laml y. There is no evidence that the difference in family background or even Franziska's awkward position in the household led to open conflict between the two spouses. In fact, what one can learn from her letters indicates that Franziska grew into a dutiful wife and mother in the Nietzsche household, much as her father had pre­ dicted she might. Yet we know that the burden of adaptation was upon her rather than upon the Nietzsches. And since she bore her first child, Friedrich, in the first year of her marriage, and her sec­ ond, Elisabeth, only a year and a halflater, she could hardly have avoided communicating this stress to her children. Her nephew Adalbert Oehler, who obviously saw the marriage from the Oehler perspective, was aware of her awkward position but admired her personal resources. IS Like countless other women, Franziska ac­ cepted the whole responsibility for making the best ofan awkward marriage, at considerable cost to herself. She dedicated her whole energy to adapting to the expectations ofher husband and his fam­ ily. Trying to become an obedient wife and daughter-in-law was a multiple challenge for this once carefree girl. She had not only to adapt to a new and austere family in which her freedom, responsi­ bility, and authority were curtailed, but she had to do without the easy companionship ofher brothers and sisters. She had no friends in Rocken. And she assumed the role of mothec�lmost immedi­ ately. It is not hard to imagine how she would devote-herselfto her children. They were the only work and responsibility left to her after family authority had been parceled out among her mother­ and sisters-in-law. Her children were also her only diversion. Thus the organization of the household and differences in family back­ ground set the stage for an otherwise strong and secure young mother to depend inordinately upon her babies for her sense of well-being. This must have been especially so with her first-born son Friedrich. One can imagine two possible psychological effects: Franziska's intense concern with Friedrich might have stimulated in the child an overweening preoccupation with himself, or it mighthave made his rivalry with his father for his mother's attentions all the more poignant. And while nothing more definite can be said about these
  • 24 YOUNG NIETZSCHE hypotheses than about the boy's hereditary intelligence, both consistent with his behavior in later life. Given her mother's record of having nursed all of her el children, and her own attitudes about personal health, we may sume that Franziska nursed her own children; yet we do not how long or how enthusiastically she did so. Her children's pers alities did not notably demonstrate that sense of trust which Erikson suggested should be the result of successful breast feed and weaning.19 Perhaps the children had traumatic experiences subsequent stages ofdevelopment. Iftoilet training was difficult, would probably have been on account of their Aunt Augusta, was in charge ofhouse-cleaning and preoccupied with cleanli But Friedrich was not notably acquisitive or possessive; quite contrary, he accumulated almost nothing but his own writings.20 Ludwig was rapturous at the birth ofhis son. But his passion order and hints in family memoirs lead one to suspect that avoided his children, just as he avoided the conflicts between women ofthe household. His primary desire in respect to his c dren was probably that they be kept quiet. It is difficult to n· na:�lIlle him playing with them or occupying himself with the day" problems oftheir development. ThatLudwig may have avoided children is plausible in view of Franziska's exclusive devotion them. But nothing definite can be said about how Friedrich treated in early childhood beyond the family structure and a_ sphere reconstructed here.21 An autobiography of about thirty pages, that Friedrich when he was fourteen, reveals what seemed salient to him then, reflects his feelings about those events when he was still young.22 One ofthe first problems ofFriedrich's childhood im tant enough to stick in the family's memory (and signifi enough for him to record) was that he had been slow in learning speak. As an adolescent, Friedrich wrote that this was a tradi · that he was loath to hear, still less believe.23 Yet, apparently, he h only learned to talk at age two and a half. His parents worri about this and consulted a doctor. The doctor explained that it w a simple matter of the child having been spoiled, for since th were given to him virtually before he required them, he had no had to express his wishes. According to Elisabeth's account, this agnosis led to teasing, trying to make Friedrich say the word desirable things heldjust out ofhis reach.24A suspicious part of story has it that his favorite object was a drawing of his
  • e The Birth ofa Genius? 25 Nietzsche, resulting in his first word being "Oma" '��:{jGr:anC1IJ]la), instead of"Mama;" it is an anecdote that speaks more ofthe dominant role of grandmother Nietzsche in that " "llOtlIS�J:IUIU than it does ofthe child. r.The country doctor's observation that Friedrich had been ' �iled (in the sense of being over-attended) seems plausible · , s' 10ugh. But over-attention seems unlikely to delay the develop­ �ent of a child's ability to speak or to distinguish between self and C:>ther. There are some who say that linguistically gifted children often learn to speak late; if this were more than folklore, it would buttress the idea that Friedrich was hereditarily gifted.25 But the .two-year-old child could hardly have understood the deliberate withholding and teasing, applied as a remedy for his inability to talk. This could only have led to feelings ofhelplessness and rage. In the same passage of youthful autobiography where he ad- tnits his lateness at learning to speak, Friedrich relates the family tradition that as a small child he was "a little bull-headed" (starrkiipfig). From the scantiness of the evidence it is impossible to ascertain whether this willfulness was an innate character trait, a phase (the terrible twos), or a reaction to difficulties in mastering a specific developmental challenge (such as toilet training). It might also have had to do with the arrival of siblings: his sister Elisabeth was born in 1846 (when he was one and a half) and his brotherJo­ seph early in 1848 (when he was three and a half). These changes in the shape of the family would naturally have been disturbing to a child whose mother had been so exclusively devoted to him. His , stubbornness might also have resulted from the deliJ?erate teasing to which he was subjected. For whatever reason, stubb"ornness is a prominent characteristic ofthe mature Nietzsche, evident even be­ fore th� first great caesura ofhis childhood. Friedrich was not quite five years old when his father died. This was/assuredly the most portentous psychological experience ofhis , early life and the first event of his childhood about which there is extensive evidence. When he was fourteen, he described his 'father's death.26 According to his account, the life ofthe family had been as a bright summer day until suddenly clouds mounted in the sky and a storm descended upon the family in the form of his father's sickness. The tempest began in September of 1848 when his father fell ill. Ludwig Nietzsche apparently fell on the steps of the house and hit his head. He probably suffered a concussion at this time, although he may already have been ill from another
  • 26 YOUNG NIETZSCHE cause.27 During the early months of his illness, he seemed to re­ cover for briefperiods and periodically preached and gave confir­ mation lessons. But he was soon unable to function at all and died inJuly 1849. Only rather late in its course was the illness diagnosed by a specialist from Leipzig to be "softening of the brain" (Gehirnerweichung). Then, according to the fourteen-year-old Friedrich, My father had to endure enormous pain, but the disease would not diminish; rather, it grew from day to day. Finally his sight was even extinguished and he had to endure the rest of his suffering in dark­ ness. His condition lasted until July 1849; then approached his re­ lease. On the 26th he sank into a deep slumber and only occasionally awoke. His last words were "Franzchen-Franzchen-come­ mother-hear-hear-Oh, God!" Then he went to sleep soft and blessed. . . . When I woke up in the morning I heard loud crying and sobbing all around me. My beloved mother came in with tears in her eyes and cried pitifully: "Oh, God, my good Ludwig is dead." The coming days were spent in tears and preparations for the burial. Oh God! I was a fatherless orphan, my mother a widow! . . . At 1:00 P.M. the [funeral] celebration began with full ringing of the church bells. Oh, never will I get the sad sound of the bells out of my ears. . . . Through the church resounded the organ tones.28 The vague description ofLudwigNietzsche's illness and the use ofthe termgemiithskrank in this and other accounts have given rise to the thought that Friedrich might have inherited a tendency to mental illness from his father. Even epilepsy has been suggested, the disease that the Italian physician Cesare Lombroso (1835- 1909) associated withgenius.29 Such thoughts are curiously related to the genealogical explanations ofhis intelligence. The two ideas have even lent credence to each other, for it is commonly believed that genius is next to madness. Nonetheless, it seems unlikely that Nietzsche was hereditarily predisposed to madness. His father most probably died ofmore mundane causes-if not from the con­ cussion, then from a stroke or tumor.30 Also, it is commonly be­ lieved that Nietzsche's own ultimate madness was the result of tertiary syphilis. Although the cultural tendency to see madness in genius (and genius in madness) is present in Nietzsche's biography, it will be more rewarding to seek the psychological connection be­ tween Ludwig's death and his son's later life and behavior.31 Indeed all of Nietzsche's autobiographic writings explicitly
  • The Birth ofa Genius? 27 state that his father's early death made a deep and permanent im- ression upon him. But the impression was not a simple one. A P arallel might be drawn between Friedrich's experience and the �eath ofFriedrich's grandfather when Ludwig Nietzsche was still a boy, but there is a great difference as well: the father, Ludwig, was already on the threshold of adolescence, having inte�nalize� the social values of his class through the personal authonty of hIS fa­ ther; Friedrich, on the other hand, was not quite five years old. His loss was greater, for he was deprived ofhis father at the onset ofthe time when he might have emulated him, the period of childhood often termed latency by psychologists, between the fifth year oflife and puberty. On the other hand, he was still in that phase of his development where he was competing more or less consciously with his father for the affections of his mother. In other words, he was still in a position to "win" the oedipal conflict. The timing of his father's death was psychologically crucial for Friedrich. Shortly after Ludwig Nietzsche's death, however, the shape of the Nietzsche family changed again, and in such a way as to permit later generations a deeper glimpse into Friedrich's feelings about his fatherjust after the latter's death. Within several months ofhis father's funeral, Friedrich seems to have dreamed a dream that echoed his memories ofthat event: Around that time I dreamed one night that I heard organ tones as at a funeral. As I saw what the cause seemed to be, a grave opened up sud­ denly and my father climbed out of it in his burial clothes. He hurried into the church and comes shortly out again with>a-ctJ.ild under his arm. The grave opens, he climbs in and the cover sinks back onto the opening. At th� same time the organ tones fell silent and I awoke.32 On waking Friedrich must have told his terrifying dream to his mother. Ordinarily such a dream would have been repressed and forgotten as thoroughly as all other fantasies about the death ofthe father. But this dream was immediately "fulfilled." For the very day after the dream, his little brotherJoseph suddenly became ill with cramps and died in a matter ofhours. According to Friedrich's ac­ count, "my dream was completely fulfilled. The little corpse was even laid in the arms ofhis father." Thus the dream became a fam­ ily curiosity instead ofa frightening childhood fantasy, andwas re- membered. The meaning of this dream is not so obvious as it may seem,
  • 28 YOUNG NIETZSCHE however. It is tempting to interpret it as an expression ofthe child's desire to see his little brother removed from the family scene too, as the only remaining male competitor. But the record of the dream is unspecific about the identity ofthe child fetched from the church into the grave by his father. The unexpected death of Friedrich's little brotherJoseph is what determined that identity for later telling. The dream itself, furthermore, almost certainly had some less obvious meaning. It is evident that the funeral organ governs this dream, setting its oppressive tone with sacred music. The music may well represent the power of God and that unknown world to which his father had gone, but it seems to be a threatening rather than a beneficent power. Friedrich's father returns from the grave grotesquely attired, and in his hurry virtually snatches the child from the church. The church itselfis less a sanctuary than a vortex, or a portal of the other world, surrounded by tombs. The father, returning from the church with the child, does not cradle the child in his two arms but carries him under one arm like stolen goods. This terrible and furtive act accomplished, the grave closes, the power ofthe music recedes, and the dream ends.33 This reading ofthe dream suggests that, whereas Friedrich may have wished to have his father return, and may have wished to be reunited with his father and held in his arms, he was afraid that their reunion would be one in which his father would drag him off to the grave with him. He was afraid to go there even with his fa­ ther. Thus the dream seems to be about Friedrich's desire to be re­ united with his father, coupled with a fear ofdeath and fear of his father's revenge. This fear of revenge may have been premised upon the childish suspicion that his wishes had caused his father's death. Friedrich must have been overwhelmed by the grief that his father's death caused among the women of his family. Their reac­ tion would have made him feel the insecurity and impotence that the women themselves were feeling. They were aware that they would have to leave the parsonage; their income and social stand­ ing had been at least partially taken from them. This would also have intensified whatever sense ofguilt he may have felt about the death ofhis father. Ofcourse, guilt and a dream offather's revenge is only conceivable at this age when Friedrich's fantasies ofomnip­ otence were already balanced by an awareness that his father was (or had been) more powerful than he and capable of frustrating
  • The Birth ofa Genius? 29 such fantasies. If this interpretation is correct, it indicates that Friedrich began to pay very early for his "victorious" rivalry with his father. And it demonstrates that in such rivalry, winning may be losing. . Despoiled of two of its members and no longer entitled to the parsonage in Rocken, the Nietzs�he family had to move. They chose the city ofNaumburgfor theIr new resIdence because Grand­ mother Nietzsche had friends there. Friedrich's mother Franziska decided to go with the Nietzsches, which practically entailed an­ other decision-not to remarry. Young, healthy, and attractive, she certainly could have remarried; and a look at her own and her husband's genealogies is enough to convince us that it would not have seemed socially improper. Nor was there a compelling finan­ cial reason for her to stay with the Nietzsches, unless ofcourse her own family refused to receive her back. Franziska may have thought that she could dedicate herself more exclusively to her children if she remained in the Nietzsche household. Or perhaps she could not bring herself to deprive the Nietzsche ladies of a share of her husband's pension. What does seem odd is that she did not perceive the advantages to the chil­ dren of having another father, even a stepfather. Had she found the physical intimacy of married life distasteful? Or had she come to loveLudwig so deeply that she could not imagine intimacy with another man? Or was it simply that she had adapted to the Nietzsches so thoroughly that she followed their will in this too? It is impossible to know. Whatever her motive, she chose to move to Naumburg and raise her two remaining chil4!�n with the Nietzsches. Thus the first chapter ofFriedrich Nietzsche's life came to a close in April 1850, when he was five and a half. What can be concluded from this scant account ofthe first five years ofFriedrich's life? Only in retrospect is this the childhood of a genius. It is noteworthy that none of the many eyes that have scanned the documents relevant to Nietzsche's early life have found any contemporary suggestions that he showed signs of ge­ nius. By heredity he may have been endoweQ with more than usual intelligence, perhaps even literary intelligence. But this was not yet manifest. By some combination of heredity, social background, and family circumstance, he seems also to have had a serious dispo­ sition and a large capacity for self-discipline. His formidable ances­ tors and the traditions of the Lutheran pastorate had prepared a family environment in which much would be expected ofhim. But
  • 30 YOUNG NIETZSCHE how he would employ his intelligence and sobriety, and how he would react to those expectations, was still wholly undetermined. Even atthis early moment, however, a rudimentary psychologi­ cal matrix for Nietzsche's mature style ofthought may already have been prepared. He was the first child, and now once again the only male child. As a consequence ofthis and ofthe fact that his mother was excluded from much ofthe other business ofthe household, he enjoyed an unusual degree ofhis mother's attention. He undoubt­ edly felt that he was a special child. He had also passed perilously near that vortex into which his father and baby brother had been sucked, and he had survived. So in addition to a sense of guilt and a fear of reprisal, he may also have gleaned a tenuous sense of in­ vulnerabilityand even immortality from the experience ofdeath in his immediate family. He had learned that fatherly authority is vincible, a conviction coupled with the awareness that overturning authorities leads not to bliss but to loneliness. We should not conclude that Friedrich's experience ofthe death ofhis father-no matter how devastating it must have been for him as a five-year-old-determined the charac­ ter ofhis later thought and writing. Later events might have dimin­ ished its significance. Ifhis mother had remarried, for example, his attitudes toward authority might have turned out quite differently. But she did not. And later episodes in his biography seem actually to have enhanced the importance of his father's untimely death, and even permitted him to recreate the feelings associated with it. The most extravagant and consequential repetition of this child­ hood drama would arise in his extended encounter with Richard Wagner. The inopportune death ofLudwig Nietzsche did not dic­ tate the course of his son's later life, but it remained a crucial for­ mative experience.
  • T H R E E Without a Father • F rom her later vantage in the 1890s, Friedrich's sister . Elisabeth Forster-Nietzsche called the Naumburg of her chIldhood a sleepy town. But in 1850 it made a great impression upon the two children arriving from Rocken. While Friedrich's impressions are colored somewhat by the anti-urbafl sentiment that pervades Ger­ man writing ofthe time, his recollections show that he was amazed at the size ofthe buildings, the labyrinth of streets, the numbers of people, and most ofall by the fact that the people-w_��e often �nac­ quainted.1 Naumburg was a very different social world for hIm, a place where he 'Yas not the son of the most prominent citizen, or even important at all. Naumburg had been chosen as the family's new home because several of Grandmother Nietzsche's friends lived there, and she would feel at home among them. Naumburg society was dominated by the Oberlandesgericht, the provincial high court ofjustice. The most prominent families were those of thejudges and counselors at the court. This dominance ofcivil servants and their families was largely responsible for the social conservatism of the town, a con­ servatism that the Nietzsches shared, since this was also the circle of Grandmother Nietzsche's acquaintances. From the point ofview of the Nietzsches, Naumburg was a strictlyreligious, conservative, and monarchist town, a support to both throne and altar.2
  • 32 YOUNG NIETZSCHE Grandmother Nietzsche and her daughters were also returning from the rural isolation ofRocken to the style of society in which they (and Friedrich's father) had been raised. For Friedrich's mother Franziska, however, the move to Naumburg with its formal­ ity and pretensions to national importance was another step away from her youth and family. Franziska and the two children occu­ pied the rooms in the rear of the house, excluded except at meal­ times from the front rooms and social intercourse. Franziska's position was even more awkward than it had been in Rocken. Hav­ ing chosen to follow the Nietzsches to Naumburg, she was a guest, in the most uncomfortable sense, dependent upon Grandmother Nietzsche and her daughters and obliged to adapt to their wishes. She was excluded from household responsibility as she had been in Rocken. She had only her children, whom she had to keep from disturbing the others. Even a part of the garden was denied her. Intimidated by the social scene in Naumburg, Franziska was depen­ dent upon her in-laws for cues about how to behave socially. Being a woman of slight education and limited intellectual interests, there was little left to her but the role ofa servant.3 Franziska was only twenty-three years old when her husband died, and very attractive. She could certainly have remarried; her mother-in-law had remarried at thirty-one herself, which might have made it seem less improper. But Franziska's position in the h�usehold inhibited her from making the sort of friendships that mIght have led to a second marriage. Instead, she devoted herself wholly to her children, trying to make up for the loss of their fa­ ther. She could call God to witness that she had taken her motherly duties as the highest purpose ofher being. Her nephew concluded that she suffered in this oppressive household situation, but that she made a virtue of adversity, dedicating herself that much more to her children. He recalled herjesting at this time about how she would still be carryingFriedrich to bed when he was an adult ifhe didn't learn to go by himselfsoon.4 . �n spite ofthe attention Friedrich enjoyed from his mother, his lIfe In Naumburg was governed by his grandmother. One of her best friends was Geheimriithin Pinder, whose son and son-in-law b . oth held important positions in the Oberlandesgericht, the provin­ cI�1 court �f appeals; and she had two grandsons Friedrich's age, WIlhelm PInder and Gustav Krug. Wilhelm and Gustav were to be Friedrich's only real friends in the Naumburg years, and even after he went to Schulpforta. They were selected, however, by his grand-
  • Without a Father 33 mother. Their acquaintance began in the parlors where the older family members were accustomed to meet, and developed in the schools selected by their elders. . . Grandmother Nietzsche was convInced that chIldren of all so- cial classes should go to school together, at least until theywere ten S old Then they would naturally have to be separated so that year · . . . . the upper-class chIldren could begIn preparatIon for theI�more re- sponsible callings. She naturally assumed that the NIetzsches, P . ders and Krugs wereupper-class, not on the basis ofwealth, but In , . h · because of their education and bureaucratic profeSSIons; t at IS, their membership in the Bildungsbiirgertum. The idea was that the hildren of the upper classes should become familiar with the �ower-class view of the world. Apparently the Pinders and Kruf?s were of the same conviction, for Friedrich first went to the publIc school with Wilhelm and Gustav.5 The boys' experience in public school did not meet the expec- tations of Grandmother Nietzsche's theory, however. Not that the instruction was deficient, but the social habits of the lower-class boys were inimical to the discipline that Grandmother Nietzsc�e and her friends wanted to cultivate. Perhaps also because of theIr different background, all three of the boys were unhappy, . and spent only one year there before they were moved to a pnvate school. When the fourteen-year-old Friedrich looked back on the year he had spent in public school, however, he e�plained his . ow� diffi­ culties without reference to social class or hIS recent arnval ln the city. He thought that his character had already begu _ n to show itse . lf in the first grade: he was not as wild and playful as the other chIl­ dren, and they teased him and made fun ofhim because he was so serious. This had continued right up until the time of writing, on the eve of his departure for Schulpforta. He observed that he had always sought solitude and felt best when he could give himself over to his thoughts undisturbed, especially in the "free temple of nature." He acknowledged his difficulty in making friends, even with Gustav and Wilhelm. Only in their second year, when they were no longer in the public school, he wrote, could his friendship with them begin to blossom.6 Looking back, Friedr�ch thou�ht he �ad been unusually shy in the first grade. And whIle there IS nothIng unusual about that, Friedrich reports that his shyness, his serious­ ness, and his inclination to solitude persisted into the years ofpri-
  • 34 YOUNG NIETZSCHE vate school when his friendship with Wilhelm and Gustav had be­come close. He makes it clear that he considered these traits a mat­ter of character and not of circumstance. He regarded his reservenot simply as an appropriate way to act after his father's death, butas a permanent effect of that event. He believed he had been trau­matized. Perhaps indeed family history and social circumstancehad a complementary impact upon Friedrich's character. He �e�ponded not only with shyness (of which he was aware),b�t by ngIdly adhering to rules. His sister records that one day inhIS first year of school it was raining hard when it was time forFriedrich to come home. His mother was waiting for him on theporch when all the other boys came racing past, but Friedrich wasnot among th�m. When at last he came walking calmly but purpose­fully . along, . hIS mother shouted for him to run, but he just keptwalkIng untIl he reached the house soaked to the skin. His motherwas outraged at the condition of his clothes and predicted hewoul�catch �terrible cold, but he was ready to cite the appropriaterule: In leavIng school the boys were not to run or jump, but towa�k, calm and well-mannered. Another story concerns sweets,WhICh were forbidden him: he adamantly refused them even fromadults who were willing to conspire to keep his indulgence secretfrom his family.7 Nietzs�he's rigid adherence to social conventions, like his shy­ness, remaIned characteristic ofhim. Friends remarked at the adultNietzsche's almost ostentatious formality and correctness. Andpeople who met him in the summer resorts ofSwitzerlandwere sur­ �rised at:he �ontrast between his radical philosophy and his philis­tIne beanng In sOciety. But his rigid obediencewas not the norm int�e public school, and his fanatical adherence to rules, along withhIS shyness, really did give the other boys occasion to tease andm?ck him. That could only have accentuated his feeling of alien­atIon. . Anot�er characteristic that set Friedrich apart was his ability toreCl�e sC�Iptu�al passages and religious songs with great pathos.UnlIke hIS senousness and obedience, his religious intensity wasa:pparently respected by the other boys. It earned Friedrich thenIckname "little pastor." This nickname suggests that Friedrichwas not merely depressed about the loss of his father, but at­tempted to imitate him even in his absence. Imitating an absentfather, however, can be more difficult than dealing with even themost imperfect one in the flesh.
  • Without a Father- 35 Afterhis father's death, Friedrich's elders gave him an idealized picture ofhis father as pastor, a phantasm that he could only try to imitate in the abstract. The energy which he devoted to memori�­ . g and reciting scriptures and hymns must have been part of thISIn . d 'd C ffort. Of course the abstract ideal was an Ina equate gul e lor �onduct, so he grasped at the rules provided �y his teach�rs. This . pulse to be a good boy, and a good son of hIS father, reInforced : serious character. It marks the beginning of Friedrich's long search for the appropriate father figure, a quest that still engaged him when he encountered Richard Wagner twenty years later. Friedrich's backwardness at public school could be explained aseasilyby the social situation as b� his personality a�d his . fath�r's untimely death. And indeed, the pnvate school to whIch Fnednch, Wilhelm, and Gustav were sent for the next three years was a much more congenial environment. Dr. Weber, the proprietor of the school, gave exceptionally good lessons in religion. And Friedrich made his first enthusiastic contact with Greek and Latin under Weber's tutelage. The school was preparatory to the Naumburg Domgymnasium, the humanistic secondary school that the three boys would enter in 1854. Here the young scholars were ofa mor� uniform social background, and school was no longer a realm dI­ vorced from family life. Furthermore, Friedrich's school and fam­ ily life began to spill over into the homes ofthe Pinders and Krugs. As the boys became better friends in Weber's institute, they fre­ quently did their homework together under the guidance ofone or the other boy's father.8 Association with his friends' fathers could onlyb� beneficial to the fatherless Friedrich. Counsellor Pinder, he noted, was gener­ ally a model husb�nd and father, who carried out his of�icial ?uties in serious fashion and was concerned about the beautIficatIon of Naumburg-cliche virtues of the middle-class bureaucrat. Friedrich recorded that Pinder was in the habit ofreading Goethe and other authors aloud to his family, and that he was privileged to attend some ofthese family gatherings. Instead ofbeing impatient to play with his friend Wilhelm, as many boys would have been, he sat still and nourished himselfon the literature, and the image ofa father who cultivated it. Something similar happened at Gustav Krug's house. Gustav's father was a lover of music, a personal ac­ quaintance ofFelix Mendelssohn, and apparently Naumburg's ar­ biter ofmusical taste. The family had an excellent grand piano and all the virtuosi who visited Naumburgwere received in their home.
  • 36 YOUNG NIETZSCHE �ere agai� Fried�ic� was often in attendance.9 It marked the begin­ nIng ofNIetzsche s lIfelong preoccupation with music. . Friedrich chose to remember and record the fathers of his fne�ds, . and �ot their mothers, in his youthful autobiography. His faSCInatIon wIth the elder Pinder and Krug suggests a yearning for father . surrogates. . His own father was remembered for his ability to fa . ntaslze on the plano and write ornate sermons. The fathers ofhis fnends were not pastors, of course, and in that respect his fascina­ tion ,:"ith their avocations also began to lead him away from the vocatIon set before him by his own family. A lifelong interest in literature and music was conceived in these encounters. Friedrich began to write poems and stories as well as to compose music while still in Weber's private school. His early themes were religious and sentimental. But quite apart from th� �ubstance, the process of creative self-expression in music and WrItIng gradually became very important to this child who was oth­ erwise s� . inhibited ��out expressing himself in aggressive play. C . ompOSItIOn and wntIng were a space in which he could express hImself and test his capacities. There he could exert himself as he could not otherwise. In the soirees of the Pinder and Krug families, Friedrich was exposed to prominent literary and musical personalities such as Mendelssohn. His first awareness of the creative or bohemian life must have come from the visiting luminaries received in the homes of his friends. This was also the first occasion for him to think that he might grow up to be a musician or a writer. It was an awareness that permitted him to think affirmatively about the difference be­ twee� hims�lf and other boys. He devoted himself to poetry and the plano wIthout . parental discipline or encouragement. By most accounts he remaIned a rather ordinary pianist, and his writing �ould on . ly be apprec . i�ted years later. But from this early age, play­ �ng the plano and wntlng poetry were Friedrich's means of defin­ Ing and expressing himself. Friedrich chose the piano in part because his father was re­ puted to have played and improvised wonderfully on that instru­ ment. On the othe� . hand, h� dedicated all of his preadolescent poe�s and cOmpOSItIons to hIS mother, presenting them to her at ?hnstmas and on her birthdays. This is how he played out his fam­ Ily romance. As a result of imitating this fantasy of his father as a great pianist, he gained access to the much larger world of the arts and philosophy, where he would eventually become a true innova-
  • Without a Father 37 tor himself. While Wilhelm and Gustav- in fact, thousands ofboys in Germany's Bildungsbiirgertum-had much the same exposure to the arts, what set Friedrich apart from his friends was a quality of ambition. For him music and literature were not merely the avoca­ tions of one ofhis parents, or the conventional things a child must learn. They were links to his unknown father and to paternal strength and mastery. This aspiration was perhaps even more important than Friedrich's native intelligence in setting him apart from his friends and starting him on the path toward intellectual creativity. There is no evidence that Friedrich excelled Gustav or Wilhelm in Weber's school. Both young men came from intelligent and accomplished families and went on to impressive careers, albeit in conventional professions. Gustav Krug later studied law and became an eminent prussian civil servant like his father. He followed his father as a pa­ tron ofthe arts, being a founding member ofthe Wagner Society of Cologne. But music remained an avocation for him too. Only Friedrich's search within himself for the father he had lost can ex­ plain why he quickly went beyond what others could teach him, to begin improvising on the piano, composing his own music, and writing countless poems and an autobiography before he was four­ teen. In Friedrich's case these were not mere exercises or experi­ m�nts; they were part ofhis quest to forge himselfin the absence of a male exemplar. One man who might have become a surrogate father to Friedrich in a more conventional way was his grandfather Oehler. One might suppose that the grandchildren would ,?e pampered and indulged in Pobles, an idyllic setting for children to grow up in. And in fact, both children were delighted to spend summer va­ cations there. But in Friedrich's case it was not because he found the farm a great outdoor playground. Instead he described the at­ tractions of the farm in the most domestic terms. Just the genuine German Gemuthlichkeit which ruled in that house drew us back again and again and made us fall deeply in love with the place. Most of all I liked to hole-up in grandfather's study and prowl around in the old books and papers; that was my greatest pleasure.10 Prowling in his grandfather's study may seem an unusual pleasure for a boy visiting his grandfather's farm, but it is characteristic of Friedrich. He enjoyed the gemiithlich family atmosphere of the
  • 38 YOUNG NIETZSCHE Oehler farm, which must have been a welcome change from the rigors oflife with GrandmotherNietzsche. For Friedrich's mother, the visits to the farm offered another sort of opportunity. The farm was her parental home. When she was there she freely confided her worries to her father. She was concerned with the difficultyFriedrich had in making friends and how differenthewas from other children. She admitted thathe was a.good and ob�dient child, beyond what one might expect ofa boy hIS age, but thIS very behavior had an aura of obstinacy about it. Pastor Oehler seems to have reacted variously to Franziska's wor­ ries. For the most part, he played the jovial grandfather who en­ jo�ed his grandchildren too much to think about improving them. ElIsabeth gives him credit for being the first to recognize her brother's differentness as genius; and she reports that his reac­ tion to Franziska's worries was the simple counsel to let Friedrich's unique personality follow its own course to matu­ rity.Il According to Elisabeth's account, Friedrich's relationship to his grandfather during these summer vacations in Pobles con­ si�ted of long walks on which they conversed on adult topics.12 HIS grandfather tolerated and even encouraged Friedrich's seri­ ousness and precocity. Yet Grandfather Oehler also suggested on one occasion that Friedrich be placed in a home for orphaned boys, the renowned Franck'scheStiftunginHalleYThis mayhavebeen due to the fame oftheschool orto PastorOehler's memories ofhis ownyouth as an orphan. But he may also' bave worried about the effects of Friedrich growing up in theNietzsche household, as stiffas it was, and in the exclusive company of women. It is interesting that the Franck'sche Stiftung should have been considered as a father­ surrogate for Friedrich. For while he did not go there, it repre­ sented a definite alternative to Schulpforta, where he did eventuallygo. Unlike Schulpforta, which was oriented to the classi­ cal languages and produced university students and teachers, the Franck'sche Stiftung was a Pietist institution that prided itself on i�s pra�ticality, turning orphans into either ratherenlightened mis­ SIOnarIeS for the extra-Europ�a:Q. world, or the best pharmacists in Germany. Hadhe gone toHalle atthis early age, he mighthave had a far different career. Friedrich found no single adult male whom he could emulate wholeheartedly, but he acted in many respects like a miniature adult. This, and his nickname "little pastor," were signs of his re-
  • Without a Father 39 tfrom the rough and tumble ofchildhood. His punctilious obe- trea . d 1· . t f d. ce to rules his devotion to the musIcal an Iterary Interes s o len ' . . h h· the fathers of his friends, and his serious conversatIons WIt IS dfather were all symptoms of this retreat. He apparently gran d d to define himself in some other way than in the usual give nee e . l·k 1· 1 d 1 nd take among other children. Perhaps actIng I e a Itt e a u t a h. seemed less dangerous to 1m. Friedrich was obviously not a little adult, however; he was merely preoccupied w�th adults: a�d unwilling to deal very.freely .th other children. HIS precoCIty IS therefore not necessarIly eVI- WI . 1 . f dence of greater intellectual capacity and certaIn y not a SIgn 0 reater emotional maturity. Rather it can be understood as a symp­ �om ofhis more profound andurgent searchforhis father,forcon­ trol, and forthe meaning ofhis life-asearchthatlaterbecame the very substance ofhis philosophical achievement. . . Friedrich's early intellectuality appears tohavebeen IntImately related to his inhibitions. He did not suppress his aggressive ener­ gies altogether, nor did he avoid other children entirely. He merely expressed himself intellectually. What he apparently wanted to avoid were the open battlefields ofanonymous childhood. Lacking spontaneity, he was at a severe disadvantage in .free play. He showed little interest in physical games or gymnastICS, and he was not one to concoct schemesforsuch play. But he did invent games suited to his own capacities. While he was shy about making new friends, he developed an unusually fast friendship with Wilhelm and Glls.tav, ce�ented by family ties as well as those common joys and palns,whiCh are the condition of true friendship. The three were bound together as though theywere brothers; indeed Friedrich treated Wilh.elm and Gustav much as he did his sister Elisabeth-very assertIvely, at­ tempting to control them. The closeness �f the. fa�ili�s and the common experiences in school, together WIth FrIedrIch s keen ob­ servation ofhis friends' personalities, gave the friendship the qual­ ity of a controlled experiment. It was a relationship that allowed him to assert himselfwithout fear ofrejection or exclusion. The first game Friedrich invented was one to which vyil�elm and Gustav were allowed only limited access, although hIS SIster Elisabeth (whom he regarded as his inferior in gender and years) was nearly always involved. It was a model-of-life game in which children devise and control a miniature society.14 Friedrich's game was the domain of King Eichhorn. The King, a porcelain squirrel
  • 40 YOUNG NIETZSCHE two inches high and fitted outwith a crown and his own red fur for a robe, was accompanied by all sorts ofattendants and an army of tin soldiers. The court was the scene ofcultural events taking place among monuments of Greek architecture constructed by Friedrich: concerts ofmusic composed by him, plays written and directed by him, and even an art exhibit painted by him shortly after the visit to Naumburg ofa traveling exhibition. There were military parades, with the tin soldiers perched on pieces of wood which Elisabeth was responsible for pushing past the King. (If any soldiers tipped over, the parade was considered a failure and she was sharply reprimanded.) Tin soldiers were of course played with by countless children ofthe German Bildungsbiirgertum, but Friedrich emphasized concerts and plays where others might havehadwars, balls, or receptions. Itis symptomatic that only one child could playKing Eichhorn: Friedrich himself. Wilhelm and Gustav could see the set-up, but not particiRate in the manipula­ tion of the figures; and although Elisabeth could move the fig­ ures at Friedrich's direction, her role was really that ofone more tin soldier-she helped him play, and he trained her for the role.I5 Elisabeth was Friedrich's first playmate. Their relationship was complicated by four years' difference in age. But the way in which he treated her is a model for many ofhis relationships to contem­ poraries in adolescence and early manhood. The word she later used to describe the role which he adopted toward her was that of an Erzieher. No preci�e equivalent exists in English, but the verb form, erziehen: to educate, train, raise, or bring up, indicates an amalgam ofthe roles ofparent and teacher. Although he avoided Elisabeth at times because of the difference in age and gender,I6 Friedrich seems to have become her Erzieher as a matter ofcourse. He was interested in her not only as a helper and subordinate at play; he also had a deep-seated urge to mold and educate her. Elisabeth's own impression ofhis efforts to shape her behavior is remarkably positive. In her biography ofhim she wrote, My brother so frequently made it clear that he considered himself my Erzieher that I must make note of it. He gave me the books which I might read, oversaw my schoolwork, and was very concerned about the development (Bildung) of my mind (Geist) and character. And he showed so much natural tact that I still smile at the thought of how rightly he sensed what was appropriate for a little girl.I7
  • Without a Father 41 If her later character is any indication, however, his influence was not salutary. Her adult relationship to him was a mixture of incestuous attachment, completewithhystericaljealousy ofthefe� women who entered his life, and ill-concealed resentment of hIS intellectual superiority. .Apparently Friedrich was often sharp and condescendIng to Elisabeth. She herselfgives an example which seems hardly tactful, although she makes it seem harmless. Elisabeth had ch?se� a he­ roic passage of a poem to recite, but when she told Fnednch he simply laughed and told her she would look ridiculous by �ontrast towhatshewasreciting. ThatElisabethwas cheerfullyconvlnced­ or represented herselfto have been so-might speak for.her doci�­ ity, a characteristic which she did not possess .In later hfe. But It certainly indicates that Friedrich had authonty over her. Even whenhe had lost his sanity and she had come into possession ofall his papers, she portrayed herselfas his obedient little sister. As far as Friedrich's personality is concerned, the fact that he needed to manipulate her is more important than the success he had or the positive impression she gave of it later. I.t is dif?cult �o avoid the thought that, in adopting the role of Ehsabeth s Erzzeher, he was playing atbeing his own father. . . . ,Elisabeth's emphasis upon the dehberate nature ofFnednch s attempts to guide her is emphatically corroborated by Friedrich's relationship toWilhelm and Gustav.Friedrichwas apparently their friend more for the sake ofhis idea offriendship than because of any spontaneous feeling for either of the two boys; and he always maintained an internal distance from them.I8 Frie.<frich's actions were constantly self�censored, his motives concealed in a fashion few children can maintainexcept momentarily, when they wish to obtain something from another child or an adult by strategy. What Friedrich obtained was the satisfaction that came from control (or the illusion ofcontrol) over the activities ofhis playmates. Perhaps he tried so hard to obtain this satisfaction in the small circle ofhis friends because it was denied him in wider circles. Friedrich's self-control and censorship of his social impulses should not be understood, however, merely as inhibitions, keeping him from more spontaneous play. Like his interest in music and literature, particularly his creative efforts at writing and musical composition, his attempts to organize his sister and his friends were also a form of self-expression. He naturally tried to turn his reserved personality to his own advantage: bycensoringhis actions
  • 42 YOUNG NIETZSCHE more carefully than other children, he was able to capture a leader­ ship which boys more often assume by virtue of their spontaneity or physical prowess. It seems that the profound pedagogic dimen­ sion of Friedrich's later life and writing issued, at least partially, from this impulse to direct his childhood companions. Wilhelm Pinder's description of the role which Friedrich played in his early life provides a good picture of the pedagogic success Friedrichachievedwith his friends. Wilhelm wrote an auto­ biographical sketch at the same time Friedrich wrote his; it was written at Friedrich's instigation, it seems, and naturally reflects Friedrich's thoughts. According to Wilhelm, Friedrich had experi­ enced much sorrow in his life, so that his character was essentially melancholic. He loved solitude� and was therefore more reflective than other boys, and his spirit (Geist) developed earlier. This was particularly evident in the games that the boys played, games that Friedrich either invented orprovided with newrules and methods; Friedrichwas theleaderin play. Wilhelm described Friedrich as his model (Muster) in all things, even ascribinghis own interest in music and literature to the influ­ ence ofFriedrich (interests thatFriedrich himselfhad acquired in the Pinder andKrughomes). Evenwhen there was a disagreement between thetwo,forexampleoversomethingwhich theywerewrit­ ing together, Wilhelm could always be persuaded that Friedrich wasright.In exercisingthis influenceFriedrichconsciouslyconsid­ ered every move he made; and when there was a disagreement, he was able to explain why he was right in doing what he did.19 Wilhelm's autobiography is remarkably deferential-a measure of the respect Friedrich could command. As with his sister, Friedrich appears tohavebeen Wilhelm's leader and instructor. Friedrich's childhood authority was based upon self-control and intellectual leadership. Obviously such authority is easier to enforce in activities of an intellectual nature, such as writing and criticizingpoems and musical compositions. In these activities one finds Friedrich prodding his friends even in letters he wrote while in Pobles on vacation. He wanted toknow ifGustav had completed the arrangement of a piece of music he was working on and whether Wilhelm had been working on an essay he was supposed towrite in Friedrich's absence.2o After his interest wandered from King Eichhorn and he be­ came more intimate with Wilhelm and Gustav, the game that Friedrich played most passionately was war. Like the King Eich-
  • Without a Father 43 h game the basic content ofthe playwith soldiers and modelorn , . . & tresses was taken from the interests ofthe adultPrusslan SOCIetylOr f d . 1· .. hich the boys were growing up. The game oun ItS c Imax InI �w Crimean War when Friedrich was twelve years old. Taking thet.d e of the more conservative Russian society, the three builtSI e d . h d· d& tresses first ofbuildingblocks and then out oors WIt 1ft, anlor , b . h· h hn a water-filled model of Sebastopol har or In w IC t eyeve 1 . h Ecould simulate and analyze the battles taking p ace In t e ast. They read a good deal, and not only news rep?rts ofth� war, but booksaboutwarfare. Theybecame great strategIsts, convInc�d that they could have saved the Russian armies and won the war If they had been in command. . .Perhaps there is somethingfundamentallyPrUSSIan abouttheIr reading and reenacting these battles-thousan�s o�other ?erman boys musthave been playing out these battl�s WIth un s?ldlers. But the way these three intellectualized thewar IS so mu�h In harm?�y ith Friedrich's personality that it is hard not to beheve that thIS IS :ne of those innovations in play that Wilhelm ascribed to Friedrich. According to Friedrich, each of them wrote little books which they calledKriegslisten. Everything they could find about tac­ tics and strategy was grist for their mills and they acquired a large knowledge of things military. They collected military books, too, untiltheydecided to edit together a military dictionary or encyclo- pedia.21 , • • Here again one may assume that Fnednch was more successful at asserting his leadership (controlling the play) than in the com­ petitive war games where Gustav was determiiied �not �l",:ays to lose. It is not at all hard to imagine him organizing the dICtIOnary and apportioning definitions to be written by the others. It is diffi­ cult to imagine a better example ofsublimating p�ay than this writing about warfare. It demonstrates how Fnednch channeled his energies into the intellectual side ofplay. It is an in­ dication ofthe inclination ofhis personality: he found it expedient to develop certain skills at the expense of others. �t .presa�es not only an intellectual career (not necessarily as an ongInal thInker), but his meager social life, few adult friendships, and tortured at- tempts at intimacy. Ofcourse the military dictionary/encyclopedia was never com· pleted, butanother ofFriedrich's authorial projectswas. This was a solo effort, his autobiography. He wrote it in 1858,just before he left Naumburg when he was fourteen years old. He entitled it
  • 44 YOUNG NIETZSCHE rather grandly,Aus meinem Leben orFrom My Life, after Goethe's au­ tobiography. This title is another indication of his intellectual in­ clination, as well as a clear sign that he was modelling himselfafter Goethe and consciously aspiring to the creative role ofthe genius. His seriousness, his withdrawal from aggressive play, and his intel­ lectual activitieswere hiswayofchanneling his energiestowardan intellectuallycreative life. The fact that he linkedhimselfto Goethe reveals not only that he thought of himself as a potentially great man, but that he thought of his creative potential as a traditional and acceptable thing. He had not yet internalized the feeling of alienation, as he would at Schulpforta. Nor had he learned to con­ ceal his creative tendencies. Friedrich's youthful autobiography was provokedby the award of a scholarship. After four years in Naumburg's Domgymnasium he was granted a free place at nearby Schulpforta, perhaps the most famous of all German boarding schools. The scholarship seems to have been offered to him as much for his status as an "or­ phan" whose clergyman-father had died, as for his accomplish­ ments as a scholar. For while he had had no great difficulty either in candidate Weber's private preparatory school or in the Domgymnasium, he had not really excelled in his schoolwork ei­ ther. Butwhateverthe reasonforthe scholarship, Friedrich andhis family could no longer refuse it as they had refused the invitation of the Franck'sche Stiftung. Schulpforta was the most famous hu­ manistic Gymnasium in Germany. Knowing that he would be separated from his family and friends andwouldhave to submit to astrictdiscipline, hewrotehis autobiographywithsome anxiety. He notes atthe beginningthatit is difficult to remember childhood, and that much already eluded him. He devotes many pages to recollections of his father, his father's death, and the family's move to Naumburg. This earlier separation seems to be the subtext, the event that he used subcon­ sciously to come to terms with the coming separation-his depar­ ture for Schulpforta. He wrote many letters to his relatives soliciting their anecdotes ofhis father; his autobiography was also to be a repository of their memories. Apparently filling out his knowledgeofhis childhoodreassured him. He made a record ofall his creative endeavors, including lists of his poems and composi­ tions according to the year he wrote them. He divided them into groups for criticism, and while he deprecated the earlier ones, he compared some ofthe later ones to Goethe's poems andFaust I.
  • Without a Father 45 Perhaps the most interesting feature of the autobiography is his stated desire "to write a little book and then to read it myself."22 The autobiography itself was just that-a little book in which he could read about himself. Ifhe was still distressed over the loss of his father, his autobiography would assuage his anxiety and calm him. It would remind him of his intimate friendship with Gustav and Wilhelm. And his record of creative accomplishments would serve as a benchmark against which to measure his future endeav­ ors. It is, in its youthful way, an exemplification ofthe largest proj­ ect ofthe genius: an attemptto create the world inwhichhe would live.
  • F O U R Learning to Learn • F riedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche entered the gates ofSchulpforta in the autumn of 1858, when he was fourteen years old. He would spend six years there at the expense of the state, having been awarded a"freeplace" orscholarshipatthediscretion ofthe city of Naumburg. This was a financial boon to his mother, who was thus relieved of paying tuition at Naumburg's Domgymnasium. For Friedrich himself, however, it was another major dislocation. Al­ though the school was only three miles from Naumburg, he would have to room and board there. He was moving from the househoJd comprised ofhis grandmother, aunts, mother, and sister to the all­ male environment of a "school-state," as Pforta was called. There he would live in the countryside among 180 boys and 12 male teachers, in a self-contained and economically self-sufficient insti­ tution where the values of antiquity and scholarship reigned su­ preme. The transitionwould be difficult. In the long run the rigorous instruction and intellectual elan ofSchulpforta would have a decisive intellectual and evenpsychological effectupon him. Schulpforta was the most venerable school in Germany. In the year prior to Nietzsche's birth the school had celebrated its four­ hundredth anniversary. It had been founded during the Reforma­ tion in a disbanded monastery-Monasterium Sanctae Mariae de Porta (hence the modern name)-that had already been an ad-
  • Learning to Learn 47 mired institution in the sixteenth century. It was a Cistercian clois­ ter established on the bank of the Saale River near Naumburg in 1137A.D. With a Romanesque church, Gothic cloister and Renais­ sance accretions, the monastery had been an important cultural center for four centuries when, during the Reformation, the Prot­ estant Duke, Herzog Heinrich ofSaxony, in 1540 disbanded all of the monasteries in his domains. His son, Herzog Moritz, founded schools in three of these institutions, including Sancta Maria de porta, in 1543. He endowed the schools with the lands and incomes oftheformer monasteries, making them financially self-sufficient. These were the so-called Furstenschulen (ducal schools), spon­ sored by the secular rulers of Saxony to provide teachers, Protes­ tantclergymen, and civil administrators for their principality. The curricula emphasizedGreek and Latin as well as biblical and theo­ logical studies. They developed in the wake ofa larger humanistic movement in German education that led gradually to the gymnas­ ial system ofthe nineteenth century. Schulpforta was the most fa­ vored ofthe three Saxon schools in reforms and investments made inthelateeighteenth century, duringthe greatenthusiasm for clas­ sical art and culture, and by the end ofthat century Pforta's excel­ lence was based upon unsurpassed training in the ancient languages. Then, when a substantial portion of Saxony was annexed to Prussia in 1815 after the Napoleonic Wars, Schulpforta came under Prussianjurisdiction. The Prussian government viewed the acquisition ofSchulpforta as an opportunity to train an elite corps of educators. And they were prepared to inve,st, money. So Schulpforta was reformed on the model of the Prussian cadet schools, except , that instead of training military officers, Schulpforta was to produce scholars and teachers. The Prussians added several teachers to the school's staff, enlarged the library to about 15,000 volumes, provided for instruction in science and mathematics, and purchased scientific apparatus, musical instru­ ments, and even an artcollectionforthe school. Thus outfitted and staffed, Schulpforta became the most outstanding of the already elite humanistic Gymnasia. For while Pforta remained a shrine to the emulation ofclassical Greek culture and even enhanced her al­ ready leading role in the teaching ofGreek and Latin, under Prus­ sianadministration mathematics and sciencewere seriously taught there too. It was a great privilege to attend Schulpforta, and, when
  • 48 YOUNG NIETZSCHE Friedrich was offered a free place, the family could not refuse. It would be a strenuous experience: long hours ofstudy, strict disci­ pline, obligatory gymnastics and other sports for which Friedrich had neither love nor talent; and he would be thrown togetherwith so many boys, with no separation of school from private life. All this would be difficult for him. But Grandfather Oehler, who had oncebeen partial to the idea ofsendingFriedrich to the orphanage ofthe Franck'sche Stiftung in Halle, must have been pleased at the thought that the discipline and all-male environment of Schul­ pforta might correct the unfortunate effects ofFriedrich's having been raised in a household ofwomen. This disciplined environment bore with it certain cultural val­ ues. Like every other Gymnasium, Schulpforta represented classical ideals, particularly those ofancient Greece. There was also a vague allegiance to the idea ofGerman unity, and to alreadyclassical Ger, man authors like Goethe and Schiller. But on balance the tone of the schoolwas apolitical, anti-urban, andgenerally abstracted from the present. Modern history, for example, was conspicuously ab­ sent from the curriculum. The ambition ofthe humanistic Gymna­ sium was to mold noble character through the discipline of the ancient languages and exposure to great authors. And as an eco­ nomically and socially self-sufficient "school-state," sheltered be­ hind cloister walls on the banks of the Saale several miles from town, Schulpforta could hope to inculcate these values more thor­ oughly than other schools. It was the school's expressed intention to mold the personali­ ties as well as the minds ofthe students-to act in locoparentis. The school's reputation was one of astonishing success at preparing boys for a profession ofscholarship. But upon the four-hundredth anniversary of the school in 1843, the director asserted that this success in scholarship was secondary to assuring that the boys be­ come "whole men," the goal of humanistic education throughout Germany. Accordingto the director, Schulpfortareallycould mold whole men because it had total influence over its boys. The unique thing about Schulpforta is that it is a self-contained school­ state in which the life ofthe individual is wholly absorbed. Their parents entrust [the young scholars] to their alma mater not only for instruction but for their moral development as well. The parents transfer all paren­ tal rights to the school, so that the scholars find in the totality of their education even more than a second father-house. . . . 1
  • Learning to Learn 49 Schulpforta'sfacultyandstaffaimedtoimpress "the stamp ofa cere tain solid industriousness" upon theboys' character.Theywerejus­ tifiably proud ofPforta's success atinfusing in each ofits graduates the values of the German Bildungsbiirgertum distilled to their es­ sence. Classical scholarship was but the means to that end. In this way the school really sought to supersede the influence ofthe fam­ ilyhome, and to impress its own pedagogical personality upon the boys as parents naturally do.2 And indeed most of the graduates became teachers. Yet Pforta was not successful with every boy who entered, and Franziska Nietzsche had more than one occasion to fear for her son Friedrich. Schulpforta's academic standards were so high that Friedrich had to repeat a grade when he entered. The problem was not only academic. He suffered from disorientation in the new environ­ ment, his shyness, and the attendant difficulty ofmaking friends­ the same problems he had had when the family moved to Naumburg. Separated from family and friends at Schulpforta, he felthehadbeen incarcerated, as indeed he had. Now he was cling­ ing to all that he had left behind in town. At first he wrote to his mother every day, stealing minutes from his exhausting schedule. In his first letter, written on the very day he arrived and before he had really got settled, Friedrich wrote, "Up to now I'm alright, but then, what is alright about a strange place?"3 All of the letters Friedrich wrote from Pforta, especially during his first year, have an insistent tone. Urgent requests to have things sent to him and frantic requests for visits and mail are the substance of the early letters. Friedrich must have received more visits from llis family than most ofthe other boys, however, since the Nietzsches lived so close thatthey could walk half-way to meet him in the village ofAlmrich nearly every Sunday. And his mother must have been constantly preparing and sending him packages, too, since nearly every letter presents a new list ofdemands. She also did his laundry each week. Since his wishes were thus fulfilled as generously as any ofthe boys could expect, his insistent tone is the more remarkable. His letters give a very strained impression, bordering on hysteria or tan­ trums.4 Friedrich's attempts to elicit communications from his friends Wilhelm Pinder and Gustav Krug are similarly insistent. But his friends did not respond as frequently as his motherdid. At first his tactic was to gethis motherto remind the boys thathe was not hav-
  • 50 YOUNG NIETZSCHE ing much success making new friends at Pforta, and to solicit their ideas on the subject. Orhe asked his mother to tell Wilhelm thathe was about to receive a long letter and to brace himself for a fre­ quent correspondence. And then, having finally got a reply from Wilhelm at the beginning ofNovember, he wrote back rather anx­ iously: "From now on, we want to write each other back and forth regularly and without interruptions. Tell Gustav this too." He added a Latin motto for their future correspondence: semper nostra manet amicitia, or "our friendship ever endures."5 But by the end of the month he discovered that he had forgotten Gustav's birthday, probably more to his own than to Gustav's dismay. As his own birthday and Christmas approached, however, he made big dis­ plays ofhis anticipation, frequently stating and revising his list of wishes in his letters to the two friends as well as to his family. Friedrich wrote very little about Schulpforta in his first year there. This in itselfis remarkable in aboy who had so recently dem­ onstrated his inclination to memorialize his life in the autobiogra­ phy that he wrote before leaving for Pforta. And what he did write about school was not about particular fellow-students, but about his daily schedule, demonstrating a formidable degree of self­ absorption. Friedrich's letters displayhis rather pathetic need for attention from his mother and his friends. Could this needy adolescent boy be the same person as the Nietzsche who philosophized so heroi­ cally all alone in the Alps for years on end? Or was his exile to Pforta, like his separation from his father, another course oftrain­ ing in the psychological rigors of individual existence, a foretaste of his later alienation from his contemporaries and his century? Perhaps the value of these desperate letters is to show how dearly he bought his solitude, and how precarious was his independence ofhis contemporaries. By Christmas ofhis first year at Pforta Friedrich seems to have reconciled himself to losing contact with Gustav, but he resumed his didactic-intellectual exchange with Wilhelm, sending him poems and assigning him topics for themes. They were to criticize each other's work without reserve.6 By summer he was writing less frequently, although his uncle still made fun ofhim for writing so many letters. He seemed finally to be settling into life at Schulpforta. Before summer vacation, he wrote to Wilhelm that he actually enjoyed being at Pforta at times; at least it was easier to bear when the weather was good.7
  • Learning to Learn 51 After summervacation, however, homesickness again began in earnest. Already in August (the beginning ofhis second academic year) he wondered in a letter to his mother how he was going to make it to Christmas. And in the same month he must have had a session with his tutor, the theology teacher Robert Buddensieg, which led to hisjotting down the following lines in his diary: Against homesickness (according to Professor Buddensieg): (1) If we want to learn anything worthwhile, we cannot always stay home. (2) The beloved parents do not want that; therefore we bow to the will of our parents. (3) Our beloved are in God's hand, we are always accompanied by their thoughts. (4) Ifwe work industriously, sad thoughts disappear. (5) If all of that does not help, then pray to God.s For Friedrich, these remedies were but small comfort and could hardly replacethe family and friends he left behind in Naumburg. He missed his mother and comfortable home. And as his sister noted, he needed someone to whom he could entrust his serious thoughts, or perhaps someone overwhom he could exercise his in­ tellectual authority. The boys atPfortawere for the most parthard­ working, intelligent, and seldom willing to be manipulated. Friedrich did not remain permanently in crisis at Schulpforta, however. Toward the end of his second year there, or perhaps at thebeginning ofhis third year, he made severalfriends, including Paul Deussen and Cad von Gersdorff. And in the summervacation afterhis second year atSchulpforta, Friedrich finally succeeded in formalizing his relationship with his two Naumburg friends in a literary and musical fraternity that they called the Germania. Both of these developments suggest that he ultimately came to terms with this situation. OnJuly 25, 1860, Friedrich, Wilhelm, and Gustav took a hike to the top of a nearby mountain and swore allegiance to each other andto the goals oftheirfraternity. Friedrichrecorded these goals a few years later in his Basel lectures on "The Future of our Educa­ tional Institutions": the Germania was to be an organization which would obligate each ofthe friends to produce some creative piece each month-either poetry, scholarship, or music. These they would circulate, and then criticize each other's products with "un-
  • 52 YOUNG NIETZSCHE bounded openness."10 This is one of the contexts in which com­ mentators on Nietzsche's adolescence frequently use the words altklug (old for his years) and schulmeisterisch (schoolmasterly) to de­ scribe his conduct toward his fellows. The idea for the Germania was formed when Friedrich and Wilhelm were on a vacation trip in the summer of 1860, visiting Friedrich'suncle and hikingintheHarzmountains. Atfirstthetwo envisioned a literary society, but back in Naumburg they invited Gustav tojoin them and added music to their agenda. It was Gustav who got the Germania to subscribe to the ZeitschriftfurMusik, a pe­ riodical that was alreadyespousing the works ofRichardWagner in 1860. It was also Gustavwho acquired the piano score ofTristan und Isolde, thus procuring Friedrich's first and rather difficult enCOun­ terwith Wagner's music. From theoutsettheGermaniawasdedicated to the art and cre­ ativity ofits members, rather than to Wissenschaft, ahd open to con­ temporary art at that. For two years the boys actually did exchange their creative efforts and discuss them regularly. Friedrich's output was voluminous. Thus it seems that for him the Germania was much more than an opportunity to exercise intellectual leader­ ship. At first, atleast, itwas a refuge from the classical and philolog­ ical preoccupationsofSchulpforta, an opportunityforFriedrich to indulge his creative impulses. But strangely enough, it was also Friedrich who led his friends back onto the terrain ofscholarship and eventuallydrove them out ofactive participation in the frater­ nity. In the course ofthe meetings and correspondence ofthe Ger­ mania, Friedrich conceived the plan oftreatingall the classical ma­ terials dealing with the Prometheus legend in a Pforta-scholarly way. He meantfor the three tojointly collect, criticize, and comment upon all the sources ofthe Prometheus legend. This is the first ap­ pearance in Nietzsche's writings of his interest in Prometheus, the lonely benefactorofmankind. There is much evidence in his mature writings that he identified with Prometheus. But having been at­ tracted to Prometheus at Pforta, he rather ironically made a project for the Germania out of it. Since Friedrich's classical education had now carried him far beyond the others, he had another occasion to commandeer his friends much in the fashion he had in planning the military encyclopedia.ll And when the Germania died in its third year for lack ofparticipation from Gustav and Wilhelm, Friedrich's .over­ bearing attitude toward them was largely responsible.
  • Learningto Learn 53 Friedrich's approach to his contemporaries remained much the same in Pforta as it had been in Naumburg. His intellectual 1 adership may have been more difficult to exercise at Pforta,e h . where other authorities-the real schoolmasters-were so muc In evidence.Otherboys found little to objectto in him, and according to his sister, treated him with respect, only generally remarking that he seemed to them "a little too serious and introverted."12 But here again he did eventually develop two friendships in which, once more, he was the senior partner by virtue of intellectual au- thority. Friedrich's correspondence with Paul Deussen and Carl von Gersdorff would not suggest-neither then nor later-that his friendships with thematPfortahadanyofthevaunted boys' school affection about it. Like Friedrich, Paul Deussen was a pastor's son and a diligent and perhaps over-serious young man. In 1861 the twO were confirmed together in theLutheran church atPforta. But theyalsosharedgrowingdoubts aboutChristianity and a gradually dawning awareness that they would not be pastors like their fa­ thers. Deussen musthave been a gifted student ofphilology too, for helaterbecame aprominentprofessorofSanskrit-indeed, he was one ofthe founders ofIndic studies in Germany. Yet, though they had a· great deal in common, they never became very intimate friends; rather, Deussen remained Friedrich's admirer and under­ study. This is most apparent in the way that Friedrich later intro­ duced Deussen to Schopenhauer, but the relationship had this character from the start. Carl von Gersdorff, on the other hand, was the.��on of an East Prussian noble, a member ofthe gentry. His description ofhow he was drawn to Friedrich and became his friend may stand for the waynearly anyone who wanted to remain Nietzsche's friend would have to approach him. The two were in the same German class under the literaryhistorian Koberstein. According to Gersdorff, As an Untersekunder [in his fourth-to-Iast year at the Gymnasium] Nietzsche had written an independent literary historical essay about the Ermanarich saga and handed it in to Koberstein. He [Koberstein] was immensely pleased with it and full of praise for the learning, in­ sight, logic, and stylistic maturity of his pupil. Since Koberstein, who was usually rather silent at the dinner table, had expressed himself so enthusiastically to me, I found occasion to make Nietzsche's acquaint­ ance. At the beginning of the year I had already noticed that
  • 54 YOUNG NIETZSCHE Nietzsche was intellectually far beyond his fellow students, and got the impression that he would do something great. He was attractive too for his natural sense of decorum. . . . But since I could not spend as much time with Nietzsche as I would have liked, about a year-and-a­ half elapsed before we actually became friends. . . . Music was not the least ofwhat finally brought us together. Every evening between seven and eight we got together in the music room. I doubt that even Bee­ thoven could improvize more affectingly on the piano, for example, when there was a storm in the sky.I3 Gersdorffs attitude was one of simple admiration. He was fasci­ nated with Friedrich's talents and he educated himself in part by emulatinghis friend. He nevercriticized him. The remarks ofone ofFriedrich's teachers are also interesting. Otto Benndorf taught two years at Pforta and constructed a mu, seum of plaster casts of classical statues which the students were invited to visit on Sunday after church. Friedrich apparently went regularly. According to Benndorf, Friedrich stood out from the others for his knowledge and understanding of these figures. Benndorf wrote too that Friedrich was "a quiet, reflective, intro­ verted man ofnot too strong a constitution."14 Friedrich's health, which Benndorfmentioned asweak, was an­ other problem that seemed to threaten his success at Schulpforta. His record shows that he went to the infirmary with alarmingregu­ larity, all the more alarming since one had to be convincingly sick in order to get to the infirmary at Pforta; otherwise, one got no other remedy than more school work. His most frequently men­ tioned complaints were vague: "rheumatism" and Katarrh, which mighthave been colds. Friedrich's most prominent symptom, how­ ever, was severe headaches, a problem that would plague him all his life. On at least two occasions in 1861 and 1862 he was sent home for extended convalescence, as noted in the infirmaryjour. nal byboth histutor,Dr. Buddensieg, and the school physician, Dr. Zimmerman. According to the doctor, Friedrich was a small but powerfully builtboy who stared conspicuously, with an apparently wild or threatening gaze. He suffered from wandering headaches and shortsightedness. The doctor also recorded that Friedrich's fa­ ther had died of"softening of the brain" and that "the son is ofthe age at which his father was already ill," an odd but ominous refer­ ence to his father's supposed mental illness and untimely death."15 These medical reports are interesting, since head and eye pain
  • Learning to Learn 55 are the problems from which the adultNietzsche was also to suffer. A few' years before he had been taken to Jena to the university clinic to have his eyes examined, and it was found that his head­ aches stemmed from overstrain on his one strongeye, but no reme­ dial measures were undertaken.I6 And while he was already wearing eyeglasses at Schulpforta, they did not seem to help againsttheheadaches. It is, however, particularly interesting that Friedrich should have told doctor Zimmerman about his father's death and espe­ cially that he was of an age at which his father was already sick {which ofcourse he was not}. He apparently associated his suffer­ ing with his father's, and feared that he was fated to die in the same fashion. These associations remind us ofFriedrich's dream ofhis fa­ therreturningfrom the grave to take revenge.Theyraisethequestion ofwhetherhis headaches might nothave been psychosomatic. In fact, however, neither ill health, shyness, nor introversion ever seriously threatened Friedrich's academic success at the school. He was an excellent pupil and spent much of his time at Pfortaas "Primus, "the firstboy in hisclass. He wasbestatthe major subjects ofGreek, Latin, and German literature and composition. He seems to have worked hard at these, but to have neglected minor subjects like geography and history, saving his time and en­ ergy for his other interests; for he was not wholly absorbed by his schoolworkP As far as extra-curric1J.lar activities are concerned, Friedrich wasacceptedas a member ofthe choir inAugust 1859, at the beginning ofhis second year. In the same month he passed his obligatory swimming test. He was a reasonably good_s�immer and enjoyed the sport. He was fond ofnature and enjoyed hiking dur­ ing the summer v�cation. What he liked about nature and hiking, however, was the opportunity for solitude. He hated school gym­ nastics. The omnipresence ofmasculine authority and academic disci­ pline at Schulpforta may, oddly enough, have contributed both to Friedrich's success at school and to his private cultivation of the arts. He felt the discipline immediately and appreciated it even in the days when hewas so terribly homesick. In a lettertoWilhelm at thebeginningofNovember 1858, hewrote thatlife hadbeen easier in the Domgymnasium, but really too free. In that respect he was glad to be away from there.I S That he evaluated the school's disci­ pline so highly as to bring it into balance against his loneliness was notan isolated insight.
  • 56 YOUNG NIETZSCHE A few years later, when Nietzsche reflected on the course ofed­ ucation which had led him to the professorship in Basel, he re­ marked upon how Schulpforta had served as a substitute for his father. This of course was one of the explicit aims of the school's administration, but Nietzsche was aware of how much he really needed such a substitute, and yet what an incomplete father the school had been to him. The mai . n points ofmy education (Erziehung) have been left to me. My father died all too early, and I was deprived of the rigorous and supe. rior leadership ofa masculine intellect. When I went to Schulpforta as an �dolescent, I became acquainted with a mere surrogate of fatherly Erzzehung. . . . But that almost military compulsion which, since it aims at affecting the mass, treats individuality coldly and superficially­ turned me in on myself again. I saved my private inclinations and strivings from the uniform law, I lived a concealed cult of certain arts I occupied myself with a hypersensitive addition to universal knowl: edge and the pleasure ofbreaking a legalistic time schedule. . . . 19 He escaped the school's order by privately engaging in literary and musical composition and by indulging his unorthodox literary tastes. He felt himselfdriven on to greater satisfactions in a private and well-focused rebellion against that discipline. Precocious and introverted as he was, he thrived academically on the discipline at Pforta. Nonetheless, he understood that he needed to develop be­ yond what his teachers could offer him. Friedrich kept his "private" studies quite separate, as though he were protecting them from the watchful eye ofthe school. At Pforta he began reading Shakespeare, Byron, and Emerson, and they must have made a deep impression, since they remained important to him well into his career as an author. But he apparently felt no · need to discuss these writers with his schoolmates. Most of his mu­ sical �ompositions were prepared for the Germania or as presents for hIS mother, as on her birthday., One project concerned the tale of the legendary Ostrogothic hero Ermanarich and occupied him from 1860 to 1864-his last four years at Pforta. He did research in the sources of late antiquity, wrote poems, pieces of an opera, a play, and finally a critical-historical treatise on Ermanarich. Aside from impressive persistence with a single subject, this enduring in­ terest displays how the young Nietzsche could alternately apply his dual talents-the academic-philological and the artistic-creative-
  • d­ ­ s s y e y . ' s y s ­ d . : · · ; ': ...• · Learning to Learn 57 to the same problems. But perhaps the best view ofFriedrich's sep­ arating,school studies from his deeper interests may be had on the one occasion when he revealed to his German teacher his enthusi­ asm for a then unrecognized and completely unappreciated Ger­ man writer, Friedrich Holderlin. It is of course noteworthy that, as a seventeen-year-old (it was october 1861), Friedrich had discovered and understood Holderlin and his "Hyperion" at all. But he chose to write a Ger­ man theme on Holderlin in the form of a letter to a friend, recom­ mending this author to the recipient-a rhetorical strategy that indicated his confidence in his judgment, and brought the reader (his teacher) to the level of an ill-informed contemporary. Further­ more, he praised and defended precisely those characteristics of Holderlin's writing that offended the German literary establish­ ment; for example, psychological alienation, and disdain for the crabbed philistinism of the educated German middle class. Of course Friedrich's enthusiasm was due in part to his having found in Holderlin a kindred spirit. By defending ' Holderlin he was de­ fending the sort ofwriter he himselfwould soon become. His enco­ mium was not mere enthusiasm, but a careful and logical evaluation. It was so well done, in fact, that the disapproving teacher could not give him less than an A - , although he appended a note that Friedrich should find himself a "healthier, clearer, more German writer" for a model.20 Friedrich's reaction to this is as interesting as the incident it­ self. He recognized the teacher's limitations without apparent anger. The episode reinforced his decision to sepc:t�ate his private studies from his school work, without alienating ' him from his teachers or the school. He continued to respect them, their knowl­ edge, their philological skills, and their authority. But he recog­ nized that in certain important respects.he was already beyond them. Friedrich was able to continue to work patiently in philology and the other required disciplines at Schulpforta, with one brief lapse, while developing his other interests privately, almost secretly. During 1 862-63, Friedrich went through a crise de conscience which seems on the surface to have been a reaction against school discipline. He became involved in making a mockery of teachers and even tried to intimidate his friend Paul Deussen, threatening toreport him to the other boys for studying too hard. He turned his back on boys who really shared his interests, and took up with reb­ els like Guido Meyer, whom Deussen described as "handsome, con-
  • 58 YOUNG NIETZSCHE genial, and witty, a great drawer of caricatures . . . , but at eternal war with teachers and school discipline."21 For six weeks Friedrich and his new friend refused to speak to Deussen for being a Spieser, a "nerd" in today's terminology, and in any case for being too dili­ gent and obedient. During this time Friedrich indulged in conspic­ uous delinquency, which culminated in his getting caught drunk in the railroad station. Several of his accomplices in these escapades, including Guido Meyer, were expelled from school. Friedrich was trying to prove that he was "one of the boys," as if, by joining in their rowdiness, he could show the others that he was not really a Spieser. But he was soon his old self again, working hard in preparation for the all importantAbitur examinations. In a long and humble letter to his mother after the incident ofdrunken­ ness, he made all the appropriate bows in recognition of the trust which he had betrayed, and concluded with these lines: "I scarcely need to assure you further how I am going to pull myself together, as all will now depend upon that" (the preparation for the Abitur­ ium).22 Paul Deussen, who had suffered rejection during Friedrich,s crisis, had another simpler explanation for Friedrich's return to his former self: he was a very private boy who got no real satisfaction from the pranks of the others.23 This spell of delinquency has been termed Friedrich's puberty crisis. An ineffectual rebellion against authority, it seems also to have been a short-lived protest against the serious person he himselfwas. Logically enough, in his last years at Pforta Friedrich did begin to question the values of his family and social class. The young , Nietzsche seems neither to have been interested in girls nor in- volved in an affectionate relationship with any of his classmates,' "as was common in boarding schools of the time." Friedrich's "pu;' berty crisis" was worked out wholly on the spiritual level.24 The pOe;, etry which he wrote in this period bears witness to this spiritual crisis, for example this stanza from 1862: I know not what I love, I have neither peace nor rest, I know not what to believe, what life am I living, why?25 By themselves such lines might not mean much. Adolescent poetri is notorious for pendular shifts of emotion. But Friedrich was gen­ uinely confused. He was divided against himself in his separation'
  • ' i , , ,'; i Learning to Learn 59 of his academic studies from his private artistic ones. He had no idea what profession he would follow. And he had grown increas­ ingly critical of Christianity. He had not spent much energy being obsessed about his lack of belief, as adolescents sometimes do, but he must have known that it might alienate him from his family. In fact, his critical attitude led to several disagreements with his rnother.26 He might well have wondered about his identity. Friedrich's fantasy life must have been rich at this time, so it is unfortunate that most ofhis fictional writing was destroyed by him or his sister. It is all the more disappointing since the autobio­ graphical material that Friedrich left in this period of his life is sparse and offers nothing like that record of fantasy and self­ observation that he compiled shortly before going to Pforta. One fragment was preserved by a schoolmate, however, and found its way into Stefan Zweig's autograph collection. It is part ofan initial chapter of a projected novel called "Euphorion." The narrator is a Faustian figure who in gaining knowledge has grown tired of him­ self. His only remaining desire is to find his Doppelganger (double) in order to be able to dissect his own brain! He feels better suited to the subterranean life of the worm ("a wandering question mark," he calls it), than to vegetate longer under the blue sky. As a preface to his memoirs, which were apparently to make up the body of the novel, he gives this account of his present situation: Across from me lives a nun whom I visit from time to time to enjoy her modesty. I am intimately familiar with her, from head to toe, more intimately than with my own self. She used to b�, a nun, lean and hungry-I was a doctor and saw to it that she quickly" grew fat. Her brother lives with her in common law marriage; he was too fat for me and I made him'thin-as a corpse. He will die soon, which pleases me, si�ce I will dissect him. Beforehand, however, I plan to write down my memoirs. . . . But who will read them? My Doppelganger. . . . 27 Euphorion is fascinated by his other self, not surprising in view of Friedrich's concern with his identity atthistime, as well as with sen­ suality, death and sex, incest and sacrilege-as many unmention­ able subjects as one might mention in such a short passage. Unfortunately, there is no way of telling if these were the themes of his other fictional works or if this is not a representative fantasy. It is tempting to infer from their destruction, however, that the other writings were also somehow obscene.
  • 60 YOUNG NIETZSCHE This fantasy does bear a certain resemblance to Friedrich's ear­ lier idea of writing a little book-a book which also turned out to be an autobiography-and reading it himself. But the fantasy of a Doppelganger is significantly different from that of reflecting di­ rectly upon oneself. Quite aside from the obviously provocative content which is calculated to shock the reader, this is an exhibi­ tionist fantasy: to see and dissect his Doppelganger, and to have his Doppelganger read his memoirs. This is a narcissistic fantasy, but it does not suggest so much a fear offragmentation as a simple desire for the stimulating attention of kindred spirits. Or perhaps the de­ sire to know that his fantasies were not abnormal and that other boys shared them. It may also reflect Friedrich's need for approval from his fellow students at Pforta. The more practical consideration was preparation for the Abiturium, the final examination of the Gymnasium years that would determine his eligibility for the university; and of course the question of a profession, which also occupied him in the 1 863-64 school year. He did indeed pull himself together after the drunken incident. In his last year he wrote what amounted to an honors the­ sis on the Megarian tyrant Theognis, an essay that later served as the basis of one of his first publications. Moreover, he prepared himself so well in the classics that, when he finally took the exam in August of 1864, he received an "extraordinary" commendation in Greek. Friedrich seems to have neglected �athematics in his final year. Not that he was unmathematical. He had scored excellent marks in mathematics before, but his borderline grade in that sub­ ject on the Abiturium endangered his entrance into the university. The mathematics professor was initially unwilling to pass Friedrich, but apparently yielded when one of the philologists asked whether he wanted to fail the most gifted student that Schulpforta had had in his memory. The fact that Friedrich gradu­ ated that year thus reflects the much higher value accorded to suc� cess in the classical languages at the humanistic Gymnasium. Friedrich graduated from Schulpforta when he was almost twenty, a year behind his Naumburg friends Wilhelm and Gustav, who were already at the university. He had not made up the year that he had lost when he entered the elite school. He was recog­ nized by his teachers as a most adept student ofclassical languages, the greatest in recent memory; yet they had seen little or nothing of his creative work. This did not distress Friedrich. He knew his own
  • Learning to Learn 6 1 capabilities, and life seemed to be carrying him along fast enough. Unaware that he had narrowly escaped failure in the Abiturium, he worried more about his own uncertainty concerning what he should study at the university and what career he should prepare himselffor. The obvious choice was a scholarly theological career. And the most radical alternative was the possibility ofbecoming a musician or a composer. His mother would not have understood his thoughts of a musical or literary career at all. She had very little appreciation for his creative proclivities, and no notion of the fact that he was already in some respects beyond his teachers. Her only desires were for him to be well-mannered and obedient to his teachers and to get good grades so that he would be assured of a place in the university to study theology. To her it seemed obvious that he should become a pastor like his father. To his teachers, on the other hand, it must have seemed obvious that he would make an excellent teacher or even professor of philology. But Friedrich was not ready to commit himself to either of these alternatives. Having desires that conflicted with his mother's or his teachers' ex­ pectations was less of a problem than the simple diversity of his own interests. Just thinking about a career seemed to make his decision more difficult.28 In a letter to his mother he allowed that the decision would not make itself. The most important consideration was to choose an area in which he could hope to produce something "whole." This was of course an allusion to the ide,!1 of humanistic education-not to spe(2ialize. And such hopes mighi"be deceptive. How easy it would be to allow himself to be influenced by momen­ tary interests, family tradition, or the desires of his loved ones. On the other hand, he was in the uncomfortable position of having quite a number of interests of his own. If he studied them all he might become a learned man, but hardly end up with a profession; some of them would have to go, "but which should be the unlucky ones to be thrown overboard? Perhaps precisely my Lieblingskinder,"29 the creative talents with which he might do something great. He re­ sisted committing himself to a part of himself; he wanted to preserve all ofhis interests and disdained the life ofa learned or professional man (a Gelehrter) as opposed to a cultured (Gebildeter) man. Friedrich stuck nonetheless to theology until he had already matriculated in the university of Bonn in the autumn of 1864. His claim, written several years later, that he had definitively chosen
  • 62 YOUNG NIETZSCHE philology in this last year at Pforta seems only to mean that he had decided against a creative career. But even that was a claim that he made largely to defend or reinforce his decision to be a philologist at Basel rather than a philosopher. Sticking to theology was only the most provisional solution, marking time during the last year at Schulpforta while continuing to placate his mother. This preserved for a while longer his conformity to family tradition, to his father's image, his mother's wishes, and his own sense of duty. He was not yet ready to make radical departures that all could see.
  • d e t y t d s t F I VE A Student of Genius • A fter passing his Abitur examination at Pforta in August 1864, Friedrich spent a few weeks with his classmate Paul Deussen. First Paul came to stay with the Nietzsches in Naumburg, and then the two boys traveled West to stay with Deussen's family on the Rhine. The trip permitted each of them to see another part of Ger­ many before entering the university; it was customary. From Deussen's home they proceeded to Bonn where both would attend the university. -- When the two high school graduates arrived in Bonn together in October 1864, ,they entered once again upon a new life. Now it was to be the famous academic freedom of the German university, a drastic change from the fierce discipline of Schulpforta. In the nineteenth century academic freedom did not mean the right to speak and write as one chose; it meant the right of a professor to teach whatever he chose (regardless of his specialty), and the right ofa student to registerfor whatever courses he wished, attend them pr not, and to live where and how he chose.1 Students were sud­ denly presumed to be responsible adults. The release from supervi­ sion was thought to be necessary to the further development of young men who had absorbed classical values sufficiently to earn the Abitur from a humanistic Gymnasium. Student years were as­ sumed to be a romantic idyll offreedom from restraint when youth
  • 64 YOUNG NIETZSCHE would blossom into manhood. But freedom posed its own prob­ lems for Nietzsche, who had profited so much from the discipline of Pforta. Wilhelm Pinder and Gustav Krug had already matriculated at the University in Heidelberg. They had written to him about their experiences while Friedrich was still at Pforta. Both remarked on the wonderful change from the "penal" existence of the Domgymnasium. They told him not to let the pressure of prepar­ ing for the Abitur discourage him. Living in Heidelberg, the two cousins had been introduced to a varied circle of friends and hoped that Friedrich would join them.2 He wrote back, however, that he would not be coming to Heidelberg and that they should not press him for reasons; from Bonn he could visit them.3 In going to Bonn, he was following the example of many other graduates of Schulpforta, attending a university where two of Germany's great­ est professors of philology were teaching: OttoJahn (also an alum­ nus ofPforta) and Friedrich Ritschl. And in Bonn he would be with his devoted friend Deussen, an important consideration since Friedrich was anxious about living so far away from home. Perhaps he was also reluctant to assume the role of novice vis-a-vis his friends from Naumburg, who now had the advantage of a whole year's experience at the university. Gustav advised Friedrich not to join a fraternity. He said it would waste his time and energy and limit his choice of friends. Nonetheless, one of Friedrich's first acts as a new student was to join the Burschenschaft "Franconia." This fraternity, like many oth­ ers, was composed of boys from a particular region of Germany.' But Nietzsche's decision entailed obligatory beer drinking and or� ganized rowdiness too, and brings to mind his brief spasm of delin- ' quency at Schulpforta. On both occasions he sought out a banal fOrD;! of conviviality that seems foreign to his serious character. It betr�ys some momentary confusion about his goals. But it was not ' illogical: belonging to a fraternity, then as now, meant having ready-made friends and connections, and belonging. It did not pre­ clude his intellectual agenda. To a shy boy in a new place far from home, such a social niche must have seemed attractive. Interest­ ingly enough, Nietzsche had the approval of his mother and his guardian: they agreed that a fraternity would be good for Friedrich, as a home away from home. And he might learn to be more socia­ ble. By the time he graduated from Schulpforta, Friedrich had a
  • ' A Student ofGenius 65 conscious sense of having missed the experience of "society." He had never been gregarious, but only now began to recognize his social inadequacy. While he was still a student he described how he had felt when he arrived in Bonn as a graduate ofSchulpforta-as­ tonished at how well taught he was, but how poorly prepared for the world. He had thought a great deal, he wrote, but lacked the finesse to utter his thoughts appropriately. He had still not experi­ enced anything of the "civilizing influence of women." And al­ though he had thought he understood life from his studies, everything about society in Bonn seemed foreign to him.4 Apparently he had been thinking about this even before he ar­ rived in Bonn andjoined the fraternity. While visiting the Deussen family, his letters to his mother and sister were full ofthe girls and women he had met and what he imagined were his social obliga­ tions to them. He felt attracted to Paul's sister, Marie Deussen, who he said reminded him of his own sister Elisabeth. He was awed by Frau Deussen and embarrassed at not finding her the appropriate birthday gift and having to attend her party empty-handed; he thought it would be nice if his own mother would send Frau Deussen a Christmas gift. To Elisabeth he wrote that he expected her to send him letters about all the "dances and other affairs" to which she was invited, things of which he knew nothing but had to learn. After his arrival in Bonn, Nietzsche filled his letters with the names of professors to whose homes he had been invited to tea (with obligatory theological conversation), and the names offrater­ nity brothers with whom he had done picturesqlie things, such as taking a walk along the fire-lit Rhine at night during the wine har­ vest, and attendi:o.g concerts and theater assiduously, not only in Bonn but in Cologne as well.5 The walk on the Rhine does sound romantic, and he undoubtedly enjoyed the music and theater. But his taste was neither progressive nor very discriminating, and these ; letters reporting his attempts at social life give an impression of adolescent awkwardness and forced interest. He was not naturally gregarious and struggled to fulfill a role he did not really like. According to Paul Deussen, who joined the Franconia Burschenschaft along with Nietzsche, neither of them felt very com­ fortable in the Franconia, despite the fact that it was a relatively tame fraternity, that it did not entail mandatory duelling, and that many ofits members were graduates ofSchulpforta. Although Nietzsche's duties in the Franconia were congenial to him-editing
  • 66 YOUNG NIETZSCHE the fraternity newsletter, writing songs, and serving as a general ex­ pert on things cultural6-he aspired to more than that. He wanted to be gay, lively, and dashing, aflotter Student. Apparently to gain the admiration of his fraternity brothers, Nietzsche sought out an acquaintance in a rival fraternity for a "friendly duel." He got a scar on his nose for his trouble, which Deussen thought looked handsome.7 He also participated regularly in the more common­ place drinking. Nietzsche did write poems and compose a considerable num­ ber of songs during his year in Bonn, so he did not entirely aban­ don his creative hobbies in his quest for social acceptance. But he did not present his poems to anyone, or report on them in his let­ ters to friends. Nietzsche's efforts to be a dashing member of the Franconia were not very successful. One of his fraternity brothers later re­ corded that Nietzsche had not given a very jovial impression; he seemed unable to loosen Up.8 And in fact, Nietzsche never did have a sense of humor in social situations; his wit was reserved for his writing, or was so ironical as to seem unpleasant. He knew that his fellows were only partially convinced by his efforts to be one of them. He wrote his mother that, while he was not disliked, he was best known for being satirical and mocking. He was often unhappy, too moody, and frequently bothersome to himself and to others.9 He wanted very much to be liked but recognized that he was nei­ ther successful nor happy doing what it took to be well liked by other members. Nietzsche was disappointed in himself, but he found reasons to be disappointed in the Franconia too. Politically he was in the "aristocratic" opposition to the fraternity's decision to change its colors from white, red, and gold to the "democratic" black, red, and gold, which represented national unification. (Black, red, and gold have been the German national colors since 1870, except under the Nazis.) While he was for German unification, he was against the phrase in theEisenacher . Burschenbund's constitution that demanded unification "on a popular basis." He also objected to the clause that no longer required strict sexual abstinence offrater­ nity members. It was apparently no secret to Nietzsche that frater­ nity brothers "who wanted to sin went secretly to Cologne," and that disturbed him. His fastidiousness about it was obvious to his brothers and they remembered it years later.1o Paul Deussen related an occasion on which Nietzsche was taken
  • A Student ofGenius 67 by his fraternity brothers to a brothel in Cologne_ He was so taken aback that he could only free himself from the hypnotizing gaze of the women by going to the piano, "the only living thing in the room," as he apparently put it, to play until he felt free to leave. commenting upon this, Deussen wrote that Nietzsche was a man who had never touched a woman. But that did not imply that he was affectionate with young men. As Nietzsche's closest companion at Pforta and in Bonn, Deussen was in a good position to know that his friend's sexual drives were deeply hidden. In the same vein, an­ other of Nietzsche's fellow students at Bonn later noted that Nietzsche had seemed to him to be a complete man and woman, oddly coupled together inside a single body.l l Many scholars have nonetheless taken precisely the incident re­ ported by Deussen as an indication that Nietzsche did visit prosti­ tutes and contract syphilis from them, leading to his ultimate illness and mental collapse in 1888-89.12 Although it seems un­ likely, we will never know whether Nietzsche actually engaged in sex with one of the prostitutes he met in Cologne, or whether the experience quickened his desire so that he went voluntarily to a brothel later. But Deussen's account suggests that Nietzsche's al­ ready prudish feelings were reinforced by this experience. His at­ tempt to have the principle of chastity reinstated in the Franconia naturally failed, and this, along with his political defeat over the colors, contributed to his disillusionment. His rejection of frater­ nity life after one year would be phrased in very conservative terms.l:� Throughout the first semester Nietzsche's moth�r had written him letters of encouragement, urging him to study, an.d reminding him ofhis father. He, however, had been spending so much money on fraternity acti�ities that he had too little to pay for his courses. His fraternity, distasteful as it was, did serve to distract him from the pretense of preparing for a profession he knew he could not practice. By the end of the first semester, when he went to Naum­ burg for Easter vacation, he had decided that he could not con· tinue in theology. He had resolved his doubt� and decided that he was no longer a Christian. He even refused to attend Easter services with his mother and sister, which hurt Franziska Nietzsche very deeply. It robbed her of the ideal she had been trying to realize in all the years of dedication to this child, son of her husband. And from this time forward, she often seemed unable to appreciate her son's remarkable achievements, not understanding why they were
  • 68 YOUNG NIETZSCHE worth striving for. For Friedrich, this decision to abandon theology after one semester was an important step toward self-definition. He changed his major to philology, began to orient himself to a more serious interest in his studies, and prepared to abandon the frater­ nity and transfer to another university. Classical philology was the almost inescapably logical alterna­ tive for Nietzsche. It was a secular subject and a secure route to a respectable position as teacher in the Gymnasium or perhaps even the university. Although it was a disappointment to his mother, changing his major to philology was hardly a radical thing to do: he was not electing to become a bohemian poet or composer. Further­ more, the basis of classical philology was knowing the classical lan­ guages. Schulpforta had given Nietzsche the best training in Latin and Greek that was available anywhere, and he had been Pforta's best pupil in those subjects. He had worked hard at the ancient lan­ guag�s, and he was extremely apt. When he transferred to Leipzig for hIS second year at the university, the year he had wasted in Bonn had not put him at a disadvantage vis-a-vis other students. During the last months of Nietzsche's stay in Bonn, something interesting was transpiring in the world of classical philology. Two of Germany's most famous philology professors, Otto Jahn and Friedrich Ritschl, became enlbroiled in a bitter personal feud that polarized the philological community there. Nietzsche wrote his mother that only the theologians could take any satisfaction from this dispute, since they alone could rejoice at dissension in the ranks ofthe "humanists."14 Clearly changing his major to philology me�nt more to Nietzsche than simply exchanging one quite conser­ vatIve career for another. It was the formal admission that he had rejected one world-view and adopted another. He was now a hu­ manist rather than a believer. Nietzsche had a high regard for both Ritschl and Jahn. Friedrich Ritschl was the editor of one of Germany's most pre�ti­ gious philologicaljournals, Das Rheinische Museumfur Philologie. He �as re?�wned for the strictness ofhis method and for the painstak­ Ing edItIons he had made of Roman authors. Ritschl, who believed in single-minded dedication, had already advised Nietzsche to de­ vote himself to philology rather than divide his attention between theology and philology. On the other hand, Nietzsche admired OttoJahn, who was not merely a philologist but already the author ofa great biography ofMozart that is still read today.Jahn's combi­ nation of interests matched Nietzsche's rather well. Nonethe-
  • A Student ofGenius 69 less, Nietzsche chose to study with Ritschl at Leipzig. Perhaps it was austerity that led him to follow Ritschl rather thanJahn, for Ritschl represented exclusive dedication to philology. By the time he was back in Naumburg for summer vacation, he had made a definite decision to quit the Burschenschaft too. He hoped there would come a time when his year in Bonn would seem a necessary phase in his development, but for the moment he could not help feeling he had wasted it entirely. Not only had he failed to do anything significant academically, he had neglected his poetry and musical composition, and even violated his (new) rule not to waste himself on people foreign to his spirit after he had recog­ nized them as such. When he arrived in Leipzig for the fall semes: ter, he would write a curt letter of resignation to the Franconia in Bonn, observing condescendingly that he hoped the fraternity would soon outgrow the stage it was passing through.I S But it remained difficult for him to communicate with his mother about why he could no longer study theology, would never become a clergyman, and did not even believe in God. It was so difficult that they stopped mentioning it. It was Elisabeth who wrote Friedrich after his vacation, reproaching him for having spo­ ken against Christianity at home. He answered her, contrasting his humanistic position to the religious one: Is it the most important thing to arrive at that particular view of God, the world, and reconciliation that makes us feel most comfortable? Is not the true inquirer totally indifferent to what the result of his in­ quiries may be? For when we inquire, are we seekiirg,f<;>r rest, peace, happiness? No, onlyfor truth, even though it be in the highest degree ugly and repell�nt. . . . Here the ways divide: if you wish to strive for peace of soul and happiness, then believe; if you wish to be a disciple of truth, then inquire.16 This defense ofimpartial inquiry against the claims ofreligious be­ lief is hardly original. It had, however, implications far beyond Nietzsche's rejection of theology and a career in the ministry. From the time Nietzsche put theology and the fantasies that he had associated with fraternity life behind him, his inquiry would be into himself. Instead of trying to become aflotter Student, which he now felt he could never be, he set about finding out who he really was. Thereafter he was never to turn from the pursuit of his true self, no matter how unpleasant the search might become. It is from
  • 70 YOUNG NIETZSCHE this point in his life that the intellectual quest that he was later to use as the subtitle of his autobiographical Ecce Homo dates: "How one becomes what one is." He accepted the fact that he could not fulfill the expectations of others, but would have to come to terms with himselfand what fate had decreed for him. From this time on he was tacitly living by the motto, amorjati, loving his fate.17 .. Nietzsche arrived in Leipzig in October 1865 anxious to begin studying philology in earnest. To his own surprise he registered on the same day that Goethe had entered the university there one hun­ dred years earlier. His letter of resignation from the fraternity in Bonn was the first he posted from his new lodgings. And when the university opened for classes, he was well received: as Professor Ritschl entered the hall to give his inaugural lecture, he recognized Nietzsche and several other students from Bonn and called them together for a chat before he began his address. This was the first of many recognitions during his years in Leipzig-probably the hap­ piest time of his life. While he experienced some tension in these years, it is fair to say that in no other period was his social environ­ ment so hospitable, nor was he so comfortably integrated.I II After being welcomed by Ritschl, Nietzsche's first and most de­ cisive encounter in Leipzig was with Arthur Schopenhauer (1 788- 1860), the idealist philosopher, rival of Hegel. Nietzsche had taken a room in the house of a book dealer, and there in his landlord's bookstore he ran across a used copy of The World as Will and Repre­ sentation, Schopenhauer's great work.19 He was fascinated with the first few pages that he read. H'e bought the book immediately, took it straight to his room, and began to study it as if it were sacred scripture. He later wrote of this experience: "I belong among the readers ofSchopenhauer who, after reading one page ofhim, know that they will read every page, and listen to every word that he ever said. 1 trusted him immediately."20 He wrote at the time that reading Schopenhauer was like look­ ing into a mirror where the world, life, and his own temperament were horribly magnified. It was, he wrote, "like being stared at by the great and impartial eye of art." He felt he had been stripped psychologically naked. Schopenhauer's was a bleak philosophy, but the feeling it provoked in Nietzsche was not depression. It was a strangely calm feeling ofdisillusionment coupled with a renewed desire to become his best self. Reading Schopenhauer provoked a searching self-examination; Nietzsche suddenly felt a tremendous
  • A Student ofGenius 71 hunger for self-knowledge. He reproached himselfanew for his fri­ volity in Bonn, and he recorded many other self-accusations in a diary that he kept exclusively for this purpose. He subjected him­ self to a personal inquisition complete with an ascetic sleep and work schedule calculated to reform his spirit. He hoped that a heal­ ing transformation would result from his dedication to the new master. He acquired a kind of moral ambition to be an excellent person, which fit well with his predisposition and Lutheran up­ bringing. Nonetheless, this was a personal crisis that he had not an­ ticipated. Although he had come to Leipzig already determined to reform and work hard at his studies, his experience reading schopenhauer had many of the marks of a religious conversion. Soon after renouncing Christianity, he became a disciple of Schopenhauer.21 Schopenhauer's pessimistic philosophy appealed to Nietzsche as an antidote to his unfortunate year in Bonn. He was impressed by what he called the philosopher's "philosophical seriousness." i Later, in SchopenhauerasEducator (1874), Nietzsche recorded that he thad been attracted to Schopenhauer's "honesty, his cheerfulness[!], ir and his steadfastness,"22 all attributes, of character andnot of -- thought. Nietzsche scarcely reported on Schopenhauer's ideas in his letters, and in Schopenhaueras Educator not at all. His matur� phi­ losophy would be diametrically opposed to Schopenhauer's nega­ tive conclusions about the will. Whatever Nietzsche learned by wrestling with Schopenhauer's philosophy, he was enthralled by Schopenhauer's personality, or the personality that he attributed to him. Discipleship soon'became apostleship, however, as Nietzsche's interest in Schopenhauer became the focus of his friendships. He quickly converted Carl von Gersdorff, his friend from Schulpforta who had now transferred to Leipzig from the University of Berlin, and Hermann Mushacke, another dissatisfied member ofthe Fran­ conia who had moved from Bonn to Leipzig with Nietzsche. These two were the only students he knew when he arrived in Leipzig, and they shared his distaste for fraternity life. (Paul Deussen remained in Bonn, still studying theology. Nietzsche did not initiate him into Schopenhauer's philosophy until several years later; but when Deussen did read Schopenhauer he became one of the phi­ losopher's most faithful and energetic followers, eventually found­ ing the German Schopenhauer Society.)23 Several other converts were made in Leipzig, and the group might have become a
  • 72 YOUNG NIETZSCHE Schopenhauer circle, comparable to the Germania, and Nietzsche might have played his wonted role of intellectual leader there. He soon became involved, however, in another, larger group of stu­ dents among whom he would have an even greater opportunity for leadership. In the same first few weeks in Leipzig, the time when he was discovering Schopenhauer, Nietzsche was a party to the founding of the Leipzig Philologischer Verein. Professor Ritschl proposed the idea to four students who he had invited for an evening at his home. The professor laid out his suggestion that the students form a club for the independent presentation and criticism of their own philological studies. His idea was to foster individual initiative in the study of the classics and to bring his students closer to the ac­ tual practice of professional philology. It was not long before the chosen four called other promising students together in a small res­ taurant and founded their Verein, the Leipzig Philological Society.24 This was a powerful incentive to Nietzsche. Schulpforta had prepared him well in philology, and his disillusion in the fraternity had already determined him to turn all his energy to his studies. But the Philological Society tapped another motive: he loved to lead a small but structured group ofyoung men in intellectual pur­ suits. The Philological Society resembled the Germania, and Nietzsche's role in it was comparable.25 At first there was no formal organization, so the only way a student could distinguish himself was to present a paper. Nietzsche took up the challenge immedi­ ately and was the second to contribute: he presented his investiga­ tion of "The Latest Edition of the Theognidea," a revised and expanded version of his essay on Theognis written at Schulpforta. Nietzsche's first presentation was a great success and had a powerful effect upon him: After overcoming my initial shyness I was able to express myselfforce­ fully and with emphasis and had such success that my friends ex­ pressed greatest respect for what. they had heard. Astonishingly elated, I came home deep in the night and sat right down at my desk to write bitter words in the book of observations [the Schopenhauer­ ian notebook] and suppress the enjoyed pride from the tablet of my consciousness.26 He was resolved to maintain the sober self-critical stance , that would permit him to continue to learn from his discipleship to
  • A Student ofGenius 73 Schopenhauer, but at the same time he was highly stimulated by his success. From this moment inJanuary 1866, philology was no longer merely a discipline or an alternative to theology; now he could really invest himself in philology, and excel in it. He had become a sort of flotter Stw1ent in spite of himself, enjoying in the Philological Society not only the comradeship and respect ofhis fellows that he had sought in theBurschenschajt, but an opportunity to exercise intellectual leader­ ship. The Philological Society was a safe harbor from his dissatisfaction with himself. For a time at least, his enthusiasm for Schopenhauer rein­ forced his enthusiasm for philology. The commanding impression that Nietzsche made with his Theognis paper at the Philological Society gave him the courage to submit a finely copied version of it to Professor Ritschl. Several days later, Ritschl told Nietzsche that he had never seen such a fin­ ished piece ofwork produced by a student in his third semester at the university-so strict was the method and so sure the composi­ tion. He went on to suggest that Nietzsche work the essay up into a small book; he promised his own help in acquiring the necessary materials for collation. This was more encouragement than Nietzsche could have imagined. "For some time I went about under a spell," he wrote; "it was the time I was born as a philologist."27 In each of his first four semesters at Leipzig, Nietzsche contrib­ uted a lecture in the Philological Society with a success similar to that he had attained with the Theognis paper. Several-including the first one on Theognis-were published in Ritschl'sjournal, Das Rheinische Museumfur Philologie. (The book that Ritschl proposed Nietzsche write was never realized, inasmuch as Rit�<=hl discovered that another scholarwas already at work on the project.) These lec­ tures, along wit:p. the authoritative criticism that he undoubtedly delivered on the lectures of others, made him the leader of the So­ ciety in the second year-he was elected president in his third se­ mester at Leipzig_ His presidential address opening the spring semester of 1867 has a somewhat moralistic tone, gently reproach­ ing his fellows for being inadequately prepared to criticize the pa­ pers presented to them, and pressing them to exercise an ethical influence upon their fellow students in philology who were not members of the Society and not dedicated to hard work in scien­ tific philology.2H His schoolmasterly attitude was moderate, how­ ever, and apparently did not offend. He was a success not only as a philological scholar but as president of the Philological Society as well.
  • 74 YOUNG NIETZSCHE The social and academic success that Nietzsche enjoyed in the Philological Society was balanced by the sobering influence of Schopenhauer and the ethic of self-control. He showed no signs of arrogance. He did, however, begin to enjoy the society of his pro­ fessor. He saw Ritschl in his office twice a week at noon; the profes­ sor spoke freely on everything from university politics to his own idiosyncrasies as a scholar.29 Nietzsche also became a frequent guest in the Ritschl home, and became friendly with Frau Ritschl as well, discussing music and theater with her as much as he did phi­ lology with her husband. In spite of his intimacy with Ritschl and his dedication to phi­ lology, Nietzsche in his first two years at Leipzig did not fill a single course-notebook, nor hear a single course of lectures through to the end. He explained this anomalous situation with the observa­ tion that he had been more interested in how his professors taught than in what they taught. He tried always to put himself in the place of the professor, to understand what the professor was trying to accomplish and how he did it. He hoped to learn quickly whatever there was to be learned from any professor, and later, when he had to give his own courses, he could gather materials together accord­ ing to his own system.30 Not even Ritschl was sufficiently interesting to keep Nietzsche in attendance to the end of the semester. Nietzsche already felt himself beyond the status of a student. Having completed his student apprenticeship, he was now looking about for a professorial model. This was not an arrogant or unreal­ istic attitude; very few students can publish what they write in their third semester at the university. His observations on several profes­ sors suggest that he was studying their personalities as much as their methods. His sketches of Wilhelm Dindorf and Konstantin Tischendorf, Leipzig's legendary paleographer, are both rather psychological. He noted that Dindorf was an "unethical pessimis,t" (in pointed contrast to Schopenhauer), a cynical entrepreneur who would exploit colleague and student alike in his effort to sell text­ books. Tischendorf was a far more attractive old man, a charming and romantic figure, but naively and inexhaustibly vain. His wealth of philological anecdotes made it difficult to decide whether to en­ title his courses "paleography" or "Tischendorfs memories and anecdotes." According to Nietzsche, there was absolutely no method to be learned from Tischendorf-only a contradictory per­ sonality to observe. Yet Tischendorfs was the course he attended most regularly, which suggests that Nietzsche's interest in how his
  • A Student ofGenius 75 professors taught did not refer to philological method so much as to personal style.3) He was considering his professors as models or mentors. Dindorf and Tischendorf failed the test; he would not model himselfupon them. Nietzsche's attitude toward his professors and the discipline of philology was, as he put it, a "philosophical" one. When he became a professor himself, he wrote, he hoped not merely to teach philol­ ogy and convey the classical ideals to his students, but to awaken sufficient self-awareness in them to permit each ofthem to recreate the discipline for himself. With the help of Schopenhauer-and not of his own professors-Nietzsche had developed a philosophy oflife: life may be inherently chaotic and meaningless, but one can impose meaning upon it. (This view, a revision of Schopenhauer's theory of the meaninglessness of individual life, is a characteristic tenet of Nietzsche's mature philosophy.) His practical task, as he understood it then, was to choose some field commensurate with his abilities and create order and meaning there. This would in­ volve not merely his philological training and talents, but his whole personality.32 This view of life is whatjustified Nietzsche in think­ ing that he was beyond his professors in certain respects. Even hisjudg'ment ofProfessor Ritschl was critical. He thought that Ritschl was complacent in regard to the larger questions oflife. The professor not only held himself aloof from philosophy but ac­ tively discouraged his students from,becoming interested in it. And Ritschl was limited by the fact that he overestimated the discipline of philology as it was actually practiced; he saw no need for a fun­ damental reform of specialized scholarship.33·' As critical as Nietzsche was of Ritschl, however, his complaints about his profes­ sor reflect an impatience that sons often feel toward their older and less vigorous fathers. Ritschl and Schopenhauer both assumed aspects of father for Nietzsche in these years; only it was Schopenhauer who would have the more enduring paternal influ­ ence upon him. Perhaps Ritschl knew that his attempts to discourage Nietzsche from becoming absorbed in philosophy were failing. To enti<;e Nietzsche into more philological work, Ritschl deliberately pro­ posed a prize essay competition on the ancient historian of philos­ ophy, Diogenes Laertius. Ritschl knew that it was a topic Nietzsche had already explored in a paper read before the Philological Soci­ ety.34 The result was another philological triumph for Nietzsche/15 but no deeper commitment to philology. Philosophy, as he under-
  • 76 YOUNG NIETZSCHE stood it, remained more important to him than philological schol­ arship. He had already complained to Gersdorffthat he f�lt forced to wear a mask of scholarship that separated hIm from Schopenhauer and philosophy.36 This attitude did not change with subsequent philological successes. So Nietzsche's intellectual life was soon as divided in Leipzig as it had been at Schulpforta. At Pforta he had divided his energy be­ tween schoolwork and his "secret" cultivation of music and poetry. In Leipzig he pursued parallel studies in philology and philosophy. Professor Ritschl frowned on his commitment to Schopenhauer and thought that reading philosophy would only distract him from his chosen profession. It did indeed stimulate his emerging ten­ dency to regard philology as a lifeless and rather mechanical pur­ suit. Curiously, it was precisely as Nietzsche emerged as a creative philologist in practice that he began to define philology as a disci­ pline devoid of creativity.37 Nietzsche's growing disdain for philology went against the grain of mid-nineteenth-century German culture, where t�e c�lti­ vation ofGreek and Latin literature was still seen as the anImatIng force of middle-class education. But the study of the classics had changed. Under the impact ofWinckelmann's art historical stud­ ies in the eighteenth century, broad exposure to Greek culture was understood to ennoble the individual and make him more fully human. By the mid-nineteenth century, study of the ancient litera­ tures had already become highly specialized. The idea that schol­ arly-classical education was arid and divorced from life began to take shape as a result ofthe professionalization ofphilology and its perceived irrelevance to the concerns of modern life. Nietzsche would help articulate this idea with such early writings as The Birth of Tragedy (1872), and "On the Uses and Disadvantages of History for Life" (1874). In these books he is recognizably the first in nearly half a century to return to the older way of approaching the Greeks. But as a student in Leipzig, Nietzsche felt that he had to conceal his devotion to Schopenhauer and philosophy, much as he had hidden his fondness for Holderlin at Pforta. This was the par­ tially repressed side ofNietzsche's intellectual life. It was here that his creative energy was pent up against the time when he would burst the conventions of philology and philosophy alike to become an original thinker in his own right. It is characteristic ofNietzsche that this division of his interests was echoed by a division of his personal loyalty to Schopenhauer
  • A Student ofGenius 77 and Ritschl. Nietzsche was constantly comparing the two men and his choice of a career seems to have depended as much upon the outcome of this comparison as it did upon his own suitability for philosophy or philology. The comparison was skewed by the fact that he had Ritschl before him day after day, while Schopenhauer was an abstraction who inhabited only his books. But the very fact that Schopenhauer was an abstraction may have made Nietzsche's remarkable idealization ofthe philosopher possible. He was free to fantasize Schopenhauer into a hero of extraordinary proportions. By contrast, Ritschl was immediately exposed to Nietzsche's critical observation and was consequently never so thoroughly idealized by him. Ritschl was right to think that Nietzsche's intense devotion to Schopenhauer might distract him from a promising career in classical philology. Nietzsche's deeper attachment to Schopenhauer seems in turn to indicate that he needed a more comprehensive (but also mallea. ble) personal model than simply a Doktorvater. Nietzsche's devotion to Schopenhauer satisfied important psychological as well as intel­ lectual needs. Indeed, his idealization of Schopenhauer seems to have given him, for several years at least, a psychological equilib-. rium that he had not possessed in Bonn, and permitted him to de­ velop his professional mastery of classical philology even as he looked beyond it.38 While Ritschl offered a profession, Schopenhauer held out the discipline of philosophy, by which Nietzsche understood not aca­ demic philosophy or its history, which he might learn as a profes­ sion, but the method of seeking wisdom-philo,s?phy in the classical sense. Philosophy in this sense is a whole life's endeavor, not merely a pr�fession. The adult Nietzsche would practice his philosophic vocation as exclusively as anyone possibly could, to the complete exclusion of intimacy or any diversion whatsoever. Furthermore, while the profession of philology that Ritschl represented was more concrete, Nietzsche justifiably felt that he had already mastered it. He did not scorn it; he was prepared to practice it in his own "philosophical" way, in the spirit of Schopenhauer. But his own mastery made it difficult for him to continue to idealize Ritschl, even as a model of this profession. He had already begun to think of Ritschl as a colleague rather than a master. Philosophy, on the other hand, was an enormous territory where he still felt naive and in need of guidance. And Schopenhauer seerned to be a most trustworthy guide.
  • 78 YOUNG NIETZSCHE Nietzsche was as happy, productive, and gregarious as ever in his life at this time. The only thing missing from this picture was romance; and there is not a single mention ofan interest in women in these years in Leipzig-neither of sex, nor women in general, nor ofa particular woman. Was this due to unconscious repression, a traumatic reaction to the death of his father at that stage of his psychosexual development when he was competing with his father for the affection of his mother? Was it latent homosexuality? Or was it simply an unusual degree of narcissistic preoccupation with himself that prevented him from expressing erotic feelings? In the end he was happy enough without romance. He did have a close friend, however, and this may be the best evidence of his happiness and fulfillment in these years. It was in his second year in Leipzig, 1866-67, that he discovered a unique friendship with Erwin Rohde, a student who he had known for a while but with whom he became friendly only grad­ ually. Rohde was also a member of the Philological Society. He was Nietzsche's equal in philology and his superior in modern lan­ guages. But these academic commonalities were not the basis of their friendship. Nietzsche later wrote that in his experience most friendships are based upon superficial common interests and are often a source of deep disappointment when the more fundamen­ tal differences finally wrench young people apart; by contrast, he and Rohde disagreed on all the superficial things and yet found harmony in the revelation oftheir deeper feelings.39 This was an accurate description of Nietzsche's experience to date, since most of his friendships had depended upon his friends being pliant and acquiescent in his plans. Nietzsche's friendship with Paul Deussen is a good example. When, after the year they had spent in Bonn, Deussen did not drop theology or take up philology as Nietzsche had done, Nietzsche badgered him with insulting let­ ters. Both of them were disappointed. With Rohde, Nietzscli'e seems not to have felt the need to play the schoolmaster. The two of them could argue incessantly and yet spend every day together dur­ ing the spring of 1867. When school was out they went hiking to­ gether in the Bavarian Forest.4o Both Nietzsche and Rohde reported in separate letters to other friends that they had been drawn together by Schopenhauer and not by classical philology, although that was their common major.41 Possibly the sense of integration that Nietzsche gained from his idealization of Schopenhauer, and his success at the university in
  • A Student ofGenius 79 Leipzig, permitted him for the first time to take leave ofhis Erzieher role and engage in friendship on equal terms. Nietzsche's friend­ ship with Rohde represents the greatest intimacy he had enjoyed since leaving home to attend Schulpforta. Unfortunately, the two were separated soon after their friendship deepened. • In 1865-66, as he wrote the philological essays that would soon be published in Das Rheinische MuseumfurPhilologie, Nietzsche actu­ ally had little left to learn about philology, except details about par­ ticular authors and texts. He already knew how to do philology. While Ritschl could encourage Nietzsche and promote his career, he could not teach him very much. Yet Nietzsche was still eager to learn: philosophy was what he studied; and Arthur Schopenhauer and Friedrich Albert Lange became his teachers. Nietzsche admired Schopenhauer for being a passionate phi­ losopher who nevertheless scorned professional philosophy.42 He was a creative thinker, not merely a scholar, and he had never been a university professor. He took the meaning of life itself, and not just a few arcane texts, as his field of inquiry. Nietzsche recognized Schopenhauer as a genius from the start. Lange, whom he discov­ ered somewhat later, he never idealized in this way. But through repeated readings of Lange's book Nietzsche learned more about the history of philosophy than he did from any other source. While Nietzsche never met either Schopenhauer or Lange, he studied them intensively. He may have learned philosophy more profoundly by reading Schopenhauer and Lange because he en­ tered so thoroughly into their ways of thinking. Fr0I)). The World as Will and Representation he learned Schopenhauer's system, and about the consequential thinking required by systematic philoso­ phy. He got an orientation in the history of philosophy, and a glimpse of Indian thought. And since Schopenhauer's philosophy was largely a rethinking of certain Kantian positions, he learned , something about Kant along with Schopenhauer's penetrating cri­ tique of him. It was a kind of philosophical apprenticeship with Schopenhauer. From Lange's two large volumes on The History of Materialism, he gleaned an education in the history of philosophy. Nietzsche had read Schopenhauer's World as Will and Represen­ tation in October 1865 and was immediately converted. He de­ clared himself an "ethical pessimist" at that time. At first he subscribed to the whole system; it suited his psychological frame of mind as he mourned the year he had wasted in Bonn. But within
  • 80 YOUNG NIETZSCHE the year he privately began to doubt important parts of the system, such as Schopenhauer's negative evaluation of the will. Nonethe­ less, he maintained a personal allegiance to the philosopher long after he had begun to question his system. Schopenhauer's impact upon Nietzsche's thinking remained decisive. Several of the most basic ideas in Nietzsche's life-affirming philosophy are versions of ideas that preoccupied Schopenhauer: the view that what we can know of the world is only appearance, and the conviction that the will is the most fundamental reality. Schopenhauer himself started from Kant, enthusiastically ap­ proving the negative side of Kant's critique of pure reason. He be­ lieved that Kant's demonstration of the limited capacity of human reason to know the world was the decisive break in modern philos­ ophy, the most fundamental development in philosophy since Plato. Kant had finally "undeceived" the human mind of its naive realism and literal-mindedness. Schopenhauer's philosophical project begins with an exploration of how we represent the world to ourselves; showing that our perceptions are no more than repre­ sentations (Vorstellungen) of the world, not the world itself. This is the subject ofthe first book ofhis major work, The World as Will and Representation.43 It is the first ofa knotted series ofpropositions that comprise Schopenhauer's idealist and world-denying philosophy. Paradoxically, Schopenhauer's idealist skepticism about our ability to apprehend reality became one of the cornerstones of Nietzsche's philosophical affirmation ofappearances and the will. One of Nietzsche's most frequently restated propositions is pre­ cisely that there are only appearances. He would deny the opposi­ tion ofappearance and reality by collapsing them. In The Twilight of the Idols he asserted that reality is appearance, ascribing the idea to Heraclitus: "The 'apparent' world is the only one; the 'real world' has simply been lied to US."44 In Nietzsche's hands this doctrine led to different conclusions than it did in Schopenhauer's. For Nietzsche it served as the basis of the view that all knowledge is in­ terpretation-his "perspectivism."�5 For Schopenhauer, the fact that our knowledge is restricted to our own representations of the world led to the conclusion that we would be wiser not to hope for satisfaction in the illusory world we represent to ourselves. Nietzsche, in contrast, affirmed the will and human striving in the most radical way. But the different philosophic uses to which they put the idea of appearance should not obscure the fact that this position, so very basic to Nietzsche's thinking, fits squarely in the
  • A Student ofGenius 81 tradition of German idealism, in a very particular genealogy­ Kant: Schopenhauer: Nietzsche. Even Nietzsche's understanding of the will derives from schopenhauer. In the second book of The Worldas Will and Repre­ sentation Schopenhauer departed so drastically from Kant as to open a whole new domain ofphilosophy.46 He declared that man is not merely a perceiving (representing) being, but even more funda­ mentally a willing being, that all perceiving is ultimately in the ser­ vice of willing. This too is found in Nietzsche's mature thought, again in a very prominent position. "The will to power" is a direct descendant of Schopenhauer's thinking about the will, and one that owes little or nothing to Kant or the rest of the occidental tra­ dition of philosophy. Completely rejecting Kant's discussion of "things-in-themselves," Schopenhauer identified the will as the one "thing-in-itself," the only metaphysical reality whatsoever. Schopenhauer elaborated the notion ofthe will largely in response to his reading of Eastern (Indian) philosophy, and, as an after­ thought, showed that the same problem was present in Christianity , and other world religions.47 Nietzsche's originality lay in his posi­ tive evaluation ofthe will, and the extreme license that he allowed for it in the doctrine of the will to power. But it was definitely fol­ lowing Schopenhauer that he too understood the will as the funda­ mental reality ofthe universe. The rest of Schopenhauer's philosophy, what is presented in books three and four of The World as Will and Representation, and what Nietzsche soon rejected, initially impressed him too. It is only in the second half of his major work that Schop'enllauer enters upon the ethical implications of his view of the human subject as a willing and repr�senting being. He explains why the representa­ tions of different individuals can never coincide on the most im­ portant matters, and how the divergent practical interests of individual wills lead them into conflict. This is the problem for . ' which his theory of willing not to will is the solution. Here, and in all his writings, Schopenhauer recognized a distinction between the egotistic "interested" knowledge of individuated, practical rea­ son, fated to frustration, and a much rarer, disinterested knowl­ edge that sees beyond the war of individual wills. The latter objective knowledge is the exclusive terrain of the genius. It is wis­ dom, and leads to renunciation of the "interested" will, to quies­ cence in life. This did not convince Nietzsche for long, perhaps because he
  • 82 YOUNG NIETZSCHE was soon to experience the force of Richard Wagner's very per. sonal will in his own life. But he recognized Schopenhauer's view as a serious attempt to solve a basic problem of life. It spoke directly to the concerns of Nietzsche's extended adolescence, for he was still struggling with his own ambition, distrustful of socially accepted ca. reer goals, and wary of devoting himself completely to philology. Schopenhauer suggested to Nietzsche that it was possible to face the paradoxes and compromises of existence squarely, come to terms with them, and even respond creatively to them. This earnest engage. ment of actual problems of life was precisely what Nietzsche found missing in everything else that he read. Schopenhauer may not have solved the problem to Nietzsche's satisfaction, but as Nietzsche saw it, by spending his life as an unrecognized prophet, Schopenhauer had sacrificed his life to his philosophy. More than anything else, this drew Nietzsche to Schopenhauer. Nietzsche encounteredLange's book,Die GeschichtedesMaterialismus und Kritik seiner Bedeutung in der Gegenwart ("The History of Materi. alism and Critique of Its Present Significance") in the summer of 1866, about a year after he had become a disciple of Scho­ penhauer.48 He found Lange's work to be a goldmine of informa­ tion that would permit him to enlarge the basic philosophic view that he had developed reading Schopenhauer. In effect Lange gave Nietzsche the history of philosophy in a single, provocative pack­ age. Like Schopenhauer, Lange was a neo-Kantian, but his empha, sis was different: although he wrote his history of materialism as a history of a delusion, he was much more at ease with modern soci­ ety and scientific thought, and he accepted scientific methods of investigation. Ultimately this made Lange's ideas more useful to Nietzsche than Schopenhauer's proved to be. Lange was an origi­ nal thinker too, but an unpretentious one. Making no effort to per. ' form the role of the genius, he was actually surprised that his magnum opus was received as something more than a tract for the times. When Nietzsche first read The History ofMaterialism in 1866, he immediately appreciated thatLange was an indispensable com. plement to Kant and Schopenhauer, a congenial source of infor. mation and novel insights on every imaginable subject, organized as a critical review of all the major Western philosophical posi­ tion,s, including Kant's. In all, Nietzsche's reading of Lange supported his Scho�, penhauerian epistemology. In a letter he wrote to Gersdorff, Nietzsche quoted Lange's conclusions:
  • A Student ofGenius 83 (l) The sensory world is the product of our [biological] organiza­ tion. (2) Our visible (bodily) organs are like all other parts ofthe world of appearances, images ofunknown objects. (3) Our real organization remains as unknown to us as the truly ex­ ternal objects.49 Nietzsche understood Lange to support Kant's and Schopenhauer's skepticism. The idealist critique of what we can know, as carried out by Kant and Schopenhauer, diverges radically from the biolog­ ically materialist anthropology of Darwin. But Lange gave Nietzsche a crucial hint as to how the two doctrines could actually be combined and could reinforce each other. Accepting the biolog­ ical basis ofhuman perception and will, Lange legitimated the will. He did not favor the renunciation of the will as Schopenhauer did, but approved the human struggle for mastery of the environment. Here was a seed ofNietzsche's will to power. Kant was the critical turning point in Lange's history of philos­ ophy,just as he was in Schopenhauer's work. Lange's large chapter on Kant informed Nietzsche better on that philosopher than Schopenhauer had. (It is not clear whether Nietzsche ever read Kant systematically himself.) Later movements are also covered in The History of Materialism, such as English political economy and Darwinian thought, subjects that Nietzsche was never able to read in the original because ofhis deteriorating eyesight. As Nietzsche's only source for these essential subjects, Lange was as important as Schopenhauer in Nietzsche's philosophic educ�tion. Nietzsche made some unqualified statements about Lange aCthe time. In a letter to a fellow student he called The History of Materialism "the most important philosophical work of recent decades." He could praise it for pages. All he needed was "Kant, Schopenhauer, and this book ofLange's."5o Two years later, in a letter to Gersdorff, Nietzsche made an even more extensive claim for Lange, indicating precisely how Nietzsche would use his book. Ifyou want to inform yourselfthoroughly about the materialist move­ ment of our time, about the natural sciences with their Darwinist the­ ories, their cosmic systems, their . . . camera obscura, and so on, and again about ethical materialism, Manchester theory [i.e., political economy], etc., then I cannot recommend anything more excellent
  • 84 YOUNG NIETZSCHE than TheHistory ofMaterialism, by Friedr. Alb. Lange (Iserlohn 1866), a book that gives infinitely more than the title promises, a real treasure • !)l of a book that you can read over and over again: In fact, Nietzsche continued to rely upon Lange's History, and cited a myriad examples from it in his later works, long after he had ceased to read Schopenhauer at all.52 After writing this letter to Gersdorff, however, Nietzsche never again mentioned Lange's name in his correspondence. Perhaps Nietzsche did not realize how his reliance upon Lange grew as his interest in Schopenhauer faded. Or he may have been embarrassed that he relied upon Lange for his knowledge of philosophical positions that he could not read in the original. But it is also true that Lange's big and care· fully studied book was strictly a source of information and provoc· ative ideas for Nietzsche; Lange himself was never the personal inspiration that Schopenhauer was. Schopenhauer was more than an intellectual mentor. Nietzsche learned the role of the heroic·philosophical personality from him, the role of the genius. As he wrote a few years later in a little book entitled Schopenhauer als Erzieher (l874)-"Schopenhauer as Educa· tor," one of the Untimely Meditations-Schopenhauer became his adoptive parent and life model.53 Nietzsche had by then spent sev� eral years in admiring devotion to Schopenhauer (since 1865), and Wagner (since 1869). He thought he could explain from his own experience how culture serves a potentially creative individual by providing models like Schopenhauer and Wagner. Following their examples had helped him to become himself, his best self. Culture. had not held out for acquisition talents that he did not already pOSe sess, like "artificial limbs, wax noses, or spectacles." It offered great examples, educators and formative teachers [who] reveal . . . to you what the true basic material of your being is, something in itself ineducable and in any case hard to realize, bound and paralyzed: your educators can only be your liberators.54 According to Nietzsche, culture provides what in loosely Freud· ian terms are called "ego ideals." As he put it, "only he who has given his heart to some great man receives the first consecration of culture;"55 only after submitting to some teacher can a young per· son become creative in his own right. To Nietzsche, giving himself
  • A Student ofGenius 85 to a great man meant identifying with that man in fantasy and em· ulating him like a son emulates a father. It is true that I only found a book [not Schopenhauer himself], and that was a great lack. But I made all the more effort to see beyond the book and to picture the man whose great testament I had to read, the man who promised to make only those his heirs who wished to be and were capable ofbeingmore thanjust his readers: namely, his sons and '1 56pUpl S. The effort "to picture the man" is a work of fantasy, a young man's attempt to reach beyond himself, to bring himself to the point where he could move creatively and independently among other great men. Having lost his real father at such an early age, Nietzsche, now faced with the necessity of defining himself as a man and choosing a profession, was desperate for a fatherly pre· ceptor. Schopenhauer was the first model worthy of his complete dedication. Schopenhauer was a precocious philosopher himself. He pub· lished his first book in 1813 at the age oftwenty·five, On theFourfold RootofSufficientReason. This earned Schopenhauer the doctorate in philosophy; and it presaged the entire system ofphilosophy that he presented to the world in 1819 in his major work, The Worldas Will andRepresentation, when he was a mere thirty·one years old. Then, In 1836, he published a small book On the Will inNature, buttressing his philosophy with corroborations drawn from the natural scien­ tific research of his day. And in 1841 The Two FU'lidamftntal Problems ofEthics appeared. Although all of these books were ignored, he continued to writ�, publishing a secondvolume of The Worldas Will andRepresentation in 1844; it consisted of essays that filled in gaps and enlarged upon aspects of the original edition. In 1851 he pub­ lished another two-volume work entitled Parerga and Paralipomena, a Greek title roughly translated as "after-thoughts and asides;" these were essays elaborating his system still further. An astonish­ ingcharacteristic ofSchopenhauer's oeuvre is that he never found it necessary to revise the system of thought that he had devised in his twenties. With absolute self-confidence, he simply enlarged and elaborated upon his own basic ideas. Throughout his career as an author, Schopenhauer remained unconnected with universities or the philosophical establishment, and largely unrecognized in German literary magazines.
  • 86 YOUNG NIETZSCHE Schopenhauer took a perverse pleasure in this lack of recognition. In caustic prefaces, he mocked his rivals, "the university philoso­ phers," and the shallow public that admired them. He anticipated that the time would come, however, when select and worthy read­ ers would discover him. This attitude derived from the nineteenth­ century myth of the unrecognized genius, and the systematic consistency of Schopenhauer's works is almost a caricature of the inherent unity that was supposed to characterize the works of a ge­ nius.57 Schopenhauer understood himself as an unrecognized ge­ nius. He self-consciously lived this belief and propagated it in his n prefaces. Like many other artists and thinkers of the century, he !.if modeled his life upon the assumption of his unrecognized genius, II both to marshall his own energies for the enormous creative task that he set himself, and to make himselfultimately recognizable as � a genius. He too lived an autobiographical life. Schopenhauer did not remain permanently unrecognized, however. When an English author discovered the Parerga and Paralipomena, Schopenhauer finally received a favorable review. This was the work ofJohn Oxenford, the translator of Goethe's writings, who published several essays on Schopenhauer in the Westminster Review.58 Oxenford's essays were soon translated into German and republished in the Vossische Zeitung. This led to a sud· den surge of interest in Schopenhauer's works in Germany, which he could still enjoy before his death in 1860. So when Nietzsche discovered The World as Will and Representa­ tion in 1865, the philosopher was no longer unknown. In fact, he was··· well known as a kind of martyr to his philosophy, as an unrecognized genius who had perseveredwith remarkable consequence in elaborat­ ing an uncongenial but truthful system ofphilosophy without any in· . tercourse with his contemporaries. His philosophy came complete not only with those prefaces in which Schopenhauer advertised h�m· self as an unrecognized genius, but with a carefully elaborated theory of the genius as part of its contents. And since he had long been un, recognized, every reader could now imagine himself to be one of the ' select readers that Schopenhauer had foreseen, one of those who had discovered and could appreciate the hero. This is an interesting con� ceit that has functioned in the reception of many other thinkers, in� eluding Nietzsche himself. It may have enhanced Nietzsche's feeling for Schopenhauer. For while Schopenhauer was now quite popular , Nietzsche could still conceive of his interest in the philosopher as kind of conspiracy.
  • ·· A Student ofGenius 87 Schopenhauer's theory of the genius is one of the most impor­ tant sources of Friedrich Nietzsche's thinking about himself as a creative person and about the genius in general. Friedrich had known about genius when he wrote his autobiography at age four· teen, casting himselfin the role ofGoethe, and he assimilated more in the ensuing years. But Schopenhauer was the first person whom he identified as his educator in genius. Nietzsche naturally paid particular attention not only to Schopenhauer's example, but to the sections ofSchopenhauer's works in which he treats the subject of genius. For a time Schopenhauer's theory of genius became Nietzsche's. When he met Richard Wagner in November 1868, Nietzsche would write to one of his friends that Wagner was the very incarnation of what Schopenhauer had written on the ge- nius.59 Schopenhauer understood the genius to possess a detached and contemplative view ofthe world. In contrast to the vast major­ ity of mankind, the genius has objective knowledge, which for Schopenhauer meant direct apprehension of the nature of things, the (Platonic) Ideas. This type ofunderstanding is possible only as the result of an inborn surplus of intellect, beyond what would be necessary to complement the will in practical life. This is a great anomaly because, in the ordinary mortal, the will preoccupies the intellect. Ordinary people, according to Schopenhauer, necessarily per­ ceive the world from egotistic points of view, each governed by his particular will and its practical, purposive interests. This is what Schopenhauer (and after him Nietzsche) referred to in,Latin as the principium individuationzs-the principle of individuation: human beings are alienated from each other in their very perception of the world by their conflicting wills. They seldom if ever transcend the purposive striving of daily existence, and can therefore never see the world disinterestedly, but only in terms of utility. The ge­ nius, however, has intellect to spare. As Schopenhauer wrote in one place, ifan ordinary person is composed ofone-third intellect and two-thirds will, the genius is two·thirds intellect. As a result the genius may be less practical and perhaps more unhappy. But his surfeit of intellect permits him to apprehend the world unencum­ bered by his will, i.e., by his practical purposes and interests. What distinguishes the genius, therefore, is a quality of percep­ tion quite lacking in others, even in the most talented. It may give rise to works of art or philosophy, but such works do not make the
  • 88 YOUNGNIETZSCHE genius. As Schopenhauer wrote of the artist in the first edition o The World as Will andRepresentation, The Artist lets us peer into the world through his eyes. That he ha these eyes, that he knows the essential in things which lies outside a relations, is the gift of genius and is inborn; but that he is able to lend us this gift, to let us see with his eyes, is acquired, and is the technica side of art.60 The technical side of art, what Schopenhauer elsewher� calls mim icry, is not restricted to the genius. Unlike the innate perceptive capacity of the genius, it can be learned; and it can be put to other purposes than communicating such perceptions, namely, in mak ing palatable copies of what is already commonplace. For Schopenha�er, it is not the work of art produced by a genius that distinguishes him most fundamentally, but his capacity to see the world in its essence. Thus Schopenhauer characterizes the differ­ ence between the genius and the merely talented with a sim· "[The man of] talent is like the marksman who hits a target that others cannot reach; [the] genius is like the marksman who hits a target . . . [the] others cannot even see." The mark that the genius sees (and hits) is of no immediate practical utility. It is objecti knowledge. And as he surveys it, the genius is not a willing individ­ ual, but the pure, will-less, knowing subject. But he may in his works show it to the rest of mankind, and thus alter everything. . Schopenhauer's thoughts on the genius include many other tions common to nineteenth-century writing on genius. For exam" pIe, he subscribed to the cliche that "genius is next to madness."�l And he assumed that the genius would not only be initially un: �ecognizable : but would find himselfopposed by his contemporar� I�S. If these Ideas were the common intellectual property of .' .. nIneteenth century, Schopenhauer's explanation was his own. It lay precisely in the excess of intellect. The genius is less competent than the ordinary person in the practical affairs of life because his will is deficient or overwhelmed by his intellect. Schopenhauer un� derstood this imbalance to be physiological, and similar to the im­ balance that produces madness. Furthermore, the objective knowledge that the genius has of the (Platonic) Ideas is not directly relevant to day-to-day life. His direct apprehension ofthe nature of things gives his knowledge a timeless quality incompatible with the
  • of as aU d al m­ e r k­ r t e ­ t ' a s •. ­ , .... . .. . A Student ofGenius 89 trivings of his contemporaries, who are so full of momentary pur­ s ose. His very insight estranges him from his fellows.62 P While Nietzsche undoubtedly heard these characteristics as- ribed to the genius by other sources, Schopenhauer gave them ac hilosophically coherent and psychologically cogent explanation. �lthough he was not so bold as to begin thinking of himself as a fully formed genius, he did take Schopenhauer's understanding of genius to explain certain of his own worries about himself. In par­ ticular, the concern about sanity that he had expressed to Dr. Zimmerman at Schulpforta, a concern that apparently stemmed from his father's alleged insanity; the sense of alienation that he felt among his fellow students and fraternity brothers in the Fran­ conia; and his preoccupation and indecision about which ofhis in­ terests and talents he should abandon as he tried to make a decision about a career. And if he ever wondered about his lack of interest in women, Schopenhauer explained that too. While Schopenhauer did not solve any of these problems for Nietzsche, he seemed to suggest that they were understandable in a young man in whom the intellect predominated over the will. This must have been reassuring. .. At the end ofSeptember 1867, Nietzsche was surprised to learn that he had been found physically fit to serve in the army, in spite ofhis extreme nearsightedness. He quickly tried to arrange to serve his year in a university city, and made a trip to Berlin for the pur­ pose. His effort failed, however, and he was condemned to the mounted artillery in Naumburg. Nietzsche spent a year in Naumburg as a reservist in the mounted artillery. He worried about being away from the univer­ sity. Living at home was no longer the consolation it would have been just a year or two earlier. In letters to his friends he com­ plained of loneliness and boredom. In a particularly poignant let­ ter to Erwin Rohde he imagined that Rohde could see him cleaning the stalls, brushing down his horse, riding, and so on; and when he turned around in the saddle he thought he could see Rohde riding right behind him.63 Rohde had been more than a fellow student with similar interests; he was someone "whose seriousness about life was the same as my own, who evaluated things and people with approximately the same standard as I, and whose whole being fi­ nally has a strengthening effect upon me." The separation was painful. Nietzsche wrote that he had not fully appreciated
  • 90 YOUNG NIETZSCHE Schopenhauer until then. He sought consolation reading a few pages of the Parerga.64 The military deprived Nietzsche not only of Rohde's compan­ ionship but of the considerable gratification he had got from his philological activity in Leipzig. To compensate, perhaps, one ofthe projects he set himselffor this year away from the university was to organize and edit a Festschrift for Ritschl, a collection of scholarly essays by the already scattered members ofthe Philological Society. Nietzsche was pleased when Rohde finished and submitted his paper, but by the beginning of May 1868 it was clear that the other contributors were too busy, taking their state examinations, accept­ ing jobs as schoolteachers, getting married-all too preoccupied with their personal lives.65 This provoked Nietzsche to bitter criti­ cism ofphilology and philologists. The very philological project in which he invested himself while away from Leipzig was contribut­ ing to his disillusion. Nietzsche complained that there was far too little true enthusi­ asm (Begeisterung) among young philologists, students and instruc- tors alike. Most were morally stunted as a result of senseless memorizing while neglecting their spiritual development, and the few who were more than mnemonic drudges were vain and arro­ gant. Even Jakob Bernays, the most brilliant young philologist in Nietzsche's estimation, indulged his vanity intemperately.66 ' Nietzsche could see no one who was capable of both a philosophi� cal view of his discipline and an ethical attitude toward life, taking : both of these adjectives in their Schopenhauerian sense. He fanta�i, sized that he and Rohde would dedicate their careers to combating this situation. Not that they would change the climate-.- , Schopenhauer had taught them better than to expect success. They, would merely do their part so that a few young philologists might,' be "born with the necessary skepticism, free from pedantry and the i overestimation of their discipline, and as true promoters of hu� manistic studies." "Soyonsde notre siecle," he wrote. "Let's be citizens;,! of our own century" would be their motto, flatly contradicting the'·, ethos of professional philology.67 The two friends would thus leaven the philological profession with philosophy�, ; Schopenhauer's. Nietzsche did not relish this task; rather, he reo garded it as an ethical obligation, a duty. As a philologist he was anxious to give his own writing a more, explicit philosophical orientation. After he finished a few of the philological tasks he already had pending, he hoped to turn to writ-,
  • , ' : ' ; ' ' A Student ofGenius 91 ing a book about Greek literary history from a Schopenhauerian point ofview. He even managed to make a considerable number of notes on the subject, notes that indicate he had already decided that the historicist ambition of Ranke and others to understand "hoW it really was," or "wie es eigentlich gewesen," was misconceived. Literary history, he recognized, had always been written in the ser­ vice of contemporary philosophical needs; his ambition was to re­ veal the malaise of a positivistic generation that thought it had no such needs (nor any such philosophy).68 As it happened, Nietzsche only made notes for this project; but it was in this spirit that he wrote The Birth ofTragedy a few years later. Another fantasy that Nietzsche shared with Rohde was the idea ofworking and studying in Paris, "the capital ofcivilization."69 This idea contained the desire to do something relevant, in particular studying modern science; but it also showed an inclination to bohemianism, and frustration with the expected and acceptable ca­ reer choices. It was an excellent plan, and it would be interesting to speculate on how Nietzsche's career would have turned out, had he gone to Paris. He was still planning the move when he returned to Leipzig in the fall of 1868; only the call to the professorship in Basel finally killed the plan. By that time, however, the trip had come to represent an abandonment of philology for further study , in the natural sciences-a complete change ofcareer. Nietzsche's fantasies were punctured in March of 1868, when after five months of military service he accidentally fell off his horse.7o Suddenly he found himself in bed with broken ribs and torn muscles in his chest. His wound became infec�ed and festered for months until he was finally remanded to a military-sanatorium for the month ofJuly; his year of military service expired before he could get back into the saddle. As unpleasant as this ordeal was, it did give Nietzsche time to sift through his papers. Whereas most of what he had done while in training had been speculative and fanci­ ful, he was now faced with the necessity of doing something con­ crete. As a result, his ambivalence about philology became more pronounced. Much ofthe philological work that he did after his accident was drudgery. He spent a good deal of time making an index for the first twenty years of Ritschl's Das Rheinische Museumfiir Philologie. It was a mindless task, and he despised it; doing it only out of loyalty to "father Ritschl," as he called him in a letter to Rohde. Then he revised several of his own Leipzig papers for publication in the
  • 92 YOUNG NIETZSCHE samejournal. Sometimes he could convince himselfthatthese papers were permeated by a Schopenhauerian pessimism and that they led toward a truly philosophical philology. At other times, however, he was depressed that he had not the time to improve them by making his philosophical position more explicit and prominent; and yet he was only too glad to get rid of them by sending them off for Ritschl to publish. At the end of the year he complained that his publica­ tions distressed him: wasn't it a mistake to publish such stuff, largely false, insignificant, immaturely expressed? This regret, partIy the result ofNietzsche's deepened capacity for self-criticism, also reflects his growing impatience with the genre of scholarly writing, and deep displeasure at his own involvement in it.71 His most persistent concern after his accident was the prospect of writing a thesis. He would have to write one if he was to avoid taking the Staatsexamen and becoming a school teacher, and that was out of the question. He was contemptuous of philology stu­ dents whose professional ambition was no higher than to get a se­ curejob and marry. But by now he had nearly as much disdain for the idea ofwriting a thesis as he did for the Staatsexamen. He advised Rohde not to use the paper he, Rohde, had prepared for the Ritschl Festschrift, as a thesis: it was far too good for that purpose. Rather, he should choose a subject at random, insignificant, boring, com: mensurate with the requirement; with that the convention of a dis­ sertation would be admirably fulfilled.72 To Paul Deussen, who had by now seen the error of his ways and changed from theology to philology, Nietzsche wrote several schoolmasterly letters on Deussen's pretentious dissertation plans; he instructed Paul to think of himself as a factory worker and his professor as the employer: he should do any job assigned to him, no matter how trivial, and above all not expect to express himself creatively. He himself, he wrote, was beyond that. He was thor­ oughly disillusioned with the whole genre of philological writing. He was planning instead to write a philosophical dissertation on "the concept of the organic since Kant."73 Nietzsche declared his interest in a philosophical dissertation to Rohde as well, but admit­ ted that it was a rather impractical idea; instead he would write a . dissertation on the mythic competition between Homer and Hesiod, incorporating his Schopenhauerian view of literary his­ tory.74 He proposed this to Ritschl too and it eventually became the subject of his inaugural lecture at Basel. But he never did write a thesis.
  • A Student ofGenius 93 Instead of writing a dissertation, Nietzsche busied himself with schopenhauer. He propagandized for Schopenhauer, even making a convert of a Naumburg pastor. He thought of putting himself in contact with prominent Schopenhauerians like Friedrich Spielhagen, Eugen Diihring, andJulius Frauenstadt. To Gersdorff he suggested that they get their "philosophical friends together," as ifto organize a Schopenhauer Verein.75 At the same time, Nietzsche felt a growing ambivalence. Schopenhauer had made philology seem trivial, and Nietzsche was anxious to give his philological publicatio�s the saving grace of a philosophical point of view drawn from Schopenhauer. He might even have written about Schopenhauer himself. But when Nietzsche sat down to write about Schopenhauer, he found himselfquite critical. Nietzsche believed the value ofSchopenhauer's contribution to philosophy depended upon the viability of the concept of "will" that he employed to solve Kant's problem of metaphysics. "The wili," Nietzsche now noted, was open to a number of "decisive ob­ jections;" unfortunately he did not spell them out. But Nietzsche apparently saw that he would have to affirm the will rather than renounce and suppress it, as Schopenhauer advocated. Perhaps this was also the first inkling that he would have to oppose meta­ physics itself. But there can be no doubt that Nietzsche concluded at this point that Schopenhauer's solution to the problem of meta­ physics had failed.76 Nietzsche nevertheless reconciled himself to continued loyalty and devotion to Schopenhauer. For while Schopenhauer was phil­ osophically wrong, he was a genius, and an invalu-al:>l� ethical pre- ceptor. Nietzsche's alP-bivalence about Schopenhauer explains why he did not abandon philology for a dissertation on "the concept ofthe organic since Kant." Such a project would have involved him in a public critique of his ideal. What is odd is that his notes suggesting a comprehensive negation of Schopenhauer's system of thought have no precedent in his correspondence, not even with Rohde. Schopenhauer was his master, his "first love," the ideal after whom he refashioned his intellect, and yet suddenly he was in a position to mount a frontal, intellectual attack upon him. It is as if he had innocently applied his intellectual skills to his master, and before he realized what he had done, had laid the master's system in ruins. Paul Deussen sensed that Nietzsche was no longer in agreement with Schopenhauer, atjust the time he was catching up and becom-
  • 94 YOUNG NIETZSCHE ing a disciple of Schopenhauer himself. Deussen suggested thatNietzsche write a critique of the philosopher, only to be brusquelyr�buffed. ��th the r�mark tha� one does not refute a Weltanschauung WIth lOgIC. And NIetzsche dId not actually make this attack uponSchopenhauer in print until many years later. He was still holdingback his criticism when he wrote "Schopenhauer as Educator" in1874. This peculiar situation is understandable as a function ofNietzsche's p�ychological attachment to Schopenhauer. Havingchosen the phIlosopher for a father figure, he naturally discoveredconflicting feelings for him. The natural ground upon which tocriticize him was intellectual, and Nietzsche's intellectual objec.tions to Schopenhauer's concept of the will may have been well·founded. But Nietzsche was not so impetuous as to throw off hisdiscipleship to Schopenhauer altogether, simply because he dis·agreed with him intellectually. His refusal to reject Schopenhauerat this point demonstrates again that with Schopenhauer he wasworking through unresolved feelings about his father. He was alsoredefining himself-becoming a philosopher in the steadfastly honest sense in which heunderstood Schopenhauer to have been aphilosopher. He was becoming someone who could philosophize as Schopenhauer did, rather than simply someone who accepted Schopenhauer's conclusions. This is what a prospective genius must do-reach the level ofthe genius who has been his model, and then overcome or go be­y�nd �im. He must transcend his model in order to become a ge­ nIUS hImself. In 1868 Nietzsche wasjustbeginningto realize thathe would have to do this; and his reluctance to take this step shows inhis letter to Deussen, rejecting the idea of a critique of Schoo penhauer's ideas. •• On his way to the sanatorium in July 1868, Nietzsche passed t�rough Leipzig and visited a number of friends, including the RItschls. The high point ofhis trip, he wrote, was conversation and playing the piano with Frau Ritschl. He notified his family and Rohde that she was now his intimate Freundin, a term that almost connotes "girl friend" here.78 What they played together wasWagner, about whose music Nietzsche still had serious reserva­tions. But now he began to speak ofSchopenhauer and Wagner inthe same breath. Frau Ritschl also inspired him with a desire to
  • t A Student ofGenius 95 nter more actively into the social life ofLeipzig; his entree would �e Frau Brockhaus, sister of Richard Wagner, and Sophie Ritschl's best friend. There is an oedipal dimension to this seudo-romantic enthusiasm for the wife of his Doktorvater. And his aspiration to an exciting social life again seemsratherunrealis­ tic given his formal demeanor. But these unexpressed hopes and feelings seem to have temporarily reconciled his ambivalences, bringing him back to Leipzig and philology with enthusiasm and a fresh disposition. Nietzsche returned to Leipzig in the autumn of 1868 to a new style oflife, definitely not the life ofa student. He referred to him­ selfin his letters as "Leipzig's future Privatdozent" and even signed his name with "Dr." although he had not begun to write the doc­ toral dissertation. He took a roomwiththe prominentLeipzigfam­ ily of Karl Biedermann, who was a natio�al �olitician, hi.storian, and editor, as well as a professor atthe unIversIty. ThereNIetzsche could expect to meet many ofLeipzig's important people. He met the editor of the Literarisches Centralblatt and began to contribute articles to it. And he got himself appointed theater critic for the Deutsche allgemeine Zeitung (Biedermann, his landlord, was the editorofthatperiodical). He attended the theaterandconcertsreg­ ularly, often in the company ofFrau Ritschl (but apparently never with a woman his own age), and took a close interest in theatrical personalities such as the actress Hedwig Raabe, and Heinrich Laube, the new director ofLeipzig's Gewandhaus theater. He went to teas, suppers, and parties, avidlymeeting important people. He was eager to enter creative circles, and apparently �ager to enter upon acreativelife ofhis own, even ifhewas unsure preciselywhat he would create. Nietzsche's letters to friends, describing these activities, also changed. In listing all the things he was doing, and mentioning all the people he met (and even those he could have met had he cho­ sen to make the effort), he seems to have lost all modesty.79 He shows no empathic awareness ofhowhisfriends mightfeel reading such letters, nor does he seem to consider th(:lt his style oflife and sense of importance conflicted with his discipleship to Schopenhauer. This aggressive self-affirmation in his correspon­ dence paralleled his aggressive new social life. Unaccompanied by any new creative achievement, however, Nietzsche's changed atti­ tude about himselfseems more ofa prelude than the realization of a new creative self.
  • 96 YOUNG NIETZSCHE It is hard to know how long Nietzsche could have maintained this pace in Leipzig, since other things happened even faster. Be fore a.single semester ofhis renewed student life could pass, he had met RI�hard Wagner and been appointed professor ofclassical phi­ lology In Basel. These fateful events marked his life as much as any others. Nietzsche was won over to Wagner and his music in the monthsbefore he actually met the composer. While he had been familiarwith Wagner's music since Gustav Krug had introduced him to it inthe Germania, until October 1866 he had opposed it as modernand cac�phonous. Then, playing piano excerpts from The Valkyrie,he realIzed that he had "very mixed feelings," and wrote toGersdorff that "the great beauties and virtues [of this music] arebalanced by equally great ugliness and weaknesses."8o He was stillambivalent about Wagner when he played the piano score to TheMeistersingerwith Frau Ritschl in the summer of1868. But his inter�est must have been active, since it was he who introduced her to them�sic. Between that event and his return to Leipzig in October,NIetzsche read OttoJahn's Essays on Music, including the one onWagner,8l and reported to Rohde: "One has to have a certain en� � thusiasm to do such a man [as Wagner]justice;Jahn has an instinc­tive resistance to him, however, and seems to listen with half-closedears.': Ni�tzsche nonetheless admits thathe agrees withJahn's char­acterIZatIon ofWagner as the foremost representative ofa modern�endency i� music to drag all modes of artistic expression togetherInto confusIon. And yetNietzsche is amazed atthe range ofWagner'stalent, which may even permit the composer to transcend dilettan"tism i? his quest for the Gesamtkunstwerk. Furthermore he faultsJahnfor blIndness to Wagner's "ethical" personality: the energy, vitality,and truthfulness that Wagner shared with Schopenhauer.82In this much more positive frame ofmindNietzsche attended aconce�t of Wagnerian music in Leipzig on October 27. The pro­gram Included the overtures to TristanandIsolde and TheMeistersin- .ger. Under the immediate impression of this music-on the sameday-he wrote again to Rohde: I cannot bring it over my heart to react to this music with a cool criti­ cal mind. My every fiber, every nerve vibrates to this music. And I have . hardly ever had such a lasting feeling ofrelease as upon listeningto thIS overture [to TheMeistersinger].83
  • d e­ d ­ y s � A Student ofGenius 97 So it was perhaps The Meistersinger that finall.y.won N.ietz�che over Wag'nerian music, adding to the very pOSItiVe ethIcal Image heto . 'T'h M ' .I eady had of Wagner's personality. And It was 1 1 e ezsterszngera :at brought him face to face with Wagner, for it had been The �eistersingerthat he had played with Frau Ritschl. In early November 1868, Wagner came secretly to Leipzig to.sit his sister Otilie Brockhaus, wife of the orientalist Professor �ermann Brockhaus and Sophie Ritschl's best friend. Frau Ritschl as invited to meet him at her friend's home. In the course of the :veningWagnerplayedpiano excerptsfro� The.z:teistersinge�. Frau Ritschl told him that she was already famIlIar WIth the musIC and hadplayed itwith a young student, whom Wagn�r immediatel� d�.. manded to meet. So Nietzsche was invited to dInner and an IntI­ mate evening with the composer on November 8. As the day progressed he was in a state ofne:vous �nticipation.and got into a fight with a tailor who had promIsed hIm a ne� SUIt for the oc�a­ sion. First the suit was not ready. Then, when It was finally delIv­ ered to him half an hour before he was expected by the Brockhauses, the messenger demanded immediate payment, which the student was unable to make. With Nietzsche trying to put the suit on and the tailor's helper trying to take it back, it was ripped and Nietzsche had to go in his old suit. But the evening went won- derfully anyway. .Wagner was in an expansive mood. He not only played hIS music on the piano before andafter dinner, he readhumorous pas­ sages from his autobiography, spoke about his youth in Leipzig (usingtheLeipzigdialectto great effect), and madegr�atfun ofthe music directors who were (incompetently) attempting to perform his music. Wagn�r overwhelmed Nietzsche with the great vigor of his personality. But he also conversed intimately with Nietzsch� about Schopenhauer and how deeply indebted he was to the phI­ losopher, giving him the feeling thatthey had a good deal in com­ mon.Before the eveningwasoverWagner had invited Nietzsche to visit him in Tribschen (near Lucerne, Switzerland) where he was then living, so that they could "make music and philosophy to­ gether." And in the meantime he charged Nietzsche with the re­ sponsibility of instructing the Brockhaus family in Wagnerian music.84 This was one of the most exhilarating experiences of Nietzsche's life, comparable only to his discovery ofSchopenhauer in the used-book store, and his success with his first paper before
  • 98 YOUNG NIETZSCHE the Philological Society. In fact, in terms reminiscent ofhis descrip_ tion of reading Schopenhauer, he wrote to Rohde that meetin Wagner had been a kind of self.discovery. He wrote that Wagne g was "the most perfect illustration of what Schopenhauer called r genius: yes, the similarity in all details is so great that it leaps to tha "85 A d h . kl ' e eye. n e qUIC y merged hIS enthusiasm for the geniu Wagner with his idealization of Schopenhauer. Like Scho� penhauer, Wagner was an older man, potentially a comprehensive model for Nietzsche's life endeavors. (Wagner, incidentally, was ex­ a�tly the age Nietzsche'� real fath . er would have been.)86 The only dIfference was that by vIrtue of hIS personal accessibility, Wagner was a �o . re co?crete and scrutable ideal than Schopenhauer had b�en, gIvIng NIetzsche a realistic opportunity to compare himself wIth . the ideal. He immediately began to read Wagner's books, in­ cludIng the ponderous Opera and Drama, and in January 1869 he t�aveled to Dresden to hear his first full performance of a Wagne- nan opera, DieMeistersinger. . Nietzsch� mig�t never have had a convenient opportunity to visit Wagner I� SWItz�rlan�, �ut, as it happened, there was an opening for a classIcal phIlologIst In the Swiss city-state ofBasel. At the time that Nietzsche was meeting Wagner in Leipzig, Kiessling, a young professor of . classical philology, resigned from Basel's university an . d Gymnaszum (called the Paedagogium in Basel). Professor ' WIlh . elm Vi . scher- . Bilfi . nger, president of the Erziehungsrath and a classIcal phIlologIst hImself, wrote to six of his trusted friends at German universities, soliciting recommendations of worthy young scholars. Many young men were recommended, and F. Nietzsche was mentioned by more than one of Vischer-Bilfinger's corre­ spondents, but it was Ritschl's letters that secured the job for Nietzsche. Ritschl had already written about Nietzsche in a letter to Profes­ sor Kies�ling, who was . also a former Ritschl student. (Kiessling had asked RItschl for advIce about who would be a suitable replace­ ment, and specifically about Nietzsche, whose articles he had read i� DasRheinischeMuseumfurPhilologie.) Now, in answering Vischer� BIlfi?ger . on D�cember 9, 1868, Ritschl sent him a copy of his letter to KIesslIng, wIth an explanation. Ritschl had written that if the B�sel au�horities . could see beyond the formal difficulty of NIetzsche s not havIng been granted a doctorate which no author. ities had ever done, they would have a perfect r�placement. Warn-
  • A Student ofGenius 99 'ng that neither Kiessling nor any of Ritschl's other students (who �ncludedJakob Bernays) should take offense, he proceeded to give this categoricaljudgment ofNietzsche: As many young scholars as I have seen developing under my supervi­ sion in the last 39 years, I have never known a young man, never tried to advance the career of anyone in my discipline, who so early and so young was as mature as this Nietzsche. . Ritschl goes on in the letter to note that Nietzsche had written his es­ says, by now published in Das Rheinische Museum, in his second and third years at the university, and that he was the first student from whom he had ever accepted articles for publication. He continues, Ifhe lives long-and may God grant it-I prophecy that he will stand in the front rank ofGerman philologists. He is now twenty-four years old, strong, vigorous, healthy, valiant in body and spirit, well built, and made to impress similar natures. In addition he has an enviable ability to speak clearly and persuasively in public. He is the object of admiration and the leader (without wanting to be) ofthe whole philo­ logical world ofLeipzig, who can hardly await the time when they will hear him as their docent. You will say that I am describing a kind of "phenomenon;" well, he is that, and modest and approachable be­ sides. . . . I would stake my entire academic reputation [on my opinion that appointing Nietzsche to the post in Basel] would turn out hap- pily.s7 . This remarkable letter is even more remarkable for the fact that it Was notwritten in the hope ofactually getting thejob ' for Nietzsche. Governed by a tone of regret that no authorities would be able to see beyond the lack of a doctorate, it is a wistful letter to a former student, belatedly used as his answer to Professor Vischer-Bilfinger in Basel. It was, however, the beginning of a successful application. Vischer-Bilfinger also received a letter from Professor Her­ mann Usener in Bonn. Usener had read Nietzsche's articles and had been sufficiently impressed to recommend their author, even though he himself had never met Nietzsche. So Vischer-Bilfinger wrote to Ritschl on January 5, 1869, inquiring further about Nietzsche. In answer, Ritschl first praised Vischer-Bilfinger for his willingness even to consider his pupil without a dissertation, not­ ing that no one else would be so enlightened as to overlook bureau­ cratic custom in the interest of a truly exceptional candidate.
  • 100 YOUNG NIETZSCHE Ritschl answered questions that the Basel professor had apparently asked: (l) that Nietzsche would be willing to teach six hours at the Paedagogium; (2) that he would be satisfied with the compensation and working conditions offered at Basel; and (3) that he was not such a Prussian that he could not adapt to Swiss political and social life and custom. Ritschl obviously intended to show that Nietzsche would accept thejob if offered it. He wrote that Nietzsche was an unpolitical person, not a Prussian nationalist; he characterized his pupil as an unselfconscious liberal. He noted that Nietzsche's con. centration had been in Greek literary history, with special empha. sis upon philosophical texts, but that if teaching in any other area should be required of him, Nietzsche would master the material quickly and profitably. He concluded his recommendation with the thought that Nietzsche would "be able to do everything that he wants to do."88 With this letter, Nietzsche's appointment had practically been secured. Nietzsche himself still had to write a letter (February 1, 1869), explaininghis willingness to accept thejob ifit were offered to him, to propose what he might teach, and give a brief (and not very personal) autobiography.89 Then Vischer·Bilfinger had to con. vince his fellows in theErziehungsrath, as well as the mayor and gov. erning council ofthe city ofBasel, that Friedrich Nietzsche was the right man for the job. On January 29 Vischer-Bilfinger formally recommended to the mayor that Nietzsche be hired to replace Kiessling.90 This was routinely approved on February 10, 1869. The official letter of appointment was written to Nietzsche on the twelfth.91 The rest followed quickly. Nietzsche at first thought that he wouldrevise his work on DiogenesLaertius as adoctoral thesis. But that proved unnecessary. On March 23 the University of Leipzig conferred a doctorate upon him in recognition of his publications in DasRheinischeMuseum. Then, after some deliberation, Nietzsche decided to give up his Prussian citizenship so that he would be in­ dependent of Prussian military service in the event of a war. His application to be relieved ofhis citizenship was approved on April 1 7, 1869. (By not maintaining constant residence in Switzerland or anywhere else, he never secured Swiss or any other citizenship, but remained stateless for the rest ofhis life.)Aftera leisurely trip from Naumburg by way of Cologne, Bonn, Heidelberg (where he wrote his inaugural lecture on Homer and Hesiod in his hotel room), and Baden-Baden (where he attended another performance · of
  • · A Student ofGenius 101 Wagner's Meistersinger), he arrived in Basel on April 19. He would begin �eaching in May. It was an unparalleled appointment. Quite aside from the eco- nomic security and enhanced social status that he would get as a university professor, it was an honor to have been hired in this ex­ traordinary manner. Franziska and Elisabeth Nietzsche reacted with great-and from Friedrich's point ofview, excessive-enthusi­ asm. A job was one thing his mother could appreciate. (While Nietzsche had confided the possibility ofthe appointment to Erwin Rohde in advance, hekeptthe negotiations a secret from his family until the very end.) Rohde wrote him an extremely sensitive letter of encouragement and indeed of condolence, for he knew that Nietzsche was not as enthusiastic about his appointment as virtu­ ally any other philology student would have been. He knew how much it would hurt Nietzsche to give up his plan to study in Paris. And all his more diffuse ambitions in music, literature, and even philosophy would have to be subordinated to the demands of his I job. Nietzsche's deep sense of responsibility would not have per­ mitted him to accept thejob and consciously neglect the profession ofphilology. The time for recrimination against philology seemed to have passed. Nietzsche was no longer a philology student thinking ofbe­ coming a philosopher or a natural scientist. He was a professor of philology, a philologist by profession. So in March of 1869 he wrote a painfully honest reflection on how he had become one. Nietzsche begins with the thought that it is generally interesting to know how one becomes a philologist these days; after all, in the late nineteenth century there are many mor<e vital and wor­ thy disciplines that one might study. There are those who are at­ tracted to philology by the prospect of a secure job; those who are sent into philology unresistingly, like lambs to the slaughter, , by their own philology teachers; there are those who are born to teach, but not necessarily philology; and finally, "there is a small community who glory in the aesthetic pleasures of the world of Greek [artistic] forms, and an even smaller one for whom the ideas of the ancient thinkers have not yet been thought through to the end." Surprisingly, Nietzsche does not count himself among the lat­ ter. He knows that he is not any one of these exclusively. Having let himself be led into philology by his teachers, from Schulpforta to Leipzig, and done so in order to escape from theology and the pas-
  • 102 YOUNG NIETZSCHE torat , �' he s�sp�cts t�at he is . not a "specifically philological na.�ure, but a phIlologIst by resIgnation." He can only conclude th b . h·l I . atIn ecoming a p 1 0 OgiSt he has given up art and philosophy. Hefeels . that he has abandoned his creative self and resigned himselfto Wzssenschaft or scholarship without a true "caIHng."92 It was a depressing note on which to begin a professional ca.reer. No wonder that later, in The Birth ofTragedy and in his otherbooks, he had so much energy for revenge upon scholarship.
  • . t e f . r S I X Emulating Geniuses • N ietzsche arrived in Basel by train on April 19, 1 869, several weeks before he would begin teaching. Twenty-four years old, he alreadywore a moustache, although itwas still a modest one. No dandy, he dressed in a black suit without any pretence, and wore small, oval-shaped spectacles. He was unremarkable in appearance, exceptthat he gave the impression ofstaring. Nietzsche moved into a small apartment in the new street, "Am Schiitzengraben." It was at the edge of the city where the old forti­ fications had recentlybeen leveled to make room for urban expan- . sion. It was a splendid location, a mere ten-minute walk from the university and remarkably similar to that ofhis mother's home on the edge ofNaumburg. It also gave Nietzsche immediate access to the gardens and fields outside the city. Nietzsche now made walk­ ing his principal form ofexercise and relaxation, a custom he kept for the rest of his life. Looking northward into Germany and France, furthermore, he had aview ofboth theBlack Forest and the Vosges Mountains. Nonetheless, he would orient himself toward Switzerland, particularly toward Lucerne, where Richard Wagner was living. •• Nietzsche had grown so critical of classical philology that he was ready to abandon it even before he left Leipzig, so it is surpris-
  • 104 YOUNG NIETZSCHE ing to find that he was such an energetic and even optimistic philol­ ogist when he arrived in Basel. He proved to be an excellent teacher who won praise for his work both at the University ofBasel and in the Paedagogium (a Gymnasium or high school). He lived modestly and continued to research, write, and publish in philol­ ogy for several years. He certainly did not scorn his profession or act the part of an arrogant genius in Basel. Only the furor caused by the publication of The Birth ofTragedy in 1872 made him realize how far beyond the bounds of professional philology his thinking had carried him, and he was not entirely pleased by that. Nietzsche's inaugural lecture, "Homer and Classical Philol­ ogy," delivered in Basel on May 28, 1869, is actually an apology for the discipline of professional philology.l Nietzsche attacked the view-exemplified by quotations drawn from Goethe and Schil­ ler-that philology had drained the life from the aesthetic ideals of the past by treating them scientifically rather than imaginatively.2 Nietzsche on the contrary argued that philology deserved credit for recovering and revivifying Hellenic aesthetic and cultural ideals. And he referred not to that greatamateurJ.]. Winckelmann, whose studies of ancient art had stimulated Goethe and Schiller, but to the founder ofprofessional philology, Friedrich August Wolf, and the tradition ofscholarly German philology inspired by him in the· nineteenth century.3 It may seem curious that he should have ar� gued this way when he had been writing in precisely the opposite vein only weeks before, but in now putting a good face on philol­ ogy he was apparently trying to convince himself as much as his auditors that the profession was still a worthy endeavor. In "Homer and Classical Philology" Nietzsche reviews the ques� tion of Homer's authorship of the Iliad and the Odyssey. Homer's," authorship had first been disputed in a serious philological way by Wolf, and the question had served as a focus of philological study ever since. So Nietzsche could treat it as an example ofhow profes­ sional philology had gradually "bridged the gap between the ideal of Antiquity-which is perhaps only the most beautiful bloom of German love-longing for the south-and the real antiquity."4 The ' ! view of the poetic genius Homer that had prevailed before Wolf was so unrealistic, according to Nietzsche, that "Homer" was noth7 , ing but an empty name. Professional philology, by showing how various hands must have been involved in the creation ofdifferent episodes, had made the great poems and even their anonymous au­ thors more accessible. But philologists had gone too far in the
  • Emulating Geniuses 1 05 other direction, he thought, ascribing nearly everything to tradi­ tion and nothing to genius; they had made the poems seem nothing more than the result of stories passed from one untutored gene�a­ tion to another. Nietzsche argued, however, that one cannot dIS- ense with the genius of the individual poets who wrote the �pisodes, and he concluded somewhat dramatically that there was a geniUS who put the pieces all together to make the great poems- only his name was not Homer.5 • • The discipline of classical philology had gone dIrectly agaInst the mainstream ofnineteenth-century thinking on the question of Homer'S originality. It had denied the role of the genius, the con­ cept that otherwise dominated European thinking about creativity in the arts and sciences. Nietzsche's inaugural lecture focuses clearly upon the genius and the necessaryrole ofa creative individ­ ual. It demonstrates how preoccupied Nietzsche was with the ge­ nius theme, even before he became so familiar with Richard I Wagner. But Nietzsche's lecture displays his . ambivalen�e in u�ex­ pected ways. Since his conclusion goes agaInst the . graIn of nIne­ teenth-century philological research on Homer, It threatens to undermine his declared purpose of defending philology. The lec­ ture is not actually a philological essay at all, since the inferences aboutthe authorship oftheIliad and Odyssey are drawn without any reference to thetexts themselves, nor is it acritical history ofphilo­ logical contributions to the Homeric question. Rather, it is a the?­ retical essay on creativity, a disquisition on how the HomerIC poems must have been written. Even in defending philology, Nietzsche avoided practicing it. _, The most paradoxical aspect of Nietzsche's inaugural lecture, however, is his concluding plea for gratitude, a plea that he makes "not in our name-for we are but atoms-but in the name of phi- 1010gy."6 Here, in an apparently conventional gesture of modesty, Nietzsche ascribes the creative work ofphilology to the group and to the tradition ofthe discipline, rather than to himself(or anyone else) as an individual. What he argues for the creators ofthe Home­ ric poems apparently does not pertain to philologists. It is as if he could not admit that philologists could be creative, or as ifhe could notadmithimselfto be the individual authorofa novel interpreta­ tion of the Homeric question. This casual remark turns out to be the most critical passage in the inaugural lecture, for it reveals Nietzsche's own predicament: while he believed in the theory ofthe genius, he could not yet apply it to himself.
  • 106 YOUNG NIETZSCHE For several years Nietzsche had been preoccupied by Schoopenhauer as an exemplary genius; emulatingSchopenhauer, he ob.viously aspired to be or become a genius himself. He also wanted to�e a good philol?gist, especial�y now that he had accepted thejobIn Basel. But whIle he was actIng as a professional philologist heevidently could not believe in his own creativity. As much as hewanted to affirm the professional position he had accepted, hisdeeper belief that philology was an uncreative endeavor shOWedthrough. It was with this ambivalence about himself and his profes.sion that Nietzsche announced himself to the intellectual world ofBasel. Luckily, Basel was a quiet and unpretentious place forNietzsche to work out his ambivalence. The Swiss federation wasloosely knit, and the goals of the liberal Revolution of 1848 hadbeen largely realized there while they were repressed in the rest ofEurope. It has been suggested that living in Switzerland permittedNietzsche to escape German nationalism to become "one of thefirst Europeans of modern stamp." The Franco·Prussian Warwould drag him briefly back into the Prussian orbit. But as profes.sor ofphilology in Basel, Nietzsche did not have to represent Wissenschajt to the world, as he would have been expected to,do ifhe had been teaching in Berlin. As a result of a reorganization of Swiss cantons in 1833, how­ever, the city ofBasel had been shorn ofits province and thus muchof its tax base. For several decades it seemed doubtful whether thecity could continue to support its venerable university, which hadbeen in continuous operation since 1460. As the city tried to econ.omize, many professors had to teach at the Paedagogium in addi..tion to lecturing at the university; Nietzsche was by no means theonly one with such a contract. Young professors could seldom bepromoted at Basel, either, even when they had proven their worth,Those from outside Switzerland tended to move back to better po.sitions in Germany after a few years. Nietzsche was unusual in thisrespect, staying in Basel until 1879, when ill health forced him toretire. It might have been difficult for Nietzsche to get anotherjobafter the publication ofTheBirthojTragedy, but he made no attemptto find one. He stayed there so long, it seems, primarily because hisambition was not fixed upon a career ofpromotions in the univer.sity world. He was preoccupied with the construction ofhimselfasan intellectual, perhaps as a genius, and with the pursuit of hisideas in writing. But this was a private preoccupation, consistent
  • o . o Emulating Geniuses 107 he time being at least with his conscientious dedication to hisfor t . d . k at the university and the Pae agoglum.wor In addition to the six hours ofGreek and Latin that he taught at the Paedagogium, Nietzsche regularly taught seven hours at the . 'ty In his first semester he gave two lecture courses and auniversl . , d . h. at the university. The range of subjects he treate In t esesemInar . h'courses is extremely broad, from Hesiod an� the pre-SocratIc p . 1- losophers among early Greek writers to LatIn epIgraphy a . nd C�c- S me of his lectures were naturally devoted to subjects Inero. 0 h i d 1h' h he had particular interest; for example, Aesc y us an ear y �r��k philosophy. But for the most part the subjec�s were se1ecte? to fit the needs of Basel's students, and ac�ordlng to ho� hIS courses would fit into the curriculum alongsIde those of hIS col· 7 leagues. . h ' hSeveral testimonials exist to the excellence ofNIetzsc e s teac . . During the first several years-until The Birth oj Tragedy ap-Ing. . . d th / d-he was a popular teacher both at the unIverSIty an . epeare . . 11 f h'Paedagogium. His authority as a teacher derIved p�rtIa y :om IS knowledge; the students too were aware that for hIS age NIetzsche had an awesome command of the ancient languages and texts. But his youth also brought him close to them, and they could feel that he understood their difficulties. He was not aloof. Students worked hard for him, and his colleagues appreciated the fact. As . one col· league later wrote, "His students loved and respected hIm. They saw that he could empathize with their you . th, . a?d they . under�tood that no shroud ofdusty scholarship had dlmlnls�:d hIS own Intel· lectual youth or vigor." 8 . ' < - • In contrast to his immediate success WIth students, NIetzsche had to contend with the initial disfavor of his two immediate col­ leagues when he arrived in Basel. For different reasons both of them had opposed his appointment. Professo� F. D. Gerlach was seventy-six years old when Nietzsche was appoInted. He had been professor ofLatin atBasel since 1820, and had �een off�nded once before by the appointment of a young man (NIetzsche s predece�­ sor Kiessling) trained by Ritschl in more modern methods of phI­ lology. Gerlach raged against Vischer·Bilfinger and seems never to have spoken a civil word to Nietzsche. The younger of the two col­ leagues,]. A. Mahly, was disappointed because he h�d hoped to . be promoted himself from his duties in the Paedagoglum to theJob that Nietzsche got at the university. Unl�ke G:erlach, however, he was courteous to Nietzsche when he arrIved In Basel, and found
  • 108 YOUNG NIETZSCHE found Nietzsche to be an agreeable colleague. Mahly left an inter­ esting memoir of Nietzsche during these first years in Basel. He contrasted Nietzsche's warmth and politeness with the resentful at­ titude of Gerlach, and he praised the tolerance and attention that Nietzsche showed to everyone he met_ However, one of Mahly's most interesting remarks concerns the difference between the per­ sonable Nietzsche that he knew from conversation and the Nietzsche who wrote books. If one had got used to Nietzsche's manner and tone of conversation, his friendly interest in the views and opinions of others, even those far inferior to him, . . . one could only be astonished, if not horrified, at the metamorphosis that this gentle and harmless person underwent as an author. . . . [Except in his writings], Nietzsche was a thoroughly inoffensive person and enjoyed the sympathy of all the colleagues who knew him.9 Nietzsche's agreeable disposition, his serious application to scholarship, and his devotion to teaching were recognized by the authorities as well. They wanted to keep him in Basel badly enough to promote him and raise his salary. He had been appointed in 1869 with a salary of 3000 Swiss Francs. In April 1870 he was pro­ moted to "ordentlicher Professor," or professor with tenure, on the basis ofhaving received his doctorate, and having been a good diligent teacher. A year and a half later, in October 1871, he was · granted a raise of 500 Francs for excellence in teaching, and with: grateful acknowledgement of the fact that Nietzsche had declined, "an advantageous offer." Through an accident of family connections, Nietzsche had been offered a position as princely tutor. Princess Alexandra von Altenburgwas one ofthe three princesses who had been tutored by Nietzsche's father, Ludwig Nietzsche, before he assumed the pas­ torate in Rocken. She was to visit Basel in August 1869. Nietzsche's mother wrote to tell him ofthe impendingvisit. She instructed him to meet the princess atthe railway station with flowers. He did that,· conducted her to her hotel with her retainers, spent the eve . with her, and even accompanied her to Triebschen to visitWagner; He must have been a charming host, for he was eventu�lly ajob as tutor to the princess's children. He reported this offer to the Basel authorities, who, notwanting to lose him, raised his salary to Swiss Fr. 3500 per annum. (Nietzsche's salary was raised to Swi
  • · Emulating Geniuses 109 Fr. 4000 inJanuary 1872, again, apparently, in recognition of his having declined an offer ofemployment, this time attheUniversity ofGreifswald.) Nietzsche reported all ofthese events to his mother and to Professor Ritschl without noticeable enthusiasm. Again, it seems he was not particularly impressed with himself as a profes- sor. In spite of his success as a professor, Nietzsche did not make a real friendship in Basel until he had been there a whole year. In his isolation, his correspondence with Deussen once more became warm, and he wrote frequently to Gersdorff. But he missed the companionship of equals that he enjoyed with Rohde most of all. Rohde visited him inJune 1870 for two weeks. They hiked in the mountains, visitedJacob Burckhardt at his home outside ofBasel, and spent a couple ofdays with the Wagners in Triebschen. Rohde was similarlyimpressed by Wagner, and the friends parted with re­ newed fervor in their intellectual-ideological partisanship. (They would remain friends for several years more-Rohde would de­ fend Nietzsche in the controversy over The Birth of Tragedy. But when Nietzsche's published works became progressively more ex­ treme in the 1880s, Rohde could no longer support his friend.) Nonetheless, after a year in Basel, Nietzsche was still without a real friend in Basel. And this he would only renledy by chance. Just before Rohde's visit in the summer of 1870, Nietzsche was introduced to Franz Overbeck. Overbeck came to Basel to assume the post ofprofessor oftheology, specializing in historical criticism of the New Testament. It seems that the same Professor Vischer- , Bilfinger who had arranged for Nietzsche's appp}ntment was re­ sponsible for Overbeck's; and he arranged lodgings" for Overbeck in the building where Nietzsche lived. Overbeck was'seven years older than Nietzsche and came from amuch more cosmopolitan family background. He was born in St. 'Petersburg, Russia, the son of a German-English merchant and his French wife. He grew up speakingFrench andEnglish at home and Russian in public. He was eleven years old and studying in Paris when the February Revolution broke out in 1848; he could remem­ bersinginglaMarseillaisein the school choirduringthattime. Later he was sent to Dresden where he completed his secondary educa­ tion at the famousKreuzschule. He studied theology at Leipzig and Gottingen; and like Nietzsche, Deussen, and many others, he grad­ ually lost his faith. But his dawning disbeliefin Christianity did not become the existential crisis that it was for Nietzsche, nor did it
  • 1 10 YOUNG NIETZSCHE compel him to abandon the study of theology; he became, for aB practical purposes, a philologist who studied the New Testament, but he got his degree in theology nonetheless. In Basel he publicly disavowed Christianity but continued as professor of New Testa­ ment theology. So Overbeck shared a good deal with Nietzsche be­ sides living in the same dwelling-notably, similar philological training and a consequential atheism. But they did not become the ideological soul mates that Nietzsche and Rohde were, nor was their friendship empowered by the psychological forces that drew · Nietzsche to Wagner. Franz Overbeck was probably not someone that Nietzsche would have sought out. But once they were thrown together in common lodgings, Nietzsche learned the value of his friendship. The two men lived in the same house until Overbeck married in 1873. By thattime theyhad been addressingeach other with the famil­ iar pronoundu for two years, signifying considerable intimacy. Their daily association in these years formed the basis of lifelong trust be­ tween them. Even after Overbeck ceased to sympathize with Nietzsche's philosophy in the mid-1880s, he remained Nietzsche's faithful correspondent and friend. He mediated with the Basel au-. thorities in regard to Nietzsche's pension, and after Nietzsche left Basel in 1879 and broke with his family in the 1880s, the Overbecks were the only home or family he had. When Nietzsche collapsed in· Turin in January 1889, it was Franz Overbeck who went to get him and bring him back to Basel. Overbeck's loyalty to Nietzsche says a • great deal about Overbeck. Nietzsche was a very critical and even in- . tolerant person. He knew the formalities that permit one to deal po­ litely with acquaintances and professional associates, but he lacked the consideration and social skills that make friendships last. He was lucky to have found a lifelong friend in Franz Overbeck. Although their friendship did not contribute in any material way to Nietzsche's thinking or writing, it was a rare human sympathy th�t would accompany Nietzsche to the end ofhis life. • Nietzsche had been in Basel little more than a year when France and Prussia went to war in July 1870. Nietzsche was noLa particularly close observer ofeither German or international poli­ tics. Only eighteen months earlier Professor Ritschl had written that "Nietzsche is certainly not a political person. He has, by and large, a sympathy for the growing power of Germany, but has little love for Prussiandom as I do."10
  • Emulating Geniuses I I I Friedrich had even renounced his Prussian citizenship upon tak­ inguphis post as professor, precisely in order to avoid being called away from his teaching responsibilities to serve in the Prussian mil­ itary. But now, when war was actually declared, he felt that he must serve-either as a soldier or a medical orderly. His sense of duty must have derived from a romantic patriotism learned in child­ hood from his family and at school. Not even the Wagners, who were critical of militarism, could dissuade him from volunteering. Nietzsche's relationship to the state had not yet been subjected to the same critical examination that had led him to repudiate Chris­ tianity. Nietzsche applied for a leave of absence. It was granted by the Basel authorities on the condition that he not enlist as a combat soldier. In the interest of Swiss neutrality, they could only permit him to serve as a medic. So on August 12, 1870, Nietzsche left Basel for Erlangen where he took a course in first aid and the care of battle casualties. In ten days he was on his way to the front. On Au­ gust 29 he reached Strasbourg, where the German army had laid siege to the city. Then he was sent on to Nancy and the environs of Metz where heavy fightingwastakingplace. As he traveled through . France he was horrified by the ravaged countryside and human car­ nage. His patriotic enthusiasm was extinguished by the empathy he feltforFrench and German soldiers alike. Schopenhauer was again his consolation. In Metz he was assigned to accompany a trainload ofwounded soldiers back to Karlsruhe. He arrived there very sick himself, with dysentery and diphtheria. After a briefperiod ofhos- .pitalization in Karlsruhe, he was released to recupe:rate at home in Naumburg on September 14. Briefas Nietzsche's experience ofthe Franco-Prussian War was, ittested him severely, both physically and emotionally. For the first time as an adult he saw death and asked himselfabout the meaning of his own life. What he had read in Schopenhauer had to be thought through again. His own creative work became more urgent than ever. During the month he spent in Naumburg his ideas devel­ oped rapidly. In Basel he had already written several essays about tragedy, but it was at this time in Naumburg that he formulated the plan to write a long essay or a book on the history ofAttic tragedy.u After a month of recuperation in Naumburg, Nietzsche went back to Basel in October to teach. His health was shaken, his patri­ otism chastened, and his devotion to Schopenhauer strengthened. He was ready to make changes. Sitting in on the lectures ofJakob
  • 1 12 YOUNG NIETZSCHE Burckhardt, he was exposed for the first time to a careful critique of the modern state. A letter to Gersdorff on November 7, 1870, reveals that he heard Burckhardt's lecture on "Historical Great­ ness," and other lectures that were later published in WeltgeschichtlicheBetrachtungen.12 Burckhardt was also a devotee of Schopenhauer, and Nietzsche's experience of the war had pre­ pared him to agree with these lectures. From that point on, throughout his life, Nietzsche remained a severe critic ofPrussian militarism, and of statism generally. Having been exposed to the real world in its most violent and wrenching manifestation, Nietzsche was more impatient than ever with his philological profession. During the winter semester after his military experience, he thought he saw an opportunity for a change. When Basel's professor of philosophy resigned to take an· other position, Nietzsche decided to apply for thejob. It was winter (January 1871) and he was ill again with headaches and general de· bility. In a truly remarkable letter to Professor Vischer-Bilfinger, Nietzsche conceded that his health had forced him to consider giv­ ing up his position.IS It had seemed that teaching did not agree with his nature, for by the middle of every semester he was exhausted and in ill health. What really plagued him, however, was that as a professor ofphilology he was forced to neglect his true calling, phi: losophy. He would like to take over the professorship of philoso- ·· phy. He was competent for the job, he argued. Only the accident that he had not been exposed to a "truly exciting philosophy pro·' fessor," he said, had prevented him from studying philosophy in the first place. He had been teaching seminars on philosophical topics already, and he could point to articles like his work on Diog­ enes Laertius that showed him to be a historian of philosophy as well as a philologist. Nietzsche was not content to ask the authorities to accommo� date his personal desire to change disciplines. He also suggest�d that, once they had awarded him the professorship of philosophy� they should make his friend Erwin Rohde the new professor ofphi­ lology. He affirmed Rohde's excellent qualifications for the job, but added that he could hardly say how much the presence of his best friend would enrich his own existence in Basel. All in all, it was ' an audacious and indeed presumptuous request, even in the city of Basel. But it expressed a need that Nietzsche felt very ur; gently. Nietzsche had begun to realize-at least in his worst mo� ments-that his health was going to be an enduring obstacle. He
  • EmulatingGeniuses 1 13 sensed his own mortality, and this enhanced the urgency of his cre­ ative �mpulse. Perhaps he thought that Vischer-Bilfinger would perform anothermiracle, as he had in appointing him professor in the first place. Of course the professor did not honor Nietzsche's request. In fact, he seems not even to have entertained it seriously, treating it rather with discreet silence-no record ofan answer is to be found in the Basel archives. Nietzsche remained a professor ofphilology. He would find no easy escape from this discipline that had once served him as an escape from theology and saved him from a career as a pastor. He would have to settle his account with philology more creatively, in his book, TheBirth ofTragedy. After his experience in the Franco·Prussian War, his failure to get the position in philosophy and bring Rohde to Basel depressed Nietzsche. Aside from Overbeck, he had made no otherreal friends in Basel. He did, however, make the acquaintance of several older professors. Wilhelm Vischer-Bilfinger, who had been responsible for his appointment, became a fatherly protector once he arrived in Basel. But neither the older man's favorable disposition nor the factthatVischer·Bilfinger was also a philologist seems to have over­ come the deference that Nietzsche was wont to show him. Perhaps it was because the professor did not have the intellectual magne­ tism of a creative thinker that Nietzsche was drawn to other older men.].]. Bachofen and]acob Burckhardt were older men with un­ usual ideas that interested Nietzsche very much. He socialized in , the homes of the Vischer-Bilfingers and the Bachofens and ex­ changed ideas with Burckhardt. He did not really . make friends , with any ofthem, although he reached the threshold�bffriendship with Burckhardt. ].]. Bachofen was fifty-four years old when Nietzsche arrived in Basel in 1869. He was a private scholar ofRoman Law who had al­ ready published his major works, includingDas Mutterrecht (1861), which argued for a primitive matriarchy as the predecessor of all other human societies. The opposition of the Apollonian and Dionysian that figures so prominently in The Birth of Tragedy is something that Bachofen had used prominendy in his works, and Nietzsche was undoubtedly exposed to this. But Nietzsche's use of these terms is so original that it cannot be said that he took them from Bachofen or anyone else. Nietzsche seems to have learned more from Bachofen's concentration upon the myths of the an· cients, and from his absolutely innovative treatment ofRoman cuI·
  • 1 14 YOUNG NIETZSCHE ture as a coherent system.14 One of the reasons that The Birth of Tragedy seems so contemporary is that it treats Attic tragedy as a cultural artifact in which the whole culture is refracted. So Nietzsche's first book benefited considerably from his exposure to these aspects of Bachofen's writings. Nonetheless, a mutual ex­ change of ideas between the two men never arose, and whatever attraction Nietzsche felt toward Bachofen was frustrated by the older man's reclusive nature. Jacob Burckhardt, however, was still open to the influence of the younger man's ideas. He was already famous for his Cicerone (1855) and Culture ofthe Renaissance in Italy (1860), as well as other books. But Burckhardt was a modest and ironic man, who re­ mained capable of learning from unlikely teachers. He was im­ pressed by Nietzsche's inaugural lecture, and when Nietzsche gave several other public lectures on Greek topics during his first years in Basel, Burckhardt was always in the audience. Only in late 1870 do the two mention each other in their correspon­ dence, Nietzsche enthusiastically,I5 Burckhardt with characteris­ tic modesty and understatement.16 Both of them indicated to friends that Schopenhauer was the principal topic of their conver� sations. But the two men stimulated each other creatively as well. Burckhardt began to think seriously for the first time about lecturing on Greek cultural history. This led ultimately to Burckhardt's enormous GreekCulturalHistory, a book that describe� the Greeks very much as Nietzsche did in The Birth ofTragedy, as a troubled, striving, willful people, not as the classical German writ­ ers had described them, as tranquil and idealistic.17 In turn, Nietzsche attended Burckhardt's lectures, and absorbed not only his critique ofmodern politics, but his ironical view ofhistory gen�. erally.18 Commenting on these lectures, Nietzsche said: "For the first time I am enjoying a lecture course; they are the sort of lec­ tures that I myself could give ifI were older."19 This intellectual ex� change between Nietzsche and Burckhardt was very successful for. several years, finding its apogee in 1872 when Burckhardt gave hiS, first lectures on Greek .cultural history and Nietzsche published The Birth ofTragedy. And although the two drifted apart after that, Burckhardt never lost his curiosity about Nietzsche's writings, and Nietzsche never ceased to be curious about Burckhardt's opinion ofthem. Burckhardt's irony with respect to himself frustrated . Nietzsche's apparent desire to idealize him. Their relationship was
  • .. . Emulating Geniuses 1 15 in sharp contrast to Nietzsche's hyperbolic relationship with Rich­ ardWagner. Nietzsche's immediate inclination was to idealize each of these older men. But whereas Wagner responded by encourag­ ing and even exploiting this impulse in Nietzsche, �urck?ardt sought to frustrate it.20 Wagner was undoubtedly a chansmatIc fig­ ure, outspoken, and apparently self-confident in the extreme, yet always in need of praise and devoted disciples. Burckhardt, on the other hand, was a profoundly withdrawn and ironic man, no less critical ofhis contemporaries than was Wagner; for his own work, however, he was more in need ofdistance from his contemporaries than of their slightest acknowledgment. While both were immedi­ ately taken with Nietzsche, they were attracted to very different as� pects of the younger man; Wagner found a glorious reflection of himself in Nietzsche's devotion to him, whereas Burckhardt, from the day ofNietzsche's inaugural lecture on the Homeric question, saw in Nietzsche an original and independently thinking colleague with whom he might profitably exchange ideas, without necessarily becoming personally involved.21 Nietzsche's approach to both Bachofen and Burckhardt dem­ onstrates that he was pursuing intellectual discipleship in his rela­ tionships with older men. He was certainly not arrogating to himselfthe role ofthe genius in dealing with them. Nor was he psy­ chologically inclined to sycophancy, as some observers of his rela­ tionship with Wagner have concluded. He was interested in ideas and in developing his own capacity to express them. His approach was through father figures-mature men, already accomplished in the world of ideas. He attempted to attach himsel:( to them, in the perhaps unconscious belief that their abilities would become his own. Richard Wagner was the only one who welcomed his desire, and what ensued' was one of the most florid instances of master­ disciple relationship. That dramatic encounter should nonetheless beunderstood as part ofa broader pattern ofinterest in older men, a pattern that shows Nietzsche to be more balanced than he came to seem with Wagner. Nietzsche was attracted to a series of older men, all readers of Schopenhauer, all deeply disillusioned in the rationalism, faith in progress, and general complacency of the nineteenth century, all enormously creative, . . . and all geniuses. •• Nietzsche's appointment to the University of Basel brought him unexpectedly close to Richard Wagner, whom he had met in Leipzig in November 1868. The composer had been living at
  • 1 16 YOUNG NIETZSCHE Triebschen, on Lake Lucerne, Switzerland, since 1866. When the two men first met, Wagner had invited Nietzsche to visit him. Now he paid his first hesitant visit to Wagner on the morning ofMay 15, 1869, less than a month after arriving in Basel. The gardener, who found Nietzsche wandering around the house, apparently thought he was another tourist; he informed Nietzsche that "the master" could not be disturbed. Nietzsche asked to leave his calling card. Wagner reportedly asked whether this professor was theNietzsche, the one he had met in Leipzig. As it was, he requested Nietzsche to return for lunch the following Monday.22 This was to be the first of many visits and the beginning of a fascinating relationship that would be the most important emotional encounter of Nietzsche's life. On that Monday Wagner again impressed Nietzsche as a "wastefully rich and great spirit, an energetic character and a be­ witchingly lovely man," as he wrote to Erwin Rohde.23 From this time until the Wagners moved to Bayreuth three years later, Nietzsche was invited to Triebschen far more often than he could come. Nonetheless, he visited theWagners there more than twenty­ five times in all.24 Throughout that time of close association, · Wagner's expansive personality held Nietzsche's undiminished fas­ cination_ It was Nietzsche's only experience with an artistic genius" and Wagner would show him every facet ofthe romantic tempera­ ment. The geographic distance between Lucerne and Basel-a train ride ofseveral hours25-did allow Nietzsche a certain perspec� tive when he was not actually in Wagner's presence, but a vision of the imperious Wagner summoning a timid but admiring young Nietzsche to the center of the composer's world might be the leit­ motif of their relationship in these years. It was unequal from the, first. The letters that Nietzsche exchanged with Wagner and Cosima display the emotional tenor of their relationship better than aQY other source.26 All ofNietzsche's letters are carefully composed and literary, always deferential and rarely spontaneous. Wagner's, on the other hand, are vigorous and familiar; they all seem to be prod­ ucts ofthe moment. Wagner was as quick to express his displeasure with Nietzsche as his satisfaction. He addressed Nietzsche as his friend, advised him freely about his work, and was obviously irri· tated when Nietzsche could not come to Triebschen or seemed to act too independently. As Wagner's secretary, Cosima also wrote to Nietzsche communicating Wagner's wishes and airing her own
  • Emulating Geniuses 1 17 thoughts. Both Wagner's and Cosima's letters to Nietzsche are sprink}ed with the most mundane requests-to buy Christmas pres­ ents, for example, or to convey messages to Wagner's printer and publisher in Basel. Nietzsche restricted himselfto praisingWagner and his works, often extravagantly. He made no requests and gave no advice. And instead of reciprocating Wagner's familiar saluta­ tion, Nietzsche addressed him as his verehrter or verehrtesterMeister (most honored master), or in one case asPaterSeraphice (angelic fa­ ther), alluding to the last scene ofGoethe's Faust.27 In retrospect it seems that Nietzsche wanted and indeed needed to idealize such a great genius as Wagner. He needed to make himself a disciple. And yet, Wagner's coarsejokes and his il­ licit relationship with Cosima von Biilow were imperfections that disturbed the still moralistic Nietzsche even at first. There was fur­ thermore a trace of resentment beneath the surface ofNietzsche's humility and filial admiration even in their early correspondence. This was not unjustified, inasmuch as Wagner frequently imposed upon the younger man, distracting him from his own responsibili­ ties. In one ofthe first letters, Nietzsche professed his reverence for Wagner and for Schopenhauer-his tutelary deities-in terms drawn from Schopenhauer's theory of genius. But he went on to write that he made this profession proudly, for it is the lot of the Igenius to be recognized at first by only a few. These few can con­ sider themselves especially fortunate to have seen the light of the genius when the masses were still lost in the fog of ignorance. But .these few enlightened ones reach their appreciatiop ofthe genius only after a struggle with the prejudices of others aild even resis­ tance within themselves. So when they finally win their way through to the genius they have earned a right of conquest over him.28 There is an undercurrent of urgency and frustration in Nietzsche's assertion ofhis right to Wagner's attention. Perhaps he felt that he was not getting enough ofit from the composer, or that whathe was getting was not the right kind. Unconsciously identify­ ingWagner as a father figure, Nietzsche may have felt that Wagner should have been helping him with his career, instead of enlisting his effort to support the Wagnerian cause. The lives ofthese two great men necessarily appear as chapters in each other's biographies-Nietzsche naturally occupying a smaller chapter in Wagner's life than Wagner does in Nietzsche's.
  • 1 18 YOUNG NIETZSCHE There is, however, a tendency for any biographer of a creative' ure to diminish the stature of those who are ancillary. W�O"n-=-'....; � ­ biographers have tended to write Nietzsche off as a distinctly original thinker who happened to write one good book while was intimate with Wagner. They go so far as to suggest that ever is good about The Birth ofTragedy was due to Wagner's influ. ence upon Nietzsche.29 And Nietzsche's own biographers have inclined to depict Wagner as an unscrupulous exploiter. In retro. spect, however, we ought to acknowledge that both Nietzsche and Wagner were great creative individuals, geniuses both. As demanding as Wagner was, he was not the villain Nietzsche's life, not even unintentionally. The two men were so dif ferent that no one would have accused Nietzsche of having emu. lated Wagner; at least he did not become very much like Wagner. Nietzsche lived a private and relatively uneventful life. Wagner's life is an enormous story, filled to overflowing with dramatic en counters, personal crises, love affairs, outbursts of temper, finan. cial disasters, peregrinations, narrow escapes, great plans disappointments, artistic triumphs, adulation, insults, vicious cri . cism, etc. In one crucial way alone could Wagner serve as a m for Nietzsche: the incredible bounty of Wagner's imaginatio "wastefully rich," as Nietzsche put it-was what attracted Nie to Wagner. Nietzsche had yet to stretch his own imagination, or to fo late any large creative project. But Wagner's imagination se constantly to outstrip his capacity to realize his projects. Indeed seemed as if no single individual could realize all the projects Wagner conceived. And yet he was driven to realize them, and did so with the help of the many talented individuals whom he listed in his cause. Wagner's unpleasant temperament, especial his unscrupulous eagerness to use other people for his own poses, may have been his response to the urgency of the dem;:lp.cls that his own imagination placed upon him. These were dema that few people ever have to deal with.30 For Nietzsche,just to Wagner grapple with them was inspiration enough to compens for the great differences between them. Nietzsche already felt ative impulses, without knowing how to deal with them. No could have told him, butWagner seemed toshow him. Nietzsche and Wagner were radically different creators as Aside from the fact that Wagner was a musician and Nietzsche ul mately a philosopher, the personal exigencies oftheir creative li
  • ­ . e . d Emulating Geniuses 1 19 re very different. Wagner required large and sumptuously deco·W �ed quarters and servants; Nietzsche preferred to live by himself � a a r�oming house or a pension his whole adult life. WhileIn . d l' d d . . dN'etzsche needed peace, qUIet, an so ItU e, an maIntaIne con· �t with only a handful of people, Wagner was exceptionally gre·ta rious. He needed a large circle ofdevoted friends and admirers, ga far-f1ung network of correspondents, and even hostile critics; hea eeded a great deal of attention, and his life was in constant tur­ �oi1 as a result. Amazingly, the turmoil did not seriously distract him from his work; he thrived upon it. As far as their respective oeuvres are concerned, Nietzsche's was to be a work of criticism and, in a particular sense, of destruction. Wagner built enormous edifices, both figuratively in TheRingofthe Nibelungen and literally in his Festival Theater in Bayreuth. Wagner wrote the libretti as well as the music to all of his operas, and in addition-almost as an avocation-he published a greater volume ofprose than Nietzsche did in his lifetime, designed to revolution­ ize everything connected with his art, from composing to conduct- ing. Wagner was a genius whose creative ambitions were matched onlybythegreatsacrifices that he expected from his followers. The women in his life were to provide motherly attention and sympa­ thy for his troubles, real and imagined. He treated his two wives, Minnaand Cosima, rathercallously, but he requiredabsolute devo­ tion (and nluch patience) from them; their attentions formed an emotional matrix prerequisite to his creative life but not, in /Cosima's case at least, directly involved in it. From the younger' married women he loved-Jessie Laussot, Mathilde von Wesendonck, andJudith Mendes-Gautier, for example-he appar­ ently desired solace and admiration more than sex, although he was by no means averse to that. He sometimes needed the anguish 9f being in love-particularly, it seems, the impossible love for a 'married woman-to sustain his creativity. Wagner expected the young men in his life to provide more tangible signs oftheir devotion. They represen,ted the sons he had notbeen given by Minna. They might be royal patrons like Ludwig II of Bavaria, great conductors and singers like Hans von Bulow and Ludwig Schnorr von Carolsfeld, or writers like Nietzsche; but Wagner treated themall as his tools and sometimes worse. The pre­ miere of Tristan and Isolde in Munich in June 1865 is exemplary. Ludwig ofBavaria was paying for the production in spite of enor-
  • 120 YOUNG NIETZSCHE mous opposition from his middle-class subjects, even as W and Cosima blatantly lied to him by denying that they were an affair. Hans von Bulow was conductingthe performance, hav studied the score to the point where he knew it better than Wagner although von Bulow's wife hadjust borne Wagner a child in April� The tenor Ludwig Schnorr, who was already ill, poured so much energy into the part ofTristan that he actually died a few days afte� the production, from an illness exacerbated by exhaustion. Wagner was bewitching to many creative young men, not just to Nietzsche. But he was also an extremely egocentric and demanding man, who would exact the last bit of energy from his disciples and never hesitate to exploit their weaknesses. Nietzsche strained eagerly to please Wagner for years, from 1 869 until the decline of their friendship in 1876. Wagner nee surrogate sons like Nietzsche to help him realize his grandiose aes­ thetic ambitions; but Nietzsche needed a father to help him orga­ nize his creative energies. Wagner became the model genius to Nietzsche, as Schopenhauer had been before him, creating music and writing his autobiography before Nietzsche's very eyes. At a deep and probably unconscious level, Nietzsche was studying Wagner as a model of creativity. It might have been a very frus ing and even deadly situation for Nietzsche: attempting to learn be creative by emulatingan irascible father who wanted to preemp his son's creative energies for his own purposes. But this seems to have beenjust the psychological frustration that Nietzsche needed to overcome in order to discover himselfas a creative individual. The oedipal aspect of Nietzsche's relationship to Wagner made complete by Cosima. His prudish sensibilities were at first offended by the Wagner-Cosima affair. The fact that Cosima w Wagner's mistress was still being concealed in 1869 in deference to the sensibilities ofKing Ludwig II ofBavaria. For five years, out idealism and admiration for Wagner's music and person, Lud had managed to believe the couple's lies about their relationship; but it was widely known that Cosima had already borne two Wagner's children (Isolde in April 1865, and Eva in February 1867). It would have been impossible for Nietzsche to mistake the situation. When he first visited Triebschen, Cosima was quite preg. nant with the third of Wagner's children, the boy who would be born on June 6, 1869, and named Siegfried.3] If that was not enough, there were Wagner's coarse jokes, which frequeQtly in­ volved Cosima.
  • • e Emulating Geniuses 121 It is difficult to imagine circumstances more likely to bring Nietzsche's oedipal feelings about Wagner to the surface: on the ne hand, Nietzsche's spontaneous, rapt idealization ofa man pre- �isely old enough to be h�s father (Richard Wagner and Lu?�ig Nietzsche were both born In 1813); and on the other, Wagner S In­ volvement at that very moment in an illicit affair with the young wife ofanother of his disciples. And Wagner did his best to inten­ sify and exploit these feelings when, aft�r Siegfried was born, �e suggested that Nietzsche become the boy � go�father and see to hIS education after Wagner would be gone:�2 NIetzsche was not un­ aware ofthe implication that Cosima might become his as well. Cosima has a rather interesting life story of her own. Born in 1837, the second of three illegitimate children of Franz Liszt and Marie d'Agoult, Cosima was raised apart from both ofher parents. Both her mother and her father's later mistress, the Princess von Wittgenstein, had literary ambitions that they seem to have passed onto Cosima. All the photographs ofCosima make her seem one of the homeliest ofwomen, but she was generally admired by men. A tall, dignified, and somewhat reserved woman, she seems to have had a certain authority in social situations. Cosima was undoubt­ edly a strong and capable person herself. But her ambition, per­ haps because of a sense of inadequacy stemming from her illegitimacy and emotionally deprived childhood, was to discover and foster the genius ofa great man. As it happened, Cosima looked forher men in her father's field ofmusic. She was in part still seeking the love ofher neglectful par­ ent. First she chose Hans von Bulow, who was a ,devotee of the music of both Liszt and Wagner; but Biilow was a depressed and self-doubting man, and although a great conductor, he proved to bean inadequate composer-he was a performer but not a creator. When this became apparent, Cosima too became unhappy. How could she promote the career ofa man who did not believe in him­ !self? So she fixed upon her husband's hero, Richard Wagner. She seems to have considered Wagner as an alternative to her husband even at the time she first met him, when she visited Zurich with Hans in 1857 duringtheir honeymoon. But the two only gradually became acquainted, with Cosima the more reticent of the two, ap­ parently aware of the instability of Wagner's emotional alle­ giances. Cosima became Wagner's mistress in 1863, after waiting nearly six years for his interest to awaken and develop. She planned to
  • 122 YOUNG NIETZSCHE have not just an affair with Wagner, but to be his permanent indispensable companion. Yet she did not insist upon marriage. Since itwould have revealed the truth about her affair with Wagner to Ludwig II, and thus have endangered the king's patronage C Wagner, she did not find it convenient to divorce Bulow until 1870; Even before she moved in to live permanently with Wagner in Triebschen in 1868, Cosima had made herselfthe composer's sec­ retary, agent, and general manager. And after they began to live together she managed the household as well. Wagner did not stray from her bed until 1876, when he had a brief but very emotional affair withJudith Mendes-Gautier at the firstBayreuth festival. And although Judith proved to be an enduring erotic fantasy for Wagner, and the prime stimulus of his work on Parsifal, Cosima re; mained the indispensable emotional stay in Wagner's life. Cosi was almost pathologically devoted to Wagner, serving him and liv ing vicariously through him. She was as peculiar in her devotion he was in his need for it. But both of them were happier, b reconciled to the world, and more productive as a result of marriage.33 Because of his own immense admiration of Wagner, Nietzs immediately found himself in a partnership with Cosima to help Wagner finish TheRingand to further the cause ofWagner's music generally. When Nietzsche first met her in Triebschen in 1869, was already slavishly devoted to Wagner. In her letters to Wagner' disciples, including Nietzsche, she referred to him as "the master," and never let it appear that there could be friendship with her ex­ cept it be based upon devotion to Wagner.34 Cosima did all could to enhance Nietzsche's sacrifices. She was the one to mundane demands upon his time (but perhaps only because was in charge of the mundane side of the Wagnerian househol and she participated energetically in Wagner's effort to Nietzsche relate his scholarly essays to Wagner's work; she even un dertook to tell him how to revise them. Nietzsche gradually became very attached to Cosima. He 1 wrote that he found Cosima to be the most charming woman he: had met in his life.35 His admiration was deep, genuine, and 10 lasting, although not apparently sexual, at least not consciously so His family romance with Cosima was restricted to loyalty and turedsympathywheneverWagner mistreated her. Even later, when the Wagners had moved to, Bayreuth and Nietzsche had to rely solely upon Cosima's letters for communication from Wagner, his
  • . · Emulating Geniuses 123 principal interest remained focused upon the magical, creative fig­ ure ofWagnerhimself. Even the remarkable document of 1888, the love note that Nietzsche addressed to Cosima as "Ariadne" and signed "Dionysos," may be more an artifact of his rivalry with Wagner than ofgenuinely amorous desire for Cosima. Each of the three individuals involved in this family romance derived something different from their association in Triebschen. Cosima had always wanted to be the supportive wife of a genius, and her desire was finally realized. Now she could finally devote herselfwholly to the man she worshipped. Wagner had finallywon Cosima to his side. She gave him his son Siegfried and served him as secretary and amanuensis as well. When Nietzsche appeared, Wagner gained a capable friend who would come to visit and ex­ change ideas whenever Wagner needed company or stimulation. For Wagner this was a time of intense creativity and relative seclu­ sion after the tempestuous time in Munich. He still needed atten­ tion, of course, but in Triebschen he found that the ministrations ofthese two extraordinarily devoted people made up for the adula­ tion of his fans. For whatever else they did to serve him, Cosima and Nietzsche mirrored Wagner's grandiose sense of himself and his works. For Nietzsche, however, the Triebschen period was hardly an idyll. Rather, it was an extremely strenuous period of testing him­ selfagainst Wagner's requirements ofhim. He would write his first book amid frequent visits to Triebschen and in constant anxiety about whether his work would please Wagner. For Nietzsche this was a time ofaspiration, vulnerability, and testing. �� trying as this was for him, it was non.etheless constructive. Nietzscne-was under­ going an apprenticeship to a genius, a rite of passage toward his own creativity. It made his later work possible. The psychological relationship among the three is revealed with greater clarity in what they accomplished in the Triebschen iyears. Cosima had begun her voluminous Tagebiicher or Diaries on January 1, 1869. This was a private text, not intended for publica­ tion in her lifetime. It was to be a documentation, for posterity, of the life of Wagner. In it she recorded her observations of the master's activities, who his visitors were, what he said in conversa­ tion, what he read and what he had to say about it; she recorded the weather, Wagner's moods, and even his diet. With her Tagebiicher Cosima was performing a peculiar labor oflove, an intellectual ver­ sion of "a woman's work.,,36 Cosima was also writing down
  • 124 YOUNG NIETZSCHE Wagner's autobiography, Mein Leben-"My Life"-as he spoke aloud to her.37 Cosima's role in both ofthese projects was limited that ofcurator ofWagner's image. For his part, Wagner was at last working on the final act of opera Siegfried, after a hiatus often years duringwhich he had ten Tristan andIsolde and The Meistersinger. For this olympian he needed nothing so much as isolation. However, in the first yea thatNietzsche knew him in Triebschen, Wagnerwas also prepari his centennial essay on Beethoven.38 And, for that proj Wagner's conversations with the young professor who had rea Schopenhauer so carefully were very useful. Nietzsche's contribu tions were taken without acknowledgment too. Wagner exper enced his disciples as extensions ofhimself and expected them t serve him willingly, and without need ofthanks or recognition. Wagner's third project of that year was Mein Leben, the autob ography he was dictating to Cosima. Wagner assumed thatvisi to Triebschen would be entertained by hearing him read excerp aloud from his autobiography-in-process. In Nietzsche's case was no miscalculation, butWagner could not resist the temp to make Nietzsche part of the enterprise too. He began " ,Q T' rt . .. him segments ofthe manuscript to proofread and see through printer's office in Basel. Nietzsche did this willingly at first, p haps even avidly, although it cost him valuable time away from own work. After a while, however, perhaps in conversation or in letterthathas been lost, he letWagnerknowthatthis was becom' a burden.39 For, as Nietzsche wrote to his former pro� Friedrich Ritschl, there was really only one thing that he lacked Basel: time for his own writing.40 In addition to his courses, Nietzsche had prepared several 0 inal public lectures on ancient Greek topics that he hoped woul be of broad interest to educated people. These lectures were in spired by his preoccupation with Schopenhauer and Wagner; in· deed they were his attempt to realize a kind of philosoph' writing about the ancient Greeks, as an alternative to the profe sional philological writing that he had already come to detest i Leipzig. Itwas an ambition he had conceived before ever encoun teringWagner.Buthavingsubmitted toWagner's psychologicalau thority, he was extremely dependent upon the composer judgment. Wagner at first objected to the form ofthe essays, arguing tha they were too scholarly. He thought thatNietzsche was deferringt
  • i to ar ad' u­ ri­ to bi pts .... � ' n ld n� n· es­ in n� u­ r'/s at , to . .�mulating Geniuses 125 academic public, and restraininghimselffrom drawing conclu­ a� ns relevant to contemporary problems, namely the difficulties SIO . facing Wagner's own art.41 In.the main, however, Wagner fo�nd Nietzsche's ideas so stimulating that he was forced to rethink Schopenhauer under the influence ofNietzsche's mo�e tho�oug� derstanding of the philosopher. He used the new Ideas In hIS un 42 • fb ' h . centennial essay on Beethoven. In spite 0 eing t e senIor part- nerin their dialogue, Wagner was not withou� an intellectual debt toNietzsche.AndNietzsche,whetherhe knew Itor not, was already in aposition to influence the creative impulses ofone ofthe most self-willed geniuses ofthe century. . . Itwas notuntil two years later, In 1872, after the pubhcation of The Birth ofTragedy, that Wagner briefly granted Nietzsche the rec­ ognition he so deeply desired.43 Wag�;� praised the bo?k ���rav�­ gaudy and told Nietzsche that he was. nght next to CosIma In hIS heart. This iswhatNietzsche had desIred from the first. No SQonerhad Wagner blessed him in this way than he and Cosima moved far away from Basel to Bayreuth, where Nietzsche " could visit them only very infrequently. From that time their friendship began to decline. But the years 1869-72 had been cru­ cial for Nietzsche. Living in closest association with Wagner, Nietzsche learned to measure himself against an authentic genius. .Their a,gonistic relationship was the matrix in which Nietzsche wrotehisfirstbook. In his struggle to pleaseWagner,Nietzsche dis- . covered his own creativity and learned many of the psychological characteristics ofgenius: audacity, narcissism, and single-minded­ ness. Eventually he would be able to practice these virtues of ge­ nius. His relationship with Wagner was therefore immensely beneficial to him; more so, ultimately, than it was to Wagner.. It is striking, ' however, that neither Nietzsche nor Wagner had a very/realistic appraisal of the other at this time. Each was a phan­ tasmfortheother.Nietzsche'sWagnerwas abenevolentfatherwho eventually disappointed him by being extremely egotistical. Wagner'sNietzsche was aloyal and obedientson who turnedoutto be arebellious thinker who eventually went his own way. Each was pursuing a psychological necessity that overrode the niceties of friendship and precludedtrue intimacy.
  • S E VEN First Works • B Y 1870. Nietzsche had already proven himself a scholar. But on . ly.wIth the rublication ofTheBirth ofTragedy Outofthe Spirit.off1uszc In 187� dId he emerge as a brilliant writer and audaciousthInk�r. The Bzrth of Tragedy was a dramatic departure from the norm In Greek studies. The author refused to study the past foritsown sake, as all philologists were supposed to do. Instead he at�tempt�d to c.orrect on his own age by comparing it to a crucial mo­ment In ancIent Greek cultural history. Nietzsche's first book wasthere!ore.a complete and comprehensive repudiation of the rever­ent hlstor�cal culture ofhis time. The author was only twenty-six. . The Bzrth of Tragedy had several preliminary versions and re�maIns a son:ewhatdisjointed book. It began as a series ofessays on a constellatIon ofcultural questions that Nietzsche connected witht:agedy, and it developed slowly, out ofa painful struggle to dojus­tIce to �chopenhauer, Wagner, and his own original ideas. Fors?me wnters,.such conflicts among intellectual and personal loyal:tIes �ardly anse, and in later years they would not afflict Nietzsche.But In 1870 .and 1871, �hen Nietzsche wrote this book, he simplycould not dIsentangle Ideas from personalities. The examples of Sch��enhauer and Wagner ha? �nspired him and sharpened hisam?Itlon. These two men-theIr Ideas and writings, and above alltheIrpersonal courage inopposing the hackneyed optimism ofthe l ClC
  • First Works 127 nineteenth century-represented the very essence of intellectual creath;ity to Nietzsche. Anything he might have written at this time wouldhave been permeated with them. The Birth of Tragedy had its beginnings in two lectures that Nietzsche gave in Basel during the first few weeks of 1870, on "Greek Music-Drama" and "Socrates and Tragedy}n Manuscripts of those lectures show that, from the first, Nietzsche wanted to write about "the Greek spirit," and certainly not about a narrowly conceived or professionally defined philological topic. Tragedy was already the focus of his interest. Socrates was already the vil­ lain. And Nietzsche was already drawing the connection between ancient tragedy, Schopenhauer's philosophy, and Wagner's op­ eras. This was more than merely infusing "philosophical serious­ ness" into his otherwise unexceptionable philological work, as he had wanted to do since Leipzig. In tragedy, he was taking on a project that no classical philologist of his day would have dared to treat as a whole. Finally, he was violating all the canons ofhis­ toricism by relating Attic tragedy to modern German culture, using Schopenhauer and Wagner as his principal points ofreference. Nietzsche wrote to Rohde that his lecture on Socrates had "in­ cited terror and incomprehension" in his audience in Basel. No one in Basel expected Socrates to be portrayed as the villain of Western Civilization. But the lectures were probably not written with the Basel public in mind. Nietzsche had at least one eye on an audience in Triebschen, where Cosima was reading his lectures aloud to Wagner. The master approved so enthusiastically that Nietzsche wrote in the same letter to Rohde that the lectures had strengthened his ties with his Triebschen friends, iheWagners.2 Wagnerbegan tourgeNietzsche to pursue his ideas on tragedy in a book.3 He encouraged Nietzsche both because Nietzsche's lec­ tureswereverymuch in his own interest, andbecause he intuitively appreciated that Nietzsche was now thinking creatively, and not just as a professional philologist. He was sufficiently impressed with Nietzsche's understanding ofSchopenhauer and his thinking about Greek tragedy to use Nietzsche's ideas in his own writings.4 Wagner advised Nietzsche "not to touch on such incredible views in short essays, but to concentrate on a larger and more compre­ hensive work on this subject." And a few days later he urged Nietzsche in another letter that he must "now . . . show what philol­ ogy is for, and help me bring about the grand 'renaissance."'5 Wagner encouragedNietzsche to think ambitiously and tojoin
  • 128 YOUNG NIETZSCHE him as a partner in his crusade against modern culture as he under. st.ood it. And, without imagining that this would be a partnership of equals, Nietzsche was very flattered. It was, therefore, particu. larly with Wagner's encouragement that Nietzsche decided to write a book about tragedy and everything else that preoccupied him at this time. One thing that hampered Nietzsche in carrying out this design was that he still regarded Wagner's music-dramas as a theoretical enigma. He was not sure how to apply Schopenhauer's aesthetic in which music was defined as the most metaphysical of the arts:to Wagner's work.6 Wagner might have been an enigma to anyone in 1870. He had definitely outgrown his theory, expressed in OPera andDrama (1851), that the poetry and drama of his operas were of equal importance with the music. That verbosejustification of the Gesamtkunstwerk (total work ofart) did not even apply to Tristanand Isolde (1859), in which he had ruthlessly subordinated lyrics to music. And now Wagner was trying to come up with a new theory that would explain his more recent compositions, and yet not ap­ pear to contradict his earlier theory. Rereading Schopenhauer and discussing aesthetics with Nietzsche led to his anniversary essay on Beethoven(1870). This, while not nearly so prolix, was perhaps more confused than Opera and Drama. So Nietzsche had to make his own sense ofWagner's work ifhe was to treat Greek tragedy in a Wagne.' rian manner.7 It was a delicate task, since Nietzsche might easily appear to be lecturing Wagner on his own creations. ' One consequence is that Nietzsche guarded his thoughts on music and modern culture from Wagner. He was much quicker to show his friends in Triebschen his lectures dealing with ancient Greece. In the summer of 1870, Nietzsche wrote another essay con·! solidating his views and organizing them for the first time in the , rubric of forces that he began to call the "Apollonian" and "Dionysian." This lecture, entitled "The Dionysian WeltanschalJ' ung," was divided into four parts; only the fourth dealt directly with music.8 Significantly, when Nietzsche sent the essay to Cosima as a Christmas present at the end of the year, he sent only the first . three parts, thus shielding his developing ideas on music fromthe Wagners.9 Nietzsche's secrecy may seem cowardly. And it is surprising in view of Nietzsche's lifelong passion for honesty about the most painful insights. His behavior can nonetheless be understood within the context of his discipleship to Schopenhauer and
  • First Works 129 Wagner, which was the psychological matrix of his eme . rgi�g cre­ tivity. He wasstill relyingupon these precursors to sustain his con­ �dence and lend their authority to his writ . ing. He had . no� quit� ched the point where he could accept his own creative Intelh­ r :�ce as a self-sufficient authority. He did not yet think ofhimself �s a.genius. And, more practically, he might not have been able to write his book at all ifhe had incurred Wagner's well-known wrath before he finished it. But while Nietzsche was not yet confident of his creative pow- ers he had all the seminal ideas for TheBirth ofTragedy by the time he ieft Basel for his brief involvement in the Franco-Prussian War 'nAugust 1870. His essays on "The Greek Music-Drama," "Socrates 1 " d "Th B' h and Tragedy," "The Dionysian Weltanschauung, an e lrt of the Tragic Idea" were all realized. And in February Wagner had already encouraged him to write a book rather than more essays. By the summer of 1870, however, he still did not have an outline for one. It was the experience ofwar and his own shattered health that gave Nietzschethe final impetus to start on abook abou�tra?edy. This is noteworthy because the heroic status ofthe genIus IS ap­ parently enhanced in proportion to the adversity overcome in order to create. This, ofcourse, is part of the mythology of the ge­ nius. But close observation of a genius often reveals something more interesting still: adversity adds urgency to the creative pro­ cess. In Nietzsche's case in particular, the acute sense of mortality that he gained from his participation in the Franco-Prussian War stimulated his creative ambition and provoked him to get to work immediately on what would be his first book. Nietzsche started work on The Birth ofTragedy as s'oon as he re­ turned to Basel for his military convalescence. Initially he planned the book to coverwhat eventually became the first fifteen sections or chapters-the portion that deals with Attic tragedy and Socra­ tes, and only indirectly and by implication with the modern world. This plan had an obvious advantage: it would have made it unnec­ essary for Niet�sche to engage in a direct discussion of Wa�ner's music. But even these first fifteen sections went through a senes of versions that betray indecision and elaborate caution on Nietzsche's part.lO As a consequence of this curious textual history, The Birth of Tragedy falls readily into two parts. The partition is obviously due to the guarded manner in which Nietzsche wrote it. And it had the effect ofpermitting Nietzsche to dojustice to his own insight with-
  • l �O YOUNG NIETZSCHE out offending his mentor. But in the process Nietzsche producean uneven and awkwardly structured book. Specifically, the lasttechapters have often been characterized as an unfortunate and evb . d �em arrasslng a dendum to an otherwise remarkablyoriginal book.The first part of The Birth of Tragedy readily conforms to wh ?ne expected ofa book in 1871. These fifteen chapters can be rea�Independently. They constitute an ingenious and fully coherentargume�t.about.the h.istory o�ancient Greek tragedy, its birth outothe splnt ofDIonysIan musIC, and its death at the hand ofSocrat.. 1· IeratIona Ism. The first part even contains a perfectly understandablimplicitcritiqueofthe nineteenth century. There isacompletenesst�these fifteen chapters that seems tojustify the wish ofmany commen.tators on this book: thatNietzsche had stopped there.��e last ten chapters are less easily characterized. A variety ofexplIcItly cont�mporary concerns predominate: the cultural stag.nancy of the nIneteenth century, and the possible renaissance oftragedy in German philosophy and in Wagner's music. These lastten chapters are less coherent than the first fifteen, and hardly ele�gant. Nonetheless, they mark an important step in Nietzsche's de.velopmen�. .�hey constitute his first foray into contemporarycultural cntICIsm. And the fact that he had related his ancientsub.ject to contemporary problems was precisely what most elated himabout his book. Nietzsche's inclusion ofhimselfin the second pa�tof the book constituted an innovation of an order different fromany ofhis original ideas about the Greeks. In these two respects thelast ten c?apters are a better sign ofNietzsche's later writing thanthe fi:st fIfteen. He had made a transition not only from philologyto phIlosophy, but from scholarship to a unique genre ofautobio�.graphically generated cultural criticism. At �he. beginning of �he Birth of Tragedy Nietzsche recognizestwo pnnCIples of perception and representation: the Apollinianand theDionysian. And he baldly states that "the continuous devel.opment ofart is bound up with [this] duality-just as procreati�nd�pends upon the duality of the sexes, involving perpetual strifeWIth only periodically intervening reconciliations."12 He namedth.e two principles, of course, after the Greek gods Apollo andDlonysos, who he calls "the two art deities of the Greeks." And it �ay seem quite correct for a classical philologist to interpret an�CIent Greek tragedy in ancient Greek aesthetic terms. But forNietzsche these categories-Apollinian and Dionysian-are notre�stricted to Greek art or even to art. Instead, he asserts that they are
  • ed en . � II . a� r. of e � . f . f t First Works 131 iversal aesthetic or perceptual principles evident in nature, � n ven without the mediation of the human artist."13 This is ;ietzsChe's firstfundamental departure from the historicism ofhis century, which recognized no such universals. The contents of Nietzsche's two categories, furthermore, far transcend the ancient Greeks' understanding of the two gods. In Nietzsche's hand, Apollo and Dionysos are symbols for two system· tically opposed sets of characteristics devised by Nietzsche him· :elf. The Apollonian is the principle of clearly.deli�eate� imag�s, ermanence, optimism, individuation, and ratIonahty. It IS a stnv­ ing for clarity, especially the visual clar�ty offor� and outline, ?ut clarity in every other sense as well. NIetzsche hkens Ap�l�onla� erception to the visual distinctness ofdreams, and he afflhates It �ith the arts of sculpture, painting, and narrative poetry. The Dionysian, on the other hand, he associates with music, e�pecially melody. It is the principle of flux, impermanence, suffenng, and pessimism. Passage of time is basic to the Dionysian, w�ich. ca� onlybe depicted in (shapeless) temporal metaphors. NegatIngIndI· viduation, the Dionysian entails feelings of empathy and even identity with the other. Most importantly, it is an irrational force, impulsive, wild, and instinctive. So while Nietzsche affiliates Schopenhauer's concept of the "idea" or "representation" with Apollo, he associates Dionysos with the "�ill.":4. .According to Nietzsche, the ApollonIan VISIon of the world IS responsible for the constant formulation and reformulation �fthe forms ofknowledge and rationality that order our everydayhfe. It also serves to conceal the underlying Dionysian reality from us. Knowledge and rationality may vary from epoch t6-egoch and cuI· ture to culture. But culture itself is predicated upon the Apollon· ian mode of perception. Without its simplifying influence, organized life would be impossible. Nonetheless, the knowledge thatresultsfrom theApollonian perception isultimately illusory­ a necessary illusion, but illusion nonetheless. Dionysian perception, onthe otherhand, is momentary, excep­ tional, and counter·intuitive. It is dangerous to any structure ofra­ tionality. It contains the death wish and every other destruct.ive instinct as well as the life instinct. It is the maelstrom of every Im­ pulse caught in the flux of time, the enemy ofall that is fixed and ordered.Dionysian perceptionyields aterrifyingunderstandingof existence that humankind does well to conceal from itselfin every­ day life. Yet, since all is governed by time, coming into existence
  • YOUNG NIETZSCHE and passing away,.the Dionys�an is the more profound of the'twomodes �f perceptIon. A�cordlng to Nietzsche, the Dionysian canonly be Ignored at the pnce ofcultural sterility and ultimately. . F ' , extInctIon. or whe�eas t�e �pollonian view ofthings is the basis oknowledge, the DIonYSIan IS the font ofwisdom.15 . Part I of The Birth . oJ .Tragedy repudiates the historicist compulSion to study the past In Its own terms. Devising his own terms a d concepts of �nalysis to reevaluate Socrates, tragedy, rationalis:and so on, NIetzsche began a unique philosophical project. This ' however, was not merely a courageous move permitting him to sa;much thatwas new about ancient Greek art and thought. It wasal. . fh' soa �evere cntlque � IS own education and profession. Writing TheBzrth ojTra�edy, NIetz�che crossed a spiritual and intellectual Rubi.con to set hImselfagaInst all his teachers and much ofthe traditionofWestern thought. Just prior to publication, Nietzsche acknowledged that ThBirth oj Tragedy would probably offend the philologists. "I h e b d . " h ave�en very anng, e wrote to Rohde, cautioning even his bestfnend a�out. the last part. He must have known that the bookwould rUIn hIS career in scholarship and make his life in Basel vedifficult.But it had longbeen his desire to distance himselffrom ��1 1 . b ' ' . p Io o�as Itwas . eln�prac�ICedby hIS professional colleagues. AndhisanXIety over alIenatIng hImself from his profession was largely bal.anced by the pleasure that he now anticipated from Wagner's ap.p�oval. On the eve of the publication of The Birth oj Tragedy, hehImselfwas more enthusiastic aboutWagnerand his music thaneverb�fore-more.inclined than ever to see himselfas Wagner's diSciple.�Ietzschewas Insulated from the disapproval ofprofessional philolo.�IStS and theworldatlargebyhis almostexclusiveinterestin thereac�tlon ofhis master. This insulation seems to have permitted Nietzscheto ?epart much more radically from the conventions ofprofessionalphIlology than he otherwise might have done.'.s emerging originality was ofa novel type. He becamean ongtnal thInker by writing a critique ofthe tendencies in his ownage, education, and experience that (he believed) threatened toeclipse his own creativity. These tendencies reduced in Nietzsche'smind to.scie.nce, scholarship, and specialization-some very generaltend�ncles Indeed. Taken together, Nietzsche thought that theyconstItu�ed a c�ltural disease afflicting the nineteenth century. Of course, SInce NIetzschehadbeen trained as aclassical philologist it was natural for him to displace the cultural tendencies that stuiti.
  • o . n x· or ' l. d ' ; o e First Works 133 fied him in 1871 into the ancient context ofhis academic studies, and to attack them there. But it is noteworthy that Nietzsche did not simply veer away from philology to write Wagnerian music or Schopenhauerian philosophy. He created out of his insight into what fettered him personally. The Birth oj Tragedy is a reflexive work, largely a reflection upon Nietzsche's own experience. Consequently, TheBirth ofTragedy is not a typical work ofnine­ teenth-century genius. It is a dissection and critique, not a discur­ sive revelation ofa new world such as we usually find in the poetry, fiction, music, painting, and even the systematic philosophy ofthe century. Nietzsche was content to know that he had written a philo­ sophical book. He did not think that he had written a work ofge­ nius. Indeed he would have acknowledged that his book was intended to assist another who was one of the classic geniuses of the century: to anchor the plausibility ofWagner's project in anew understanding ofGreek tragedy. So, logically enough, even as the author of The Birth ofTragedy, Nietzsche did not recognize himself asagenius. However, it is precisely this book thatfirstconvincesus thathe was a genius. The problem is thatwhatNietzsche was doingwas original in a yetunrecognizable way. Innovation is only "original" if it is recog­ nized by others and understood as a new departure that other sim­ ilar efforts can follow. Before that could happen, Nietzsche would have to admit to himself that he had begun something new and build upon it himself. Then, with other writings, he would have to teach his readers to see that itwas a new departure as well. Unbeknownsteventohimself,Nietzschewasbecomingadiffer­ enttype ofgenius. His achievementwas to be one·of�riticism, un­ masking, deconstruction, demolition, and nihilism. As an attack upon Socratism ancient and modern, The Birth of Tragedy's is Nietzsche's first salvo in a lifelong assault upon complacent ratio­ nality and the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake. This is reo , flected in the style and logic ofthe book. It is not spontaneous, as one might expect of a naive genius, but closely argued and highly self-conscious. Nor is it a work of novelty; rather it is critical and paradoxical, makingthe modern cult ofrationality and knowledge seem undirected and pointless. Deflating the most prized achieve­ ments ofits time, itis aworkofprovocation, settinga precedentfor astyle ofcreativity thatwouldbecome characteristic ofmodernism after the turn ofthe century. But since Nietzsche himselfhad been initiated into theacademic culture ofknowledge forits own sake, it
  • YOUNG NIETZSCHE is also a work of self-overcoming, a quality that he later toutedfh' l' aone 0 IS most sa lent. Analyzing and sloughing offhis own edu. . CatIon, NIetzsche wrote reflexively in The Birth of Tragedy, and it be came one ofthe first works ofsentimental genius. Nietzsche referred to his study of ancient tragedy (in the firstfifteen cha�ters . of the boo�) as "an elaborate historical example,"valuable pnmanly because It permitted him to illuminate the pr16 Th h' ' . es ent. e Iston�al l�sson t�at NIetzsche drew from that portion of the book was qUIte sImple: If we want to revitalize our culture w should consider what sapped the vitality ofancient Greek cult�r e H . is history ofAttic tragedy indicated that ')ust as tragedy perish:�wIth . the evanescence ofthe spirit ofmusic, it is only from this spiritthat I� can be reborn."17 Resuscitating the spirit of music, giving anew hfe to tragedy and thus revitalizing modern culture-this iswhat interested Nietzsche, much more than the history of Attitragedy itself. c Nietzsche's promotion of the rebirth of tragedy points obvi­o�sly to Wagner and his genius: it was from Wagner's music thatNIetzsche hoped a new age of tragedy might develop. But the sec­ond part ofthe book also refers to Nietzsche's own creative aCcom�plishment. Nietzsche had assigned himselfa role in the renaissanceo� tragedy-one quite different from Wagner's creative role.NIetzsche is fundamentally a critic here. As the author ofTheBirthof. Tra�edy, he is situated in the present, cutting through layers of hlstoncal knowledge to reveal the tragic philosophy. He puts him­self forward as an intellectual rather than as an artist. But in thelater portion ofthe book he is a novel sort ofcritic and intellectualwho reveals himself in person, discussing himself as the promoter ; ofa tragic interpretation ofmodern history: It may be well to disclose the origin of this insight [into the decline of ancient tragedy] by considering the analogous phenomena of our own time; we must enter into the midst of those struggles, which .': . are being waged in the highest spheres of our contemporary world between insatiable optimistic knowledge and the tragic need of This passage serves not only to shift the reader's attention from the historical to the contemporary world, but to advance Nietzsche'scontentio� that th� past is always studied for contemporary rea. sons. And In refernng to the origins ofhis insight, Nietzsche subtlydraws our attention to himself as author. He provokes us to ask,
  • as a- e- c st " - f e � t a s First Works 1 35 "Who is this man, and how did he discover this?" Implicitly he an­ rs that he had learned all of this from his own personal strug-swe h'les at the nexus ofart and science or scholars Ip. . . . g Nietzsche's discoveries in this book (and all ofhIS laterwntIngs) e indeed the results of introspection-excavations of his ownwer . . f N' h 'erience. But the autobiographical dImensIon 0 letzsc e sexp h . . . Ih· king is less obvious in The Birth of Tragedy t an It IS In atert In . If . rks. Nietzsche was not yet ready openly to declare hlmse an In- ��lectual hero, or to render himself as the primary subject of his writing. Furthermore, the prominence of Wagner obscures the ny autobiographical comments that he does make. Nonetheless,rna . b ' d . the autobiographical theme ofNietzsche's discourse IS aSIc, an It prefigures his mature style ofthinking. . . In The Birth of Tragedy Nietzsche charactenzes hImself as the heir of Schopenhauer and Wagner, but in �aying d�f�ren�e �o them, he says nothing that would diminish hIS own onglnahty In writing The Birth ofTragedy. In fact, Nietzsche makes a grand sum­ mary claim for himself: Having recognized this extraordinary contrast [between the Apollon­ ian and Dionysian] I felt a strong need to appro�ch the essence �f Greek tragedy and, with it, the profoundest revelatIOn of the HellenIc genius; for at last I thought thatI possessed a charm to enable m�-:-far beyond the phraseology of our usual aesthetics-to represent VIVIdly to my mind the fundamental problem of tragedy; whereb� I was granted such a surprising and unusual in�ight into t�e HellenIc . cha�. acter that it necessarily seemed to me as If our classIcal·Hellenic SCI­ ence that bears itself so proudly had thus far contr�ved to subsist d I ,,19mainly on shadow plays an externa s. These are the words of a creative person so delighted-and not a little surprised at what he has accomplished-that he is impelle�to remark upon it. He employs no false modesty, but no exaggeratIon either. Presented with the rudiments of a solution to a fundamental problem ofaesthetics in the works ofSchope . nha�er, Wagne:r' and others Nietzsche had solved that problem wIth hIS elaboratIon of the A�ollonian/Dionysian opposition. Armed with th�s under· standing, he was drawn to tragedy, and thus to the aesthetIc core of Greek culture and character. He solved the riddle of tragedy that had remained obscure to all practitioners ofthe current aesthetics.
  • It YOUNG NIETZSCHE And in solving that riddle, he gained such insight into the Helleniccharacter that the whole science ofphilology paled by comparison.Certainly Nietzsche was claiming a degree of originality forhimself. And while he was honoringSchopenhauer and Wagnerbyacknowledging that theywere his forerunners, he was also creatinga genealogy ofgenius forhimself. He did not mention-as Wagnermight have preferred-that he had attended Schulpforta, that hehad studied with Friedrich Ritschl in Leipzig, or in any other wayplace himself in the tradition of philological research. Rather, hechose to rank himself in an order of creators: Schopenhauer,Wagner,Nietzsche. Farfrom diminishinghis creativity, this quietlyinitiated a story ofNietzsche as a genius. Nietzsche'smentioningthediscoveriesthatled him towriteTheBirth of Tragedy was an unusual step for an author to take in 1870.Friedrich Ritschl got the impression that Nietzsche was sufferingfrom megalomania. (This was only the first of many such accusa·tions.) But for Nietzsche this autobiographical commentary wasperfectly consequential. Having determined as a student that liter·ary history is necessarily written from contemporary motives, itwas only appropriate for him to acknowledge the contemporarysituation that made this particular book necessary-the conflict be·tween the imperial ambitionsofscience andscholarship and the needfor tragicart. He had experienced this in the most excruciatingly per·'sonalway. So that includinghimselfin his analysis as a representativeofart, a follower ofSchopenhauer and Wagner, was logical.In effectNietzsche inscribed his claims to originality in the verybook that he put forward as original.20 He did not, however, claimto have made novel interpretations of particular tragedies, or tohave contributed to philological method, although he might wellhave done so. Rather, he made a series of other claims that reveal ' him to be the philosopher ofart, ofthe tragic sense oflife, and ofa Dionysian world view. In the last ten chapters of The Birth of Tragedy Nietzsche makesthe following claims: (1) That he had explained the meaning ofthechorus in Greek tragedy as it had never before been explained. (2)That he had for the first time inferred the origins ofmyth in music.(3) That he had explained the reaction ofthe audience to tragedyfor the first time. (4) That he had shown the working oftragedy to be aesthetic play, not ethical purgation. (5) That he had demon·strated the sterility ofphilology and historicism as they were cur·rently practiced. And finally, (6) that he had shown that the world
  • First Works 137 . lfwas only to beJ'ustified aesthetically. These claims to original·Itse . ' . f. nge from particular achievements In the lnterpretatIon 0 �:ti:atragedy to one of the most general philosophical statements imaginable. . . fNietzsche not only gave the first explanation of the onglns ? d in the Dionysian chorus and the meaning ofthe chorus Intrage y . . h tclassical tragedy; he also explained the cathartic expenenc� t a h audience has in a tragedy on the basis ofhis understandlng of �� chorus.21 His understanding ?f the tragi� chorus led fu:ther. more to his first major philosophlcal concluslon: ex�ressed In th� famous dictum that the world was only to be .JustIfied aesthetl' lly 22 Here Nietzsche made a strictly philosophlcal advance upon ��h�penhauer. For Schopenhauer had understood .the will to be the basic metaphysical reality-not some realm of ldeal or fixed reality, but the chaotic surgings ofwill thatreduced the phenome· I world to the status of mere appearance. Anyone who under·na . .toodthis asSchopenhauerdid necessarilybecame a pesslmlst-an �ethical pessimist," as Schopenhauer termed hi�self. B:ut Nietzsche did not acquiesce in Schopenhauer's preachlng ofreslg· nation and the denial ofthe will. , .Philosophically, Nietzsche began with Sc�openhaue� s conVlC' tion about the metaphysical reality of the wtll and the lm�erm�· nence of all. But through his understanding of the audlence s identification with the chorus and the Dionysian comfort p�o· duced by it, he showedthatthe Greeks (�nd a�y other people a tragic sense of life) could adm�t the Dl.onys?an nature of reahty and yet be cheerful and vital. Thls essentIa�ly ln��=ted.the sense of Schopenhauer's philosophy. Instead�on, Nletzsche pro· motes a heroic cheerfulness and exuberantwtlhng. Hence the glo· rious achievements ofthe Greeks. This, for Nietzsche, was an even more important result than the specifically philological results of his study oftragedy. . 'Bycontrastwithhisown accomplishmentIn TheBzrth ofTragedy, Nietzsche thoughtthatrecent generations ofGermans had learned little from the Greeks. After acknowledging the noble .efforts �f Goethe, Schiller, and Winckelmann, he indic�tes that Slnce then time the attempt has become "incomprehenslb�y f�ebler and fee· bler.,,23 As a result, even serious people were lnchn�d to doubt whether anyone could advance beyond what the classlcal German writers had accomplished. And those who make their living from classical studies-the professors of philology-"have learned best 1
  • � JO YOUNG NIETZSCHE to come to terms with the Greeks easily and in good time, often by �keptically abandoning the Hellenic ideal and completely pervert_Ing the true purpose of antiquarian studies."24 Here Nietzschevents his spleen upon his profession, effectively disavowing himembership in it: s Whoever in these circles has not completely exhausted himself in his endeavor to be a dependable corrector of old texts or a linguistic mi. croscopist who apes natural history is probably trying to assimilate Greek �ntiquity 'historically,' along with other antiquities, at any rate accordIng to the method and with the supercilious airs of our present cultured historiography.25 �ith the phrase, "assimilating Greek antiquity 'historically,',) NIetzsche alluded to the historicist dictum that the past must beunderstood in its own terms, without reference to the present. Ob­viously Nietzsche felt contempt for contemporary philological at­ tempts to appreciate ancient Greek culture. But Goethe and Schiller had not fully understood the Greeks either. In fact, Nietzsche argues that not even the Greeks them­ selves hadunderstood tragedy conceptually. As ifto make his claim to originality as f�rcefully as possible, immediately upon stating that he had explaIned the chorus oftragedy for the first time, he' declares: "We must admit that the meaning of the tragic myth set forth above never became clear in transparent concepts to the Greek poets, not to speak of the Greek philosophers."26 Socrates and Plato had waged war against tragedy, while Aristotle had mis. understood it. And the tragedians, while they understood their metier implicitly, could nothave explained its theory. So Nietzsche had not only surpassed the contemptible philologists of the nine. teenth century, he had explained something that neither the great German writers nor the ancient Greeks themselves had understood. . Clearly, Nietzsche thought of himself as a philosopher an'd thInker as he wrote TheBirth ofTragedy. He did not imagine himself a tragedian oran artist. Thatwas the role ofWagner, whomhe com­ pared to Aeschylus. But another figure appears in the second part ofthe book, as ifto illuminate Nietzsche's self-conception: the mu-. I S 27 N'sIca ocrates. Ietzsche hoped that Wagner's music dramas would usher in a new era oftragedy and tragic awareness, but an" era that would be essentially different from the period ofHellenic history in which Attic tragedy flourished. The rebirth of tragedy
  • First Works 1 39 would only come as a resultofthe realization thatscien�e had failed in . claim to solve all problems and master the world WIth knowledge. �eri thisrealizationdawnedtherewouldarise "anewform ofculture forwhichwewouldhavetouse the symbol ofthe �usic-prac�icingSoc­ ' rates.,,28Whatwould distinguish this modern tragIc culture ISa degree fself-consciousness unknown to the ancientGreeks.o The new Socrates would be a very different philosopher from the one indicated by Nietzsche in thefirst part of The Birth ofTrag­ edy. The original, according to Nietzsche, �as the man in whom "the faith in the explicability ofnature and In knowledge as a pan- Icea" had first come to light. But the music-practicing Socrates :ould necessarily have recognized the error ofthis faith and have turned to art-and not to just any art but to the Dionysian art of music. Presumably, he would not take up musical composition as his metier-no more than Nietzsche had renounced writing about the Greeks when he disavowed historicism and thecredo ofprofes­ sional philology. Rather, the music-practicing Socrates would phi- losophize as a Dionysian man infected with the spirit ofmusic. Nietzsche does not explicitlyclaim this role ofmusical Socrates forhimself. But it is not difficult to see, and hasoftenbeen noticed, thatNietzsche's allusions to the emergence ofan "artistic Socrates" anda"music·practicingSocrates" are references to himself.29What � has not been noticed, apparently, is thatthis is an importantclue to Nietzsche's identity asa thinker and awriter�Dion��!�;:,p..!I1!.Q'§' , opher is a Socrate�W�h£!s..s.een,Q�X:�.��,,§,2�E�£!,�,!!!,.:.T1iIS.IS the role V thar:l'rrerzS'"c1le�prays in The Birth of Tragedy. Only In thIS persona could Nietzsche explain the meaning ofthe chorus and the tragic myth. He raises what the Greeks understood intuitiv.ely to such a level ofself·consciousness thatitbecomes thebasis ofa philosophy. Nietzsche was Socratic in his reasoned rejection ofknowledge as the panacea. He developed this stance until it beca�e � char�c. teristic style ofthought. His laterworks are more sophlstIcat�d In style and more ingenious in argument. Buttheyare not atvarIance with Nietzsche's initial philosophical conclusions. Thus the autho­ rial identity thatNietzsche would develop in his later books is that of the music-practicing·Socrates. For Nietzsche would ever be a Dionysian philosopher: not an artist, but a self·conscious and re­ flexive philosopherwho subordinated science to artistic insight. ,t Nietzsche had sent the first copies of The Birth of Tragedy to Triebschen with a humble letter inJanuary 1872. He regretted the
  • 140 YOUNG NIETZSCHE degree to which he had occupied Wagner's attention during the preparation of the book, and only hoped that he had correctly in­ terpreted what Wagner had said to him.30 This was no feigned def­ erence or false modesty. It seems rather that Nietzsche was suffering from the letdown that often follows the successful com­ pletion of a major creative project-metaphorically called post­ partum depression. And since Wagner's creative force was still what oriented Nietzsche's, he still needed Wagner's approval. Butif Nietzsche momentarily feared that Wagner would be less than en­ thusiastic about his book, he was quite wrong. When Wagner first received his copy of The Birth of Tragedy, he read it feverishly. He burst into praise. Wagner did not often praise the creations of others; in fact, merely to have other people's cre­ ations brought to his attention usually irritated him. But this book was something altogether different from the futile efforts of some ofhis admirers and even the more disturbing works of obvious ri� vals. Naturally, Wagner was immensely gnitified by the role h� had been assigned in the book: the German Aeschylus. The narcissistic satisfaction he took in this is characteristic, and quite evident in his first hasty note to Nietzsche, penned onJanuary 5just after receiv� ing the advanced-copy: "A more beautiful book I have never readl Everything is wonderful!. . . . To Cosima I said, you come right after her, and after that no one else until Lenbach, who hasjust painted a fascinating picture of me!"31 In effect, all three-Cosima, Nietzsche, and Franz Lenbach, the painter from Munich-had been painting pictures ofWagner: Cosima in her transcription of the autobiography,MeinLeben, Nietzsche in TheBirth ofTragedy, and Lenbach in his portrait. Wagner was almost childlike in the narcis­ sistic pleasure he took in such attentions; he loved to have talented people literally depict him to himself. Wagner's initial reaction raised Nietzsche's spirits somewhat. In a letter to his friend Gersdorff, Nietzsche quoted happily from Wagner's note and said that some ofit was so moving that he could not repeat it.32 What he could not repeat, apparently, was the thought that he had been given the place next to Cosima in Wagner's heart. But that was not all the praise thatNietzsche would get from Wagner, because narcissistic gratification was not all that Wagner would get from reading Nietzsche's book. After reading it once quickly, Wagner and Cosima read The Birth of Tragedy again-separately in the morning, and aloud to each other in the evening. The composer was no less pleased by
  • First Works 141 this much more careful reading. As one ofWagner's biographers has written, "Great enthusiasm reigned at Triebschen, and Wagner OW returned the talented young author's affection in a way that �ent beyond mere self-interest. He was happy, he said, to have lived to read the book. ,,33 So, less than a week after his first ec­ tatic note, Wagner wrote to Nietzsche again on January 10, �ore thoughtfully and at greater length. It is a most sympathetic letter.34 Apparently Nietzsche was ill and had declined an invitation to visitTriebschen in the first flush ofWagner's enthusiasm about the book. It was a recurrence of whatever had afflicted him since his military duty in France. Wagner in his letter said he was worried aboutNietzsche's health, but even more about his state ofmind. He and Cosima had noticed Nietzsche's periodic bouts of depression over his professional predicament. And they saw that, now that The Birth ofTragedy had appeared, Nietzsche seemed even more despon­ dent. He wanted Nietzsche to gethimselftogether. "Friend! What I say is not to be waved off with a laughing reassurance." And at the end ofthe letter: How I would like to dispel your ill humor. But how should I begin? Would my boundless praise suffice? I doubt it, and that depresses me too. Nonetheless, I can do no other than give you my boundless praise. Please accept it as a friend, even if it does not suffice!35 This was Wagner at his very best: firm about the seriousness ofwhat he perceives to be Nietzsche's periodic depressioiis, bl:lt co�pletely supportive ofhis friend. In fact, this may be the most senSItIve and empathic moment in all ofWagner's correspondence. Wagner focused directly upon the creativity that he saw in The . Birth of Tragedy, as if to make sure that Nietzsche understood his praise ofthe book correctly: it was not merely an acknowledgment ofthe important place he himself occupied in the book, but a rec­ ognition of Nietzsche's own genius. After first describing his con­ cern about Nietzsche, he remarks with pretended surprise: And now you publish this work, which has no comparison whatever. Every influence that anyone might have had upon you is reduced practically to nothing: what most distinguishes your book from all others is the perfect certainty with which a profound originality re- veals itself in it.36
  • 142 YOUNG NIETZSCHE Wagner was the first to assertNietzsche's originality, suggestin that Nietzsche too was a genius. And he did so at precisely the tim when Nietzsche's major professor, Friedrich Ritschl, was suggesing, also for the first time, that Nietzsche was crazy. Nietzsche him self was quite unable to think of himself as a genius, although hhad become aware of his creativity. It required Wagner, who was arecognized genius, to name Nietzsche one. Wagner attempted to legitimate the originality of The Birth Of Tragedy to the author himself-to help him admit his own creativepowers to himself. Surely this is empathy. To this end he went on inhis letter to show Nietzsche that he had learned from The Birth Of Tragedy too. This, from a man who understood and advertised himself as a genius-which Wagner certainly did-was the ultimate compliment. Only another genius can influence a genius Nietzsche's essays and conversation had indeed influenced Wagner in his writing of Beethoven (1870) and The Destiny ofOpera (1871); and now Wagner acknowledged the influence of Nietzsche's book on his music. Reading TheBirth ofTraged,y, Wagner wrote, gave him such a charge ofenthusiasm for his own work that he had resumed composition on the last act ofSiegfried. He read in it after breakfast in order to get into the right spirit for composition. Cosima, curiouslyenough, was not so quick to praise Nietzsch�. Perhaps she was a littlejealous of Wagner's first wave of enthusi. asm for Nietzsche, but her attitude too soon gave way to fervid praise. When she finally wrote about the book in a letter to Nietzsche on January 18, it was quite unlike her usual chatty reo ports on doings at Triebschen.37 EchoingWagner's own promotion of Nietzsche to the rank of genius, she first noted that Nietzsche "had exorcised spirits in this book that I thought only obeyed our master [WagnerJ."38 Coming from Cosima, this was almost more reo markable praise than Wagner's own. Cosima had often treated Nietzsche as a Wagnerian lackey; but now he was suddenly compa. rable to " the master." The most interesting passage of Cosima's letter contains an idea that she had undoubtedly discussed with Wagner: I have read your work as piece of literature, representing the most profound problems. And I cannot separate myself from the book any more than the master can, because it gives me answer to all the uncon, scious questions of my soul. You can imagine how your mention of Tristan and Isolde affected me: I have experienced the annihilatio,n
  • ng me st_ m­ e ' a, Of e n Of m. e s. r ; k m d t . . d FiTst WOTks 143 through music and the salvation through drama-just as you describe it�more powerfully in this work than in any other, b . ut I have never been able explain [my own reaction]. , �o you have clarified for me the most powerful impression of my life:�J Perhaps unwittingly, the Wagners were indicating that Nietzsche was not only a genius: but a g�nius of a particul . ar type: h "poetic Socrates" intimated In TheBzrth ofTragedy by NIetzschet e f . l'kh· If He understood and explicated the works 0 artists 1 eIIDse . . d'Wagner (and Aeschylus), who c:eated ,:ithout fully understan Ing the implications of their creatIons. NIetzsche had made clear to Cosima, Wagner's consort (and perhaps to Wagner as . w�ll), �he steries of Wagner's art. This was not inaccurate. But It Imphed ::even larger powers of insight and unmasking that, with mu . ch greater hindsight, we now know constituted Nietzsche's �reat gI�t. Thus Cosima's characterization ofNietzsche resembles Nlet�sche s own first approximation of the distinction betwe�n the naIve . ge­ nius-here exemplified by Wagner-and the sentimental genIUS, Nietzsche. But in the early months of 1871, this may have seemed like faint praise to Nietzsche, who in his dour mood must now have thought that to be a Socrates ofany sort was to be damned. . Had Nietzsche been ready for their praise, and had he not sull needed Wagner as a fatherly protector and guaranto: of the valu . e ofhis own originality, he might hav� struck out o . n hIS own a� thIS point. He mighthave left the university to make hIS wa� as an Ind�­ pendent writer. And the painfully unfriendly receptI?n that hIS book receivedamongphilologists might have affect�?�l1m less. But he was still dependent upon Wagner. And he was neither sure of his originality nor ready to contemplate leaving his posi�ion at the university. So he'remained very vulnerable to the reaction of the philological community. . . . TheBirth ofTragedy was in fact receIved Wlt� almost �nanlmous hostilityby academic philologists. The book was I�tend�d In part �s a provocation ofthe historicist ideology ofthe phIlol?g�cal estabhs�. mente Nevertheless, Nietzsche was hurt by the pubhc sIlence ofphI' lologists, by the adverse reaction of Friedrich �it�chl, . and by an outrageously venomous attack leveled against hIm In pr�nt. Ritschl had received a complimentary copy of TheBzrth 0fTra�­ edy directly from the publisher. Upon perusing it, he wrote In hIS diary that it was "an inspired waste of energy."4() But . he did not reo spond to the book until Nietzsche wrote hIm a cunous letter on
  • 144 YOUNG NIETZSCHE January 30 requestin� his opinion. Begin�ing in a rather indig_ nant, formal tone, NIetzsche expressed hIS "astonishment" that Ritschl had not written him at least a note. He declared that his b.ook demanded anything but silence, that it was a "manifesto" de- sIgne� to b�eathe new hope into the discipline of philology. But then In closInghe returned to thefamiliar tone that had been com­ m.on bet�een them, assuringhis professorthathe knew thatRitschl w�shed hIm well. It seems an almost schizophrenic letter, in which NIetzsche first arrogantly asserts his dignity as a creative author and then returns to the humble role ofstudent.Again Ritschl mad� a note in his diary: "Amazing letter from Nietzsche-megaloma_ nia." This is the first time that anyone made this suggestion about Nietzsche. And it is significant that it came in conjunction with N.iet�sche's first genuinely original work. In the popular mind ge­ nIUS IS next to madness; and between them Ritschl and Wagner ex­ p�essed b?th ter�s of this adage. Ritschrwas ofcourse reacting to NIetzsche s self-Importance, something that must have seemed completely inappropriate in aclassical philologist. The scholarwas supposed to efface himself in his effort to represent the past as it had act�ally been. And here was Ritschl's own student audaciously suggestIng that he could renew the whole profession with one very speculative book. Ritschl responded to Nietzscne nonetheless, and his letter was admirably forthright. He wrote that he could not give a detailed opinion of�ietzsche's book, inasmuch as he felt himselfincompe­ tent for theJob. He was too old to change his basic orientationto life and scholarship. He was fully committed to the historicist �ode oftho.ught, and he could never find salvation in a philosoph­ �cal system lIke Schopenhauer's. As ahistoricist, he could not imag­ Ine what the "suicide" of tragedy might mean. Nor could he see how the progressive individuation ofWestern man was an unfortu­ nate development. He clearly recognized himself in the "Alexan, drian man" that Nietzsche satirized in The Birth of Tragedy, and noted that Nietzsche could hardly expect such people to trade in theirrational knowledge forphantasies ofsalvation to be found in contemporary art; that is, in Wagner's operas. In all these remarks Ritschl openly stated his disagreements with Nietzsche, but added that they were based upon a cursory review of the book. At his age he had not the time nor the energy to delve into Schopenhauer's philosophy, which seemed to be prerequisite to a fuller under-
  • _ t s' -, t ­ l h t First Works 1 45 standing of The Birth of Tragedy. And he humbly confessed his in­ biIity to appreciate philosophy, even in his youth. a Ritschl objected finallytoNietzsche'shope, expressed in his let- ter, to provide a new basis for the education ofphilol�gists. Wou�d ot the great mass of young people find nothIng more In �ietzsche's views than an excuse to despise science (Wissenschaft)? Does he not really encourage dilettantism more than he advances the cause of art? These are the doubts of an old pedagogue, he states, that do not relegate him to the status of a mere "master of note cards." It was Ritschl's turn to be angry. And while the aging professorwent on to close with a few amenities, �t is c�ear that this washis finaljudgment:Nietzsche had betrayed hIS calhng, not only as a philologist, but as an educator in the tradition ofWestern ra- tionalism. Ritschl had to admit that Nietzsche, his prize student, had turned out to be a subversive. This is a more sophisticated judg­ ment than simply labeling him a megalomaniac. But Ritschl's two views are really one: forhim, Nietzsche's attack upon the tradition ofWestern rationalism was a species of dementia. Nor is Ritschl's assessment ofthe Nietzsche who wrote The Birth of Tragedy incom­ patible with Wagner's recognition of him as a genius. That Nietzsche was a subversive is recognized today by Nietzsche's de- tractors and disciples alike. Nietzsche may have hoped for a friendlier reaction from Ritschl, butheneversupposedthathewouldgetgoodreviewsfrom other philologists. He did want at least one friendly review, how­ ever. So before the book even appeared he sugge�ted to his friend Rohde that he write areview, an "elevated advertisement." Rohde was anxious to help, but his first attempt was rejected by thejour­ nal for which it 'was intended, the Literarische Centralblatt. His sec­ ond appeared in the NorddeutscheAllgemeine Zeitung only a few days before he received word from Nietzsche'S other friend, Gersdorff, ofan extensive attack upon The Birth ofTragedy by a young philolo­ gist in Berlin. This was Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Moellendorffs booklet entitled Zukunjtsphilologie (The Philology of the Future).43 Rohde now felt obliged to reply to Wilamowitz-Moellendorff, which he did in the form of an open letter to RichardWagner.44To this Wagner added an open letter to Nietzsche in which he dis­ cussed the lamentable state of the German philological profes­ sion.45 Finally, Wilamowitz-Moellendorff added a second installment to his Philology of the Future. These publications all
  • 1 "*0 YOUNG NIETZSCHE brought Nietzsche a degree of intellectual notoriety, but naenough they did him more harm than good in the world ofphogy. Nonetheless they demonstrate-if any demonstrationn�cessary:-how radi�ally . incompatible the originalityNIetzsche s book was wIth hIS scholarly profession in 1872.Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Moellendorffwas an ambitious youh'l I ' . np 1 0 OgISt, an arIstocrat who had defied his family to becomescholar. He too had studied at Schulpforta. He had been there d. N' h ' UrIng �etzsc e s last years and so the two were at least superficiaUacquaInted. He was as wel� trai�ed as Nietzsche, and he would g�on to a truly great career In phIlOlogy. In fact, by historicist stand�rd�, he would become the greatest philologist of his generationwIth Innumerable publications to his credit. But his career as a�author began somewhat disreputably with this intemperate andvery . personal a . ttack upon Nietzsche and The Birth ofTragedy_ Mosof hIS twenty-eIght page essay is taken up with malicious satirecommenting upon the many errors of fact and interpretation tha�he professed to find in the book. But, fundamentally, he too ac­cused Nietzsche of betraying the creed of historicism, the beliefthat the cultural creations of the past should be studied in theirown terms, uncontaminated by contemporary interests. And hecalled upon Nietzsche to resign his professorship in Basel: it wasfraudulent ofhim to masquerade as a practitioner of the science ofphilology. It was easy for Rohde to show that Wilamowitz-Moellendorffmade many errors ofhis own in the course ofhis diatribe. And could see that the pamphlet was in very bad taste. ButWilamowitz-Moellendorffs basic thesis, that Nietzsche hadbetrayed the creed ofhistoricism, was exactly what Ritschl had saidin his letter. Nietzsche himself said as much in his letter to Ritschlwhen he announced that the book was a "manifesto." In fact, hehad renounced historicism while he was still a student in Leipzig;After readi�g Schopenhauer, but before he ever met Wagner, hehad recognIzed that every human activity is informed by the inter­ests of t�e actor . s. And he began then to apply this insight to his�bservatlon ofhImselfand his fellow philologists. Now he had pub­lIshed a book that flaunted his contemporary concerns and calledupon the authority ofseveral nineteenth-century geniuses to settleancient Greek issues.46 . One professor of philology declared that anyone who pub­lIshed such a book was professionally dead. And in fact, one of the
  • ng a r� U � n­ n � d st e � ­ f r e f < . · .. . First Works 147 equences of the negative reception of The Birth ofTragedy wascons . .Nietzsche suddenly found hImself bereft of students, over- �a �t he had become so notorious that students of philology were01g 47 h I N' h . d to stay away from Basel. To say t e east, letzsc e was Inwarne . . . . . a delicate position profeSSIonally, In spIte of �IS . r�cent promo . tl0n ured professor. He might be seen as a lIablhty at the Unlver-to ten . . . c . fBasel His application to exchange hIS POSItIon as prolessorSlty 0 . . f hilology for one in philosophy had already been rejected. And �i&outthebackingofRitschl, he would find it difficult to make his way as a philologist anywhere else. . Nietzsche was more depressed than encouraged by the pu�hca­ . of his book and the reactions to it. Even Wagner's enthUSIasmUon . f h h'l IS not sufficient to neutralize the negative reactIon 0 t e p 1 0 -wa h . . ogists. Nonetheless, Nietzsche offered to aban?on t e unIVerSIty d dedicate his whole energy to the WagnerIan cause. It was a :;mptom ofNietzsche's desperation, and Wagner was suitably hor­ rified. He rejected the idea out of hand. Wagner had ne;er been averse to the sacrifices of his other disciples, but he reahzed that Nietzsche needed to pursue his own development. There was al�o self-interest in his reaction. He knew the prestige of a professor In Germanywell enough, and he wanted to have one in his ca�p even if he was notorious among his colleagues. He felt that NIetzsc�e would be of more use to him right where he was, as professor In Basel.48 So there was never any question of Nietzsche accompany­ ing the Wagners when they left Triebschen in the e . arly S . prin� of 1872. He would stay behind in Basel and his professIonal IsolatIon would be exacerbated by loneliness. . The Wagners moved to Bayreuth only a few weeks after �he , publication of The Birth ofTragedy. For Wa�ner: of . course, mOVIng to Bayreuth meantopeningthe final campaI?n In hIS war to refo�m German culture. Triebschen had been a delIghtful and productIve interlude. Still supported by the Bavarian King, Ludwig II, he had worked as well as he ever had, finishingDieMeistersinger and many other projects and advancing The Ring ofthe Nibelungen decisively. He had won Cosima and started his family there. Generally speak­ ing, in the Triebschen years (1866-72) Wagner had recouped his forces for the final struggle against the operatic world. For Nietzsche, however, Triebschen had been a time and a place where he often had Wagner's exclusive attention. I� Bat reuth Nietzsche would be one of many disciples, and many In thIS crowd were no more than sycophants. For Bayreuth was not to be a
  • 148 YOUNG NIETZSCHE refuge but the social center of the Wagnerian movement, and theFestspielhaus and Wagner's home Wahnfried were to be which all Wagnerians would make regular pilgrimage; SoNietzsche was bound to be disappointed and even disgusted on those few occasions when he actually visited Bayreuth. Wagner's move marked the beginning ofthe end ofNietzsche'sWagnerian period. At the time this was not apparent to either ofthem. When the cornerstone ofthe Festival Theater was ceremoni.ously laid in May of 1872, Nietzsche was invited to Bayreuth. Itturned out to be a dismal, rainy day, but Nietzsche had the honorofriding in the first carriage, right beside Wagner as they rolled upthe hill to the solemn dedicatory ceremony. This marked the apexoftheir friendship. .. Immediately after publishing The Birth of Tragedy, Nietzschelaunched a series ofpublic lectures in Basel "On the Future ofOurEducational Institutions," in which he attacked the allegedly sadstate ofGerman education.49 He intended to reveal the problems ofthe Gymnasium in particular by recounting a fictionalized narrati,veof his own adolescent experience. But when he held the first lee.ture onJanuary 16, the staid citizens of Basel must have been ap. palled. The autobiographical element was thinly veiled and.embarrassingly melodramatic. Attendance dropped off after the first lecture. And yet Nietzsche went on in February and March to�give four more of the six lectures he had planned, each more teo dious than the last. He never delivered the sixth.50 The lectures turned out to be an exposition of the naive or roo mantic ideology of the genius. The basic ideas are spoken by an aged genius·philosopher to a younger companion, but overheard by two idealistic students, who learn that their own education at th� Gymnasium had been debased. The philosopher strongly resembles Schopenhauer in his world·view, but his critique of the Gymnasium is very much that of Richard Wagner. The students are Nietzsche and a companion. What the students overhear is a discourse on the boundary between the genius and non·genius. They are a conserva. tive and even defensive reassertion of the naive theory of the ge. nius against the claims ofpopular education. The old philosopher's fundamental complaint is that "the rights of the genius" have been democratized in the nin,eteenth century.51 He chastises his companion and former pupil for fancy. ing himselfan independent thinker. Teaching at a Gymnasium, the
  • e ., First Works 149 ger man ought to have recognized his true mission in siftingyoun . . Ithe masses of individuals in the school, se�rchI . ng f�r . genlus. n· d of that he had withdrawn from teachIng, ImagInIng that hestea . . . h h'l hh· self might become creatIve lIke hIS master, t e p 1 osop er.1m . f h . This, according to the philosopher, was a sIgn . o t e tImes: every· one was cultivating their imagination and hopIng to find that they had been born to create. The consequences were an expandedtoO C • d" d l' d t . d cational system, avulgar tolerance lor In IVI ua Ity, an a ern·e u fi . 1 ".ble lack of intellectual discipline-altogether a super 1Cla , Jour· I'stic" culture. The humanistic Gymnasium had been expanded,na 1 . • l' hdemocratized, and debased by nineteenth-century matena Ism, t e utilitarian values of productivity, commerce, and profit. 5 ;he Gymnasium's original goals had been betray�d and abandoned. The Gymnasium remained the centerpIece of German educa­ tion, nevertheless, and suffered no loss of pr�s�ige. It w�s much more important than the university in determInIng what It meant to be an educated person in nineteenth-century Germany. The cul­ tural elite ofthat societywas distinguished from therestofthe P?P­ ulation primarily by their Gymnasial education. If the Gymnaszum had been corrupted, then the contention that true culture or Bildunghad fallen into neglect followed logically.53 . Bismarck's Germany was not notably democratIc, and the Gym­ nasium was no more democratic than society at large. By more re­ centstandards the school was authoritarian in its organization and antidemocratic in its educational content. It has even been alleged that the humanistic Gymnasial education, based on the study of 54 I " h. Greek, failed to prepare Germans for democracy;,- t�as t e very archetype ofan elite school. Conservativ�s sawthe . Gymna;,zum as � bas· tion of the social order. Yet Nietzsche, In the VOIce of the phIloso· pher," attacked the Gymnasium for being altoge�her too democratic. This was a genuinely reactionary view, whIch suggested that an­ other grave danger lurked behind this "democratic" e?u�ational system, a danger that threatened its middle·class bene�clanes most particularly: the working classes might get . the same I�ea:, nam�ly that "education is merely a means to matenal prospenty, and In­ sistupon the same rights as the middle classes. They might demand universal education and even access to the . mnaszum.Gy . 55 It would have been tactless to defame the Gymnasium in any city in Germany, but it was especially so in Basel, where the quality . of education wasbeingmaintained at great sacrifice, now thatthe CIty had been shorn of its hinterland and much of Its tax base. n In . . 56 A d '
  • 150 YOUNG NIETZSCHE fact the citizens of Basel could be as proud as any in Germany of the quality of education that they were providing to the youth of their city. Yet Professor Nietz�che seemed determined to discred't it with his lectures.57 1 If Nietzsche had to attack the Gymnasium, one might have ex­ pected him to focus upon the specialization and preprofessional. ism t�at h�d crept into the ?ymnasium in the nineteenth centlJry, . especIally In the field of phIlology. That was a topic that he had already addressed in his correspondence and journals, and one that would continue to concern him throughout his life. And it Was a critique that contemporaries likeJacob Burckhardt could appre­ ciate. But what Nietzsche decried even more energetically was the latitude supposedly being given to personal development, individ. uality, and originality. This was an attack that hardly anyone but a thoroughly tyrannical artist like Wagner could appreciate, some. one who-as Nietzsche would soon recognize-could acknowledge no other individuality but his own. Among. the middle class of the nineteenth century, individuality was very widely subscribed to in­ deed; it was perhaps the central myth (in the creative sense of the word) of the century; and a twenty-eight year old professor was un­ likely to shake many people's faith in its realityor importance. Nev­ ertheless, Nietzsche insisted that individuality was the exclusive prerogative ofthe genius and not to be propagated at school. An educated bourgeois himself, even Nietzsche cherished the ideal ofindividuality and personal development. He had imbibed · it at every stage ofhis education: from his father, in the Pinder and Krug homes, and especially during his years at the Gymnasium. Nietzsche, like Winckelmann and a host of other German students of the ancient Greeks, saw the goal of education in the develop­ ment of a "whole" or autonomously creative individual. He ad­ mired its realization in his mentors, Schopenhauer and Wagner. And even as he suppressed his individuality in his devotion to his masters, he cherished the ideal. He had aspired to become a cre. ative individual since before he wrote his first autobiographic sketch at the age of fourteen. The only thing that distinguished Nietzsche's view of individuality in these lectures was that he now emphasized that only an infinitesimal minority of any generation is capable and worthy ofsuch development. Most ofhis contempo- ( raries thought that individuality was something that ought to em­ bellish the careers ofas many young middle-class males as possible. It is of course easier to appreciate the attitude of Nietzsche's ;)
  • First Works 151 ntemporaries, even if it is somewhat complacent, than the atti­ cO de of Nietzsche himself. The quality of individualism may well :ve been diluted in the process ofits popularization, as Nietzsche urges one to believe. But it was a powerful secula� trend nonethe- less. The cultivation of the self had become possIble, affordable, d desirable for more and more people. Nietzsche realiz_ed that a :ewhole complex ofvalues associated with individuality was a his­ � rical product of the increasingly dominant position of the mid­ d�e class in modern society. But instead of repudiatin� the wh�le idea ofself-conscious individuality thathad grown up WIth the mId­ dle class in the previous century and a half, he simply reverted . to the most selective understanding ofit, namely, that only the genIus is a true individual, and there are few enough ofthem. Nor was this a self-serving move. Every evidence suggests that Nietzsche excluded himselffrom the category ofgenius as he wrote these lectures. He was depressed and even thinking ofquitting his professorship in order to devote all his energies to the Wa?ner�afi cause. This was the moment when Nietzsche had burned hIS phIlo­ logical bridges with The Birth of Tragedy Out ofthe Spirit ofMusic, when Ritschl disowned him, and when Wagner moved to Bayreuth leavingNietzsche alone in B�sel. Nietzsche was now more than ever dependent upon his image ofWagner as his mentor and master. So Wagner, and not he himself, was the solitary genius Nietzsche had in mind; Wagner's individuality (and Schopenhauer's) was what Nietzsche sought to exalt. Both men had become disillusioned with democracy and conceived a hatr�dfor "public opinion." Following Wagner, Nietzsche regarded journalism as a symp­ tom ofthe popular enthusiasm for the selfand individuality. It was aproduct ofthe middle class for the middle class, and the purport­ edly low quality ofjournalistic writing was a product oft�e dem�c­ ratized Gymnasium. The Gymnasium no longer prepared ItS pupIls for culture or even scholarship, but only forjournalism.58The word journalism appears on nearly every page of the lectures "On the Future of Our Educational Institutions," always dripping with dis­ dain, as ifjournalism were an affront to public �orals. Public opin­ ion, as integral a part of popular sovereignty as journalism, is similarly scorned. But disdain forjournalism and public opinion was hardly an original attitude in the Second Reich. It was a shibbo­ leth of reactionaries, employed to denigrate any "unqualified" opinion, especially liberal views on politics and public life in the new Germany.
  • 1 52 YOUNG NIETZSCHE By journalism, Nietzsche understands a variety of literar. . f h Y cnmes rangIng. rom t e use �f supposedly barbarous neologisms to the expressIon of unquahfied opinions on cultural matte Here is one of the greatest experimenters with the German Ian: guage, a writer who playfully created new words and expression throughout his life, carping fastidiously about neologisms. As [, s u.nquaIified �pinions, that isjust what Nietzsche's fellow Philol�� ?IStS we�e.saYIng about TheBirth ofTragedy. His own book was called Jou�nahstIc more than once by traditional philologists. His great achIevement was to have overcome his academic training and learned to think originally about subjects that he had not bee taught. And yet this is what he seems to scorn in the lectures "O� the Fu.tu�e ofOU.r Educa,tional Institutions." They are implicitly a repudIatIon ofNIetzsche s own accomplishment. Much of the explanation of this curious contradiction lies in Nietzsche's slavish devotion to Wagner. The neologisms that he condemns are ones to which Wagner took particular exception and the unqualified opinions Nietzsche had in mind were un: �oubtedly reviews of Wagner. In fact, the lectures are so Wagne­ nan that one can legitimately wonder ifthese are Nietzsche's ideas at all. But Nietzsche's exalted view ofWagner, this direct adoption ofWagner's attitudes in important matters, and his deprecation of himself, were an integral part ofhis own intellectual development. He was Wagner's disciple_ The conclusion ofthelastlecturethatNietzsche actually gaveis a_represen�ation ofthe genius imposingorder upon such people as hIm�elf. WIth a? ordinary conductor, an orchestra is nothingbuta, comIcal collectIon offools playing a variety of instruments out of tune and out oftime_ But when a musical genius (like Wagner, who had also �ormulated new standards of orchestral conducting) stands up In front of them, they are transformed: "It is as if this genius entered by an instantaneous transmigration ofsoul into all. ofthese savages, and now only a single inspired eye looked out of them."59 Suddenly the orchestra plays wonderfully, even without further rehearsal. Nietzsche's simile promotes the naive and magi- , cal the�ry of genius that had been the common parlance of the early nIneteenth century. The genius-conductor has an aesthetic Midas-touch. . No amount of training or practice could enable musicians to play the music ofthe muses. They are like the masses in societywho can only participate in an ennobling national cause when they 'ate
  • . . , First Works 153 led and directed by a visionary political genius. As the masses are born to be directed, the genius is born to direct them. Thus Nietzsche reasserted the radical distinction that the theory of ge­ nius had always maintained, separatingthe genius from the merely talented. But this hierarchical distinction was less plausible than ever, since in the nineteenth century there was more resistance than ever to the subordination of talent to the "great leader" or genius. Nietzsche explained this resistance and the resentment of ge­ niusby reviving another cliche ofthe ideology ofgenius: the antip­ athY ofcontemporaries to the often unrecognized creative genius. While it had once been the patrons and political authorities who failed to appreciate truecreators, now (in the view ofthe Wagne­ rian Nietzsche) it was the journalists and public opinion who promoted cultural sterility by scorning and persecuting the ge­ nius. But the genius was still the demigod, "born not made," and certainly not trained or taught to create in school. Schooling had nothing to do with creativity, except insofar as it producedjour­ nalists and critics to oppose it. Nietzsche's lectures are as much arestatement ofthe naive ide­ ology ofthegenius astheyareacritique ofthe Gymnasium. They are not directed against individuality or self-expression in the ge­ nius, but only against attempts to introduce the masses to cul­ ture, critical thinking and self-expression. Education for the masses should apparently consist of elementary instruction in a context of discipline and respect for authority. Anything more violates "the natural hierarchy of . . . intellect," by encouraging the masses to think for themselves when they ShOltld be recon­ ciled to follow and obey. "Let me repeat," Nietzsche states near the end of the fifth lecture: All education begins with the very opposite of everything that one currently prizes as "academic freedom." It begins with obedience, with subordination, with breeding (Zucht, a word usually applied to animals rather than humans), with servitude (Dienstbarkeit). And just as the great leaders need followers, so the led need their leaders: there reigns in the order of intellect a mutual predisposition, even a sort of preestablished harmony.fio The geniuses and the masses are born for their respective roles. The common people are not without cultural value in this
  • scheme. Nietzsche suggests thatthe people possess the unconsciand untutored "religious instinct" that underlies all culture. Itthe foundation ofpopular myth, morality,justice, language,so on. The masses must be kept in their "healthy unconsciostate" precisely in order to sustain culture. And all attempts to IIcate them beyond.a.t�ad� tend not only to violate natural hierarchybut to endanger cIvIhzatIon, and even the genius as well. The unt 'tored and uncritical state ofthe people is the necessary matrix U the emergence ofa genius: We know what they are after, these people who want to interrupt thatblessed healthy sleep of the people. They are constantly calling tthem, "Aw�ke! Become c�nscious! Be smart!" We know what they ar�[really] trymg to accomplIsh when they pretend to be satisfying a tre­�endous demand . for education. With this extraordinary multiplica_tIOn of schools (Bzldungsanstalten) and the consequent creation ofself-consc . ious cor�s of teache . rs, these people are fighting against thenatural hIerarchy m the empIre of the intellect, destroying the rootsofthe highest and noblest powers ofculture that break forth from th. eu�c�nscIOusness of the people. These forces [the powers of cultureansmg from the unconsciousness of the people] have as their moth;erly purpose the birth, care, and education of the genius. Only in the sin:ile �f the mothe� can we comprehend the impor�tance and the oblIgatIOn that genume popular culture or educationhas in regard to the genius. The actual origin of the genius lies not inpopular culture; the genius has only a metaphysical source, andmetaphysical home. But that a genius actually appears, that he rises,right out of a people, that he reflects the complete picture of all thestre?gths of h . is particular nation, that he reveals the highest purposeof hIS people m the symbolic being ofan individual and in his eternal ",work-thus linking his nation to the eternal, and releasing it from theephemer�l sphere of the momentary-all of this the genius can do,but only If he has been nourished and has matured in the motherlylap of his people's culture. Without this protective and warmingh�me, on th� other hand, the genius would never unfold his wings forhIS eternal flIght, but gradually slink away sadly, as ifhe had been sentout of an unfruitful land into a wintery exile.61 For Nietzsche, a genius is a kind of national property. Themasses exist for the genius, and the genius is the justification ofcivilization itself. Since according to this theory the enlightenmentof the masses would preclude the enlergence of genius, he urgesthat it should be avoided. The unconscious culture ofthe masses is>
  • II y ' , U t First Works 1 55 1 able only insofar as it provides a matrix for the U h d . f thN' tzsche flatly states: "Our goal cannot be t e e ucation 0 eIe es( but only the cultivation of selected individuals, those menmass , . "62 " ho are equipped for great and lastIng works. W This was an aristocratic (and distinctly male) theory ofculture d education. Most of the writers of the nineteenth century castan d . I ' .the theory ofthe genius as a liberal one, and �mplo'ye . I� to egItI- ate the authority of talented and accomphshed IndIvIduals re­ �rdless of their class origins. This "natural" aristocracy of talent g dabilitywas contrasted to the aristocracy ofbirth thathad ruled �rope for centuries. It made way for what Napoleon called "ca- rs open to talent." It was a part of the more general movement �:;popular (that is, non-aristocratic) control ofpublic affairs_ A�s- hetic and intellectual radicalism seemed to parallel and even reIn­ � ce the revolutionary political ferment of the middle classes.J.or d ' . hCultural and political revolutionaries felt soli anty WIt one an- other. . .Then, in the early nineteenth century, after the bourgeOISIe had clearly become the century's dominant class a.n? th� appar�nt rulers ofthe future, artistsandintellectuals grew dISIllUSIoned with the new arbitersofpower. They realized thatwhile the members of the middle class had the time and money to patronize culture, they were materialistic and haphazardly educated. The bourgeoisie was not often interested in progressive art. And its taste proved to be quite conservative. Hence the invention ?f"Boh�mia" and eventu­ ally the term "avant-garde" for the truly InnovatIVe cultural forces ofthe nineteenth century; and hence the scorn of the avant-garde for the "philistine" middle class.63 " .Like many other artists, Richard Wagner felt unappreCl� the public ofhis time, and he expressed his scorn for the phIhstIne members of the middle class the clearest terms. In 1848 Wagner had been a revolutionary, but now he had become an anti­ democratic traditionalist. Many artists turned in the same direc­ tion as a direct result of the failure of the middle classes to appreciate their creations. Now aesthetic radi�alism often resulted in contempt for popular taste and, by extenSIon, for popular gov­ ernment, education, and so on. Wagner and others drew the con­ clusion thatdemocracy had not been averygood idea after �ll. .As Wagner's disciple, Nietzsche adopted the composer s a�tI­ tude without much hesitation. Although his contempt for the mId­ dle class was distinctly secondhand, he carried this attitude to a
  • 156 YOUNG NIETZSCHE logical conclusion. As long as the scorn of artists like Wagner w d· d . as Irecte agaInst the conservatism and tastelessness of the bou _ . . . r geolsle, It see�ed progressive. But Nietzsche was honest and per- haps maladroIt e�ough to reveal the deeply aristocratic premise of the theory 0:genIus. He revealed that what had long appeared to be a revolutIonary and democratic ideology was really an elitist and perhaps even reactionary one. This was one reason why h' public lectures proved so unpopular in Base1.64 IS The lectures "On the Future of Our Educational Institutions" came to embarrass Nietzsche himself, even before he finished th series. They constitute a work that Nietzsche never published, 0; e:e? completed, but they have nonetheless an important place in hIS Intell�ctual develo�ment. In t�em Nietzsche worked through� to the pOInt of absurdIty-the naIve theory of the genius that had dominated the past century. He demonstrated-especially to him� self-that the naive idea of the genius was untenable. This is why the lectures were never completed, even if Nietzsche was not fully aware ofthe reason at the time. Having distilled the idea ofthe ge­ nius in his tale of the orchestra, he could not go on. �ietzsche was developing in a paradoxical way: becoming pro­ ductIvely creative through a diScipleship that entailed at least tem­ porary self-effacement. His diScipleship to Wagner was drawn out o:er a perio . d of years, during which he learned the role of the ge­ nIUS �rom hI� �ento� and gradually focused his creative energies' on hIS own lIfe s proJect. Submission to the master was the more evident consequence ofthe diScipleship. Less obviously, Nietzsche w�s learning the :ole ofthe genius from Wagner, preparinguncon­ SCIously for the tIme when he would assert his own genius. . But genius �s more than a role, and Nietzsche hadbeen training ' hlmse�f as a wnter and a . thinker well before he even met Wagner. So whIle he wrote The Bzrth of Tragedy as a Wagnerian disciple, he expressed his own thinking with techniques he had acquired inde­ pendently ofWagner. Since the received theory of the genius had no place for technique and how it is learned, the very fact that he had become Wagner's disciple seemed to demonstrate that he was not predestined to be a genius or a leader, but one of the led. The theory discounted his accomplishments and relegated him to the. role of 'Yagner's helper. And he accepted that role as long as he" could, WIth only momentary lapses. But, once he had written The Birth ofTragedy, some part of him knew that this was far more than a Wagnerian tract. He had become creative, using his natural �n_r'
  • First Works 157 dowment, his historical education, his auto-didactic training in philosqphy, and his discipleship to Schope�hauer and Wagner. This experience did not fit the theory ofa genIus born to create. In fact it contradicted that theory. Nietzsche was an "autobiographical" thinker. It was by now his practice to reflect upon his own expe�ience in �rder to . unde�­ stand the world, and to philosophize by IntrospectIon. ThIS habIt was spawned in him by precisely that ideolo?y �f . the �enius . t�at placed so much emphasis upon the self a�d Indlvldual�ty. ?Ivlng his fourteen-year-old's autobiography the tItle ofGoethe s Dzchtung und Wahrheit is an early evidence of that. Long before meeting Wagner, Nietzsche had begun to reflect upon his life story, not merely to tell it for others as Wagner did in Mein Leben, but to learn from it himself. The lectures "On the Future of Our Educational Institutions," despite their slavish Wagnerian character and their failure as lectures and as fiction, were such a reflection. What he learned, but could not digest immediately, was that the naive the- ory ofthe genius did not make sense. . Nietzsche appears in the narrative of the lectures most ObVI­ ously as a student who, years previously, overheard a philosopher say some reactionary things about education. But in fact his per­ sona at the moment of writing is more accurately represented by the nameless youngcompanion ofthe philosopher.Just as the com­ panion had withdrawn from teaching, Nietzsche now off�red to re­ sign his post in Basel in order to work for Wagner. AndJust as the philosopher reproved the young teacher for leaving, Wagner or­ dered Nietzsche back into the academic fray. MQre importantly, Nietzsche's discipleship·to Wagner entailed reconciiihg himself(at least temporarily) to the idea that he was not a creator.2.-a born ge­ nius-but a worker, a servant of genius_ This is precisely the role that the philosopher-who seems to represent Schopenhauer and Wagner-assigns to his companion in the lectures. This can hardly be an accident. Nor can it be an accident that the companion is the only figure in the lectures who has no analogue in Nietzsche's per­ sonal life-except Nietzsche himself. Nietzsche has therefore at least two personas in the lectures. An interesting feature ofdreams is thatall ofthe characters in a dream may sometimes be understood as facets of the dreamer. If Nietzsche is the studentwho overheard the philosopher-genius and the companion who is reproved by the genius for his fantasies of independence, perhaps the future Nietzsche is also to be found in
  • 158 YOUNG NIETZSCHE the philosopher himself. In The Birth of Tragedy Nietzsche had gone beyond Schopenhauer, and he had always been more of a philoso_ pher than Wagner. Even when Nietzsche is putting the thought �chopenhauer and Wagner into the mouth ofthe philosoph S h�f IS th th · I · . er, IS . e au ona VOIce rulIng the text. In effect, Nietzsche de icts h�mself most superficially as the eavesdropping student; mor�si ­ nlfi��ntly ?ut perhaps unawares, as the reproved companion re�­ onClII�g hImself to �ot b�ing a genius; and quite unconsciousl as th�phIlosopher-genIus hImself. It is a repressed desire finding�. �Ised exp�e�sion in the text. In an overdetermined autobiogra ��.Ical text, thIS IS not so much contradictory as it is complete p . The lectu . res "On . the Future of Our Educational Insti�utions" are an autoblogr�phlcal text of a genius in the making. Althou h they are among NIetzsche's least original works, they are reveal. g They show that Nietzsch . e was not born a genius, but th���he . rculean effort was requIred for him to get beyond his disciple� ·· S�IP to Wagner, . even after he had written at least one work of e­ nlUS. In . 1872 NIetzsche still had to win his independence fr;m Wagner In order to create freely. And Wagner himself was by no means the only obstacle.
  • EIGHT Strugglefor Autonomy • B y 1872, with Nietzsche still in Basel and Wagner in Bayreuth, the careers of the two men began to veer apart. While Nietzsche wasjust setting out on his career, tryingto decide what to write as a sequel to The Birth of Tragedy, Wagner's career had reached its final station in Bayreuth, where he would remain for the final decade of his life. Except for the late opera Parsifal, Wagner's work ofcomposition was complete; he hqd only to realize the production ofthe Ring cycle in the Festival Theater, to be built presently with the help of Ludwig II. While Wagner consolidated his achievement, Nietzsche sought the very direction of his career. Nietzsche and Wagner seemed nevertheless to be on the best of terms in May 1872, when Nietzsche made the first of what were to be only five visits to Bayreuth. On the twenty-second, when Wagner celebrated his fifty-ninth birthday, the composer's closest friends and disciples assembled in Bayreuth. Wagner conducted a select group of musicians from all over Germany in a festive perfor­ mance ofBeethoven's Ninth Symphony.l Later the whole party rode up the hill for the groundbreaking ceremony where the cornerstone of the Festival Theater was laid. Among Wagner's guests, Nietzsche seems to have been the most fa­ vored, being chosen to ride with Wagner and his family to the
  • I V U 1'l '-" 1'11.t. lZ�CHE building site. This was ajoyous event, for Nietzsche as well as faWagner. r The favor that Wagner showed Nietzsche seemed to confiwh�t Wagner h�d written in his letters to Nietzsche after the pu��catIon of The Bzrth of Tragedy: Nietzsche was not only the foreW ' d" I h mostamong agner s ISCIP es, e should also be Siegfried's godfath 2Wagner explained that there was such a difference in age betw er. h· If d . eenImse an hIS son that a family "member" seemed to be mis ' .d · N' SIngan . SInce Ietzsche was already like a son to Wagner, he was th ' logIcal one to take over Siegfried's education after Wagner eW· h h' Wasgone. It t IS apparent compliment, however, Wagner may alsohave provoked NIetzsche to think of himself taking Wagn �place:� er s Nietzsche was actually more comfortable in Basel now that thWagners were in Bayreuth. In order to plan his own career autono�mousl�, he . needed a certain distance from the composer's over.whelmIng Influence. Perhaps without realizing the cause, he feltfree to work on a project without consultIng Wagner. In October1872, Nietzsche wrote Wagner one ofthe most tranquil and sponta­neous letters oftheir entire correspondence. Among' other thiN' h . ngs,Ietzsc e cautIoned that Wagner might have to wait quite a whileb�fore !te could expect another work like The Birth ofTragedy from�Im. HIS own development demanded anything but hasty publica.tI?n, he ,;rote. In an answer which was almost as remarkableNIetzsche s calm self-assertion, Wagner gracefully accepted this. Itmust ha . ve . seemed . to Nietzsche that he could continue to be per­sonally IntImate WIth Wagner, even if their creative paths shoulddiverge. Relations between the two men seem never to have beenbetter.4 By t�e end of the year, . ho",:ev�r, the first sign of difficulty ap­peared In a letter from CosIma.') It IS a warm and chatty letter untilthe end, where there is a curt warning to Nietzsche, advising him to �emain "true" to the Wagners and not to let himself be seducedIn�o . a posture ofindependence. It seems as though Cosima's letter�wntIng had been interrupted by Wagner, and he had instructed�er to give Nietzsche thatmessage; and she, obeying, was left witlllIttle else to say. ,As Nietzsche had no plans to be untrue to Wagner, he was notperturbed. H?wever, when he was invited to Bayreuth for Christ- I mas and dec�ded . to spend the holiday in Naumburg with hismother and sIster Instead, he really incurred Wagner's wrath. Un. <
  • r � t 2 StruggleforAutonomy 1 6 1 aware ofthis, he sent Cosima a present ofhis "F�ve Prefaces to Five Unwritten Books."6 It was February before CosIma acknowledg�d that she had received the gift. She explained that she had no� wnt- n to thank him because Wagner had been angry about hIS not ��ming to Bayreuth, and about the manne� in whi�h he had an· nounced it.7 But by now, Cosima reassured hIm h�ppIly, when they s oke of Nietzsche they spoke warmly, and so NIetzsche need nop / , . . fh' 8longer worry about Wagner s opInIon 0 . 1m. . Cosima's reassurance must have dIsturbed NIetzsche even more than her silence. Shortly after receiving her letter, Nietzsche wrote his friend Gersdorff that he had honestly not known that Wagner had been upset; indeed, he wondered why ?"ersdorff, who had been in Bayreuth for Christmas, had not told hIm. Yet he real· . ed that he unwittingly gave Wagner cause for displeasure often� h' henough. As often as he had tried to discover the reason for t " IS: e did not understand it. He was absolutely loyal to Wagner: I Just cannot think how anyone could be truer to Wagner in all the main things, or more deeply devoted-ifI couldjust imagine i�, I ,:ouI . d be it even more." But then he protested that he had to maIntaIn hIS independence in certain minor matters, precisely in order to . be able to maintain this devotion in every higher sense. He felt It a hygienic necessity, as he put it, to avoid too-f�equent p�rsonal con­ tact with Wagner. His work on his own projects requIred that he quarantine himselffrom the composer.9 • • Gersdorff advised Nietzsche to visit the Wagners bnefly on hIS way to and from Naumburg.lO Nietzsche accepted this suggestion, and in 1873 he visited Bayreuth in both April and October. The first of these visits afforded an opportunity for areQ�ezvous with his friend Erwin Rohde, who enjoyed his semester vacation at the same time and also went to Bayreuth. The presence of his friend and fellow philologist suggested that Nietzsche'should take along his new manuscript, which he had mentioned in several letters to Rohde thatwinter.11 The preparation ofthis opusculum, as he called "Philosophy in theTragicAge ofthe Greeks,"12 had been one of�he chiefpreoccupations keepinghim from visitingBayreuth at�hnst. mas. Nietzsche had written itwithoutinformiQgWagner, takIng ad­ vantage ofthe distance between Basel and Bayre�th. Becaus� it was completely his own, unlike The Birth of Tragedy, It was very Impor­ tant to Nietzsche. "Philosophy in the Tragic Age of the Greeks" is much more pedagogical than either The Birth ofTragedy or the other fragments
  • 162 YOUNG NIETZSCHE t�at Nietzsche wr?te after the appearance ofhis first book. It grew dIrectly out of NIetzsche's lectures in Basel which were now' . . , In- creasIngly devoted to philosophic textsY It is an essay in the h' _ tory of philosophy, dedicated to the project ofBildung in the mo �s traditional and didactic sense ofthe word. st . Nietzsche focuses upon the personal inclinations and central Ideas of Thales, . Anaximander, Heraclitus, Parmenides, and An� axagoras, but . the In�roductory chapters make plain that he planned to deal sequentIally WIth the whole " 'republic of creative minds ' fr Thal�s to Socrates."l4 The book was to be. therefore. a didacti� int�:ductIon to early Greek philosophy, something that might interest laymen and be used by students. Perhaps Nietzsche wanted to dem­ onstrate his professional competence as a teacher of philosoph . since he . still �oped to trade his professorship ofphilology at Bas:; f�r one In p . hIlosophy. Although it is rather prosaic by comparison wIth The Bzrth of Tragedy, "Philosophy in the Tragic Age of th G k " . e . ree s . IS a remarkably concise, lively, and thoroughly partisan dIScussIon of pre-Socratic philosophy. As Nietzsche wrote in his preface, My attempt to tell the story of the older Greek philosophers is distin­ guish:d �rom similar attempts by its brevity. This has been attained by mentIOnIng, for each of the philosophers, but a very small number of doctrines. It is distingu ished, in other words, by its incomplete-' ness. But I h�ve selecte� th?�e doctrines which sound most clearly the personalIty of the IndIvIdual philosopher, whereas the com· plete enumeration of all the transmitted doctrines, as it is the custom of the ordinary handbooks to give, has but one sure result: the complete silencing of personality. That is why those reports are ! so dull. The only thing of interest in a refuted system is the per· sonal element. This alone is forever irrefutable.15 Nietzsche's fasc�inat�on wi . th the personal element in philoso­ phy �as apparent In hIS earlIer gravitation to Schopenhauer. At that tIme . he want�d a philosophy with a personality, a quest at least partIally motIvated by his search for a paternal model. But now he sublimated his own personal search for the cultural ben­ e�t of his prospective readers, assuming that they too needed ge­ nIus-�entors. He noted that we may judge people who mean · nothIng to us purely by their aims; but it is different with those' we admire: I
  • StruggleforAutonomy 163 Often we disapprove of their aims, but love them for the ways and means of their striving. Philosophical systems are wholly true only for their founders. For all subsequent philosophers they usually seem one great mistake. . . . Taken as ultimate ends, in any ca . se, they are errors, and hence to be repudiated. Thus, many people dIsapprove of every philosopher, because his g�al �s . not the�rs. . . . On t?e �ther hand, whoever takes joy in great mdividuais wIll also take JOY In such sys­ tems, even if they are completely erroneous. They always have one incontrovertible point, a,personal mO , od, and color. They can be used to gain an image of the philosopher.16 constructing a powerful image of an admirable philo�op�er was, in Nietzsche'S experience, far more important than JudglI�g the value of a philosophic system. The system would prove false In any case. But the philosopher, struggling to define truth, could be emu- lated nonetheless. In "Philosophy in the Tragic Age of the Greeks," Nietzsche'S focus upon the personal unfolds into a novel view ofthe history �f hilosophy. He notes the personal disposition of each pre-Soc�atic �hilosopher, and he a�alyzes th� sali�nt ideas of each as functIons of the personal motIves that InspIred them and the psycho­ philosophical consequences entailed in them. �ietzsche converts these dim figures from mysterious authors of dIsparate fragments into starkly individual philosophical heroes. In his hand� they be­ come geniuses of even greater stature than P�ato and hIS succes­ sors. Heraclitus in particular stands out for NIetzsche, beca. u . se of the honesty with which he studied the transience and mutabIhty of thingsP , . . . ' Nietzsche centers his philosophical discusSIon In thIS httle book upon the alternatives posed by Heraclitus �nd the Eleatic phi­ losophers, Parmenides and Anaxagoras. HeraclItus app�ars as the defender ofmutability, change, appearances, and the ultImate real­ ity of what philosophers call "becoming" and "existence" . as o�­ posedto "being" and"essence." Accordingto Ni�tzsche,Herachtus dId without the metaphysical comforts of another, Ideal world, more real than this apparent one. For precisely this reason, Nietzsche �ought him tobe the more profound thinker. From this time onwardNIetzsche wouldalways sustain this Heraclitan thesis andunde:stan� . himselfas a disciple ofHeraclitus. And Heraclitus would figure ImphCItly as an al­ ternative to Schopenhauer andWagner in Nietzsche's pantheon.IS Nietzsche fully appreciated that Parmenides and Anaxagoras
  • 1 64 YOUNG NIETZSCHE had refuted any philosophical influence that Heraclitus mighth�ve ha� in the next two thousand years.19 Even as he disagreedWlt�. t . helr ;Y W stem, he c�uld praise them as mentors to the entiretr� ItIOn ? estern phIlosophy. They created a philosophical ma�tnx that �Imply erased Heraclitus from the history of philosopha�d dom�nated Western philosophy virtually unchallenged unt�NIe�zsche s . Own moment in the nineteenth century. Denying the 'ObVIOUS eVI�ence of the senses, . they argued the impossibility ofchange and Impermanence. TheIrs was a metaphysical philosophof "b ' " d ' Y . elng, essence, �n eternIty. It would hardly be an exaggera_t�on to say that they Invented Western metaphysics. Their conclu­SIons . b�came the basis of all later forms of idealism andessentIalIsm, from Plato onwards. Nietzsche understood the tri­umph of the Eleatic philosophers to be the disaster ofWestern phi­lo�ophy. But although he felt their accomplishment was their greatcrIme, he w�s more c�n�erned with their philosophical genius andagon than WIth the valIdIty ofthe resulting system. Est�blishing his own . phil�sophical position in relationship to�erac�Itus and the Eleatlcs, NIetzsche was also beginning to resolvehIS a�tItudes to�ard his modern mentors. He had long known thathe d�sagree? WIth Schopenhauer on the most important philo­sophIcal pOInts. And now he was beginning to distance himself�rom ��gner a?d his romantic . ideology as well. Still, he persistedIn admlnng theIr personal herolsm.Just as he admired Parmenidesand Anaxagoras, Nietzsche wanted to cherish Schopenhauer andWag?er as fa�her1y mentors even as he rejected their philosophiesand Ideals. NIetzsche believed that "the only thing of interest in arefuted system is the personal element." He might have written thesame of an outgrown mentor. Beyond that, of course, Nietzschehad found a more enduring mentor in Heraclitus. Not . surprisingly: "Philosophy in the Tragic Age ofthe Greeks" ,found IItt�e favo: WIth Wagner. Nietzsche took his manuscript toBayreuth In Apnl 1873 with the intention of showing it to Wagnera�d Rohde.20 R?hde'� reaction is unknown,21 but the composerfaIle� t? appreCIate eIther the accessibility or the polemical intentofthIS lIttle book. He missed any reference to himself and found itto be typical academic work, unrelated to contemp�rary culturalproblems.22 Wagner's ill-humor must have been formidable for as 'soon as Nietzsc 2 �e ret�rned t? Basel he wrote Wagner an abj�ct let­ �er of apolo�, an� ImmedIately dropped the project. He beganInstead to wnte a dIfferent essay on the liberal theologian D: F.
  • StruggleforAutonomy 1 65 Strauss, a subject that Wagner had directly proposed to him in Bayreuth. . . In 'his letter, Nietzsche humbly acknowledged the JustIce of Wagner's dissatisfactionwith him. Thismusthave been unbearable toWagner, he wrote. Every moment with Wagner was a revelation of things he had never considered, and he wished to absorb them all; unfortunately, he was a slow learner. Nietzsche further con­ fessed that he had indeed wished for some independence, but now he saw that he had wished in vain. It made him sadder and sadder, he wrote, that he seemed incapable of helping in the Wagnerian cause. And he pleaded with Wagner to accept him as a pupil, though not a very intelligent one.24 The whole episode ��em� to . i!: lustrate Nietzsche's earlier judgement that he had a hygIenIC need to avoid too-frequent contact with Wagner. Now that he was back in Basel his one hope, he continued in this remarkable letter, was to entertain Wagner with his projected attack upon D. F. Strauss.25 This was the little book that he was now writing instead of finishing "Philosophy in the Tragic Age of the Greeks." He announced the project to Rohde as well, but in other terms: only in a "holy rage" against Strauss had he been able to dispel the ill-humor in which he had returned to B�se1.26 Obviously Nietzsche was not writing about Strauss for purely Intellectual rea­ sons. He had no intrinsic interest in attacking this man. He was sim­ plyventing anger. "Philosophy in the Tragic Age of the Greeks" therefore re­ mained a manuscript during Nietzsche's lifetime, so it cannot be known whether Nietzsche would have published it as a small book, or as part of a larger philosophical work that he seems to have en­ visioned at this time. 'The larger project is often referred to as Nietzsche'sPhilosophenbuch orPhilosopher'sBook, a title mentioned in his notebooks and correspondence.27 The significance ofthe work is that it is the first that Nietzsche wrote independently ofWagner, but that Wagner was able to discourage him from finishing it, and manipulate him into writing a very uncharacteristic attack upon Strauss. ,. David Friedrich Strauss was a free-thinking theological writer, famous as the author of the secular and historicist Life ofJesus, first published in 1835, when the author was a young man.28 In that book Strauss gave a thoroughly unmiraculous account ofthe life of Jesus, and explained the mythicalJesus as the product ofthe needs
  • 166 YOUNG NIETZSCHE ofancientJews and earlyChristians forjust such a mythical hero.It was a brave and remarkable book in its time. For writing as a thinker on such a central religious question so early in the teenth century, Strauss was quickly dismissed from his university post and never regained an official position. Discriminated against throughout his life, Strauss maintained a dignified critical attitud� toward the philistinism of his contemporaries. He was someone whom Nietzsche might have admired. Indeed reading The Life of Jesus had been the catalyst ofNietzsche's decisive break with Chris. tianity in 1865, when he dropped theology as a major and began studyingfor a career in philologyunder Strauss's influence.29 Strauss had offendedWagnerby criticizing him forhavingper. suaded Ludwig II to dismiss a rival composer.30 So when Strauss's book The Old Faith and the New appeared in 1872,31 Wagner saw an opportunity for revenge. The book was largely a restatement of' views Strauss had held for forty years, the work ofan old man who no longer wrote as vigorously as he had iIi 1835. When Nietzsche visited Bayreuth in April 1873, he found Wagner ranting about Strauss and demanding that Nietzsche attack Strauss instead of praising Heraclitus in his tedious academic essay. Nietzsche must not have defended Strauss very vigorously, for he let himself be persuaded to write a satiric essay on Strauss. The incident is un· flattering to both men: to Wagner because he used Nietzsche as his tool in settlinga trivial score with Strauss, and toNietzsche because , he complied. Back in Basel it was a matter of days before Nietzsche com· pleted a first draft ofDavid Strauss, the Confessor and the Author.32 It was a vicious and personal attack, deriding Strauss's style even more recklessly than his ideas. It is as ifNietzsche had taken a les· son from his own critic, Wilamowitz·Moellendorf. It is a weak de· fense of Nietzsche to suggest that his essay brilliantly ridicules Strauss as a representative ofthe superficiality and philistinism of German culture in the 1870s.33 Such ridicule was cheap even then. What is more, the essay failed to advance Nietzsche's own thinking. It pales into insignificance in Nietzsche's oeuvre, even by compari· son with the didactic "Philosophy in the TragicAge ofthe Greeks." When Strauss died a few months after the essay was published, it was said thatNietzsche's satire had killed him. Nietzsche himself was deeply troubled by this. He must have had a bad conscience about letting Wagner's rage provoke him to this intemperate per­ sonal attack. In a letter to Gersdorff, Nietzsche expressed the hope ..�
  • StruggleforAutonom,y 1 67 h d not had the misfortune to see his work before he that Strauss a dM • • die . / d'd N1'etzsche's essay and his puzzled reactIon IS But Strauss z see ' also noteworthy: then they hang you. The only thing I First t?ey dra� and quart ��:o �llOW [Nietzsche] is the psychological find IntereStIng about . h a rage with a person whose path ' h can get Into suc . hpOInt- ow one d ' b 'ef the real motive of this paSSIOnate a­ one has never crosse , In n , tred.35 , . is that this attack served to vent ;:ee f::::�i����� u � S i;�:C�: l �;� �t ::�����r :o e r�:;��:t� r � on Greek philosophy. t prov1 e ress it more straightforwardly, Nietzsche had bee� able d to �x� Wagner himself. And the essay might have been d1recte aga1ns . d h' Wagner's favor. .rega1ne 1m t d toDavid Strauss withrenewed praise. NIetzsche Wagnerreac e to God thatNietzsche was the only one reportedthatWagner swore h Wa ner] wanted.36 So [of his disciples] ,:"ho :ne:Ut��;t an: le1o;ed disciple. And Nietzsc�e ,:as. ag�ln t h e wasso farrestored thathehadthehead Wagner s faIthIn�letzsc .e Nietzsche the task ofwriting a proda- of�e Wa��,;;���=�i���':ulddistribute throughou� Germany-; :: t ���;tisement of the projected F.estival Theater �� �aY i ::�t o f intended to elicit contr b ib l �ti�ns. T p h�� ��: t �:�h��S�ou;Jitwere Wagner-tobestow an 0 19atlOnu " , an h�n�r. done Wagner's will so extravagantly in the essay on aV1n? / wed desire for creative independence Strauss, NIetzsche felt a rene d Rohde if he would not like to write from the master. �o h� aske ohde was now unwilling to be­ the prodam�tion In h1s.ste�. B �:�himselfP Nietzsche had to do come more 1nvolv�d w1th f a� th before his second visit of the job He sent hIS dra t to ayreu . d b the 1873. I�onically, his pompously ph�ased te�t �s r��ecte y leaders oftheWagner Society forbeIng too stn ent. .. When Nietzsche went to Bayre�th in O�t�!e� s �!��ri;�':��:' did not discuss with theWagners h�s essa�� ideas taking shape in tage ofHistoryfor Life. N b or d k id�;:�:c ��:mptingto establish his in- his philosophIcal note 00 s. .
  • dependence once again, and protecting his creative work fromWagner's view. Apparently he could only maintain his creative in.dep�nde�ce by working secretly, without informing the WagnersofhIS proJects. But now-in this meditation on historical culture__Nietzsche had found a project that mattered to him, a project that�ust might also int�rest Wagner. Thus he stilI hoped to please (andI�StruCt) Wagner, If only he could get the essay written and pub.IIshed before Wagner had an opportunity to criticize it. Perhaps hefelt that pleasing Wagner with an independent work would con.firm his creative capacities. Real sons often cherish such hopes.Continuing the series of Untimely Meditations may have meantp�stponing work on the Philosophenbuch; but, more probably,NIetzsche had already abandoned this as an integrated project. Heloaded his philosophical notebooks with a variety ofstill inchoate in.tellectual projects and aspirations that would require years of devel.opment before he could work them out into a whole list of laterbooks. What Nietzsche lacked more than anything else at this timewas a dear sense ofhimselfas a philosopher. So even without the dis.turbing influence of Wagner's demands, the PhilosOPhenbuch wouldprobably neverhave been realized as a single work. . In fact, ':Vagner's critique ofNietzsche's academic style ofwrit.Ing was havIng a salutary effect: Nietzsche wrote his essay On theUses �nd Disadvan�a�e ofHistoryfor Life for intellectuals at large. Asthe tItle suggests, It IS a critique of historicism in the largest sense.In t�e lat� nine�eenth �entury the bourgeoisie indulged in recapit.ulatlng hIstory In archItecture, clothing, furniture, gardens, music,novels, and even religiosity. Perhaps this wave of nostalgia compen.sated for the rapid large·scale economic and social changes they en.dured. In Germany in particular-where such men as Leopold vonRanke ?a� developed history into a rigorous academic discipline,and Helnnch von Treitschke was making history into a nationalisticfetish-historical studiesattainedimmense prestige.39Until Nietzschewrote his essay, it was universally assumed that every advance in his.torical science was an unmitigated boon to civilization. Nietzsche's perfectlynovelviewwasthat"thehistoricalandtheunhis.toricalare equallynecessaryforthe health ofan individual, apeopleanda . culture."40 �en historical knowledge was so highly regarded,�Ietzsche found It necessary to urge that the unhistorical, or the capac. .Ity to forget, was the more essential of the two: as an antidote to thesurfeit of historicism. For only in the unselfconscious present couldone act creatively: I
  • StruggleforAutonomy 1 69 All acting requires forgetting, as not o�ly lig�t but a�so d�rkness is required for life by all organisms. . . . It IS possIble to lIve wIth �lmost no memories, even to live happily, as the animal sho�s; but wI . thout forgetting it is quite impossible to liv� at �ll. Or, . to s�y It more sl . m�ly yet: there is a degree ofinsomnia, ofrumzna�zon, �fhzstorzcal sense whzch zn' jures every living thing andfinally destroys zt, be zt a man, a people, or a cul· ture.41 In excess, historical knowledge-and even personal �emories­ are debilitating. This, according to Nietzsche, was the dIsease . ofthe nineteenth century. Looking backward instead offorward, hIS con· temporaries had lost their capacity to ac� in . the . prese�t and form the future to their will. They had lost theIr vltahty. ThIS was a pre· liminary definition ofdecadence. . . . On the Uses andDisadvantage ofHzstoryforLife IS largely �evoted to clarifying the psychological and cultural symptoms o . f thIS de�a. dence, particularly the excess of knowledge, and especIally of hIS' torical knowledge. Nietzsche thought that modern man had lost touch with his instincts and no longer acted spontaneously; he had become a self·conscious spectator ofhis own actions. Modern man behaved as a latecomer who could find nothing �o . do ?ut carry on accumulating knowledge with ever greater specIahzatI . o�. He . was, according to Nietzsche, an epigo�� and t?e�ef�re a cynIc , �n spIte of his apparent optimism and uncntIcal faIth In progress. . . Nietzsche looked beneath the s,"uface of obvious matenahsm that was the target of most other critics b� bourgeois society. He attacked the nineteenth century's quest for knowle<;ige: �e s�w that history, scholarship, science, and the quest �or.k�Q�ledge In g . en. eral-pursuits that are seldom termed m�tenahstIc:-were all ��th. out a culturally qetermined purpose. As In econ�mIcs and pohtIcs, there was only a vague aspiration for "more." NI�tzsche �as one of the very first to appreciate that all of the dynam�sm of hIS century was undirected.There was no higher goal. The dIfference �e�wee . n Nietzsche and other critics of nineteenth·century matenahsm IS that he diagnosed the historical culture ofhis tim� �s . a s�mptom . of the grave illness and decadence of West�tn CIVIhzatIon, . whIle many of his contemporaries were awed by hIstory a�d expenence? the accumulation ofhistorical knowledge as an antIdote to maten· alism. d' dNietzsche's critique of the nineteenth century's un Irecte . quest for knowledge was particularly acute because he focused hIS
  • YOUNG NIETZSCHE attack specifically upon historical knowledge. He had of COurse been trained as a philologist, and was therefore in the broadest sense a historian. Personal experience, however, had taught him that his professional training threatened his creativity. Thus the obsession withhistoricalknowledge thathehad experiencedinthe philological profession led him to question the sanctity ofknowl­ edge more generally. He concluded, with surprising alacrity for a highly educated young man, that knowledge is useful only insofar as itserves life; it should not be esteemed for its own sake. Carried to extremes, the pursuitofknowledge is deadly. AccordingtoNietzsche inOn the Uses and Disadvantage ofHistory for Life, nineteenth-century Europeans and Germans in particular weresoobsessedwithknowledgethatcreativityhadbecomenearly impossible. And theirefforts tocultivateanhistoricalawarenessof ancientGreekculture,andtoinculcateGreekvalues in schoolboys, showed up the great difference between themselves and the Greeks. For the ancient Greeks were heedless of the foreign sources oftheir own culture. They cheerfully absorbed influences from abroad without doubting their own superiority. They were too preoccupied with theart and culture they were creatingtocare about knowledge for its own sake. The modern Germans, in con­ trast, were slavishly devoted to the past, and particularly to the Greeks. They revered such pieces ofthe past as they could gather, and had nounifying artistic style or spirit oftheir own. They were more concernedwith collectingthanwith creating. Nietzsche felt that he was living in a museum-century. People were readinghistorical novels, living and working in historical re­ vival architecture, and educating their children in ancient lan­ guages, all without any sense ofpurpose otherthan to venerate the past. He argued that the mostfundamental threat to the spontane­ ity, vitality, and creativity of the nineteenth century was the wor­ ship ofknowledgeforitsownsake.Andhebuttressed hisargument with quotations from commonly accepted geniuses like Goethe, who had said that he hated everything that merely instructed him without directly quickeninghis creativefunction. Like his friendJacob Burckhardt and many oftheir educated contemporaries,Nietzschebelieved that creative action is possible onlyfor individuals.TheHegelian idea that the state mightbe creative was an anathema to Nietzsche. Only an individual genius like Goethe, Schopenhauer, orWagnercould rescue even thegeneralculture ofthe nineteenthcenturyfromitsdecadence.ForNietzschethemostdanger- �
  • strugglefor Autonomy 171 ce of historical education and culture wa� th�t it ous consequen . d stifle creativity. To hIS mInd, threatened to suffocat� t�e ,�Iu ed s u a c n ation purveyed in the German. ' I th "humanls IC . . bprecIse y e . . h imagination and creatIvIty y Gymnasium thre�tene�t�extI���:heminesofhistorytocollectand sendingener�etIcyou . o��In h argued that genius must at all classify. Hornfied at thIS, h letzs f c £ c e ts of modern education. Since b erved from t e e e . . Ifcosts e pres . ,whether he might not be a genIUS hlmse Nietzsche �as wonder d Ing f. dependence hefeltfromWagner),. ortIon to the egree 0 In .(In prop . fparticularlypersonal interestandImpor�. .thiswas aquestlo:n� Disadvantage of History is autobiogra�hlcal In On the . Uses .te of the relatively abstract issue that It treats. character, In Spi d . historical educationhimself, and Nietzsche hadbeen trappe I�.a .tpublI·cly Whileheblameshis h t nitytocntIque1 . graspedt eoppo� � . . . . . he notes that only his expe- education for.inhlb�tInghIS.cre�t���hiS insight into the ill effects rience as a phIlologIstperr�lltte h the ancient Greeks dealt with. . . Only knowIng OW ' .ofhistonClsm. h demonstrate the comparative their historical antece?ent� �oul�h:S Nietzsche attempted to free sterility of modern hIStO�ClS�. m the excess ofhistorical educa­ himself a�d then his re� e :�c��knowledge.Thisslightlyparadox­ tionprecIselythroughhiStO I f the reflexive style of. . . early examP e 0 ical SItuation IS an h ·n 'The Birth oif Trag- h· k· ' Much more t an 1 1. , Nietzsche's mature t I� Ing. . thecriticalgeniuswhoseoriginal- edy, Nietzschewa�noW the threats to creativity, and ity would consIst of exposIng . . anewversion ultimatelyinrevealingthenature o�ge:::::�ay was an un�sually Nietzsche's personal p�ese�ce In f .ts precedent-in The Birth of . . " ture even In vlew 0 1 . "subjective ges . ' ., d ld tellhim thathIS an- d· d th t mostrea erswouTragedy. He �re I.c�e a " uite erverted,unnatural,repulsive, tipathyfor�lst�nClsm,:as.b � li�g" Ascribingsovehementare­ anddownnghtlmpermissl e ee f · IfI·mportance-asifhewere. h· d asag'esture0 se - , action to ISrea �rsw . oodb hiscontemporaries, anun- layingclaimto�eIng�llsunders�ve hi�self credit for "daring to recognized genlus. NIetzsche g . f ofmy feelings" abouthis come forwardwit? a natural de�c�Ip IO� educator to his age. He historical education, a�d. f�r h �In t g �iS own experience and fash­ claimedtohave taken hIS Inslg tIn 0 . That ofcourse is what. f h· contemporanes. , 'ioned a correctlVe or IS , . h. frst book written indepen- a genius does. So Nietzs�he, ;.�i:ly I :O I make his first claim to the , dently ofWagner, seems Imp 1 status ofagenius.
  • The autobiographical dimension of the essay points to Niet�sche's own creati�e authority. and to his. need for autonomy andIndependence. WhIleWagnerISnotmentIoned,heis oneofits foci. Of course Wagner had insisted that Nietzsche remain in the role ofprofessorofphilology.Hismotive was thatNietzschewould be ofgreater use to him in the university, for in late nineteenth­ century Germany a university professor ofclassical philology had . more authoritythan afree-lanceintellectualcouldeverhave. Inhis anxiety to keep his disciple at the university, Wagner was moti­ vated by precisely that excessive esteem for historical studies that Nietzsche attacked. So in this critique ofhistoricismNietzschewas strugglingtodemonstratehis independence,notonly ofhiseduca­ tion, but ofRichardWagneraswell. When On the Uses and Disadvantage ofHistory was published in February 1874, it aroused Wagner's ire in much the same way his work on "Philosophy in the Tragic Age ofthe Greeks" had done. The new work, however, was no academic treatise, although Wagnerdenounced itassuch; and itdidaddress the contemporary state ofculture. It broached the agenda thatNietzsche had set 01lt for the Philosophenbuch. It is a much more significant work than Nietzsche's critique ofStrauss, being a general critique ofhistori- ' cism, rather than apersonal attackupononehistoricist. And ithas proved tobe the mostenduringofthe Untimely Meditations, readas much today as The Birth of Tragedy. Had Wagner been thinking of Nietzsche's creative development, he might have been cheered by the publication ofthis second Untimely Meditation. ButWagnerwas congenitallyshortsightedwhen it came tothecreations ofhisdisci­ ples, and hefailedutterlyto appreciate thevirtues ofthisone. Wagner's negative reaction to The Uses and Disadvantage ofHis­ tory might be explained by the composer's preference for reflec­ tionsupon his own greatnessandattacksupon his enemies; hewas not very interested in Nietzsche's ideas. Cosima complained in a letterthatNietzsche's newessaywas too abstract, and thathewould not find a single enemyforawork in which he flailed about so in­ discriminately-as if to say that finding enemies was the main point. She also usedthe occasion to suggestthatitwould bebetter for Nietzsche to refrain from such passionate polemics-:-as if the attack upon Strauss had not been passionatel He should, she thought,becomealittle morephilistinehimself,getmarried,relax, and write more deliberately. Ifhe would do these things, such in­ temperate writings as this might be turned into something really:
  • StruggleforAutonomy 173 good. Ofcourse, ingivingNietzschethisironicadvice, she was only , . t 42relayingWagnerssentImen s. . . Just as Nietzsche received thIS condescendIng letter, the pres- e began to mount over his next visit to Bayreuth. Throughout sur . h· h h d·d the springof1874 Nietzschescarcely wrote ale�terI.n.w IC e 1 t simultaneously express his doubts abouthIS abIlIty to go (usu­ :�y on accountofhis health) and his great desire to g? neverthe- I S43 Gersdorff whose attitude was now governed entIrely by the es . , d Wagners,repeatedtheiradvice thatNietzschegetmar:ied,an .sug- gested that the best cureforhis health might be preCIsely a tfIP to BayreuthforavisitwiththeMaster.Gersdorf�eventhreatenedt��t ifNietzsche did not come to Bayreuth, he hImselfwould not VISIt Base1.44 • In the summer of 1874 Nietzsche was comIng closer to open conflictwithWagneroverhisvisitstoBayreu�h,�h�chnowsymbol­ . d-to Wagner as well as to Nietzsche-hIs wIllIngness to drop lze 4" d·dhisowncreativeworkinordertosustainWagner. :> Wagner 1 not failtorecognizehisdisciples' creativecapacities,butinstead.offos­ teringtheirproductivity,hecherishedtheirtalents�sr�fl.ect1onsof hisownglory.AndhemeasuredtheirloyaltybytheIrwtllIn�n�ss�o neglect their work to attend him. T�is was at �he root of hIS I�SIS­ tent invitations to Nietzsche. For hIS part, NIetzsche recognIzed Wagner as a genius and had professed for several years that Wagner'scausewasfarmoreimpor�ant�han?is said repeatedly that he wished to gIve dIrectIOn to hIS own efforts by submitting to Wagner's discipli��, and ?e hoped that �agner wouldleadhimtogenuineproduCtIVIty.AsItturne�out,NIetzsche wasincapableofcomplete submissiont�Wagne�, ah?,Wagn�rwas unable to sustain his own momentary Interest In NIetzsche s cre­ ative work. The whole genius-disciple relationship was becoming untenable. .. In his next Untimely Meditation, Schopenhauer as Educator, Nietzsche memorialized his first great mentor while defining his independence of the philosopher's powerful influence: Sch?­ penhauer was still important to Nietzsche, but the relatIOnShIp with Wagner had taken over much of the emotional intensity of that earlier relationship. For precisely that reason, even as he workedonthisessay inthesummerof1874, Nietzschewas also ad­ dressinghisunresolved dependence uponWagner.Inas�uchashe hoped to liberate himself from the composer as well, hIS general
  • 174 YOUNG NIETZSCHE preoccupation withthe master-disciple relationship became asub­text ofthis essay on Schopenhauer. The psychological parallel be­tween Nietzsche's relationships with Schopenhauer and Wagnerwas such thatSchopenhauer as Educator necessarily became-even ifonly unconsciously-a preliminary study for a declaration of re­spectful independencefromWagner. In May 1874 Nietzsche wrote Wagnera curious birthdaygreet­ing.46 It was Wagner's sixty-firstbirthday, and Nietzsche noted thatthe day also marked the fifth year since his own first visit toTriebschen. Nietzsche wrote that since their first meetingWagnerhad given his life new direction: It is an . incomparable good fortune for one who has been feeling and stu�bhng along on dark and foreign paths to be led gradually into the lIght, as you have done with me. I cannot therefore honor you in any other way than as a father. So I celebrate your birthday also as a celebration of my own birth.47 Nietzschevowed to openanewcalendar,measured in thefiveyear periods that the Romans called lustra, and to celebrate a "lustra­tion" inhonorofWagner's influenceuponhim-afestival ofhope andrebirth. This parallels Nietzsche's celebration ofSchopenhauer, whom he praises as a father and an educator. The essay suggests that SchopenhauerhadeducatedNietzsche for independence, and not forslavish devotion. SchopenhauerhadhelpedNietzsche discover his own unique abilities. Nietzsche obviously hoped that he would soon be able to thank Wagner for the same sort offatherly assis­ tance. But he was still unsure ofhis ability to sustain his indepen­ dence of Wagner, and he had evidence that Wagner was ) �ninte�ested in fostering independence. The depth and complex­ Ityof.NIetzsche's attachmenttoWagnerisapparent in thebirthday greetIng, where he merges theirbirthdays and measuresboth him­ sel�and Wagnerby their relationship of master and disciple. And whIle he clearly meant this to praise Wagner, his letter remains a strange and solemn greeting. A sense ofoppression clings to it.48 In the same letterNietzschewenton to the already treacherous subject of a visit to Bayreuth, where he had been summoned to' spend the summer.49 He had several projects in hand, he wrote; "Creativity has its obligations." Nietzsche was now pointing out that his own creativity iInposed obligations, preventing him from
  • StruggleforAutonomy 1 75 followingWagner's advice.Nevertheless, he wrote, he would prob­ ably come sometime that summer.5� Significa�tly, Nietzsche �id not specify in this letter to WagnerJustwhat hIS current creatIve projectswere. . Wagner had enlisted Gersdorffto help persuade NIetzsche to spend the summer in Bayreuth. To him N�et�sc�� e�plai.n�d that hehad first to finish his third Untimely Medztatwn. HISwrItIngwas goingwell,hewrote,"but itwoul��e a sh�me ifI should:uin itor forget it,"just to payWagner a VISIt. He dId notwa�t t� In,�errupt hiswork: "I cannotthinkofanythingnow exceptfinIshIng. When Gersdorff threatened not to visit Basel unless Nietzsche went to Bayreuth,Nietzscherespondedtestily: How ever did you get the idea, good friend, of forcing me to visit Bayreuth with a threat? It almost looks as ifI would not want to go on my own. And yet I was there twice last year and twice the year be­ fore-travelling from Basel and in my pitiful vacations. We both know that Wagner's nature is very mistrustful. But I did not think it would be good to provoke his mistrust. And finally: think about the fact that I have duties to myself duties that are very difficult to fulfill,, c � and with my poor health. Really, no one should try to l.orce me. Nietzsche had admitted that Wagner might be to blame for their difficulties. Ofcoursethe letterwas notaddressed toWagner. Later inJulyNietzsche realized thathe would be able to spend a portion ofhisvacation inBayreuth.53.A.nd he had �inished a first draft of his essay before he went to VISIt Wagne� In August. He wouldofcoursehavetomakesomerevisionsbeforesendingafinal versiontohispublisherinSeptember,butwritingacompletedraft was enough to 'convince him that he could do justice to Schopenhauer. Perhaps that gave him the courage to f�ceWagner once again.Nowhe could also hope to come to termswIthWagner inasimilar,fourth UntimelyMeditation. Inany case,whenhewentto Bayreuth in August 1874, he went with a determination to assert his independence. In a more critical frame ofmind tha?- ever be­ fore, he wasplanningto testWagner's tolerance-and hIS own de- termination. Nietzschehadalsobecomeinterestedin the musicofJohannes Brahms.InJuly 1874,justafewweeksbeforeNietzschewastoleave for Bayreuth, Brahms gave several concerts of his own �usic in Basel, including his Triumphlied. Nietzsche had been lookIng for-
  • 176 YOUNG NIETZSCHE ward to these concerts since April, studying the scores to prepare himself. When the time arrived, his "aesthetic conscience," as he termed it, was put to a difficult test.54 But he formed what he thought was an independent, favorable judgment of Brahms' music, and he took a copy of the Triumphlied with him when he went to Bayreuth. Nietzsche could hardly have been ignorant of Wagner's contempt for Brahms. Nevertheless, he forced a discus� sion. According to one account, he placed the red-bound Triumphlied onWagner's piano andwaited to see the master's reac­ tion. Wagner flew into a rage, as anyone might have predicted. Nietzsche himself, according to this account, maintained a caIin anddignified silence.55 This was the time when Nietzsche wrote ofWagner in hisjour­ nal, "the tyrant admits no other individuality than his own." Obvi­ ously Wagner could not accept the existence of another musical genius_56 No wonder he could also not accept Nietzsche's creative impulses. In Bayreuth Nietzsche had deliberately tested Wagner's tolerance of his independentjudgment, and Wagner's response had confirmed his fears. But while Nietzsche felt tyrannized by Wagner,thisawareness was still overshadowedby theawe and grat­ itude that he felt for the composer. So he kept his impressions to himself. And by avoidinganother visit to Bayreuth for almost two years, Nietzsche postponed the final break.57Instead, he went back toBasel, andrevisedSchopenhauer as Educator. This work provides neither introduction, explanation, nor cri­ tique of Schopenhauer's philosophy. The lack of information is odd, but Nietzsche had a reason not to write a critique of Schopenhauer's philosophy.As he had stated several years earlier" one simply does not refute a moral exemplar. Nietzsche's concern was the formation of the intellectual and moral personality. model of education was the relationship of master and disciple, and SchopenhauerasEducator commemoratesSchopenhauer's influ­ ence upon Nietzsche. It presents this relationship didactically, as a model ofhow one becomes acreative individual. Beyond what Nietzsche could deduce from Schopenhauer's books, hehimselfknewvery little aboutSchopenhauer'slife. So, as he freelyadmitted, he feltcompelled "to . . . imagine thelivingman . . . who promised to make his heirs only those who would . . . be more than merely his readers, namely his sons and pupils."58 Schopenhauerhad beenaverypersonal fantasyforNietzsche,and, he cast Schopenhauer in the role of surrogate father. Nietzsche's
  • c . StruggleforAutonomy 1 77 '�Schopenhauer" became everything thatNietzsche desired in afa­ therly.educator. But Nietzsche did not regard his need for a fa­ therlymentorasapersonalidiosyncrasyorasymptom ofweakness in his personality, norwashereluctantto puthis own discipleship forwardasan example. Nietzsche began his account ofSchopenhauer's fatherly influ- encewiththeromanticclichethateveryoneisunique,butthatvery few realize their individuality.59 He himself, "like every youthful soul," had recognized his own unique talents and heard the inner call to liberate himself from convention before he discovered Schopenhauer.Yethehadfloundered,eventhoughhewas notlazy or dissolute; norwashetemptedto conform.Rather,hewasuncer� tain about which of his talents he should cultivate, and how he could refrain from becoming a mere specialist. But he sustained hope: I believed that, when the time came, I would discover a philosopher to educate me, a true philosopher whom one could follow without any misgiving because one would have more faith in him than one had in oneself. . . . That educating philosopher of whom I dreamed would, I came to think, not only uncover the central force [of an individual], he would also know how to prevent its acting destructively on the other forces: his educational task would, it seemed to me, be to mould the whole man.,,60 Nietzsche had found his philosopher and edll:�ator in Scho­ penhauer, and he was convincedthatthere was a gen:eral need for suchgenius-educators. Schopenhauer became Nietzsche's genius not merely because he wrote great books, but because he was a variously gifted man whohadresistedtheinfluenceofhistimesandovercomethetemp­ tation to indulge all his interests and dissipate his energies. Schopenhauer had fashioned himselfas the "whole" and creative individual who couldwrite suchbooks. "Wholeness" was an obses­ sion with nineteenth-century German educators, a defensive re­ sponsetotheexplosionofknowledgeandespeciallyspecialization. Itwas usually thought to be the desirable result ofan education at a humanistic Gymnasium. But Schopenhauer had somehow made himself "whole."Thushecouldserveasamoralexemplartoothers, who would in turn fashion their own whole and unique selves. He
  • 178 YOUNG NIETZSCHE was a genius to inspire other geniuses such as Wagner, and even perhapsNietzschehimself. Nietzscheknewthathe,likeSchopenhauer,wasbornwithintel­ ligence, talents, and personality. But like Schopenhauer, he saw ' that he had to form himself, with all his native capacities, into creative individual. In a phrase that Nietzsche would later us a . I e promInent y,hehadto"become whohewas," andSchopenhauer's example in this was crucial to him. This is the underlying message ofSchopenhauer as Educator. Puttingforward such a perverse philos­ opher as Schopenhauer, rather than a more obviously benevolent figure and unproblematic character like Goethe, for example, im­ plied a new view ofthe creative personality. Nietzsche had quie�ly red�fined t�e �enius in this essay: Schopenhauerwas agenIUSby vIrtue ofhIS WIll, not hisbirth. Heis an absolutely unique and separate individual; he contains within himself the possibility of revolutionizing the way we all see the world; �e is precocious, coming to his original vision at an early age; he �s not a scholar and d�es not.achieve his insight through academIc study; he prepares hImself In part through the stimula­ tion ofanother genius (Goethe); he is largely unrecognized by his contemporaries. But Nietzsche goes beyond these "naive" cliches about the genius being "born, not made," to show that Schopenhauer voluntarily created himself as a genius. Nietzsche's S�hopenhauer is therefore a self-conscious and "sentimental" ge­ nIUS. And thus, almost incidentally, Nietzsche added another god­ like quality to the definition ofthe genius. TheideathatSchopenhauerwilledhisachievementconstitutes not only a significant departure from the traditional theory ofthe genius; it is also a dramatic demonstration that Nietzsche did not now subscribetoSchopenhauer's philosophy. ForSchopenhauer's I own thinking issued into an almost Buddhistic negation ofdesire and the will. But Schopenhauer's life, in Nietzsche's view at least, was a continuousstruggleinwhich the philosopher prevailedonly by a monumental effort of will, first against his contemporaries, then against his mentors, and finally against himself. And Nietzsche, inordertostrengthen his own will to overcome thechal� lenges thatfaced him, emulatedamanwho-heimagined-hadal� readyfound the strength to overcome them. . . Citing Wagner as well as Schopenhauer for his examples, NIetzsche asserts that "the genius must not fear to enter into the ' most hostile relationship with the existing forms and order ifhe
  • StruggleforAutonomy 179 wantstobringtolightthehigher order andtrut�thatdwellswithin him.,,61 This hostility is not merely the appropnate.respo?s� to the fact that a genius's contemporaries fail to app.reclate hIS Innova- .ons as commonly supposed. Rather, the genIUS must go on the tI , . . h fi d h· ffensive from the first, attackingthe world In whIch e In s 1m- �elf.Onlyinthiswaycanheattainaunityfromwithin,and?ecome n example to another generation.This, ofcourse, was an Impera- a 1· tive that Nietzsche's own experience was gradually revea In.g to him. Hewasbecomingconvincedthatcreative geniuslay preCIsely in creating a productive hostility between oneself and one's con- temporaries. Schopenhauer had also to overcome the influence of the few mentors he acknowledged, particularly that of Immanuel Kant, whose critiques-particularly The Critique ofPure Reason-had ef. fectively discredited anyhope ofattaining truth in the traditional sense. And Nietzsche depicts Schopenhauer as the only one who tookKantseriously,acceptingtheimpossibilityofknowing"things asthey are." ButSchopenhauerwas determined toreach a deeper truth, and to do that he performed a critique of Kant focusing upon the human will. Studying the will as the one phenomenon that we can know and analyze, Schopenhauer found that the will produces the illusory impression we have ofknowingt�eworld i�­ self. Thatwas the point ofdeparture forSchopenhauer s own phI­ losophy,whichwas ofcourseradicallydifferentfromthatofKan�. This departure was crucial for Nietzsche, whose own mature phI­ losophy is also focused upon the will. But wha�mat�ered mo�e to Nietzschewasthe personalrelationship thathe ImagInedobtaIned betweenthetwomen:Schopenhauer,adiscipleofKa-nt,becamean original philosopher' by overcoming his master's system �f thought. Nietzsche's depiction ofthis relati�nsh.ip is a t�op� ofhIS own relationship to Schopenhauer. It was In NIetzsche s vIew the second testthateverycreative genius mustpass. The obstacle that Schopenhauer had to overcome within him- selfis another that Nietzsche faced, and the third test facing every genius.Itseemed apparenttoNietzsche thatSchopenhauer's natu­ ral endowment was ambiguous-he seemed to·have an almost equal capacity for philosophical genius and sainthood. L�ke many geniuses, Schopenhauer was "mis-talented." �chle:ement seemed to Nietzsche to be that he overcame thIS dlspanty and forged himselfinto an integrated creative person. He determine� to realize himself as a philosophical genius and incorporated hIS
  • 180 YOUNG NIETZSCHE inclination to saintliness in thatambition. He did not permithim­ selfto be diverted bythedisparity in his natural inclinations. This was precisely what Nietzsche himself had worried about-that lYe might be pulled apart by his talents and not realize himself as a whole and integrated individual. And the solution was also his own, to resolve his talents into a single project by an exercise of will. This is anothervery specific sense in which Schopenhauer, as a"sentimental genius," served Nietzsche as amoral exemplar. Nietzsche compares Schopenhauer's striving to realize his in. tellectual potential to the aspirations of a sinner for sainthood. This,accordingtoNietzsche, is what every genius does: . Every human being is accustomed to discovering in himselfsome lim· itation of his talent or of his moral will, which fills him with melan· choly and longing; andjust as his feeling ofsinfulness makes him long for the saint in him, so as an intellectual being he harbors a profound desire for the genius in him. This is the root of all true culture; and if I understand by this the longing of a man to be reborn as saint and genius, I know that one does not have to be a Buddhist to understand this myth.62 Once reborn, Schopenhauer is a Buddha of sorts, a Christ, and kind of savior, as well as a fatherly educator to those who follow him.ThiswasnocasualallusiononNietzsche'spart.In manyother places inSchopenhauerasEducator NietzschereferstoSchopenhauer and geniuses in general as "redemptive men." By theirexample in shaping themselves as integrated, creative individuals, they show theway to youngermen. Theideaofthegeniusasa(demi)godwasaconstituentelement ofthe naive theory ofgenius that arose in the eighteenth century. In fact the genius-concept was introduced to replace the more lit· ) eral savior for the more or less secular class of intellectuals that emergedinthatcentury-thephilosophes. The naive and theroman· tic genius was hence a savior oforiginality, creativity, and culture in general, not ofthe individual soul. And whileNietzschesubscribedto all ofthis,he had something additional and more concrete in mind when he classified Schopenhauerasa"redemptiveman."Hewasattemptingtoclarify the process by which a young man could be transformed from a commonplace individual into a genius. He was tentatively experi· menting with a theory of the genius as "made, not born." In l1is' own experience, getting to the point where he could make a cre·
  • StruggleJOTAutonomy 1 8 1 tive contribution involved notmerelynative intelligence,highas· a . irations, and diligent study; hehadalso neededagenIUSasamen· forandmoralexemplar.Onlythroughemulatingageniuscouldan spiringindividual be redeemed from his own limitations and the �pposition of the world. In this sense, as an object of emulation, schopenhauerhadservedNietzsche as arede�mer. . . The genius, redeemedfromhimselfand hIS contemporanesby the example ofthe genius precedinghim,justifies his generation. The genius createsthe mental world inwhichthenextgenerat�on will live, including that generation's genius. And this progreSSIon ofgenius is what constitutes history. History is a genealogy ofge· niuses. Thus Nietzsche accords creative cultural figures such as Schopenhauer much greater importancethanhe does prime mi.n. isterslikePrinceOttovonBismarck,63 andhegrantsfargreaterSIg· nificance to works of philosophy and art than he does to developments in finance andindustry. .. Nietzsche wrote a fourth Untimely Meditation, Richard Wagner in Bayreuth, but he only finished and published it in the summer of 1876. There was therefore a hiatus of a year and a halfbetween 1874, whenhepublishedbothOn the UsesandDisadvantage ofHistory for Life and Schopenhauer as Educator, and the fourth and fin�l Un· timely Meditation. In that time Nietzsche struggled to definehImself andhisfutureasawriter-andworriedabouthisrelationshipwith Wagner. Even as he contemplated the essay on Wa.gner and �ade notesforit,hereturnedto thesubjectofpre·SocraJIcGreekphIlos· ophy, which he had neglected since 1873 when--Wagner con· demnedhisessayon"PhilosophyintheTragicAgeoftheGreeks." Hebegan again tothinkandwrite on two fronts. Nietzsche would never publish what he wrote on the Greeks and philosophy atthis time, but it provides atleast one clue to his intellectualdevelopment. "ScienceandWisdomatOdds" (or"The Struggle Between Science and Wisdom"), which he wrote in 1875, isanotherreturntoquestionsoftragedyandthecreative energyof the early Greeks.64 But ithasan autobiographical moment as well. Inoneofthefinal fragments,whichearlyeditorsthoughtmightbe a4raftofan introduction tothework,Nietzschewroteasfollows: There undoubtedly comes for every man an hour when he stands be· fore himself with wonder and asks: "How does one manage to live at
  • 182 YOUNG NIETZSCHE all? Nevertheless one does live!" It is the hour when he begins to corn. prehend that he possesses an inventive facuIty similar to the kind th h d ' . I . at e a mIres m p ants, an mventiveness which twists and climbs u 'l fi II . C 'bl . . ntI Ina y It .lOrCI y gams a bIt oflight for itself and a small earthly k' '- dom a�well, thus it�el:creating i�s p.ortion ofdelight from barren s�N�In one s own descnptIOns of one s hfe there is always a point like thO . . h . IS. a pomt w ere one IS amazed that the plant can continue to live and the way it nevertheless sets to work with unflinching valor. Then the: are careers, such as that of the thinker, in which the difficulties have become enormously great. And when something' is related conc ' . ern· lng careers of thIS sort one must listen attentively, because from such cases one learns something concerning the possibilities oflife. And 'us to hear about these possibilities leads to greater happiness �n� strength.65 Thi� w�s Nietzsche's own situation: almost disabled by illness, yet begInnIng �o acknowledge his own inventiveness, launching a ca. r�eras a.thInker, he was twistingup to the'lightthrough enormous d�fficultles that h.e could hardly define. The careers that inspired hIm and gave hIm strength were those of Schopenhauer and Wagner ofc?urse, but now also those ofthe early Greek philoso­ phers, especIally Heraclitus. In "Philosophy in the Tragic Age of the Greeks," Heraclitus even began to appear as an alternative to Wagner. Nietzschewas nowbeginning to realize that itwas Wagner who was blockinghis light. In the years 1874 to 1876 Nietzsche's health deteriorated "to t�e �oi�� ofdeterminin� his working capacity and the pattern of hIS l��e. . �hesymptomsIncl�?edsevereheadaches, eyepain,nau- - ' sea, colIc, and general debIlIty. Some ofthese complaints dated from early adolescence, others from his service as a medical or­ derly in theFranco-Prussian War. But in 1875 theymusthavebeen) aggra;atedby t?� mountingtensionbetweenhisloyaltyto Wagner and hIS own stnvIngforindependence. . Wor�yand illhealthbroughtNietzsche to the point ofcollapse In the WInter of 1875. He had to ask his sister to come to Basel to careforhim,whichshedidthatsummer.ButevenwithElisabethto runhishousehold inBasel,Nietzschefoundthathecouldnotcarry onwithhis teaching. OnJanuary 2, 1876, herequested a substitute to take over his high school courses at the Paedagogium, and in Februar.yhe.discontinuedhis lectures attheUniversityas well. HaVIng Interrupted his teaching, Nietzsche decided to take a "cure." It was common for educated middle-class people to t�ke a
  • ' Struggle/orAutonomy 183 tesort cure when an undiagnosed malady became intolerable. There were stillmanyundefined illnesses at large in Europe, and doctors were much less confident in pharmacological cures than they are today. So they often recommended that their patients re­ treatto aspaoramountain-lakeresortforachangeofscenery, for distraction,torest,to take mineralbaths, orlongwalks in the invig­ oratingmountainair.Inthesummerof1875 Nietzschehadgoneto Steinabad in the Black Forest, where he was attended by a physi­ cian who prescribed a special diet and monitored his cure.67 Now, in 1876, Nietzsche wanted to go independently to Lake Geneva simply to hike. He seems to have been desperately seeking an es­ cape-fromhisillness,hisjob,andhisfrustratingrelationshipwith Wagner. Nietzsche was already planning this trip when a friendly letter fromCarl vonGersdorffpromptedhim to pourouthiswoes tohis friend inanalmostincoherentletterin mid:January 1876: After ever more frequent attacks, it came to a literal collapse, I could no longer doubt that I am suffering from a serious brain illness, and that my eyes and stomach have only suffered as a result of this central process. My father died at thirty-six from a brain infection, and it is possible that it will go even faster with me.6H He goes on to say that he has been relieved of his teaching at the Paedagogium, that he is subsisting on milk alone, and that he is planningaretreattothemountainsnearGenevainMarch.Heasks Gersdorff to keep the contents of the letter to h,�mself, however, and above all not to dJsturb the Wagners. Apparently as an after­ thought, hewonders ifGersdorffmightlike to come with him.69 Gersdorffwasindeed able to take avacation from his duties as a military officer. So Nietzsche travelled to Lake Geneva with him inearlyMarch, leavingmotherandsisterbehind inBasel.Theysta­ tioned themselves in Veytaux, near Montreux, and although the weather was cold and rainy, they spent their days hiking in the nearby mountain valleys, and talking.70 In this terribly distressed state ofmind itis difficult to know precisely how much ofhis own preoccupations Nietzsche would have shared with Gersdorff. Nietzsche musthave discussed his doubts about whether he could attend the Bayreuth Festival as well as his feelings of inadequacy aboutwriting an essay onWagner. Buthe may nothave voiced his disillusion with Wagner himself. For Nietzsche, critical thoughts
  • 184 YOUNG NIETZSCHE aboutWagnerhad always been accompanied byself-doubts_ HeWashewrotein his firstlettertoGersdorffafterhis return toBasel, " sicknamely, spirituallysick."71Forhis part,Gersdorffseems tohaveon the roleofpatientlistener. He did not tryto contradictNietzscheorpressfalseoptimismupon him ashehad on earlieroccasions.72After three weeks of strenuous walking, Gersdorffleft for Vienna, where heplanned to see aproduction ofWagner'sLohengrin.,Wagner himselfwould be there to conduct, but there was appar­ently not even any discussion between Nietzsche and GersdorffaboutNietzsche's goingto Vienna. Nietzsche had enjoyed little re­spite from his headaches and misery on this trip, but he stayed onin Veytaux foranotherweek. Hehiked,visitedVoltaire'sresidenceat Ferney, and steeled himself for a visit to the city of Geneva,where heplanned tovisit theKapellmeister HugovonSenger.The final portion ofNietzsche's month-long cure-his visit toGeneva-proved unexpectedly eventful.73 Senger was anotherWagnerian whom Nietzsche first metinBayreuth.HealsoadmiredTheBirth ojTragedy, andhad called upon Nietzsche in Basel earlierinthe year. Senger arranged his concert program so that Nietzschecouldhear someBerliozduringhisvisit.Butquiteunintentionally,healso introducedNietzsche to thefirstwoman towhom he wouldpro.pose marriage: Mathilde Trampedach. (The only other was Lou vonSalome, to whom Nietzsche proposed in 1882. She too was involvedwith another man who was a friend of Nietzsche-Paul Ree.) ThestrikinglybeautifulMathildewas notquitetwenty-threeyears old.Sheand heryounger sisterwere piano students ofSenger. And although ,the forty-year-old Senger was still married (to his second wife, themotherofhis twodaughters),heandMathildewerealreadyintimate.Mathilde would eventuallybecomeSenger's third wife.ShortlyafterNietzsche'sarrival,Sengerbroughthimtovisitthe1two sisters at their pension. It caught Nietzsche's attention thatMathilde was able and anxious to enter into their conversationonShakespeare and certain English Romantic poets. After only twomore brief encounters, all in less than a week's time, Nietzscheabruptly penned a proposal of marriage. He hoped Mathildewould answer him, he wrote, by the following morning before heleft forBasel. As Mathilde described him, the shy scholar-cower­ingunderhis dark green felt-linedparasol toprotecthis eyes fromthelight-cutaratherridiculousfigure. He had not madearoman.tic impression on the gregarious and free-spirited young wom(in.�So his proposal surprised her. And without realizing it-because
  • as k' ' e i­ n., ­ ff ­ n StruggleforAutonomy 185 � ever noticed the affection that existed between Mathilde and �:�er-Nietzschealsoangeredhiswoul.d.befriend.Thewholeep' isodedisplaysthesocial ineptitude ofthIS With his career in Basel coming to an end, NIe�zsche would had no income or social position to offer a WIfe anyway-have . . dnothing but his intellect. For)ust that reason, however, It ISun er- dable that Nietzsche mIght make a desperate proposal ofstan . .marriage at precisely this time. Nietzsche has a reputat�on as a mI- 'st buthehad in the abstractcontemplated marnage several :��' d�ring his years in Basel. The Wagners and Gersdorff h�d ended it to him on the gTounds that it would settle hImrecomm . . . 0 b kdown emotionally, and even improve hIS wnt1�g! ver ec , Rohde, Gersdorff, in fact all ofNietzsche's com�anlons were con­ templatingmarriagenow, threateningtolea�ehI�the.onlybache­ lor.He was, furthermore, awarethathisrelatlons�Ip withWagner, Cosima, and the entourage atBayreuth was cO�Ing to an end. So NietzscheacknowledgedthedesirabilityoffindIngamate-prefer­ ablyawealthyone-whocouldorganize his household,takec�reof him in his ill health, and even liberate him from the necessIty of continuingto teach. . .Nietzsche's considerations ofmarnage were only too ratIonal, however. He asked his sister and other friends if they could not find some eligible heiress for him to marry. Yethe seemed to lack anyemotional, romantic, orsexual interestin.wo�en.Onlyont�o occasions, when the figure ofa particularly VIvaCIOUS w?man WIth intellectual aspirations penetrated his veil ofsh�ness,.dld he actu­ allybecomeexcitedaboutawoman. Andeventhls_��, C1tementmay nothavebeen preciselyromantic. .Nietzsche reached out to Mathilde Trampedach as Iffor salva­ tion fromhisfate, orsimplytowardanewbeginning. Hemayeven haveseenapotentialdisciplein her, forshewas i.ntel�ectuallyacute as well as personally attractive.74 But when the Ine�Itable but gra­ cious rejection came from Mathilde, Nietzsche rephed that he w�s embarrassed, andhoped shewould notreme�be.rhim onlyforthIS awkward incident.75 But then in a letter to hIS fnend Gersdorffhe returned to treat the subject of marriage with what can only be called foolish pride: "We don't want to sully our characte� [with a conventional marriage]; ten thousand times rather remaIn alone forever-that's my solution to the problem now."76 He could no longeradmitthegenuineexcitementhehadfeltafewdaysbefore. He did noteven acknowledge thathehad proposed.
  • 186 YOUNG NIETZSCHE Nietzsche, in fact, was better suited to the motherly attentions ofolder women than he was to romance, and he did establish two friendships with older women in the mid 1870s. Marie Baumgart. ner,17themotherofone ofhis students, and thevaguelyWagnerian cosmopolite Malwida von Meysenbug,18 were both motherly confi­ dants to him. They did much to sustain Nietzsche in this time of illness and of approaching separation from Wagner. They gave him much ofwhat he hoped to gain from amarriage.79 Nietzsche benefited enormously from the Geneva trip. Being awayfrom Basel, hiking, talking out with Gersdorffhis difficulties with the Wagner essay and his own self-doubt, seem to have done his spiritgood. The measure ofthis is the fact thathe was in avery positive frame of mind on his return to Basel. Apparently he re� solved to overcome-by force of will-his depression, cynicism, and self-doubt. He was in a decisive mood, ready to make a grand gesture: In the main I have realized this much: the only thing that all men rec­ ognize and respect is the high-minded deed. Don't for anything in the world take one step toward accommodation! One can only have gn�at success if one remains true to oneself.80 ,. The firstBayreuthFestival was scheduled forAugust of1876, a bare four months from the time Nietzsche returned from his cure in Switzerland.81 Wagner had finally completed composition on The Ring ofthe Nibelungen. And thanks to the financial assistance of King' Ludwig II of Bavaria, the Festival Theater in Bayreuth was· nearly complete as well, so Wagner's great work would finally be produced in its entirety, and in the circumstances envisioned by the artist. TheFestival would mark the climax ofWagner's artisticY career, andRichard Wagner in Bayreuth was to be Nietzsche's contri­ bution to the celebration. Nietzsche may also have hoped to resolve his discipleship to Wagner with this essay. He had been making notes for an essay about Wagner at least since 1874. Nietzsche's chief criticism of Wagnerinhis 1874 notebooks was thatWagner was fundamentally an actor and adilettante. Bycalling him a dilettante he meantthat in addition to composingmusicWagner pretended to be a poet, a dramatist, and so on. Accordingto Nietzsche's notes, "His music i� notworth much, nor is his poetry, nor is hisplot, the dramaturgyis often mere rhetoric. . . . " Nietzsche complements these reserva-
  • StruggleforAutonomy 187 'ons with the acknowledgment that Wagner's music, poetry, plot, .�tc. all'do work together. But Nietzsche had d�cided thatWagner s nota genius at any one ofthe arts he practIced. He was funda­W :ntallyanactorwhocreatedthe"effect" ofgenius.Hewasachar-m . 82 H'latan whose talentwas, in effect, to impe.rso.n��e �en��s. . IS very ample constituteda critique ofthebelIefIn naIve genIus..eX " " th tIn the late nineteenth century the term actor was an epI e and a slur. Theatrical life was thought to be sc�ndalous by its :ery ature,andanactorwas presumed unfitforpolItecompany-lIttle �ore than awhore. To be anactormeanttodissimulate, to assume and discard identities, and to have little or no character ?f one's wn. To be an actor meant to be passionate, extravagant, Immod.. o . 83 h N' h C dt and in most respects unrestraIned. ' W en Ietzsc e relerrees , , . to Wagner's "actor nature," he meantto specif� Wagner s c:eatI�e ersonality, but he did not exclude these negatIve connotatIons. P Nietzsche sawthatWagner's immodestywas thatofa man con- 'nced he was a genius. "The cult of the genius, nourished byVI 85 ' hSchopenhauer," emboldenedWagner in hisarrogance. �Ietzsc e realized, perhapsforthefirsttime, that the cult ofthe genIUSw�s a symptom ofthe modern malaise, where.God was dead and artIsts attemptedto impersonate andreplace hIm: Wagner is a modern man, incapable of deriving encouragement or strength from a belief in God. He does not �elie:e t�at he is in the safekeeping ofa benevolent being, hut,he belIeves 10 hlmselL�Q!:>o�y- ���!��;:���I���:ii�!:���i:;I�i�i�a�;'�::,!� t :.� ld And again, "He f!leasures the state, society, virtue, the peo�le, �v­ erythingby the standard ofhis art; andwhenever he feels dIssatIs­ fied, he wishes the world would gounder."87 Nietzsche mighthave generalized: in modern culture the genius has become a law unto himself. Nietzsche's characterization ofWagner's followers is even less flattering. All ofthemwereattracted preciselybyWagner'sless ad­ mirablequalities. Manyofthemwerecynically.motivatedto attach themselves to him because ofthe aura ofgenIUS that he began to acquire. How did Wagner get his followers? Singers who beca�e interesting as dramatic actors and found a brand-new chance to achIeve effects, per-
  • 188 YOUNG NIETZSCHE haps with an inferior voice. Musicians who were able to learn from the Master of performance. . . . Orchestral musicians who previousl were bored. Musicians who intoxicated or bewitched the public in a drrect manner and now learned the color-effects of the Wagnerian orche�.· tra. All sorts ofdiscontented people who hoped for personal gain fro every coup. People who go into raptures over every kind of so-cal1e�"progress." Those who were bored with all existing music and no found their nerves more powerfully stirred. . . . Literary men with a�sorts of reformist ambitions. Artists who admire his way of living inde. pendently.88 This whole passage is full ofscorn forWagnerians and the side of�agner that the�found�ttractive. But its more poignantmeaningIS revealed only In what IS absent from the list, namely, anyone at­tracted to Wagner by his tragic vision, or transformed and enno­bledbyhis work in any way. More thanscornful,Nietzschefeltverymuch alone in hisdiscipleship. . Nietzsche terms the lack ofa receptive audience Wagner's pri­marydifficulty.89The problematicrelationship ofartist and publicwas part ofthe romantic idea ofthe genius. But Nietzsche makesthe point that the higher significance Wagner ascribed to art and. ' partIcularly to his own art, simply did not interestthe public: There is something comic in Wagner's inability to persuade the Ger· mans to take the theater seriously. They remain cold and unmoved­ he gets worked up as though their salvation depended on it. Nowa�ays especially, the Germans believe that they are engaged in more Important matters. And someone who concerns himself so sol­ emnly with art strikes them as an amusing eccentric.90 Wagner had simply misjudged his contemporaries and there was )no hope for the revolutionary transformation that Nietzsche hadso ardentlydesired to see. This is a thoroughly damning view of Wagner, his followers, �nd the German public. It constitutes not only a burst of insightInto Wagner's often unpleasant character-which Nietzsche hadstrictly ignored in favor of his idealization ofthe composer-butalso representsa spasm ofdisillusioninthe mostliteral sense.Hav­in� entertained unrealistic hopes, Nietzsche now felt hopeless.ThIswastherootofthe"skepticism" andmoralillnessthathecom­plained of, and the psychological source of the virtual nerv<;>usbreakdown thatNietzscheexperiencedatthat time.
  • ' StruggleforAutonomy 189 So in the Spring of 1876, when Nietzsche returned from Swit­ erland and finally began to write Richard Wagner in Bayreuth, �efacedaformidablechallenge.Hewrotefitfully,agonizingmuch . as he had in writing The Birth of Tragedy, still vacillating about whetherhecouldpublishwhathewaswriting. He couldnotsimply rejectthemaster'saesthetic"system" andpraiseWagneras.amoral exemplar, ashehad done inhisessayon Schopenhauer.NIetzsche was nowverycritical ofboth the manWagnerand his work. But to writeaeulogyofWagnerforthefirstFestivalhewouldhavetopra­ iseboth. Could he managethis without simply suppressing the in- sightsthathehadrecorded in his notebooks? .Nietzsche's published paean to Wagner begIns expectantly enough with the thoughtthat "for an event to possess greatness two things must come together: greatness ofspirit in those who accom­ plishit,andgreatnessofspiritinthosewhoexp�rienceit.'.' Theevent under consideration was the Bayreuth FestIval, obvIously. Yet Nietzschehesitates toassurehis readers thatall iswell with the audi­ ence for Wagner's art. Rather, he frets, "Whenever we see [such] an eventapproachingwe areovercomewiththe fear thatthosewhoex­ perience itwill beunworthy ofit." This fearpertains not only tothe audience: Even the deed of a man great in himself lacks greatness if it is brief and without resonance or effect; for at the moment he performed it he must have been in error as to its necessity at precisely that time: he h· 91failed to take correct aim and chance became master over 1m. Failure to findresonance in an audience with "greatness ofspirit" would ultimately mean lack of greatness in the artist-even in Wagner's case. ThusNietzsche calls the greatness ofWagner's life­ workatleastmomentarilyinto question. NietzschemayhavequestionedWagner'sgreatnessonlytore�f- firm it. From Schopenhauer he borrowed the metaphor ofthe artist aimingatatarget;thephilosopherhadsaidthatageniuscould hitnot only targets that others could not reach, but ones that others could notevensee.NietzscheusesthismetaphortoexplainbothWagner's achievementandtheresistanceto it: That a single individual could, in the course of an ave�age h�m�n lifespan, produce something altogether new may well excite the Indig­ nation of those who cleave to the gradualness of all evolution as
  • 190 YOUNG NIETZSCHE though t� a kind of moral law: they themselves are slow and demand slowness m others-and here they see someone moving very fast d not know how he does it, and are angry with him, For such an und ' 0 k' er· ta mg as tha�at �ayreuth �here were no warning signs, no transition�l �vents, nothmg mtermedlate; the , long path t? the goal, and the goal Itself, ?one knew �ut Wag�er. It IS the first CIrcumnavigation of the globe In the domam of art,92 This istypicalofromanticdescriptionsofgenius, savedfromcliche only by Schopenhauer's metaphor, But while it reaffirms that Wagner was "a man great in himself," it does not suggest that �agner�s work enjoyed the resonance ofa great and comprehend­ In,g audlen�e, In fact, Wagner's relationship to his public was, for NIetz�ch,e, Inextricable from Nietzsche's understanding ofhimself as a dISCIple ofWagner, As a disciple, Nietzsche's identity was em­ bedded in his conception ofWagner's public, andviceversa, I� 1876 Nie,tzschewasconfrontedbyrapidgrowth inWagner's pubhc, and hIS reaction was ambivalent, On the one hand Nietzsche seems to have wanted Wagner to remain unrecognized excep,t to a s�all and select coterie offollowers, including himself espeCIally_ NIetzsche congratulates himselfupon being one ofthe few who had believed in Wagner from the first moment he met h' 93W h'1m. agner Imselfhadsaidthathisworkwouldbeappreciated on,IY,by/select few, Now in 1876, as Wagner seemed finally to be galnI�g the acceptance of the German public at large, Nietzsche acts hke a child correcting an inconsistent parent: "but you said. . . ." In 1872 he had been one ofthe few believers. He had ridden with �hefamilyin�agner's carriage tothededication.Nowhe pro­ tests InwardlyagaInstthe throngs ofsuperficial enthusiasts gather� ing aroundWagner. On theotherhand,NietzschewassodeeplyaffectedbyWagner thathe expectedWagner'sworktotransformthewhole generation �f new followers and redeem it from superficiality and material­ Ism. �� would have been delighted to share Wagner with a larger p�bh�Iftheytoo hadbeentransformedbyWagner'sinfluence,But thIS dId not appear to be happening, Nietzsche wondered why Wagner accepted the adulation of people who were not truly t?uched by his work? Earlier he had blamed the unreceptive pub­ hc. But now he was prepared to be disappointed in Wagner ifthe public was notmagically transformed. While he was implicitly challenging Wagner's authority,
  • ' StruggleforAutonomy 191 Nietzsche was actually challenging the traditional practice of ge­ nius, Nietzsche wanted Wagner to go on being a prophet without hono; in his own country, unless all Germany coul� be tr�ns­ formed.ButthewidelyacceptedmythoftheunrecognIzed genIUS, headofhis timeandunappreciatedbycontemporaries,wasacui­ :ural ruse thatenabled the public to recognize a radical innovator as a genius and accepthim as such even without fullyunderstan�­ inghiswork.Beingunrecognized, mis�nderstood, and unappreCI­ ated was a sign of genius. Thus a genIUS could be recognIzed by having been unrecognized. Indeed an important function of t�e myth ofthe unrecognized genius,had always been to �romote thIS recognition. Something like thIS had happened WIth Wagner, whose compositions had once seemed unmusical to all but a very few, including Nietzsche. But categorized as Zukunjtsmusik, "the music ofthe future" or avant-garde music, they came gradually to be understood as the innovations ofa misunderstood genius who was beyond most of his contemporaries. Once that was made known, everyone who cared about music-even the German Em­ peror-wanted to be among the connoisseurs who could under- stand. Nietzsche was alarmed at this, but itwas quite normal, and, by the logic of modern culture, perhaps even necessary. Having postured for so many years as an unappreciated genius, 'Yagner had very little role in selecting the peop,le wh� fi�ally deCIded t� acknowledgehim as such. He could not SImplyInSIst that the senSI­ tive ones understand and the crass ones keep their distance. He couldonlybegratifiedthathisartwouldfinallyg�ttheattention it deserved.ButfromNietzsche'sperspective,itwasa legitimateques­ tion why so manyunregenerate superficial people had,becom,e �o enthusiasticaboutWagnerandhiswork.And thISquestIon,adIstIl­ lationofNietzsche'searliercriticism ofWagner, creptintoRichard Wagner in Bayreuth. Nietzsche's essay is nevertheless aworkofdevotion toWagner. It has often been read as a sycophantic work. And only readers privytoNietzsche's critical notes onWagnerhave noticed the sub­ tleaspersionsthatNietzsche castsuponWagnerandthe spectators in Bayreuth. Thus the question remains: How did Nietzsche man­ age toreconcilehis insightintoWagner'scharacterwith the taskof praisingWagnerin this essay? Nietzsche seems to have convinced himself-at least briefly- that Wagner's defects were youthful characteristics that Wagner
  • 192 YOUNG NIETZSCHE had since overcome.94 In Richard Wagner in Bayreuth Nietzscheasserts paradoxically that in Wagner's youth "he himself does notyet seem to be present at all." As a youthWagner was governed b�"aspiritofrestlessness, ofirritability,anervoushastiness in seizingholduponahundreddifferentthings,apassionatedelightin expe­riencing moods ofalmost pathological intensity, an abrupt transi­tion from the most soulful quietude to noise and violence."Although thesewere characteristics that Nietzsche saw in Wagnerin the 1870s, since he did not know Wagner in his youth, in thepublishedessaythe real Wagner has emergedfrom these "riddles" andattained his own characterbythe time hereaches maturity.95 The mature Wagner was by no means perfect, however. It isonly thatthe story ofhis life and theunfoldingofhisgeniusbeginswith his maturity. And this story is a tempestuous drama. In � Nietzsche'swords, As soon as [Wagner's] spiritual and moral maturityarrives, the drama of his life also begins. And how different he looks now! His nature appears in a fearful way simplified, torn apart into two drives. . . . Below there rages the precipitate current of a vehement will which . . . strives to reach up to the light through every runway, cave, and crev. ice, and desires power. This waspotentiallyatyrannicalforce,accordingtoNietzsche, that couldeasilyhave made Wagner"irritable andunjust."Especiallyif Wagner had not been granted success, his will might have filled himwithapassionatehatredandmadehimblametheworldforhis failure[!]96 The other, opposing force that Nietzsche discerned in ' r Wagner's character was Treue or loyalty. Nietzsche drew his evi­ dence for this not from Wagner's life-it was not particularly evi­ dent-but from his works. Acknowledging that the characters inventedbyawriterdo not necessarilyrepresenthim, heurgesthat "a succession offigures upon whom he has patently bestowed his love does tell us atanyrate somethingaboutthe artist." He argues that Rienzi, the Dutchman, and Senta; Tannhauser and Elizabeth; Lohengrin and Elsa; Tristan, Kurwenal, Marke, and Isolde; Hans Sachs, Briinnhilde, and Wotan, all represent a growing current of selfless loyalty in Wagner. And Nietzsche writes that this loyalty is "the most personal and primal event that Wagner experiences
  • � StruggleforAutonomy 193 withinhimselfand reveres like areligious mystery, . . . displayingit in ahundred shapes."97 Loyalty is an interesting choice of a virtue to balance against Wagner's self-seeking and tyrannical force ofwill. As a theme it is often handled ambiguously, as in Tristan und Isolde, and it is cer­ tainly not the only theme of Wagner's works. It is, however, the theme of Nietzsche's relationship to Wagner. Wagner had been strangely (unnecessarily) concerned aboutNietzsche's loyalty, and Nietzsche himself had tried to prove above all else that he was a discipleloyaltohismaster,willingto perform any service.Attimes itseems he was more loyal toWagner than to himself. But now he was discovering the necessity of a higher loyalty, one to his own creative powers. Nietzsche even suggests that Wagner's followers should be so renewed as to become creators in their own right.98 Wagner might remain an example, but no longer an ideal. The struggle ofloyaltydepictedinRichard Wagner inBayreuth is in some measureautobiographical, asNietzschelaterintimated.99 In depictingWagner's character as a struggle between his pas­ sionate will and the principle of loyalty, however, Nietzsche employed a conceit that he had devised for his essay on Scho­ penhauer: the genius in conflictwith himself, creating himselfby overcoming some aspect ofhimself. This device enabled him not onlytomakeWagnerseemevengreaterforhavingtamedhistyran­ nicalwill, butto depict his life as a dramaofromantic genius: It was in the relationship of these two profound forces . . . in the sur· render of the one to the other, that there lay the great necessity which had to be fulfilled if [Wagner] was to be whole and whoUY himself.lOo Wholeness here refers of course to that unity or harmony of self thatwriters in theGerman tradition ofBildung assumed necessary for a creative life. But in Nietzsche's slightly revised version, nei­ therWagnernorSchopenhauerbeforehimwerebornwithharmo­ nious,wholepersonalities;theywereprofoundlydividedmenwho hadto overcomeaspects ofthemselves toreachwholeness. The dramathatNietzsche purported to find inWagner's inter­ nal struggle was a fiction thatsuitedNietzschevery well. It permit­ ted him to voice his reservations and yet praise Wagner in the inordinate fashion to which the masterwas accustomed. Yet, since the exemplary loyalty is drawn from Wagner's works rather than from his life, the effect is the opposite of the one he created in
  • 194 YOUNG NIETZSCHE Schopenhauer as Educator, where he praised Schopenhauemoral e�emplar and ignored the philosopher's works. In ;ic�:�aWagner zn Bayreuth Nietzsche only seems to praise the ,�moral character; in fact his praise is devoted to the h master,s W ' k "A 1 eroes ·ofagner s wor s. t eastWagner's works were worth my I'd I" . f " h . ea IZa.lon, e seems In :etrospect to be saying, so that even in thisspasm ofloyal serVIce to Wagner, Nietzsche was detachingh'fromWagner'sperson. Imself It was by refocussing his expectations on Wagner's wo kth . ' . r s andelr reception that NIetzsche overcame the skepticism th t dpressed and paralyzed him in the winter and spring of l875. a Co:�sequently NIetzsche provides a schematic history of W 'l ' h' . h agnersre atlons Ip WIt thepublic.At first Wagneridentified with thpress�d an� sought to communicate his empathy for the wO�I��'suffenngdirectly-in Tannhiiuser and Lohengrin and there w s t I ' ' as mUMua Incomprehension.1ol But Wagner sloughed off the d .d ' . . . eSlre toomlnate the audience and transform theworld directly H d11 . d . e gra .u� yre�ognlze thathewasalone;hebegan "to cometo termswith�Imself ; and he gave up tryingto produce what Nietzsche pejora.tIvely calls "an immediate effect." Then he began to . ·k" h h h' ' . speat roug IS art only to hImself'-In Tristan and Meistersinger 102Then,renouncing"success" inthesense ofcommonpopularity,heb�gan to look up�n the world "with more reconciled eyes, wasseIzed less often WIth rage and disgust," and "renounced p "A d h " . I ower .n. as e qUIet ypushedforward his greatestwork and laidScorebesld� score, something happened which made him stop and lis.ten:Jrzendswerecomingto tell him ofasubterranean movementofm�ny souls.':103 In other words, as Wagner wrote The Ring oj theNzbelungen with supposed indifference to the public a true publicbegan slowly to form itself. ' Nietzsche seemed to suggest that, as the first Festival inBayreuth approached, Wagner wasjust finding his true public ItwasaschemeinwhichWa.gnerfoundhistruepublicinproporti�nas he r�n�unced populanty, a correlative ofthe victory ofloyaltyover wIll In .Wagner's ' psychological life. Both of these develop.ments are wIshful projections of Nietzsche's mind and they areperhaps what Nietzsche needed to believe. But he'was not com.pletely deluded about this. In fact, his wishful description of theem�rgence of a public for Wagner's work was intended to guardag�Instthe.vulgaritythathefeared.104He seemsconsciouslytohaNewnttenawIshfulaccount,as iftoinstructtheaudience onhowthey
  • a � StruggleforAutonomy 195 should approach Wagner's art. His is a prescriptive celebration of thecomingFestival. Nietzsche does notdescribeBayreuthasthe triumphantend of Wagner'srace.Itwas only thebeginning ofwhatNietzsche hoped would be the triumph of a tragic renewal of German culture.105 Bayreuthhadbeencreated, accordingtoNietzsche, becausecondi­ tions inthe populartheaterwerenotconducive totheproperpro­ duction ofWagner'sworks.AccordingtoNietzsche,"There is only onehope andone guarantee forthe future ofhumanity: itconsists in the retention ofthe sensefor the tragic. " And it was from Bayreuth thatthe senseofthetragicwouldagainflowforth intotheworld.106 Itwouldofcoursebe adisasterifacomplacentpublicassembledin Bayreuth, conscious only ofhaving arrived. Thatwould ev�scera�e Wagner's work. In a sense, Nietzsche's whole essay was wntten In fearofthis, andinanattempttopreventit,topromptthepublicto greater awe and humility-so that they could be transformed by Wagner's artasNietzschehadbeen. In the final section ofRichard Wagner in Bayreuth it is quite ap­ parentthatNietzschehasbeena?dre�singhimselftoth�sewhowill attend the first Festival. He plaInly Instructs the pubbc that they have not arrived at the end of history. Nor is their reception of Wagner's saving work the culmination of anything. Bayreuth �s only a beginning. Wagner is the herald of another age. Even thIS select audience, expectant and anxious for their own transforma-. h b 107hon, even t ey must e overcome. .. Two specially bound copies ofRichard Wagner in Bayreuth ar­ rived atWahnfried, theWagners' home inBayreuih" a"boutJuly 10, 1876-a"FestivalEdition" inleatherbindingwith gold lettering.!Os Nietzsche's accompanying letter-only one to Cosima survives­ betrayedbarely a hint ofhis anxiety about whathe had published. He hadwantednot only to prepare himselffor the greatevents of thesummer,hewrote,buttomakeacontribution totheFestival as well. He hoped only for the slightest sign of approval from the Wagners.I09 The Wagners were apparently impressed with the book, whether or not they found time to read it. And they responded as Nietzsche hoped. The Master wrote Nietzsche an enthusiastic but slightly ambiguous note, perhaps alluding to Nietzsche's infre­ quent attendance in Bayreuth: "Your book is astonishing! Where have you got to know me so well? Now come soon and get accus-
  • 196 YOUNG NIETZSCHE t�me� to the impressions [of The Ring]!"110 And Cosima thanked hIm wIth anequallybrieftelegram, inaloftiertone, perhapstosu . tain a certain for�alit� ,that she had created between herselfan�her.yout�ful admIrer: Now l owe to you, dear friend, my singfe�' exhIl�ration and r�freshment, aside from the mighty artistic im. pressions [ofThe Rzng]. May this suffice as my expression ofgraf. t d "111 I h· h " 1 U e. n t Is exc ange-NIetzsche s letter and the two brief messages from the Wagners in Bayreuth-there is no acknowled . ment oftheambivalence ofRichard Wagner in Bayreuth.112 g . It see�s unli�ely that Wag�er coul� have found time to read NIetzsche sbookIn 1876. EverSIncecomIngtoBayreuth in 1872 ' h 1· · f h· ,as t erea IzatIon0 t ISdreamofproducingTheRingofthe Nibelunge ' in his �wn �e�tival Theater finally approached, the tempo o� Wagners aCtivIty had grown progressively more frenetic. After completing The Ring in November 1874,just when he wished to turn his full attention to production, he was inundated with reo quests to give concerts. He had to accept many ofthese invitations raise money for the theater, and to secure singers for the Festival productions. "His vogue as an opera composer had never been so great as it was now," writes his biographer Newman; and the managers of theaters throughout Germany positively de: m�n.ded th�t he co�e to their cities to conduct in return for per. mittIng theIr star sIngers to perform at Bayreuth in 1876.113 To '. Wagnerthis seemedlike blackmail. More importanttasksurgently requiredhisattention. Wag�erwas notonlytheauthorandcomposerofTheRing, and even desIgner of the theater; he had now to be impresario, pro. ', �ucer, director, and choreographer. He had to Scour Germany sIngers competent for the very demanding roles he had written. Even more importantly, he had to prepare them in Bayreuth, a fro� their homes, where he perceived they would lapse into baci habIts. He had to recruit and rehearse an orchestra as well. He �eeded to be in Bayreuth to supervise the last stages ofconstrue. tIonandthefurnishingoftheFestivalTheater.Heevenhadtohelp organize the little town for the unprecedented number ofvisi whoalreadybeganstreaminginto thecityin the summerof1875 a wholeyearearly-withmany more expectedforthe firstFestivalin 1876.And many ofthe tourists were potential patrons and donors ' who hoped to be received at Wahnfried. They further distracted the Master from his preparations. An irascible man in the best times, Wagnerwasparticularlypreoccupiedand irritable now.Bu
  • ,' StruggleforAutonomy 197 with the Festival actually on the calendar and the theater virtually complete, he showed almost superhuman restraint in focusing ex­ clusively upon the one goal ofrealizingthe complete aesthetic im­ pression he had so long envisioned.1I4 The composer was so absorbed in the work of production that he could hardly stop to worry aboutNietzsche's essay. Nothing thatNietzsche might have written could have disturbed him or even captured his attention , 115 formore than amoment. InNietzsche's ownview,however,he had dared much. He knew that a dangerous degree of criticism of Wagner would show through the exorbitant praise. Nietzsche was as ambivalent about whathe had written as he now was aboutWagner. And his equivo­ cations bear witness to his anxiety about what he had done.116 He was worried sick. But ofcourse, his fear ofWagner's reaction was quiterealistic,consideringWagner'sviolentrepudiationofhis ear­ lieressays.1I7Perhaps hehada premonition; or perhaps he already knew thathe could notcontinue as Wagner's disciple. Ofcourse it had always been Nietzsche's relationship with Wagner that his works had threatened. But now he was worried about more even than that: he wrote that with this essay "it is as ifI hadjeopardized my very self." Read literally, this can only mean that Nietzsche's sense of self was threatened by the prospect of alienating Wagner.ll8His identitywas so boundup withWagnerthatitmight collapse if they separated. Ifhe were not Wagner's disciple, who wouldhebe? Nietzsche was thus in a dangerously insecure state of mind when he arrived in Bayreuth for the Festival onJuly 24. To make matters worse, he was miserably uncomfortable'fo,�,the f!rst few days, complaining ofill health, the humidity and his unpleasant lodgings.Hesufferedfromhis chronicheadachesandnausea.And ashe mighthave predicted, he was also ill atease amid the preten­ tious crowd of Wagner-enthusiasts gathered for the event. Nietzschewasneververycomfortableinsociety,butthisparticular crowd, the importance ofthe occasion, and his anxiety about the book he hadjust published combined to create the worst possible situation for him. He avoided the receptions at Wahnfried, with the exception of one where he irritated Wagner by remaining si­ lentandaloof. From Bayreuth he wrote to his sister that he "almost regretted coming."Hehadbeen toonerehearsal,he admitted,buthe"didn't like it and had to leave."ll9 Itwas a rehearsal ofthe first act ofThe
  • 198 YOUNG NIETZSCHE Twilight of the Gods, an opera that Nietzsche had never heard. Elisabeth Nietzsche interpreted her brother's remark as evidence ofhis complete disillusion with Wagner and his work;120 but since she enjoye.d anearlymonopoly ofherbrother's.le�ters and maQip_ ulated theIrtexts to serve herown purposes, thIS Interpretation is suspect. The remark mightalso have been the expression ofa sick and disoriented man who had not feltwell at therehearsal,orsim­ ply an indication that Nietzsche had been disappointed in that par� ticular rehearsal or the production more generally.121 But it is possible that Elisabeth Nietzsche was right. Nietzsche may finally have realized his disillusion in Wagner and his music at this re- hearsal. Nietzsche found some solace in Bayreuth with Malwida von Meysenbug, whose shady garden seemed to shield him from every­ thing he foundunpleasantabouttheFestival atmosphere.Leaving most ofhis thingsathis own lodgings, he stayed atMalwida'swhile he waited for his sister to arrive, and hishealth improved for sev­ eral days. In that time he heard rehearsals ofthe whole of Twilight ofthe Gods, and remarked that "it is good to get used to this; nowI am in myelement."122This could be understood asareversal ofthe earlierjudgment. Or it could be a forthright acknowledgment of the difficulty of Wagner's new work, and an acceptance of the musicasachallengingrelieffromBayreuth society.Whicheverthe case, by August 1, barely a week after his arrival, Nietzsche felt worseagain-he was sufferingfromheadaches and exhaustion. . In a letter written on that day, he notes that he had heard The Valkyrie in a darkened room to protect his eyes; but he makes no comment on the opera. He simplywrote, "I yearn to be away from here. It is senseless for me to stay. I dread every one ofthese I evenings of art; and yet I don't stay away."123 What is not clear i whether he would have enjoyed th�se evenings more ifhe had not feltill;orwhetherthewholeBayreuthscenewascontributingtohis illness. Perhapsboth!Inanycase,byAugust 1, Nietzscheseemedto be finished with theFestival before ithad reallystarted: "I am sick. of it. I won't stay for the first performance. Somewhere else, any· where buthere, wherethere isnothingbut tortureforme."124Thus .. he decided to leave Bayreuth and take another cure, this time at Klingbrunn in the nearbyBavarian mountains. While hewas in Klingbrunn, he began to realize thathe would not miss Wagner's companyas much as he hadfeared. At least not the Wagner ofWahnfried and the Festival Theater, a Wagner sur·
  • i . Struggle/orAutonomy 199 d d by wealthy patrons in large reception rooms full of roun e . h I ke drinking and loud talk. Nor would he mISS t e ong- sJ1l0 " h h h d waited performances ofthe operas. He would,�n t e ot er an,' ( a • stheWagner ofTriebschen, where he had enjoyedtheMaste� s ��mate company in his most creative times. And he would mISS the owerfulidealthathehadconstructedonthefatherlyfi�re�f W :ner.ButhewasbeginningtoseparatethesetwoWagners InhIS . � d He would stay in the mountains to recuperate for perhaps nun . . h . ten days, he thought, and then return to Basel WIt out paSSIng throughBayreuth.125 In the event, he did return to Bayreuth. He� at least one full cycle of The Ring of the Nibelungen as well. HIS sls�er had been unable to find anyone to use their tickets or the 10dgI�gs he had reserved. Perhaps he recoveredhis health. Perh.aps­ illusionmentputhiminacalmerframeofmind,permIttIng�I�to return as an observer of this act in the drama of Wagner s hfe, rather than as one ofthe principals. Nietzsche arrivedback inBayreuth onAugust l�. On t�e same daytheGrossherzog(Grand Duke) ofWeimar, andKaIserWIlhelmI, theGermanEmperor,alsoarrived.TheGrossher�ogwasmetatthe , stationbyFranzLiszt,andtheKaiserbyWagnerhImself.Therewas aparade throughthe citywhich, itwas said, couldscarcelybe see� dueto thevastnumbers ofbanners and wreaths set out for the KaI­ ser.With royalty, nobility, and greatwealth from throughout Ger- many and Europe in attendance, Nietzsche was. hardly an ,important personage, and he did nothing to mak� hImself m?re noticeable. The Wagners, on the other hand, were fully occu�Ied with their prominent guests; no matter how solicitous they mI�ht have felt, they could hardly have sought out guests who, h�e Nietzsche, stayed away from their receptions �nd the, publIc houses. And they were not very solicitous, for N.Ietzsch� s name never again appears in Cosima's diaries, and NIetzsche s c�rre­ spondence with Wagner never really resumed. It seems possIble, even probable, thatNietzsche and Wagner did not see each other againbeforeNietzsche leftBayreuth attheend ofAu�st. , Unfortunately we know almost no�ing about.NIetzsche s se�­ ond stay in Bayreuth. Inasmuch as his sIster and vutuall� a�l ofhIS friends were now there, he wrote no letters to record hIS 1mp:es­ sions. Third parties do not record his presen.ce at any ga�henng, and he seems to have kept strictly to the socIety of Malwida von
  • zuu YOUNG NIETZSCHE Meysenbug and his sister. In the absence of any direct evidencehowever, all commentators agree thatNietzschefeltalienatedfro�the social scene there, and disappointed, eventually at least, in theproduction ofThe Ring. The onlydifference ofopinion is over theappropriateness of his reaction. Some profess surprise atNietzsche'snaivete: didhereallyexpecttheaudiencetobe sotransformedbytheoperasthattheywouldrefrainfromvisitingthelocaltaverns and showingofftheirfineryatWahnfried?126Othersfoundthe Festival disappointing and the spectators uncommonly vul­gar.127 One ofthem was Wilhelm Murr, a Wagnerian who wrote a series of three articles for the Gartenlaube, the most widely circu­lated periodical in Germany. The series satirizes the Bayreuthscene much as Nietzsche later did in Ecce Homo and other writ­ings.128 On August 27, Nietzsche left Bayreuth for Basel accompaniedbyPaul Ree-whomhealready knew but who would now becomeaclose confidant-and the Frenchman Edward Schure, whom hehad onlyjustmetattheFestival, introduced byMalwida. One con­sequenceofthislongtrainride is thatthemostextensiverecordof Nietzsche's state of mind at the end of the Festival was made by Schure. Andalthough itwas notwritten down, or at least notpub.lishedfornineteenyears,itseemstogiveanaccurateimpressionatleast ofNietzsche's attitude towardWagner. Schure indicates thatduring the rehearsals and performances, Nietzsche seemed "sadand depressed. . . . In Wagner's presence he was timid, embar­rassed, almostinvariablysilent."129 Wagner, on the other hand,was working with tremendous energy and was in an expansive mood,so that Schure wondered if Nietzsche wasjealous of Wagner, orperhaps disappointed in the contrast between the creator and theman, or merely censorious of the general vulgarity of the public.Whichever it was, "not a criticism escaped him, not a word ofcen! sure, but he showed the resigned sadness of a beaten man. I stillremember the air oflassitude and disillusionment with which hespoke ofthe Master's comingwork." In the train Nietzsche appar­ently recounted howWagnerhad told him ofhis plans forParsifal,smiling indulgently "as ifto say, 'See the illusions Of these poetsandmusicians?' "130Thus it seems thatbythe time he leftBayreuth,Nietzschehadadopted,attheveryleast,anironicalattitudetowardWagner. There had always been a strain ofjealousy inNietzsche's admi­ration for Wagner, or what might be called oedipal rivalry. Cer-
  • e � e e C t s­ l d ­ a ­ h StruggleforAutonomy 201 tainly he was shocked as well. But this was not the first time Nietzsche had been shocked by Wagner, nor was he t�e shockedbythecontrastbetweenthenobilityofWagner screatIons and his egotistical behavior. Neitherwashethe only one to be ap­ palledbythevulgarity oftheBa�reu�h cr?wd.Butthe sad�ess th�t S h re mentions repeatedly pOInts In sull another emouonal dI-c u . h . h · 1rection. This is more consistent with mournIngt an WIt Jea ousy or outrage. And indeed, Nietzsche mourned the Wagner he had idealizedanddependedupon;whetherornott�athadeverbeen a listic image isirrelevant,fornowhe had lost It. He mournedtherea h ' f th tintimacy they had shared at Triebsc en too, an In Imacy a Nietzsche finally realized they would ne�er recapture. And he rned that naive and childlike part ofhImselfthathadbeen somou . . 1 ·impressionable and so vulnerable to the someumes tyrannlca In- fluences ofSchopenhauerandespeciallyWagner. .. Nietzsche's own later accounts sustain the view that he b�oke withWagner, at least in his own mind, when he suddenly reahzed that he was opposed to everything that Wagner stood for.. In Ecce Homo, a book that he prepared for publication in 1888, Nle�zsc�e dates his disillusionment with Wagner to the Bayreuth FestIval In 1876. That book is colored by the hindsight of a decade and the foresightofamanengagedin maki�ga my�h ofhimself.None�he­ less, it is significant that this autobIographIcal work charactenz�s Nietzsche's break as a sudden awakening-as from a dream-In Bayreuth: Wherever was I? There was nothing I recognized; J scarcely recog­ nized Wagner. In vain did I leafthrough my �e�or�es. Trib . schen-a distant isle of the blessed: not a trace of any SImIlarIty. The Incompa­ rable days when the foundation stone [of the Festival Theater] was laid, the small group of people that had belonged . . . not a trac� of any similarity. What had happened?-Wagner had been translated Into a German! The Wagnerian had become master over Wagner- Ger- 131man art. The German master. German beer. Here Nietzsche seems to suggest that Wagner had changed com­ pletely as he progressed from a solitary and unrecogni�ed ge�ius, livingin Swissexile, to a cultural hero and German nauo�al Icon. But in using the metaphor ofawakening from a dr�am, NIetzsche tacitlyadmits thathewasonlybelatedly acknowledgIngwhatheac-
  • 202 YOUNG NIETZSCHE tually knew aboutWagner all along. He, Nietzsche, had awakenedfrom ahypnotic sleep. WagnerhadmadenosecretofhisGermanpatriotismandanti'­Semitism. But thesewere easy tooverlook,untilWagnerwasfinally"ensconced in Bayreuth amid throngs of his nationalistic SUppOrt­ers.Then heexpressedhisviewseven more stridently, and his state­ments were amplified by his followers.132 It is true, Nietzsche didta�e a sta�d wh�n it mattered most-"":hen Wagner was finallybeIng receIved wIth open arms by an antI-Semitic German public,when people whoknew and cared verylittle about his music madeWagnerachampion oftheir chauvinism. Then Nietzsche's repudi­ation ofWagner's ideology was important, and it became very ap­parentin his next published writing. InHuman, All Too Human, two volumes ofaphorisms publishedin 1878 and 1879 and dedicated to Voltaire, Nietzsche suddenlywrote as a rationalist loyal to the European Enlightenment oftheeighteenth century. It is difficult to recognize the author of The Birth of Tragedy or the Untimely Meditations in this new work. ThenewNietzsche was cosmopolitan, pro-French, and vehemently op­ posed to anti-Semitism. What is more, Nietzsche claims that hebegan to write thisbookduringtheBayreuthFestival, ormorepre­cisely, in the days that he spent at the spa in Klingbrunn, beforereturningto attendperformances ofThe Ring.133 In an explanationofwhyhewroteHuman,All Too Human asacosmopolitan,Nietzscheclaims that he only realized in Bayreuth thatWagner had becomehis polaropposite: itwas during . . . the first Festival, [that] I said farewell to Wagner in my heart. . . . Since Wagner had moved to Germany, he had con· descended step by step to everything I despise-even to anti· 'I Semitism.134 It was not just Wagner's chauvinism and anti-Semitism thatloomed in Nietzsche's mind, however. His turn to Christianitywasperhaps even worse. In a later Preface to Human, All Too Human (1886), NietzschewrotethatWagnermightseemtohavetriumphedat Bayreuth when, in 1876, he finally achieved the popularity hehad sought so long. But, Nietzsche argued, the Master had actuallybeen defeated, and defeated precisely by his own efforts to gainrecognition.Forashe"sankdown,helpless and broken,before the Christian cross," he had atlast surrendered all ofthe ideals he had
  • " StrugglejorAutonomy 203 t rted with.135 Nietzsche referred not only to the religious natures a . . ofWagner's next opera,Parsifal (whichNietzs<:he some�Imes Inter- reted as a cynical creation, a kind ofoperatIc pot-boIler), but to Ph' church-going which even entailed signing his letters as Ober-IS ' . ' f hkirchenrat ordeacon.In additionto all ofthe other pr�J�dlce�0 t e Germans, Wagner had indeed capitulated to Chnstlan pIety as well. .For all ofthese failures and betrayals thatNietzsche dIagnosed. Wagnerto explain his break with the composer, his most inter­l �ting statements indicate that he suddenly realized who he was �imself. Heawoke to find thathehad strayedfrom?isown path of developmentand nowhewas impatientto resume It. What reached a decision in me at that time [in Bayreuth] was not [merely] a break with Wagner: I noted a total aberration of my in­ stincts, of which particular blunders, whether Wagner or t�e pr�fes­ sorship in Basel, were mere symptoms. I was overcome by zmpatzence with myself. I saw that it was high time f�r me to . re�all and reflect on myself. All at once it became clear to me m a ternfymg way how much time I had already wasted.136 Awakeningfromthe hypnoticsleep ofhisW.agneriandiscip�eship, Nietzsche had a startling awareness of havIng neglected hIS own mission-"my task." And he realized that he would never accom- plish itas aWagnerian. .To "recall and reflect" upon himself, he had to repudIate Wagner, and to rid himselfcompletely ofWagne��s,influence.. He suddenly saw Wagnecas a seducer and a hypnotlst,'and reahzed that he had been powerfully affected: "Perhaps no one was more dangerouslyattachedto-grown togetherwith-Wagnerizing.No-. b 'd f' "137bodytriedharderto resist it.NobodywashappI�r�o en . 0 It..He escaped. Again and again he wrote that �llS �nfatuatlon ;;Ith Wagner had been a sickness; and he , ;eveled 1� hIS.recovery: My greatest experience was a reco:er�. .But �hIle. NIetzsche could gloryinthefactofovercominghISdlsC1p.leshI�,hISmemo�yofhow hefeltafterleavingBayreuthand breakIngwIthWagner ISfarless triumphant: As I proceeded alone I trembled; not long after, I was sick, and more than sick, namely, weary-weary from the inevitable disa�pointment about everything that is left to us modern men for enthusiasm, about
  • ZU4 YOUNG NIETZSCHE the universally wasted energy, work, hope, youth, love-wearna�sea at the wh�le idealistic lie and pampering of the con:C . fro whIch had here tnumphed once again over one of the bravest IenC Wagner]-weary, finally and not least of all from the g . f [o�e . bl . . , ne aroused ban Inexora e SUspIcIOn that I was henceforth sentenced to mist .more profoundly, to despise more profoundly to b ruS foundly alone than ever before. For I had had b ' d e mor� pro Wagner.I38 no 0 y except Rlchar a T c h tu iS a w II aS b th� ti h�e ofmourning, necessary before Nietzsche couldy egIn IS own "task."
  • o lUCe er b ' ySt o� rdo d N INE Redefining Genius • N ietzsche leftBayreuth disillusioned with Wagner, and certain that he would now have to make his way alone. Naturally somewhat depressed, he was also relieved. He was finally free to charthis owncourse.Hehadalwaysascribedextraordinaryimpor­ tance to his intellectual development, but he had been only too willing to surrender responsibility for it to his esteemed genius­ mentors. For years no one but Schopenhauer and Wagner had seemedcompetentto di"recthim. Butnow, in the depths ofdisillu­ sion, hehadbecome his own master. Nietzsche was simultaneously becoming indepe�dent in an­ other sense as well. For in May of 1876, well before he knew the outcome of the Bayreuth Festival or even of his own essay on Wagner, Nietzsche had applied for a year's leave ofabsence from his academic duties in Basel. He cited continuous illness and the need to recuperate his health as his primary reason. But he also noted his desire to visitItaly, to see the classical sites and to com­ plete hiseducation;hewantedtomakethetripthathe mighthave made upon completion ofhis own studies, had he not been hired for the position in Basel so unexpectedly. Not wanting to lose Nietzscheentirely,theauthoritiesinBaselgrantedhimleave.After his returnfrom the firstBayreuthFestival therefore,Nietzschewas free to travel. Forayearatleast, hewasliberatednotonlyfromhis 205
  • 206 YOUNG NIETZSCHE tyrannical mentor Wagner, but from the teaching responsibilitiesthat had come to weigh so heavilyupon him.In September of 1876 Nietzsche gave up his lodgings in Baseland.r:duced his possessions to what would fit inasingle largetrunk:amInImumofclothing, some essentialbooks,and, most importantly,the notebooks that he had filled with his Own writing, including thephilosophical fragments thathehadkept secretfrom theWagnersashe wrote the Untimely Meditations, and the notes he was now makingfor Hurnam, All Too Human. He was setting out on what would Soonbecome a truly nomadic existence. For although he would return toBasel ayearlaterandattempttoreestablishhimselfas ateachertherehe would not be capable ofcarryingon. Instead, he would travelwiththesefewpossessionsuntilhisultimatecollapseinJanuary1889. Sothistrip to Italy was an essay in the life-style characteristic of the matureNietzsche. Here was a man who began in his late thirties to live on ameagrepension, with no ordinaryresponsibilities and no permanentresidence,migratingbackandforth, spendingthesummerintheSwissAlps, the winter inItalian cities like Genoa, staying always in a rentedroom, in boarding houses where he had no friends, always accompa_niedbyhisundefinedillness. In early October Nietzsche leftBasel traveling first by train toGenoa, then by boat to Naples, and from there to Sorrento, wherehe would spend the winter of 1876-77 writing a draft of the firstvolume ofHuman, All Too Human. He was traveling with a Swisspassport that belied his peculiar civil status. He had given up hisPrussian citizenship when he accepted employment in Basel, andsincetheFranco-PrussianWarhehadconceivedaprofound antip­athy for the German nation. He would not willingly live in�y again. But he had not yet become a Swiss citizen, either. ByleavIngBaselforthesecondtimesincehe arrivedin 1869, hepractic.allyabandonedallchanceofbecomingaSwisscitizen.He wouldhavehad toreside inSwitzerlandforeightconsecutive years before apply.ingforcitizenship.Hehadleftoncetoserveasa medical orderlywiththePrussianmilitaryin 1870. Andnow,withsixyearscontinuousres­idence, heleftagain.InSwiss parlance,Nietzschewasheimatlos-state­ less; and he would remain stateless throughout the rest of his life.Thushewasbecomingacosmopolitaninaveryspecialsense,justthe�ortof"rootlessintellectual"thatnationalists would soon bevilifyingIn Germanyandelsewhere. InNietzsche's case "rootless" was nomere metaphor. He wassodebilitated by illness that he had little prospect ofmarrying, mak-
  • Redefining Genius 207 ing new friendships, or finding an employment that migh� �ave iven him a new home. For aperson with conventional am�ItIOnS, �he situation was desperate. But Nietzsche would no� be dIverted from his single aspiration to establis� himsel�as :, phIlosopher. As helaterwrote,"purityofheartistowIllonethIn? Infactheseems tohaverelishedtheconcentrationandabsoluteIndepender:cethat his pitiless existence forced upon hi�. H� �ould mak� a.vlftu� of deprivation and consciously base hIS wntIng upon hIS IsolatIon. OnevolumeofHuman, All Too Human he subtitled The Wanderer and His Shadow (1880). All ofNietzsche's later �ooks ar� the work of a truly "solitary walker," a Rousseau-like genIUS so ahen��ed, or per­ hapssofarin advanceofhiscontemporaries,thathiswn�Inga�tual�y seems to be nothing so much as an extended conversatIo� WI� hIS ownshadow-theonlycompanionwhocouldkeep pacewIthhlI�..Nietzsche arrived at this threshold by a confluence of �uahties and influences, allofwhichwere necessarybutno�e0:whI�h were sufficient in themselves to make him a genius. NatIve IntellIgence, inheritedfromhisLutheran-pastorforebears, wasbutone?fthese qualities.Ofcoursetherewerenointelligencetests�henNIe�zs�he wasaschoolboy, andsoitisimpossibletosayanythIngquantItatIve or comparative about his intelligence. His record at school sug­ gests, however, that his gifts were for language �ather than mathe­ matics, and that is consistent with the observatIons ofothers who have studied the inherited intelligence ofthe sons ofthe German pastorate.l Nonetheless, even if it were 'possible to d:monst�ate thatNietzschewas specificallygiftedforlIteraryandphIlosophIcal brilliance, thecontents ofhis achievementcould�ardlyhavebeen determinedby thisendowment. -' « • Friedrich was also shy, self-absorbed, and introspectIve as a boy. These too are characteristicswhichmighthave been the prod­ ucts ofinheritance, although he himselfascribed them to the mel­ ancholyfate ofhaving losthis father at an ea�ly age. Butwhat:ver the explanation, he became an unusually pnvate and self-relIant man.Hisfamilyfurthermorewasunusuallyearnest,ev:nbyProtes­ tant standards. Much would have been expected ofNIetzsche as a child, whether his father had died young or not. And as h� was ?y no meansarebelliousboy,he rose to theexpectations ofhISfamIly and became an earnest, hard-working, and ambitious yo�ng man. This ambition, later diverted from clerical into philosophIc�1 chan­ nels, ultimately proved essential to his perseveran�: .In the iconoclastic mission that he devised for himself. But SenSItIVIty, self-
  • 208 YOUNG NIETZSCHE reliance, diligence, and ambition are amorphous qualities a deven when added to intelligence do not make agenius. , n �ore structured are the emotional and intellectual tende .as t d . h N· , nCIes/SOCIa e WIt Ietzsches lifelong search for a father. Ofcourse he�was not.the only boy whose father died when he was in the midstoftheoedIpal s�ruggle, andnone oftheothers turnedouttoassaultthv�ry foundatIons of Western Civilization in just the way Nietz he .dId. But Nietz.sche's life did c�me to .focus so thoroughly upo� c fa�thers-emulatIng them, re�elhng agaInst them, and going beyondthem-thatwecan hardlydIscountthe Freudian thoughtthattho. . ISex.penencec.aused hIm to search out andassumethathecouldovercome·alongsenes offather-figures. Furthermore, this thought does r kthe young.N�etzsche'spredilection forfatherly mentors to his s�7r­defined mISSIon to undermine the faith of his more literal fathd · . . . ers,an It IS consI�tentwI�h both the imperious style ofhis laterwritingsand the grandIose attIt�de ofhis hero, Zarathustra. But again, evenwhen taken together with his native intelligence and family back­�ound, this psychologicaltendencywouldnothavesufficedtomake�hetzsche a creative author who could command the world's atten­tIonandpunctuate the history ofWestern thought.The other essential dimension ofNietzsche's formation is thathe gre� up and .was educated in a culture of genius. Genius waspervas�ve In the.Ideology ofthe nineteenth century, underwritingth.e unIve�sal dn;e for innovation in every field ofendeavor. ForNIetzsche In partIcular, itgavecultural significance, not onlytohisdeep personal predisposition toward fathers, but to his intelli­gence and ambitio?�As an adolescentstudyingGoethe, Holderlin,and other great wnters and musicians, he learned the importance�ffat?erlyg�niusesintheworld bey();nd his family. Andbyimagin­I�g hImselfIn the role ofGoethe, he gave an internal structure tohIS .own e�ucation. Genius became a standard to which he couldaspIre, � kInd ofabstractfather-figure whom he could imitate justas he �Ight have imitated his father. The concept of genius'alsogave NIetzsche a standard against which to measure his teachersnot only at Schulp!orta but !n the university. He ultimately mea�sured Professor RItschl agaInst it and found him wanting. Butwhen he c�me across Schopenhauer's book, The World as Will andRepresentatzo�, and when he met Richard Wagner in person some­what later, hIS by then deep appreciation ofthe role ofthe geniusenabled him t.o recognize these men as such, and to adopt them asmentorsforhIS own creativedevelopment.
  • Redefining Genius 209 Preparedsinceearlyadolescencebyathoroughindoctrination in the culture ofgenius,Nietzsche now made his struggle for iden­ tity and personal mission into a struggle for a personal relati?n­ ship to genius. First it was a struggle to learn the role of genIus from Schopenhauer and Wagner, who were for him the very em­ bodiments ofit. Fora time he behaved like the most slavish ofdis­ ciples. Observers would hardly have guessed that he was destined to be a great creative figure himself. But later his quest resolved into a struggle for emancipation, as he began to sense the need to freehimselfforamissionofhis own.Thegeniusofotherswasonce a beacon for Nietzsche, drawing him toward creativity; later the role ofthe geniusbecame the channel for Nietzsche to veer away from his mentors andfocus his intellect, ambition, andpsychology in unique creative work of his own. From early adolescence, but extendingthroughhislengthydiscipleshipwithWagner,Nietzsche therefore shapedhimselfto thisculturallydefinedrole.Ultimately it permitted him to turn both his gifts and his disabilities to cre­ ativeadvantage. As a provincial young man without a father, Nietzsche may havedependedmorethanmostgreatcreatorsuponmodelsofgenius to help him reach the threshold ofindependent creative work. And for just that reason Nietzsche's early biography raises interesting questions about the very theory of genius that bore him up. For Nietzschewasobviouslynotborn agenius.Hebecame agenius.Andthe factthathe learnedtheroleofthegeniusfromawhole seriesofindi­ vidualsfromGoethetoWagner, and shapedhis ownlife to conform as much as possible to their examples, suggestseitherthatNietzsche was notagenius, orthatthe nineteenth-centurytheory.ofgeniuswas itselfaskewedrepresentationofthecreativeindividual. .. Nietzsche's early life-history makes plain that growing up in a culture of genius permitted this intelligent, ambitious, and hardworkingindividual,whohappened also tobefixatedupon fa­ thers, to organize his life for a single, extended creative project. It istruethatNietzsche'sadultlifewasdifficult,evenwiththecreative purpose that he defined for himself. He had reason enough to cursehis fate.Instead, fortifiedbythe sense ofmission thathe got from assuming the mantle ofgenius, he enunciated the principle ofloving one's fate (amorfati). This was appropriate, not only as a philosophicalprincipleconsistentwithhisotherideas,butasapsy­ chological consequence ofhaving defined his life in terms ofge-
  • 210 YOUNG NIETZSCHE nius. Forhad he notfound SchopenhauerandWagner and m. , , OreImportantl�, had hen?tbee� abl�todrawdeeplyenoughuponhisunderstandIngofgenIus to Identify these two men as his mento ,(h� would have ha� a muc� less satisfying existence. He would c::�, '-tainlyno.thaveachIeved thIS degree ofpsychologicalintegrationOraccomplIshedanygreatwork.Instea� ofpur�uing a profound purpose, he would probablhave remamed a d"�ttante,just as he feared. He would very likel;h�ve gone on. playmg and composing mediocre music for thep�ano,,and �n.tIng scholarly philological articles forjournals like ,RI.tschl s Rhe:nlSche Museum. He would have continued teaChing amIxtureofhIgh school and collegeCoursesinBasel.Hewouldhavehad no reason to over�ome ?is debili�ting illness. And he mighthave ended up strugglIng WIth a marnage to which he was com­pletely �nsuited. But he refused all of that and became an aWe­somely Integrated personality, the Nietzsche who made the nowwell-kno�n attack upon truth and metaphysics. He could do this�ecause In the role ofthe genius he found both a way to order hisI�terestsand marshall his energies toawell-focused mission, andah�ense not to do the normal things thatwere expected ofhim. ForNIe�zsch�,theroleofgeniushadthepsychologicalfunction ofinte­gratinghIm for his creative responsibility.Nietzsche was not the only one whose creative life was inte­grated by.learningand living out the role ofgenius. In fact, his re­�usal �fdIlettantism and insistenceuponauniquecreativemissionIS typIcal of genius: It is a characteristic that distinguishes nine­teenth�century genIuses from the "Renaissance men" of earliercentunes. The .great difference is that Renaissance men likeLeonardo or Michelangelo.were at t.he beck and call of their pa.trons, great lords who requIred a vanety oftributes from theirtal­ented servants. So while Michelangelo thought of himself as asculptor, the �?pe. insisted that he paint, design buildings, andevenplanfor.tIflCations,therebydrivingtheartisttodistraction.Bycontrast,.geniuses ofthe nineteenth centurywere relativelyfree ofsuch arbItrary patronage. Berlioz, Marx, Hugo, Wagner, Darwin,and the r�st worked o.n unique creative projects that they them­selves�efined, and whIch usually conflicted with the ideas and ex­pectations ofcontemporaries. .Ultimately these nineteenth-centurygeniusesalso had tojustifythe�r work to a patron, namely, the public that would consumetheIrart,readtheirworks,orutilizetheirinventions.Berliozhadto
  • ( '- v Redefining Genius 2 1 1 create a new audience forhis music, and even Marx had difficulty convincing the working class of the relev�nce of his ideas: �ore specific to their ultimate reputations, g�nIuses had to legIu�ate themselves to the public by demonst�ating that they had , u�Ique missionsthatonlytheycouldaccomphsh.InSchopenhauer sImag­ ery, they had to show that they could hittargets oftheir own mak­.ng targets that no one else could even discern. Of course that �o�ld onlybecome apparentafter theyhadbegun to do it. So they had to workalone and in theface ofstiffopposition. To overcome the expectations oftradition and to refuse a normal life, t� perse­ vere on apath ofnon-conformityand apparentlyperverseInnova­ tion required a formidable degree of self-assurance. But as Nie;zsche's careerdemonstrates so clearly, they did nothave to be born arrogant or self-assured-those qualities could ?e acquired_ TheroleofgeniuswasaculturalcategorycomprehensIbletoevery­ one, arole thatcouldbelearned,andastructureforthepsycholog­ ical integrityrequired ofaradical innovator. Therole ofthegeniushad tobelearnedfromanexemplar ora mentor, but the process did not usually requi�e the yea�s of an­ guished discipleship thatNietzsche endured. VIctorHugo s obser­ vation that he "would be Chateaubriand or nothing" suggests how he patterned his ambition after the older poet, witho�t a�y close personal association with Chateaubriand at all_ And It mIght be said thatMarxtook on the role ofphilosophical hero from Hegel, althoughhe did not much respectHegel's dialectic.ofhistory. The important thing was to internalize a model ofthe In�ell�ctual cre­ atorin ordertofocusand discipline one'sown energIesInan anal- ogous manner. ' _' . Takingon the role ofthe genius had other consequ�nces.than just focusingthe individual upon amission an�marshalhnghIS e�­ ergies for it. Modern geniuses became recognIzable to the pubhc insofar as they conformed to a recognizable pattern. One of the essential traits was to be unappreciated atfirst. Schopenhauerh�d revelled in rejection, and then derived enhanced f�me from It. Wagner was controversial and his works were not Infrequently booed in concert halls, but that only confirmed that he was ahead ofhis time; the phrase "music ofthe future" became a b�nner fo.r Wagner's music. Nietzsche himselfwould not be recognIzed untIl after his creative life had ended in mental collapse. But because, from themomenthebrokewith Wagner, Nietzsche worked in ob­ sessive isolation on a projectthatvirtually no one appreciated, he
  • YOUNG NIETZSCHE was ultimately recognized as an unrecognized genius. Somewhd . 11 h ' " atpara �xIca y, t en, InItI�l lack of recognition had become one ofthe traIts that made a genIUS recognizable to the public.Geniuses who achieved fame early in their careers were al . / . d b sorecognIze y standard traits associated with this role that beca .almost stereotypical in the nineteenth century. Unswerving d me . . . ��tIon to a mIssIon, regardless ofconsequences like poverty scand Id . , a ,�n ostraCIsm, . was . one rather melodramatic trait. Sublime ego-tIsm, a bohemIan hfe-style, and an inability (or refusal) to leadbourgeois life of respectability, to "work for a living," or to sacr:fice fo� wives and children, was another. The genius could also berecognIzed as a hero whose extraordinaryjourney carried him f:away from the lives of ordinary people; and yet, conforming to a��chetype, the heroicjourney permitted the genius to return to th. . h ecommunIty WIt the fruits of his creative mission. The cumulativeeffe�t of . these quite consistent traits was to confuse the life of a��nlus WIth th� p�ogress of his works. An abstract and mythicalhf� of th� genIUS was understood by genius and public alike. SogenIuses . lIved t�eir lives i� anticipation of their biographers. Andth� pu�hc saw bIography In the lives of geniuses even as they werebeIng hved. The "autobiographical life" of the genius, as it may becal�e�, was a . synthesis ofall of the social and psychological charac­tenstlcs ascnbed to genius. This mythical life of a genius was a cultural form of the nine­tee�th century that performed two vital functions. It permitted thegenI�S to concentra�e all of his life-force upon a creative mission,and It m�de . the . genIUS recognizable to the public. The genius wasthus an InstItutIon for the promotion of innovation in a centurythat had come to identify itself as a century of progress. Earlier ep.ochs and other cultures had managed innovation in a variety of�ays, b�t t�e . y had always attempted to control it, either by defin.Ing the Indlvldu�ls who were authorized to institute changes, suchas r�lers and pnests, or by restricting the impetus to innovate topartIcular sources like revelation from God. In this century that . nded p�ogress, however, the theory of genius opened the pathof Inno�atlon to almost anyone, or almost any man.2 The role ofthe g�nIus was the . v�hicle for an individual to organize himselfforthe ngors of creatIVIty, and the myth of genius was the vehicle forthe public to recognize and reward the genius with adulation.This mythical life·pattern tended, however, to obscure one im­portant aspect of creativity and genius almost completely: how the
  • Redefining Genius 213 genius became creative. According to the theory, the genius w�s supposed to create ex nihilo, or at least out of the resources of hIS own personality, and certainly without help. H�,,:as a,:tono�ous nd self·sufficient virtually an "unmoved mover, In Anstotle s ter· �inology. This w�s the kernel of the theory of the genius, which defined innovation as a property of individuals rather than a mat· ter of revelation or inspiration from God or the muses.3 This the· ory was quite functional in drawing public att . entio�to t�e �nusual nature of the creative individuals we call genIuses, IdentIfyIng use· ful innovations, and rewarding geniuses by making them demigods of modern culture. However, it obscured the fact that even ge· niuses have to learn their role, not to mention their metier and its traditions. . The theory of genius, therefore, was quite unrealistic, at least insofar as it excluded the possibility of a genius being influenced, or learning the role of the genius from an exemplar or �s obvious as this failing of the theory may seem upon refl�ction In the late twentieth century, it was quite logical. In the autoblogra�h. ical life of the genius, the theory carried with it a very effectIve mechanism for suppressing awareness of the indebtedness of ge· nius: In order to be recognized as a genius, even the greatest cre· ator had at least to appear not to have learned his role or metier from anyone else. And this role was so exalted that it inspired arro· gance and pretension on such a scale that . ge�iuses were only too willing to avoid the very appearance of beIng Influe�ced, t? repu· diate their debts to their predecessors, to quarrel WIth theIr men· tors, and to conceal whatever they learned from others. It would otherwise seem to be an inexplicable coincidence_. that so many great benefactors of humankind should have been so lac�ing in gratitude to thei� own benefactors. But the theory of g�n�us was such that a genius could be depended upon to conceal hIS Indebt· edness. On precisely this point, however, Nietzsche was atypical. His psychological need for a father·surrogate went �o f�r �eyon� the usual requirement of a model of genius that hIS dISCIpleshIp to Schopenhauer and particularly to Wagner las�ed for year�. . In all that time he naively refused to acknowledge hIS own ambItIOn to reach the status ofgenius himself, and deferred almost endlessly to his mentors. They became the focus of his agonized writing . in The Birth of Tragedy and The Untimely Meditations, an� mentonng reo mained a theme of his later works, most espeCIally Thus Spake
  • 214 YOUNG NIETZSCHE Zarathustra. So Nietzsche didnotconceal his debttoSchopenhauer and Wagner, and he remained occupied with Wagner even at the end of his career, when he wrote The Case of Wagner and Nietzsche contra Wagner (both 1888), trying again and again to explainhis re� � lationship to the composer. It seems almost as ifhe had set out to I illustrate the process oflearningthe role ofgenius. This all makes 'I becomingagenius much more transparent inNietzsche's life than t itis in other instances. His example reveals a general butusuallyob­ scure phenomenon. • Nietzsche returned to the question ofgenius on a theoretical plane in The Gay Science (1882), wherehe introduced thepersonaof his alter-ego, Zarathustra. Zarathustra would become a personal focus for all of Nietzsche's work thereafter. This semi-religious character does not refer in any direct way to Schopenhauer, Wagner, or any other nineteenth-century genius. Nor did Zarathustra appear in Nietzsche's intellectual life until fully five years after Nietzsche's breakwithWagner in 1876. But the appear­ ance ofZarathustradoes indicate theoutcomeofNietzsche'sstrug- ' gle,-not only with his mentors, but with the whole theory of originality, creativity, and innovation associated with the idea of genius: With Zarathustra Nietzsche resolved his need for fatherly mentors and clarifiedhisrelationship to genius. The invention of the character Zarathustra terminated Nietzsche's search for the father who had deserted him as a child. Havingspentmuchofhis life searchingforafatherin teachersand mentors,hefinallycreatedafictionalsurrogate. And asthecreator ofZarathustra, he became uniquelyindependentofhis formerob­ session-not only independent of his mentors, but free to revise the role of the genius as it applied to him. For Nietzsche crafted Zarathustra to be very different from Ritschl, Schopenhauer, and Wagner in one importantrespect-he did not want disciples. And at the same time that Nietzsche was inventingZarathustra, he dis­ covered his own creativity to be so.liberating that he no longer needed to conform to the role ofthe genius as he had learned it. Nietzsche first proposed the possibility that a genius might do without disciples in The Gay Science. With that thought he took a large step back from the idea that a genius must be confirmed by influenceand discipleship, an elementofthe theory ofgenius that Nietzschehad reiterated in his essay,Richard Wagner in Bayreuth.In a typicallyparadoxicalaphorismNietzsche examined this idea:
  • Redefining Genius 2 1 5 Imitators A: What, you want no imitators? . B: I do not want to have people imitating my example; I WIsh that everyone would fashion his own example, as I do. A: So? The passage is somewhat ambiguo,:s, ins?far as it depe.nds up�n h h d A's "So';)" as ironIC or sImply as surpnse. ButIn w et eronerea s . fact Nietzsche didfashionhis ownexample in Zarathustra, andthe ref�sal ofimitatorsbecameZarathustra'sproject. . . Zarathustra is a hero ofwisdom modeledupon avanety ofhIS- torical figures includingJesus, whose every inj�nctio� is inverted inNietzsche's book, Thus Spake Zarathustra (publIshed Infourpart.s between 1883 and 1885). But the character conforms t� the tradI­ tional imago ofthe hero in achievin? his wis.dom on aJourney.of renunciation and testing, ajourney Into a wllde�ness from.whIch heemergestriumphant.ExceptforthefactthathISmessageISman­ ifestlyperversebythestandardsofallpreviousprophet�andsage�, he could almost be interpreted as a typical hero or ge.nlus. B�th�s conclusion that there is no inherent truth or meanln� t� lIfe IS echoedbyoneformal trait, namely, hisrefusal tohave.dI�Clples. In designing Zarathustra as a hero who rejects discIP.les and sends them offon their own, Nietzsche was aware that �hIS was a variationon the theme ofgenius and a departure fromhIS own ex­ perience. He employed it in m�ny moc�-biblic�l passages of �hUS Spake Zarathustra, and he recapItulated It as a kInd ofskeleton�ey to his life andwork in the Preface toEcce Homo (l8��, butquoting in partfrom theearlierbook): ' Is not Zarathustra a seducer?-But what does he �imself say, as �e re­ t�rns again for the first time to his solitude? PrecIsely the Opposlte of everything that any "sage," "saint," "world-redeemer," or any other decadent [i.e., genius] would say in such a case.-Not only does he speak differently, he also is different. "Now I go alone, my disciples, you too, go now, alone. Thus I want it. b b Go away from me and resist Zarathustra! And even etter: e ashamed ofhim! Perhaps he deceived you. O�� repays a teacher badly if one always remains nothing but a pupil. And why do you not want to pluck at my wreath?
  • 216 YOUNG NIETZSCHE You revere me; but what ifyour reverence tumbles one day? Be­ ware lest a statue slay you. You say that you believe in Zarathustra? But what matters / Zarathustra? And what matter all believers? ' Yo� had not yet sought yourselves; and you found me. Thus do all behevers; therefore all faith amounts to so little. Now I bid you lose me and find yourselves; and only when have all denied me will I return to yoU. , ,5 you As Z.arathustrabids his followers lose him and find themselves (re­ versIng the terms ofthe injunction ofChrist), hemightseem to en­ coura�e their independence. Undoubtedly that is what Nietzsche had ':I�h�d Wagne� to do for him as a mentor in the early 18708. And IfItIS notprecIselywhata good fathermightdo forhis son it expresses the separation offather and son in a more constructive way than separ�tion bydeath orabandonment. So the monologue ofZarathustraIS auto-therapeutic. - �ietzsche seeks todisorientanyone who would make him their genIus-mentor. The mediation of Zarathustra and this refusal of discipl�s is designed to prevent Nietzsche's philosophy from ever becomIngan orthodo�y, and tomake his personalmostimpossible as a focus for a cult lIke the cults ofgenius that grew up around Wagner and other geniuses ofthe century. Nietzsche had reacted so thoroug�ly agains.tWagne�'s e�ample that he reshaped his per­ sona to avoId becomInga genIus In that sense. Thus Nietzsche put Z.arathustrabetweenhimselfandthe reader, and madeZarathustra vIrtually impossible to emulate.6 Apparently, Nietzsche wanted to break the genealogy of genius; he wanted to dissociate himself from a p�rticular aspectofgeniusthathe associated withWagner, but he dId not repudiate his creative experience or seek to mini­ mizehis own importance. InEcceHomo Nietzschealsodescribedhowideaslikethe person ofZarathustraandeternalrecurrencehadcometohimlikeaseries ofrevelations, �tarting in 1881 while he walked along the �horeofLake SIlvaplana,nearSIls-Maria,wherehewas then spend­ �ng the summer.7 His greatest insights came to him without warn­ Ing, he wrot�, and his description typifies accounts that geniuses ha:e often gIven.oftheir inspirations. He felt compelled to distin­ guIsh the expenence from a religious one, and yet he acknowl­ e�ge� that,"�he concept.ofrevelation-in the sense thatsuddenly, wIth IndescrIbable certaIntyand subtlety, somethingbecomesvisi-
  • j ; Redefining Genius 217 ble, audible, something that shakes one to the last depths and throws one down-merely describes the facts." At such times, he wrote, "everything happens involuntarilX8� highest degree, and yet in a gale ofa feeling offreedom. It IS lIke a report from someonewhohasbeen in anotherworld. To further illustrate the feeling of passive receptivity that he experienced inthesemoments ofinspiration,Nietzsche described the floodofthoughts thatledto one part ofThus Spake Zarathustra during the following winter. In the course of two walks, he wrote, "the whole of Zarathustra [Part] I occurred to me, and especially Zarathustraasatype;ratherheovertook me."9Likereligiousfigures of many other epochs, Nietzsche felt he had been chosen as a spokesperson. Zarathustraseemedtohave chosenhim. And yethe leaves nodoubtthatZarathustrawashisowncreation. Zarathustra was the sudden result ofyears ofpatientwork on Nietzsche's part, strivingto emulate the father and achievecreative integration.All ofhis models, teachers, and mentors, from Goethe andHolderlin toRitschl,Schopenhauer, andWagner,werehisunwittingc?llabo­ rators. Zarathustra is what Nietzsche brought back from hIS own heroicjourney. In one sense his journey began when his father diedin 1849. Inanothersense itbeganintheautumnof1876 when Nietzsche setoutforItaly,havingrenouncedhis mentor. Nietzsche wrote in far greater detail about his creative experi­ ence than did most other geniuses ofhis century. Ecce Homo IS an auto-interpretation ofhis life and works in quite grandiose terms. The title itself, "beholdthe man," refers toJesus. And the titles of sections include "Why I Write Such Good Book��" He termed his Zarathustra "the greatest present that has ever been given" to hu­ manity.JO Obviouslyhewasunembarrassedbyhis a�hieve�ent.But he stroveto give'a psychologically honest acco�n�IngofIt. �ndhe eschewedtheconceitofthegeniuscreatingex nzhzlo, alongwIththe desire fordisciples. Perhaps he hadbeenunable to conceal his de­ pendenceuponSchopenhauerandW�gne:inhisformativeyear�, but in EcceHomo he revealed voluntanly hIS own concrete expen­ ence ofwhatinnovatorsofall ages andcultureshave experienced. In thatbook,hebegantheprocessofdemystifyinggenius.
  • Notes ONE A Genealogy ofGenius 1 . Theodore Besterman, Voltaire, 3d ed. (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1976), pp. 107-16, 569-77. 2. Arthur M. Wilson, Diderot (New York: Oxford University Press, 1972), pp. 103-72, and Robert parnton, The Business of the Enlightenment, 1 775�1800 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1979). 3. W. Jackson Bate, Samuel Johnson (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1977), pp. 240-60. 4. Karl]. Weintraub, The Value oftheIndividual: Selfand Circumstance in Autobiog- raphy (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1978). 5. JeanJacques Rousseau, Confessions, trans. ]. M. Cohen (New York: Penguin, 1953), p. 17-first page ofRousseau's text. 6. Arthur Schopenhauer, The World as Will and Representation, trans. E. F. J. Payne, 2 vols. (New York: Dover, 1966 [1958]), 2:391. 7. See M. H. Abrams, The Mirror and the Lamp: Romantic Theory and the Critical Tradition (New York: Oxford University Press, 1953). 8. Logan Pearsall Smith, "Four Romantic Words," Words and Idioms. Studies in theEnglish Lan�age (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1925), pp. 66-134. 9. A translation ofNietzsche's essay, in the form of a letter to a friend, is given in the SelectedLetters ofFriedrich Nietzsche, ed. & trans. by Christopher Middle­ ton (Chicago: Uniyersity ofChicago Press, 1969), pp. 4-6. 10. See Roy Porter, A Social History ofMadness (New York: E. P. Dutton, 1989), pp. 60"..:81. 11. See D. Kern Holoman, Berlioz (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1989). 12. See Pieter Geyl,Napoleon, For andAgainst (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1949), especially pp. 7-31. 13. See Maynard Solomon, Beethoven (New York: Schirmer, 1977), pp. 132-42, for a discussion of this complex episode. 14. LyttonStrachey, Eminent Victorians (New York: Putnam, 1918), v-vii. 15. Sigmund Freud, Standard Edition ofthe Complete Psychological Works (London: Hogarth, 1961), 21:21 1-12. 16. Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte (New York: Interna- tional Publishers, 1963), p. 15. Translation slightly revised.
  • 220 Notes TWO The Birth ofa Genius? 1 . A somewhat more detailed account ofNietzsche's family background and a narrative of the events leading to the marriage of his parents may be found in Richard Blunck, Friedrich Nietzsche: Kindheit und Jugend (Munich: Rein.' hardt, 1953), pp. 13-29. An even more extensive version (of the same ac. count) has been published by Curt Paul Janz in his Nietzsche: Biographie, 3 vols. (Munich: Hanser, 1978-79), 1 . See also Adalbert Oehler, Nietzsches Mut. ter (Munich: Beck, 1940), pp. 1-37. 2. At least one biographer has suggested that this was the source of a H{elong (ambivalent) preoccupation of Nietzsche with kingliness. Cf. Werner Ross Der'iingstlicheAdler:Friedrich Nietzsches Leben (Stuttgart: Deutsche Verlagsanst� alt, 1980), pp. 14-20. 3. Max Oehler,ZurAhnentafel Nietzsches (Weimar: n.p., 1939). 4. Ernst Kretschmer, Geniale Menschen (Berlin: Springer, 1929), pp. 64-69; for another side of this, see Robert Minder, "Das Bild des Pfarrhauses in der deutschen Literatur, vonJean-Paul bis Gottfried Benn," Akademie der Wissen. schaften und der Literatur in Mainz, no. 4 (1959), pp. 53-78. See also qehler, Ahnentafel, pp. 4-8. Kretschmer explains this circumstance by the numerical predominance ofpastors among university-trained Germans, by the difficult examinations through which the best minds of all classes were selected for the ministry, and by the tendency of the class to intermarry. Citing Kretschmer's book, Oehler even sought to show that the geographical sources ofNietzsche's an· cestors contributed to the likelihood of his becoming a poetic and philo­ sophic genius. This, ofcourse, is a rathervulgarDarwinian view. Had Oehler and Kretschmer been present in Rocken in 1844 with their theories, the best they might have done would be to predict that the newborn child would be· come apastor himself. Their prospects would not have been better a decade later, or even in 1864 when Friedrich entered the university as a student of theology. 5. This may imply a somewhat different view ofthe intellectual elite ofGermany than the one elaborated by Fritz Ringer in TheDecline ofthe German Marularins (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1969), but the term is his. 6. Elisabeth Forster-Nietzsche, Das Leben Friedrich Nietzsches, 2 vols. (Leipzig: Naumann, 1895), 1 :7-8. 7. Blunck, Friedrich Nietzsche, pp. 21-33, for example, or even R.J. Hollingdale, Nietzsche, theManandHisPhilosophy (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1965), p. 5. 8. Friedrich August Nietzsche's children by his first wife were all twenty-one years of age or older when their father died in 1826, as their mother had died in 1805. See Forster-Nietzsche,DasLebenFriedrich Nietzsches 1 :6. 9. Both the report from the Gymnasium and the recommendation from the uni· versity professor are reproduced in Forster-Nietzsche, Das Leben Friedrich Nietzsches 1:3-4. 1 0. ElisabethForster-Nietzsche,DerjungeNietzsche (Leipzig:Kroner, 1912), p. 10. 1 1. Charles Andler, Friedrich Nietzsche, sa vie et sa pensee, 6 vols. (Paris: Bossard, 1920-31), 2:38.
  • Notes 221 . 1'12 d DerJ'unge Nietzsche, , h D Leben Friedrich Nzetzsches . , an . 12. Forster-Nletzsc e, as p. ll. 13. Ibid., pp. 13 and 1 2 respectiv�ly. 14. Forster-Nietzsche,Derjunge Nzetzsche, p. 13. 1 5. Ibid., p. 17. 16. Ibid., pp. 1 7-18. 17 Blunck,Friedr'ich Nietzsche, p. 29. . h "N hberichte" to Friedrich. N' h 's letters m t e ac d18. See Franziska letzs� ,e abe' Briefe (eds. Wilhelm Hoppe an Nietzsche, Historisch-krztzsche Ge�amtausg. k ' 1938-42)' or in his Briejwechsel: h ) 4 ols (Mumch: Bec , ' . ' 1" dKarl Schlec ta , v . , . Colli and Mazzino Montman (Ber m. e KritischeGesamtausgabe, eds. GIOrgIO , h M tter , 1975) 1'1 See also Oehler, Nzetzsc es u . Gruyter, ' . . ' N York' Norton 1950). 19. Erik Erikson, Childhood and Socz�ty ( s e ;ohist�ry. But it is unhelpful to com- 20. Circularity is not uncommon m ? f Y . a par'tl'cular childhood from an f .d e by m errmg pensate for lack 0 eVl enc l ' the adult's behavior on the adult's basic character traits, and then exp am basis of the inferred childhood. d b t the Nietzsches' approach to . . h the scant knowle ge a ou h'ld21. In conjunctIOn WIt h Id te thatreading popular c 1 - the stages ofchild development, one s ou f n D o G M Schreber, which, like f h d such as those 0 . . . hood manuals 0 t e ay- . N 'sm-do not lead one any. l' ted m proto' aZl Nietzsche, have be�n . lmp lCa Friedrich's particular childhood was like. closer to an appreClatIOn of wha� . Advice to Mothers," Journal oj hI' "Advice to Hlstonans on . . , See Jay Mec mg, d h levant portions of hIS SIster s Social History 9 (Fall 1975): 45-6�, an b t e ��own Elisabeth was of course . . fter his ultimate rea · . - dbiographIes, wntten a h dl 'n a position to have an m epen- younger than her brother, a�d thU � � r Y 1 ounts are valuable primarily for dentmemory ofhis early chlldhoo . e d r a f cc other members ofthe family. h ' she had hear rom gathering toget er stones . h was her most important source. Friedrich's own youthful autobIOgra : Y ofany early autobiographical 22 Friedrich's autobiography has the a ;an ;a ?�s . h Nietzsches was published in. source-immediacy: vol. 1 ofDas Le . en d rz� r 1 zc 912, N' t sche was pubhshe m · , . h1 895 and Der Junge ze z " h N' t hes 1 '27' Nietzsche, Hzstorzsc . Forster,Nietzsche, Das Leben Frzedrzc J ze zsc h. M ' ett ' e Karl Schlechta, and23. b W, k ds Hans oac 1m , kritische Gesamtausga e: . er . e, e k ' 1933-40) 1 :1 -32. Carl Koch, 5 vols., (Mumch. Bec , , ' . . D L ben Friedrich Nzetzsches 1 .27. 24. Forster-NIetzsche, as � " 11 'f d children learning to talk late, but 25 There is folklore about hn�l�uca Y h gl te o ht confirm this.. f d pubhcatIons t at mIg . 5I have not oun any " aus abe- Werke 1:1-32, espeClally 4- . 26. Nietzsche,Historisch-krztzsche Gesamt g dh ' d orts that Ludwig Nietzsche . dence to secon an rep 27. Werner Ross gIVes cre . ' Cf Der iingstliche Adler, pp. 76-83. had been ill even befo�e , hIS marnage. . . Werke 1 :4-6. 28. Nietzsche, Historisch-krztzsche Ge1sa�:::��' ew York: Scribner'S, 1 891 ). It is 29 Cesare Lombroso, The Man o . h f miliar with the nineteenth-. . k hether Nletzsc e was a . impOSSIble to now w . . e s with enius. This of course IS some- century myth that �ssoCl�ted epl � ��aumb�rg physician, Dr. Gutjahr, who thing that could be mhe�lted. An f 'I fter they moved there, butwho had apparently treated theNletzsch � am� y a h L dwig had been epileptic. Dr. never seen Ludwig Nietzsche, dId claIm t at u
  • 222 30. 31. 32. 33. Notes Gutjahr's motives and sources are unclear. But our Nietzsche seems to h claimed epileptic fits for himself when he was in the clinic atJena after�e breakdown in 1889. He said he had been subiect to fits as an adoles IS h . , . . J cent, owever, and smce the detaIled Journal of the infirmary at Schulpfo mak . f' h ' . . rta es no mentIOn 0 t IS, It IS apparently a fiction that Nietzsche had ' cocted forhimselfin the interim. I suspect that all ofthis was made up r c t on-, . I . e ro- spectIve y when It had become apparent that Nietzsche was a genius w' h obvious pathological tendencies. It �he first suggestions that Nietzsche had inherited mental illness were pub­ lIshed much later. See for example, P. J. Mobius, Nietzsche (Leipzig: J. A Barth, 1904). It is, however, fascinating that the whole problem ofhis fath " 1 '11 . . er s menta 1 ness owes Its eXIstence to imprecise diagnostic terminol Nietzsche refers to his father's Gemiithskrankheit and his sister alternatel °g t Y' h· G h ' . h Y 0 IS e zrnerwezc ung and Gehirnerschiitterung. The term "softening of th b . " e ram seems to have had the ring of medical authority to it in 1849, for an autopsy co��r . med th� di�?nosis to the satisfaction of Ludwig's stepsister, wh� wrote: sezn Kopj zst geoffnet worden, und es hat sich bestiitigt, dass er an einer Gehzrnerwezchunggestorben ist, welche schon ein Viertel seines Kopfes eingenommen hatte. "Blunck, Friedrich Nietzsche, p. 32. Heredity and . org�ni� illness ca�not be strictly separated from psychology, but we are pnmanly mterested m the peculiarities ofNietzsche's character manifested while he was yet sane and writing books. It is almost too obvious that the death of his father would influence his outlook upon life and th his writing. ' us Nietzsche,Historisch-kritische Gesamtausgabe: Werke 1:6. Ibid. THREE Without a Father 1 . Nietzsche, Historisch-kritische Gesamtausgabe: Werke 1:7-8; Forster-Nietzsche " DerjungeNietzsche, pp. 24-25. ' 2. Forster..Nietzsche,DerjungeNietzsche, pp. 25-27. 3. Oehler, Nietzsche's Mutter� pp. 44-51. 4. Ibid., pp. 53-54. 5. Forster-Nietzsche, Derjunge Nietzsche, pp. 27-28. The complexity ofthe Ger· man educational system is difficult to appreciate: although in the lower grades there was only one type of public school and the children of all classes could attend it together (if the parents did not choose to have their childr�n prepared for the Gymnasium privately), it was assumed by all that the . chI�dren should be separated in the upper grades to prepare them for theIr dIfferent responsibilities. Not till after World War II was the unified public school . (Gesamtschule) seriously considered in Germany. This was not even a promment feature of the various schemes for educational reform p�blished in the early twentieth century in Germany. Cf. Wolfgang Scheibe, DzeRejo:mpiidagogischeBewegung, 1900-1932 (Weinheim: Beltz, 1969). 6. �ccordmgto the autobiography, it is only through "commonjoy and suffer· mg" that true friendship is made. Nietzsche, Historisch-kritischeGesamtausgabe: Werke 1:8.
  • Notes 223 7. Forster-Nietzsche,DerjungeNietzsche, pp. 28-29. 8. Nietzsche, Historisch-kritische Gesamtausgabe: Werke 1:8-9; and Forster- Nietzsche, Derjunge Nietzsche, p. 34. 9. Nietzsche,Historisch-kritische Gesamtausgabe: Werke 1:12-15. 10. Nietzsche, Historisch-kritische Gesamtausgabe: Wer'ke 1:24; Richard Blunck also wrote, "Seine grossten Seligkeiten sind die hiiuslichen Feste, Geburtstage, und Weihnachten, und bis in seinejiinglingsjahre ist eines seiner Lieblingsworte ein sehr unjugendliches: Gemiithlichkeit, ein Begriff, der dann bei dem kampfenden und reifenden Manne nicht mehr vorkommt."Friedrich Nietzsche, p. 46. 1 1. Forster-Nietzsche,DerjungeNietzsche, p. 33. 12. Ibid., p. 38. 13. Nietzsche, Historisch-kritische Gesamtausgabe: Werke 1:10-1 1. 14. Such games are obvious expressions of grandiose fantasies in which chil­ dren act out godlike roles. They often tell more about the values ofa child's parents than about the child's personality, except when one can observe variations and snags in the stream of play. 15. Forster-Nietzsche,Derjunge Nietzsche, pp. 50-51; several literary works based upon the King Eichhorn game survive and are printed in Nietzsche, Historisch-kritsche Gesamtausgabe: Werke 1:320-21. 16. For example, Friedrich refused to walk home with his sister from parties. Forster-Nietzsche,Derjunge Nietzsche, p. 30. 17. Ibid., pp. 48-49. 18. Blunck, Friedrich Nietzsche, p. 43. 19. Quoted in Forster-Nietzsche, DerjungeNietzsche, pp. 45-47. 20. Nietzsche, Historisch-kritische Gesamtausgabe: Werke 1:13-14. 21. Ibid., 1:9-10. 22. Ibid., 1:11. FOUR Learning to Learn 1. Robert Pahncke, Schulpforta: Geschichte des Zisterzien-Klosters Pforte (Leipzig: Koehler & Amelang, 1956). 2. There does not seem to be a good general work on this im,J)ortant institu- tion, but in this case Nietzsche's sister seems to be a reliable witness. Elisa­ beth Forster-Nietzsche, Der Junge Nietzsche, pp. 82-83. For further general comments on Pforta at almost the same time that Nietzsche was there, cf. Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff, Erinnerungen (Leipzig: Koehler, 2d ed., 1928), pp. 62-63. 3. Nietzsche, Historisch-kritische Gesamtausgabe: Briefe 1:19; or Briefwechsel I, 1:16 (October6, 1858). 4. For example, Brieje 1:24; or Briefwechsel I, 1:21 (October 17-22, 1858). 5. Ibid., Briefe 1:27-28; or Briefwechsel I, 1:24-25 (early November 1858). 6. Ibid., Briefe 1:51; or Briefwechsel I, 1:48 (mid-February, 1859). 7. Ibid., Briefe 1:67; orBriefwechsel I, 1:65 (May-June, 1859). 8. Nietzsche, Historisch-kritische Gesamtausgabe: Werke 1:1 16. 9. Forster-Nietzsche, Derjunge Nietzsche, pp. 88-89. 10. Friedrich Nietzsche, Werke in drei Biinden, ed. Karl Schlechta, 3 vols. (Miinchen: Hanser, 1966), 3:179.
  • 224 Notes 1 1. Se . e . Richard Blunck, Friedrich Nietzsche, pp. 67-68; Nietzsche . . krztzsche . I?esamta�gabe: Briefe 1:61-63; or BriejWechsel I,I:59-61 ( A �::�;::ch. 1�59). Fo � ster.NIetzsche, DerjungeNietzsche, pp. 92-94. P ay, 12. F?rste . r-NIetzsche,Derjunge Nietzsche, p. 90. 13. Cited mJanz,Nietzsche 1:96. 14. N�s �i� �agesblatt (September 2, 1900), cited by theeditors in NietzH�storzsch-kntzsche Gesamtausgabe:Briefe 1:339. sche, 15. NIetzsche, Historisch-kritische Gesamtausgabe: Brief 1'340-41 IFriedrich s t b 150 d ' " . ' . t appears that " . pen a out ays m the mfIrmary m his career at Schul fo16. Fors�er-NIetzsche,Derjunge Nietzsche, pp. 68-69. P rta. 17. He dId not do well in mo�ern languages either, but that may have been dlack of talent He never dId develop fluency in a modern langu ue to a�teryears ofreadingFrench literaturewith dictionary in hand or � g � , n ? t;ven 18. NIetzsche, Historisch·kritische Gesamtausgabe: Briere 1'27-28' IV B m�.�� taly. 1,1:24-25. 1" , or rZf!.JU/echsel 19. Nietzsche:Historisch-kritische Gesamtausgabe: Werke 5:252-53.20. A d tr�nslatlOn ofthis "letter" is given in theSelectedLettersofFriedrichNietZSchee . trans. by Christopher Middleton (Chicago: University of Ch' ' Press, 1969), pp. 4-6. Icago 21. Paul Deussen Erinneru D. ' ,1 . ' h N'. '. . . �er:an rrzeurzc zetzsche (Leipzig: Brockhaus, 1901), . 522. NIetzsche, Hzstorzsch-kntzsche Gesamtausgabe: Briefe 1'209-1 1. B . ' .f.... P .1,1:236-37 (April 16, 1863). . , or TZf!.JU/echsel 23. Deussen, Erinnerungen, pp. 6-9. 24. B�unck, Friedrich Nietzsche, pp. 85-89, 99. 25. NIetzsche, Historisch-kritische Gesamtausgabe: Werke 2:68. Ich weiss nicht, was ich liebe ich hab' nicht Friede, nicht RUh'. ich weiss nicht, was ich glaube, was lebe ich noch, wozu? 26. B�unck, Friedrich Nietzsche, pp. 71-72. 27. N�etzsche, Hi�tori�ch-kritische Gesamtausgabe: Werke 5:70-71.28. NIetzsche, Hzstorzsch-kritische Gesamtausgabe: Briere 1'21 1-12' B . ' .f.... h1,1:238 (April 27, 1863). 1" , or TZf!.JU/ec sel 29. Ibid., Briefe 1:213; or BriejWechsel I,I :239-40 (May 2, 1863). FIVE A Student ofGenius 1. Nietzsche, Werke in dreiBanden 3:251-63. 2. Nietzsche, Historisch-kritische Gesamtausuabe' Briere hereafter g.' . IB ' [, 1 398 0 . 1" Iven SImp y asne e, : . -40�; and Nietzsche, Briefwechsel: kritische Gesamtaus abehe . reafte� gIv�n sImply �s Briefwechsel, 1,1:418-423 (May 19 & 25, 1864f. • 3. IbId.,.Brzefe 1.245; or BrzejWechsel 1,1:282 (June 12, 1864); and Briefe 1'248-49o � BrzejWechsel 1,1:287 (July 4, 1864). . , 4. NI . etzsch.e, Historisch-kritische Gesamtausgabe: Werke 5:254.5. IbId., Brzefe 1:261-80; or BriejWechsel 1,2:3-22 (October Novemb & Dber, 1864). ' er, ecem- 6. Ibid., Briefe 1:272-76; orBriejWechsel I, 2:14-19.
  • Notes 225 7. O. F. Scheuer, Friedrich Nietzsche als Student (Bonn: Albert Ahn, 1923), p. 17, and Paul Deussen, Erinnerungen and Friedrich Nietzsche (Leipzig: F. A. Brock· haus, 1901), pp. 22-23. 8. Blunck,Friedrich Nietzsche, p. 107. 9. Nietzsche, Briefe 1:301; orBriefwechsel 1,2:43 (February 18, 1865). 10. Scheuer, Friedrich Nietzsche als Student, pp. 42-46. 11. Scheuer, Nietzsche als Student, p. 47, and Martin Havenstein, Nietzsche als Erzieher· (Berlin: Havenstein, 1922), p. 1 13. 12. Deussen was prudish enough himselfto put the thought in Latin: "mulier·em nunquam attigit," in his Erinnerungen, p. 24. Cf. Blunck, Friedrich Nietzsche, p. 106. Most scholars, evenmanyofthosewho would liketo show that Nietzsche's laterwritingswerenot infectedby mental illness, agree thatNietzsche probably (butnotcertainly) contractedsyphiliswhilestill astudent.Cf.WalterKaufmann, Nietzsche: Philosopher, Psychologist, Antichrist, 4th ed. (Princeton: Princeton Uni­ versity Press, 1974), p. 69. I think that the question remains in more doubt .�1than the weight of scholarly opinion suggests, especially since Friedrich suf­ fered from most of his later symptoms, especially headaches, at the time he entered Schulpforta. 13. Scheuer, Nietzsche als Student, pp. 44-46. Early in his second semester in Bonn, Friedrich corresponded aboutfraternity life with his other friend from Pforta, Carl von Gersdorff. Gersdorffhad gone to the university at Gottingen where he joined a Korps, which involved him in considerably more distasteful activities, including obligatorydueling; hewrote thathe was very unhappy and regarded the whole episode as nothing more than a test ofcharacter, to see ifhe could survive. In answer,Friedrich noted how much less brutal aBurschenschaftwas than aKorps, but complained that the drinking and the herd mentality ofhis fraternity were bad enough. According to Friedrich, the only solution was to have a circle of a few friends among whom he could find consolation. (Nietzsche, Briefe 1:31 1-12, orBriefwechsel 1,2:54-55 [to Gersdorff, May 25, 1865]; and Briefe 1:328-29, or Briefwechsel 1,2:70-71 [to W. Pinder,July 6, 1865].) With this insight, it is surprising that Friedrich did not renounce his membership in the Franconia before he left Bonn. Paul Deussen resigned by the end of the first semester. ButFriedrich's decision mayhave been delayed by the fact that his discomfort in the fraternity was bound up with his dissatisfaction with studying theqlogy. 14. Cf. Blunck, Derjunge Nietzsche, pp. 1 11-13, 122, and Nietzsche, Briefe 1:306- 07; or Briefwechsel 1,2:49 (May 3, 1865). 15. Nietzsche, Ibid., Briefe 2:3-4; or Briefwechsel 1,2:79-81 (to H. Mushacke, Au­ gust 30, 1865); and Briefe 2:12, or Briefwechsel, 1,2:88-89 (to the Franconia Burschenschaft, Bonn, October 20, 1865). 16. Ibid., Briefe 1:317-18, and Briefwechsel 1,2:60-61 (June 1 1, 1865). 17. The mss. title page of Ecce Homo in Nietzsche's hand may be found in Nietzsche, Werke: kritische Gesamtausgabe, Vl,3:254. Amorfati-Iove of [one's] fate-is an idea that Nietzsche first explored in The Gay Science #276. 18. The most intimatesourcefor this period is anotherbriefautobiography that he wrote at the end of his second year in Leipzig, when his studies were in· terrupted by military service. Nietzsche, "Riickblick auf meine zwei Leipzi­ gerJahre," Historisch·kritische Gesamtausgabe: Werke 3:291-316.
  • 226 Notes 19. Ibid., 3:297-98. Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung, 4 Biicher, nebst einem Anhang der die Kritik der Kantischen Philosophie Enthiilt (Leipzig: Brockhaus, 1819) wa� Schopenhauer's chief and only systematic work. Translated by E. F. Payne as The Worldas Will and Representation, 2 vols. (New York: Dover, 1966). 20. Nietzsche, Werke in drei Biinden 1:295, in English; in Nietzsche, Untimely Medi­ tations, trans. R. J. Hollingdale (New York: Cambridge University Press 1983), p. 133. ' 21. "Riickblick auf meine zwei Leipziger Jahre," Historisch-kritische Gesam. tausgabe: Werke 3:297-99; also in Werke in dT'eiBiinden 3:132-34. 22. Untimely Meditations, trans. R.J. Hollingdale with an Introduction byJ. P.Stern (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983), pp. 130-36, especially p. 136. 23. Paul Deussen had remained in Bonn, and, to Friedrich's disgust, was still majoring in theology. Itseems to have been ayearoreventwobefore Friedrich undertook to initiate Deussen into Schopenhauer's philosophy. Therewas arift in their friendship due perhaps both to Deussen's inability to break with theol­ ogy and toFriedrich's imperious manner with him. Cf. Deussen,Erinnerungenan Friedrich Nietzsche, pp. 38ff. 24. Ibid., 3:299. 25. Scheuer, Friedrich Nietzsche als Student, p. 63-64. 26. Nietzsche, Historisch-kritische Gesamtausgabe: Werke 3:299. 27. Ibid., 3:299-300. 28. His lectures were (1) "Die letzte Redaction der Theognidea," (2) "Die biographischen Quellen des Suidas," (3) "Die Pinakes der aristotelischen Schriften," and (4) "Der Sangerkrieg auf Euboa." They are published in Nietzsche, Historisch-kritische Gesamtausgabe: Werke 3:137-206, 212-26, 230- 44; his presidential address is in 3:227-29. 29. Ibid., 3:304-5. 30. Ibid., 3:296-97. 31. Ibid., 3:305-9. 32. Ibid., 3:327. 33. Ibid., 3:305. 34. Before announcing this as the topic of public competition, Ritschl went so far as to askFriedrich ifhe was still interested in it. Nietzsche, Briefe 2:106, or Briefwechsel, 1,2:182-83 (November 1866) and Briefe 2:1 18-19, or Briefwechsel 1,2:196 Ganuary 16, 1867). 35. Nietzsche's papers on Diogenes Laertius are "De Laertii Diogenis fontibus," "Analecta Laertiana," and "Beitrage zur Quellenkunde und Kritik des Laertius Diogenes", Historisch-kritische Gesamtausgabe: WeT'ke 4:269ff. (includ­ ing many notes as well as the final products) and Werke: kritische Gesamtausgabe11,1:75-245. 36. Nietzsche, Briefe 2:44-45, orBriefwechsel I,2:121 (April 7, 1866). 37. Neither Ritschl's or Friedrich's attitude wasunique, however.Ritschl's preju­ dice against philosophy was common to many working philologists and his­ torians,stimulatedperhaps by a mistrust ofHegelianism. ThegreatGerman historian, Leopold von Ranke, for instance, believed that philosophy ofthis sort would corrupt a historian and distract him from the pursuit ofthe facts, of what had actually happened. Leopold von Ranke, The Secret of World His­ tory: Selected Writings on the Art and Science ofHistory, ed. & trans. Roger Wines
  • Notes 227 (New York: Fordham University Press, 1981), and Georg G. Iggers, The Ger­ man Conception ofHistory: the National Tradition ofHistorical Thoughtfrom Herder to the Present (Middletown, CT: Wesleyan Univ. Press, 1968). 38. Friedrich's relationship to Schopenhauer was one ofcomprehensive ideal­ ization. It resembled the transference relationship that arises between a pa­ tient and a psychoanalyst as much as anything else. So that once he had overcome the depression in which he had been when he discovered Schopenhauer, the heroic example of a personality totally dedicated to the pursuitoftruth, no matter how unpleasant, became his model. Friedrich was free to pursue truth himself, and not merely Schopenhauer's truth. Perhaps Friedrich had begun the search when he abandoned Christianity, or even earlier, when he wrote his first autobiographical sketch at the age of four­ teen. But in Schopenhauer he found a model of systematic search for truth that coupled introspection with philosophy and greatly enlarged the scope ofinquiry. 39. Nietzsche,Historisch-kritische Gesamtausgabe: Werke 3:312-13. 40. Ibid.; see also Erwin Rohde's diary oftheir trip, 3:423-37. 41. Nietzsche, Briefe 2:163, or Briefwechsel 1,2:238 (to Gersdorff, November 24, 1867). 42. For Schopenhauer's biography and an adulatory rendering of his philoso­ phy, see Arthur Hubscher, Denkergegen den Strom (Bonn: Bouvier, 1973). On the philosophy of Schopenhauer in English, see Patrick Gardiner, Schopenhauer (Baltimore: Penguin, 1963), D. W. Hamlyn, Schopenhauer (Lon­ don: Routlege & Kegan Paul, 1980), and Bryan Magee, The Philosophy of Schopenhauer' (Oxford: Clarendon, 1983). English translations of his works, cited below, arebyE. F.]. Payne. They supersede the translation ofThe World as Will andIdea by R. B. Haldane and]. Kemp (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1883), although the latter still merits consultation. 43. Arthur Schopenhauer, The World as Will and Representation, trans. E. F. J. Payne (Indian Hill, CO: Falcon's Wing Press, 1958; reprinted, New York: Dover, 1966), 1:1-91. 44. Nietzsche, Twilight ofthe Idols, " 'Reason' in Philosophy," #2. 45. Cf.AlexanderNehamas" Nietzsche:LifeasLiterature (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1985), especially pp. 42-73. 46. Schopenhauer, Th,e Worldas Will and Representation 1:93-165. 47. It has also been suggested that Schopenhauer was indebted to Fichte for his thinking on the will. Cf. Patrick Gardiner, Schopenhauer (Baltimore: Penguin Books, 1963), p. 14. 48. Friedrich Albert Lange, GeschichtedesMaterialismus undKritikseinerBedeutung in der Gegenwart, 2 vols. (Iserlohn: J. Baedeker, 1866); a second edition ap­ peared in 1873 (Vol. I) and 1875 (Vol. II); and the second edition has been reprinted (Frankfurt: Suhrkamp, 1974). An English translation, TheHistory of Materialism and Criticism of its present Importance, 3 vols. (London: Triibner, 1879), was made by Ernest Chester Thomas. 49. Briefe 2:83 (end ofAugust 1866), andBriefwechsel 1,0:159-60. 50. Briefe 2:108 (November 1866), and Briefwechsel, 1,2:184. His first mention of Lange was several months earlier, in a letter to Gersdorff (end of August 1866) Briefe 2:83, and BriefWechsel I:159-60, quoted below.
  • 228 Notes 51. Briefe 2:182-83 (February 16, 1868), andBriefwechsel l,2:257-58. 52. George G. �tack, Lange and �ietzsche (New York: de Gruyter, 1983). This is a very extensIve book attemptmg to show that many ifnot most ofNietzsch ' ·d c d · d· e s � e�s a:e loun m , ru Ime�tar: form in Lange's History ofMaterialism. It is mdlcatlve �f Stack s ent�usI�stlc attempt to demonstrate the importance of Lange to NIetzsche that, m usmgFriedrich's letter to Mushacke, he translates Jahrzehnten as "century" rather than "decades." 53. Nietzsche, Untimely Meditations, trans. R.J. Hollingdale with an Introduction byJ. P. Stern (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983), pp. 125-94. 54. UntimelyMeditations, pp. 129-30. 55. Ibid., p. 163. 56. Ibid., p. 136. 57. Kierke��ard and Nietzsche himself were others who took pride in lack of recogmtI�n and predicted that they would become the mentors of a select and supenor reader. Cf. my essay, "The Self·sufficient Text in Nietzsche and Kierkegaard," YaleFrench Studies, no. 68 (1984), pp. 160-88. 58. Oxenford, "Iconoclasm in German Philosophy," The WestminsterandForeign Quarterly Review NS (April 1853), pp. 388-407. 59. Nietzsche, Briefe 2:280 (to Rohde, December 9, 1868), andBriefwechsel 1,2:352. 60. Arthur Schopenhauer, The World as Will andRepresentation, 1:195. 61. Ibid., 11:377. Schopenhauer also places his essay on madness immediately adjacent to his essay on genius in the second volume ofThe World as Will and Representation. . 62. Ibid., 11:363-398. Compare also Cesare Lombroso, The Man of Genius (Re. print New York: Garland, 1984). 63. Nietzsche, Briefe, 2:157-59; or Briefwechsel, 1,2:232-34 (November 3, 1867). 64. Nietz�che, Briefe . 2:15�; or Briefwechsel 1,2:233. Schopenhauer's Parerga und Pamlipomena, kleznephtlosophische Schriften (Berlin: Hayne, 1852), 2 vols., con­ sists of a great collection of aphorisms and essays on every imaginable topic, all seen from Schopenhauer's distinct philosophical point of view. The title (from Greek) may be freely translated as "afterthoughts and asides." 65. Nietzsche, Briefe 3:234-35, or Briefwechsel 1,3:238-41 (Rohde to Nietzsche, February 29, 1868), Briefe 2:187-88, or Briefwechsel 1,2:62-63 (Nietzsche to Rohde, April 3, 1868), Briefe 2:197-98, or Briefwechsel 1,2:272-274 (early May 1868); and Briefe 2:202-3, or Briefwechsel 1,2:277-278 (to S. Heynemann, May 9, 1868). 66. Nietzsche, Briefe 2:208-9, or Briefwechsel 1,2:283-84 (to Deussen, June 2, 1868), and Briefe 2:212, or Briefwechsel 1,2:287 (to Rohde, June 6, 1968). .1 Bernays was the author of several articles on Aristotle's notion of catharsis that seem to have influenced Nietzsche in writing The Birth of Tragedy. See below, chapter 6. . 67. Nietzsche, Briefe 2:200, or Briefwechsel 1,2:275 (early May 1868). 68. Nietzsche, Briefe 2:180-81, or Briefwechsel 1,2:255-56 (to Gersdorff, February 16, 1868), Briefe 2:173-74; or Briefwechsel l,2:148-49 (to Rohde, February 1-3, 1868), and Nietzsche, Histor'isch-kritische Gesamtausgabe: Werke, 2:329-31, "Einfliisse aufdie literarhistorischen Studien." 69. The idea was Rohde's. Cf. his letter of February 29, 1868 in Nietzsche,
  • Notes 229 Briefwechsel 1,3:233ff. For Nietzsche's response, see Historisch-kritische Gesamtausgabe:Briefe, 2:188-89, or Briefwechsel 1,2:264 (April 3, 1868). 70. He wrote his first letter, reporting the accident, three weeks later: Briefe 2:185-86, or Briefwechsel l,2:261-262 (to Rohde, April 3, 1868). 71. Nietzsche, Briefe 2:157, or Briefwechsel 1,2:230-35 (to Rohde, November 3, 1867);Briefe 2:173, orBriefwechseL I,2:248 (February 1 -3, 1868); Briefe 2:176, or Briefwechsell,2:253-54 (to Mushacke, February 13, 1868); andBriefe, 2:248, or Briefwechsel l,2:323-24 (to Rohde, Oct. 8, 1868) [paraphrase from last cited]. 72. Nietzsche, Briefe 2:199-200, or Briefwechsel 1,2:274-75 (May 3, 1 868). 73. Nietzsche, Briefe 2:215, or Briefwechsel 1,2:290-91 (June 22, 1 868); Briefe 2:240, or Briefwechsel 1,2:315-16 (September 1868); Briefe 2:194, or Briefwechsel 1,2:269 ([on the dissertation topic] April/May 1868); and Briefe 2:154, or Briefwechsell,2:328-29 (OctoberlNovember 1868). 74. Nietzsche, Briefe 2:199, or Briefwechsel, 1,2:274-75 (May 3-4, 1968). 75. Nietzsche, Briefe 2:183, or BriefwechseLI,2:258 (February 16, 1868). 76. Nietzsche, Historisch-kritische Gesamtausgabe: Werke 3:352-61. 77. Ibid., Briefe 2:153-54, or Briefwechsel, 1,2:228-29 (October/November 1867. See also Brieje, 2:255-56, or Briefwechsel 1,2:328 (October 1868). 78. Nietzsche, Briefe 2:220, or Briefwechsel 1,2:296 (July 1, 1868); and Briefe 2:229, or Briefwechsel, 1,2:305 (August 6, 1868). 79. See for example Nietzsche, Briefe 2:257, or Briejwechsel, 1,2:329-330 (to Deussen, October 1868); and Briefe 2:258-60, or Briefwechsel, 1,2:330-32 (to Rohde, October 27, 1868). 80. Nietzsche, Briejwechsel I,2:174 (October 1 1, 1866). 81. ThisJahn was the same Pforta alumnus, professor ofphilology in Bonn, and Mozart biographer already mentioned. 82. Nietzsche, Briefwechsel I,2:322 (to Rohde, October 8, 1868). 83. Ibid., 1,2:332 (toRohde, October 27, 1868). 84. Nietzsche, Briefe 2:265-69, or Briefwechsel 1,2:337-41 (to Rohde, November 9, 1868). 85. Nietzsche, Briefe 2:280, or Briefwechsel 1,2:352 (to Rohde, December 9, 1 868). (This contains an important passage on Wagner as a genius.) 86. RichardWagner and Ludwig Nietzsche were both born in 181�. 87. Johannes Stroux, NietzsckesProfessurinBasel (Jena: Frommann, 1925), pp. 32- 33. Thewhole story ofNietzsche's appointment is narrated in the first halfof this small book, which is itselflargely a publication ofthe letters concerning Nietzsche's appointment and tenure at the University of Basel, letters that were found in the university archives in 1 923. 88. Stroux, NietzschesProfessur, pp. 34-37. Another passage in this letter is paren­ thetically interesting for the clear impression Ritschl gives ofFriedrich's per­ sonal presentation. Ritschl cautions Vischer, "Should you have the opportunity to speak with Nietzsche in the meantime, please do not let your opinion of him be determined by your very first impression. He has some­ thing like Odysseus about him, ponderous before he begins to speak, but then he speakswith powerful language-provocative, winning, convincing." P. 36. 89. Stroux, Nietzschesprofessur, pp. 39-43 (letter and autobiography).
  • 230 Notes 90. Ibid., pp. 47-49. 91. Ibid., p. 50. 92. Nietzsche, Historisch-kritische GesamtaUSD'abe: Werke 5:250-52' IX' k . .B ··nden . . . 0 , YYer e tn dreza , 3.149-50; trans. m MIddleton, SelectedLetters oifFriedrich Nietzs h46. c e, p. SIX Emulating Geniuses 1. Nietzsche, Werke:kritische Gesamtausgabe 2,1:247-69. 2. Ibid., 2,1:252. 3. J. E. Sandys, A History ofClassical Scholarship, vol. 3, The Eighteenth Century inGermany and the Nineteenth Century in Europe and America (Cambridge' Cbridge University Press, 1908), pp. 1-143. . am- 4. Nietzsche, Werke:kritische Gesamtausgabe 2,1:253. 5. Ibid., 2,1:266. 6. Ibid., 2,1:268. 7. Johannes Stroux, Nietzsches Professur in Basel (lena: Frommann 1925). N' h ' . , , sum-manzes . Ietzsc e s actIvity as an instructor at the University ofBasel in anappendix, pp. 94-101. 8. From the memoir of Nietzsche byJ. A. Mahly, quoted in Curt Paul JFriedrich Nietzsche:Biographie (Munich: Hanser, 1978), 1:313. anz, 9. Ibid. 10. Cited in Stroux, Nietzsches Professur� pp. 35-36. 1 1. Janz,Nietzsche 1:389-90. Nietzsche, Werke:kritische Gesamtausgabe III,3:243-47.12. Jacob Burck�ardt, w.eltgeschichtliche Betrachtungen (Berlin: Spemann, 1905);trans. Rejlectzonson Hzstory (Indianapolis: Liberty Classics, 1979).13. Stroux,NietzschesProfessur. 14. Bachofen was born in 1815, two years after Nietzsche's father. He had beenprofess . or ofRoman Law at the university in Basel, and member ofthe town'sgover�mg council. . He came from a wealthy family and retired early to de­vote hImself to pnvate scholarship. His argument that a universal matri­arc�y must have been the predecessor of all other human societiesdenve? from vestiga] mother-rights that he discovered in ancient Romanlaw. HIS contemporaries did not appreciate his work. Only since about1920 has Bachofen been regarded as one of the pioneers of cultural an­thropology. 1 5. N�e�zsche, Historisch-kritische Gesamtausgabe: Briefe, 3:84; and Briefwechsel,kntzsche Ge�amtausgabe, II,I:155(to Gersdorff, November 7, 1870), onBurc��ardt s �ectures on the study of history: "Zum ersten Male habe ichV� . rgnugen an .. ezner Vorlesung, dafur ist sie auch derart, dass ich sie, wenn ich alterware, halten konnte. " 16. Edgar von Salin,JacobBurckhardt undNietzsche (Basel: Universitatsbibliothek1�38), p. 54, (to Friedrich Preen, September 27, 1870): "Es lebt hier eine;semer [Schopenhauer's] Glaubigen, mit welchem ich bisweilen konversiereso gut ich mich in seiner Sprache ausdrucken kann." , 17. J�cob �urckhardt, Griechische Kulturgeschichte, ed. Rudolf Marx, 3 vols. (Leip­ZIg: Kroner, 1929). 18. These were lectures that led to the book WeltgeschichtlicheBetrachtungen. Cf.
  • Hayden White, Metahistory (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1973), pp. 230ff 19. Nietzsche, Briefe 3:84, and Briefwechsel II,1:155 (to Gersdorff� Nov. 7, 1870). 20. Cf. Burckhardt's rather distant letter, written in response to Nietzsche's hav­ ing sent an exemplar of "Vom Nutzen und Nachteile der Historie fUr das Leben," in Edgar Salin, Burckhardt und Nietzsche, pp. 207-8; and Briefwechsel II,4:394-95. 21. It was Burckhardt, therefore, who kept Nietzsche at a distance for personal reasons. And so neither the allegation that Burckhardt dismissed Nietzsche for his apostasy from the humanist creed, nor the insinuation that Nietzsche would have rejected Burckhardt for philosophical naivete has much force in explaining why the relationship did not develop into the sort of Sternenjreundschajt that Nietzsche had with Wagner. The fullest and least bi· ased account ofthe relationship between Nietzsche and Burckhardt can be found in Werner Kaegi, Jacob Burckhardt: eine Biographie (Basel: Schwabe, 1967-82), especially 4:49-78 and 7:36-85. 22. This is the traditional version of Nietzsche's first visit to Triebschen, but it has been called into question byJanz,Nietzsche 1:293-94. 23. Nietzsche, Brieje 3:325, Briefwechsel II,] :13 (May 29, 1869); and Forster­ Nietzsche, DerJunge Nietzsche, pp. 246-48. 24. Janz, Die Brieje Friedrich Nietzsches (Zurich: Editio Academica, 1972), pp. 162- 71. 25. Cf. Karl Baedeker, Switzerland, 4th ed. (Coblenz: Karl Baedeker, 1869). 26. There are accounts by third parties describing their interaction in Triebschen, and Elisabeth Nietzsche wrote about them extensively too. Cos­ imaWagner's diaries,Die Tagebucher, /. 1 869-1877, eds. Martin Gregor-Dellin and Dietrich Mack (Munich: Piper, 1976) are an important and reliable source. Elisabeth's commentary on the relationship in the earlyyears may be found in Wagner und Nietzsche, pp. 23-32, but it must be read with caution. Other sources include the diary of Hans Richter, who was in Triebschen from September 7, 1869 until April 19, 1871, published in Otto Strobel, ed., Neue Urkunden zur Lebensgeschichte Richard Wagners, 1864-1882 (Karlsruhe: Braun, 1939), pp. 163-66. 27. Nietzsche, Brieje 3:53-54, and Briefwechsel II,1:122-23 (May 21,)870). In the last instance he signed himself aseinerder seligen Knaben. . 28. Nietzsche, Briefe 2:2/30; and Briefwechsel II,I:8 (May 22, 1869). Nietzsche here is thinking in terms ofSchopenhauer's theory ofthe genius. 29. Of course there are several very critical biographies of Wagner that often take Nietzsche's side on these matters; for example, Ernest Newman, The Life ofRichard Wagner, 4 vols. (New York: Knopf� 1933-46), 4. 30. All but the most sycophantic biographers acknowledge the disparity be· tween the greatness ofWagner's creative genius and his personality. Ernest Newman's The Life ofRichard Wagner is not complete in the fourth volume that deals with the period that Wagner spent in Triebschen and Bayreuth. More satisfactory for this period are the briefer works of Robert Gutman, Richard Wagner, the Man, His Mind, andHis Music (New York: HarcourtBrace Jovanovich, 1968), and Martin Gregor-Dellin, Richard Wagner, His Life, His Work, His Century, trans.]. M. Br'Ownjohn (New York: Harcourt BraceJovan-
  • 232 Notes ovich, 1983). See also Curt von Westernhagen, Wagner, a Biography, 2 vols.(New York: Cambridge University Press, 1978); Derek Watson, Richard Wag_ner, a Biograp�y (New York: Schirmer Books, 1979); and Ronald Taylor, Rich­ard Wagner, HisLife, Art, and Thought (New York: Taplinger, 1979). All ofthesebooks contain evaluations ofthe Nietzsche-Wagner relationship.3!. See Newman, The Life ofRichard Wagner 4:153-73, and Robert W. GutmanRichard Wagner; pp. 230-286. Gutman's account is fuller. ' 32. Richard Wagners Briefe, 17:542, and Nietzsche, Briefwechsel 11,4:104 (October24, 1872). See also Cosima's Tagebucher 1:167. 33. There is now a surp�isingly welI-�alanced treatm . ent of the relationship by r Geoffrey Skelton, Rzchard and Coszma Wagner; a BzograPhy ofa Marriage (Bos.ton: Houghton Mifflin, 1982). The basic sources remain Wagner's "brownbook," TheDiaryofRichard Wagner; 1865-1882: theBrownBook, presented andannotated byJoachim Bergfeld, translated by George Bird (London: VictorGollancz, 1980), and Cosima Wagner's Tagebucher or Diaries, 1 869-, editedand annotated by Martin Gregor-Dellin and Dietrich Mack, translated withan in . troduction by Geoffrey Skelton, 2 vols. (New York: Harcourt BraceJov­anovlch, 1978 [German edition, Munich: Piper, 1976-77]). 34. DieBriefe Cosima Wagners undFriedrich Nietzsche, ed. E. Thierbach, 2 vols;, 12thand 13th 'Jahresgaben der Gesellschaft der Freunde des Nietzsche-Archivs"(Weimar: 1940). The correspondence now app�ars in Nietzsche's Brief wechsel:kritische Gesamtausgabe. 35. Nietzsche, Briefiuechsel 111,1:5-6 (to Malwida von Meysenbug,Jan 14, 1880).36. Her vast manuscript was finally published for essentially scholarly reasonsby biographers ofWagner only in the 1970s. 37. Richard Wagner, Mein Leben: erste authentische Veroffentlichung (Munich: List,1963). 38. Richa�d Wagner, Beethoven (Leipzig: Fritzsch, 1870), and Gesammelte Schriften und Dzchtungen, 2d ed. (Leipzig: Fritzsch, 1888), 9:61-126. The influence ofNietzsche and SChopenhauer upon this essay is discussed by Gutman, Rich­ ard Wagner; pp. 294-96 and 318-22. See also Cosima's Tagebucher' 1:192 and1:253ff. 39. Forster"Nietzsche, Wagner und Nietzsche, pp. 28-32. 40. It is noteworthy thatFriedrich's letters toRitschl in the first year in Basel-inmarked contrast to his letters to Triebschen-contain frequent complaintsabout his lack of time. For example, Briefe 3:42 and 3:54-55, and Briefwechsel 11,1:1 10 (March 28, 1870) and 11,1:123 (June 1870). 4!. See, for example, Wagner's letter of February 4, 1870, in Forster-Nietzsche,Wagner undNietzsche, pp. 33-34. 42. Richard Wagner, Beethoven (Leipzig: Fritsch, 1870). 43. Forster-Nietzsche, Wagner und Nietzsche, p. 87. SEVEN First Works 1 . "Das Griechische Musikdrama," and "Socrates und die Tragodie" were given as lectures onJanuary 18 and February 1, 1870. They were publishedas the first two 'Jahresgaben del' Gesellschaft del' Freunde des Nietzsche.Archivs" (Leipzig: Hadl, 1927) and now appear in Nietzsche, Wer'ke: kritische
  • Notes 233 Gesamtausgabe, ed. Giorgio Colli and Mazzino Montinari (Berlin: de Gruyter, 1967- ) 111,2:3-22 and 23-41 respectively. 2. Nietzsche, Briefe III:28, or Briefiuechsel 11,1:95 (February 15, 1870). 3. In early 1870 Nietzsche alre'ady had the seminal ideas of The Birth ofTrart.edy. What he did not have was a plan to write a book. However, there was httle prospect of publishing his lectures as essays, since no philological journal would have considered anything so speculative. Ritschl also encouraged Nietzsche to write a book, but he had not seen Nietzsche's lectures on Socrates and on tragedy; he had no idea of how am· bitiously, speculatively, and controversially Nietzsche was now thinking, or what sort of a book he would actually write. Ritschl merely suggested that Nietzsche should write something more unified than the articles published in Das Rheinische Museum fur Philologie, a monograph. Ritschl knew that if Nietzsche wrote a book.length treatment of a philological topic that dis· played the talents he had shown in his articles, he would immediately estab· lish himselfas one ofGermany's premier professors ofphilology. He would be able to have any job he wanted in a German university. Nietzsche, Briefwechsel ll,2:75-76 (Nov. 5, 1869). 4. Robert Gutman makes less ofNietzsche's influence on Wagner's essay in his Richard Wagner: the Man, His Mind and His Music (New York: Harcourt . Brace Jovanovich, 1968), pp. 294-95 and 318-19. He does ackn�wledge th�Ir con­ versations on Schopenhauer to have:: been part ofWagner s prepar�tIo� fO . r writing Beethoven, but finds so little good about that boo� and so httl� m It that relates to Schopenhauer's thinking that there is nothmg left for him to credit to Nietzsche. 5. Nietzsche, Briefiuechsel II,2:137 (Wagner to Nietzsche, Feb. 4, 1870) and II,2:146 (Wagner to Nietzsche, Feb. 12, 1870). 6. See Schopenhauer, The World as Will and Representation, Nietzsche's alle­ giance to Schopenhauer's view is documented in part by hi� w�ll.mar . ked copy of Eduard Hanslick's Yom musikalisch·Schiinen, 3d e�. (LeipZIg: Welg�l, 1865). A general discussion ofNietzsche's musical aesthetiCS can be found m Frederick R. Love, Young Nietzsche and the Wagnerian Experience (New York: AMS, 1966). 7. As two recent students of The Birth of Traged,y have written, Nietzsche's task "was not simply to come to terms with Wagner's music and drama, but to reconcile his theory ofit with his actual practice." M. S. Silk and]. P. Stern, Nietzsche on Traged,y (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1981), p. 53. 8. Nietzsche, Werke: kritische Gesamtausgabe III,2:45-69. 9. Under the title "Die Geburt des tragischen Gedankens," ibid., 111,2:71-91. 10. The chronologicallyfirst ofthese is divided into fifteen chapters and resem­ bles the first part of what was ultimately published as The Birth of Traged,y, which also has fifteen chapters; but ten consecutive pflges ofthis work do not appear in The Birth of Tragedy, and the first part of The Birth of Tra�ed� con­ tains two passages amounting to fifteen pages which do not appear m it. .This mss, along with a dedicatory epistle to Richard Wagner, was s�bmlt. ted to the publisher Engelmann in April 1871 under the title Muszk und Tragodie, but it was soon withdrawn. (Werke: kritische Gesamtausgabe III,2:42- 69. Cf. Nietzsche, Briefe 3:120-21, or Briefwechsel 11,1:193-94 [draft of a letter
  • 234 Notes to Engelmann, April 20, 1871]; Br'iefe 3:126, or Briefwechsel II,1:200 [to gelmann, June 1871]; and Briefe 3:164-65, or Briefwechsel II,1:241-42 Fritzsch, November 18, 1871].) The second, much shorter version, not divided into chapters, consists of those parts of chapters 8-15 ofthe first version that would appear unaltered in TheBirth ofTragedy; after the first version that would appear unaltered in The Birth of Traged,y; after the first version was withdrawn from Engelmann this second one was published privately under the title Socrates und di; griechische Tragodie and found its way to the Wagners. (Nietzsche, SokrateSUnd die griechische Tragiidie: ursp1"ungliche Fassung der Geburt der Tragodie aus dem Geiste der Musik, edited by H.J. Mette [Munich: Beck, 1933]. Cf. Mette's pr�f. .. ace and "Nachbericht," pp. 107-09. This version now appears also in ' Nietzsche's Werke:kritischeGesamtausgabe III,2:93-132.) Then finally, at Wagner's suggestion, Nietzsche submitted a revised ver­ sion of the fifteen chapters ofMusik und Tragodie to Wagner's own publisher, E. W. Fritzsch in Leipzig, with a different dedication to Wagner. Nietzsche might have withdrawn the first version from Engelmann sim­ ply because the latter was slow about deciding to publish it, as some coJ.u­ mentators have suggested. (Nietzsche, Briefe 3:126, or Br-iefwechsel II,1 :200 [to Engelmann,June 1871].) But ifNietzsche had not had s-econd thoughts ofhis own, he should logically have submitted it unchanged to Fritzsch, as Wagner i? fact re�omme�ded. (Wagne.r had not actually seen it.) However, the long fIrst verSIOn carned the wornsome tendencies of the fourth part of "Die Dionysian Weltanschauung" even further, particularly in the pages that were never published at all; here Nietzsche disagreed squarely with Schopenhauer on the question of the will, and yet returned to the Schopenhauerian position with regard to music, which he placed "beyond" drama. Furthermore, in these unpublished pages, Nietzsche mentioned Wagner himself somewhat ambiguously. (Nietzsche, Werke: kritische Gesamtausgabe III,2:63-69.) Apparently he felt he could not publish that ver­ sion. What he published privately instead was the shorter second version, Socrates und die griechische Tragodie, which he was sure would not upset Wagner. Printing this truncated version of his work was the safest thing Nietzsche could have done as far as Wagner's opinion of him was concerned. It might have been entitled "The Death ofTragedy," since it dealt primarily with Eu· ripides, Socratism, and the debilitating effects of rationalism upon Attic tragedy. It left out his own account of the origins of tragedy as well as his explanation of how tragedy might be reborn in Germany. Thus he avoided any encroachment upon Wagner's views of the composer's own work. Once this was published, however, Nietzsche took courage once again. He revised the firstfifteen chapters once more and sent them to Fritzsch. But then, while they were being set in type, Nietzsche surprisingly came up with ten more chapters, that became the last ten chapters of The Birth ofTragedy. It is not known exactly when he wrote these additional chapters. Whether Wagner pressured him to include an analysis of the contemporary scene is also uncertain. But, whatever their origin, Nietzsche had apparently shown these chapters to no one until he sent them to Fritzsch. Neither Rohde nor
  • Notes 235 the Wagners had seen them until all twenty-five �hap�ers o�the first . edition of The Birth ofTragedy Out ofthe Spirit ofMusic arnved m Tnebschen mJanu- ary 1872. 1 1. Even Silk and Stern, who argue that the last ten chapters were not added in haste, acknowledge in their summary of the argument of the book that they constitute a distinct second part. Nietzsche on Tragedy, pp. 62-89, esp. p. 79. 12. Nietzsche, TheBirth ofTraged,y and the Case ofWagner, trans. Walter Kaufmann, p. 33. 13. Ibid., p. 38. 14. For a more extensive summary and critique ofNietzsche's use of the catego- ries "Apollinian" and "Dionysian," see Silk and Stern, Nietzsche on Traged,y, esp. pp. 166-85, and 209-1 6. 15. Cf. Nietzsche, The Birth of Traged,y and The Case of Wagner, trans. Walter Kaufmann, pp. 33-34, 124-30, 139-43. 16. Nietzsche, The Birth ofTragedy and The Case ofWagner, p. 98. 17. Ibid., p. 99. 18. Ibid. 19. Ibid., pp. 100-101. . . 20. Freud made a similar move in using his analysis of his dream about mvent- ing psychoanalysis-the "dream of I�ma's injection"-as th . e eX , �mplar , y dream interpretation in The Interpretatzon ofDreams. Cf. my article, Freud s 'Specimen Dream,'" Partisan Review, 54,2(1987):305-20. . 21. Perhaps Nietzsche's proudest accomplishment was to have e , �plam�d �he chorus of Greek tragedy. In Chapter 17 he claims that he had done JustIce for the first time to the primitive and astonishing meaning of the chorus." Nietzsche, The Birth of Tragedy, p. 105. In chapters 7 and 8 Nietzsche discounted Aristotle's political theory of the "representative" chorus as well as A. W. Schlegel's "ide . al �p�ctator'� the­ sis. And he showed that the satyr chorus represents humamty m ItS undIffer­ entiated, primitive state, "behind all civilization." The spectator derives a "metaphysical comfort" from identifying with the chorus, a co�fort of Dionysian wisdom that compensates for the pain of having looke,d mto the ephemeral quality of individual life. Nietzsche also claimed to have explained the effect of tragedy upon the spectator for the first t ' ime. Nietzsche, The Birth ofTraged,y, p- 130. 22. Ibid., p..52. 23. Nietzsche, The Birth ofTragedy, p. 121. 24. Ibid., p. 122. 25. Ibid., p. 122. 26. Ibid., p. 105. 27. Ibid., pp. 106 & 98. 28. Ibid., p. 106. 29. Walter Kaufmann calls one of these passages an "idealized self-portrait" of the author. Nietzsche, TheBirth ofTragedy, p. 98 (footnote 10). 30. Nietzsche, Briefe 3:192-93, Briefwechsel II,1:271-72 (January 2, 1872). 31. Nietzsche, Briefwechsel II,2:493 (January 5, 1872). 32. Nietzsche, Briefe 3:193, Briefwechsel II,1:272-73 (January 10, 1872). : ! 1 II
  • 236 Notes 33. �regor-Dellin, Ric�ard Wa�. er� p. . 405. It is interesting that Gregor Dellin gIV�S Wagner credIt for pralsmgNIetzsche's book, but he persists in the W _ nenan myth that everything original in the book was Wagner's-an id h ag W ' h ld I . . . ea t at . agner e ater m hIS lIfe, after he had become embittered b NIetzsche's "betrayal" ofhim, but certainly not at this point. a out 34. Nietzsche, Briefwechsel 11,2:503-5 (January 10, 1872). 35. Ibid., 11,2:505 (January 10, 1872). 36. Ibid., 11,2:504 (January 10, 1872). 37. Ib . id., 11,2:510-13 (Cosima Wagner to Nietzsche,January 18, 1872). 38. NIetzsche, Briefwechsel 11,2:510. 39. Ibid., 11,2:51 1 . 40. "geistreiche Schwiemelei," translated by Silk and Stern as "ingenious d' . . " N' ISSIpa- tIon. zetzscheon Tragedy, p. 92. .Nietzsche's request for Ritschl's opinion is found in his BrieJe 3:201-2, or Brz�echsel 11,1:281-82 (January �O, 1872); Ritschl's answer in Briefwechsel 1I,�.541-43 (Feb. �4, 1872); and NIetzsche's comments on Ritschl's letter in B:zef� 3:214, or �rzefwechsel 11,1:295 (to Rohde, February 1872). Ritschl noted h�s dls . pl�as�re ';Ith . The BirthofTragedy and his dismay at Nietzsche's request for hI� opmlon m hIS dIary, excerpted in the "Nachbericht," 3:461 under "619." 41. NIetzsche, BrieJe 3:461 ("619"). 42. S�e, for example, Allan Bloom, The Closing ofthe American Mind (New York: SImon & Schuster, 1987). 43. W . ilamowitz-Moellendorff, Zukunjtsphilologie! eine Erwiderung auf Friedrich Nzetzsches "Geburt der TragOdie" (Berlin: Borntrager, 1872). This was later sup­ plemented by Z� �unftsfhil . ologie. Zweites Stuck, eine Erwiderung auf die Rettungsversuche fur Frzedrzch Nietzsches "Geburt der Trna-odie" (B r ' B .. 1873 -0' er In. orntrager, ). The title is an ironical play on the phrase Zukunftsmusik that had b�en applied to Wagner's music. These and the documents cited in th�.followmg footnotes are all reprinted and may be consulted in Karlfried Grunder, ed., DerStreit um Nietzsche's "Geburt der Tragodie. "Die Schriften von E. Rohde, R. Wagn�r� U. . von Wilamo�itz-Moellend01ff(Hildesheim: Olms, 1969). 44. R�hde,Ajterphzlologze. SendschrezbeneinesPhilologenanRichard Wagner (Leipzig: Fntsc�, 1 . 872}. C . f. Walter Kaufmann's discussion of the significance of Rohde s title m hIS preface to TheBirth ofTragedy, pp. 5-7. 45. Wagner, "An Friedrich Ni . etzsche," Norddeutsch� Allgemeine Zeitung (June 1 2, 1873), and Gesammelte ScMiften undDichtungen 9:295-305. 46. Rohde consequently found himselfin an awkward position when he cameto repudiate Wi . lamowitz-Moellendorffs attack. Nietzsche (and Wagner too) �ould have lIked to have Rohde answer as a philologist in a philological Jo�rnal. But The Birth ofTragedy simply could not be defended as historicist phIlology. So Rohde published his response as an open letter to Wagner in a Journal favorable to the composer, the NorddeutscheAllgemeine Zeitung. He �ade it . clear that he too acknowledged Wagner as his culture-hero, and praIsed NIetzsche for what he was doing to help the Wagnerian cause. B�t that . was o:no interest to philologists, except perhaps by bringing Rohde hImself mto dIsrepute alongwith his friend. All he could say on philological gr�unds . was that Wilamowit�-Moellendorff had made his own egregious , phIlologIcal errors, and he pomted these out in comparably satiric fashion,
  • Notes 237 and at even greater length (fifty pages of comparable type beside Wilamowitz-Moellendorffs twenty-eight). Unfortunately, in his defense of Nietzsche, Rohde lowered himself to the level of the attacker. And he gave Wilamowitz-Moellendorff the opportunity for a rejoinder. As a youthful professional philologist in need of a job himself, however, he could hardl . y join the main issue and explain that historicism was a ridiculous creed; so hIS letter was unhelpful. Oddly enough, it was the usually prolix and often confusingWagner who clarified the issue, with much greater humor and in far fewer words than Wilamowitz-Moellendorf and Rohde had required to obscure it. His brief letter to Nietzsche was published in the same issue of the Norddeutsche AL- 1gemeine Zeitung as Rohde's letter. Wagner began by citing Wilamowitz­ Moellendorffs concluding phrases about how it was the purpose of classical philology to instill in the youth of Germany the eternally valuable ideals of the ancient cultures. And then he asked simply if this was what philologists were actually doing. In an amusing narration of the possibilities he showed that professors of philology were doing nothing but traini�g mo�e teach�rs of philology, and writing nothing for anyone but other phIlologlsts' l!nlIke theologians or professors of law and medicine, they apparently dId not deign to contribute anything useful to society at large. They suffered from overspecialization, suffocation by footnotes, and excessive professional def- erence to each other. Philology was so encumbered by historicism, according to Wagner, that philologists had lost all sight of their purpose. And yet they had an impo�­ tant mission to fulfill, namely to actualize ancient literature for the benefIt of their contemporaries, to make it relevant anew for each generation of young people, for artists, and for the whole educated public. Not fulfilling their mission, they had made themselves partially responsible for the cul­ tural stagnation ofGermany in the nineteenth century. Wagner in conclusion made clear that he thought Nietzsche had fulfilled this responsibility like none of his colleagues. Nietzsche had written a book on a vital topic of interest to Wagner and other artists. It shed light on cru­ cial problems of modern culture. And Nietzsche had written it without the clutter of footnotes and quotations from other scholars that usually ob­ scured philology from the public understanding. He publicly acknowledged Nietzsche's creativity and predicted that Nietzsche would inspire a reform of German educational institutions. He made Nietzsche out to be a true philol­ ogist, and more than a philologist. These remarks were well calculate� to draw the attention of the most advanced members of the educated publIc to Nietzsche's work. But Wagner's opinion could not have much influence upon philologists- 47_ Nietzsche, Briefe 3:320-21, or Briefwechsel II,3:89-90 (to Wagner, November, 1872). 48. Nietzsche, Briefe, 3:196 or Briejwechsel 11,1 :276 (to Wagner,January 24, 1872). Cf. Forster-Nietzsche, WagneT und Nietzsche, pp. 98-100. 49. The lectures have never been translated into English. In German they are accessible in Nietzsche, Werke: kr'itische Gesamtausgabe, III,2:133-244; and Werke in dTei Biinden III: 175-263. 1!!1,1,llI','m'i T ":!I!"I i F ) I '
  • 238 Notes 50. Werner Ross, Der iingstliche Adler: Friedrich Nietzsches Leben (Stutt a . D�utsche Verlags-Anstalt, 1980), pp. 346-53. g rt. 51. NIetzsche, Werke: kritische Gesamtauso-abe III 2:158 and'ke ' d ' B " III:190. 0 " zn rez anden 52. The phil?sopher and hi� companion agreed that nineteenth-century societ was dommated by the mIddle classes and the doctrines ofpolitical eco y In that milieu, more educ�tion meant more production and consum;:� an� th�refore more happmess: the greatest good for the greatest number �hIS mIght n�t be so ba�, the philosopher seemed to suggest, if all the addi: 0 tI�nal educatmg were lImited to the trades and to occupational st d' NIetzsche, Werke: kritische Gesamtausgabe III 2:159 and Werke 'n d ' B�'nden les. III:191. ". rez a 53. Nietzsche, Werke: kritische Gesamtausgabe III 2:209' and Werke in dr ' B "nden III:233-34. " ez a 54. Se�, fO . r exam�le, Mari . lyn �utler, The T,yranny of Greece Over Germany (Cam­ br . ldge. Cambndge Umverslty Press, 1935). Her book attempted to link the fa , Ilme of educated Germans to resist Hitler to their humanistic educaf 55. NIetzsche, . Werke: kritische Gesamtausgabe III,2:160, and Werke in drei B��� III:192. QUIte understandably, the workingclass has demanded adm' . el't d . I . . - ISSIon to 1 e e , ucatIOna mstltut�ons. But at the time that Nietzsche gave his lectures the very thoug�t ofworkmg-class youths entering the Gymnasium was consid­ ered , so fantastIc and outrageous as to demonstrate ipsofacto the bankruptc of nmeteenth-century attempts to broaden the base of the educational s � tem. ys 56. See above, Chapter 6" pp. 5-6, 57. The Gymnasium offered a German analogue of what is called a liberal t ed t' . A . ar s . uca IOn m . merIca. The . princip . al differences are that the G:ymnasium pro- vI . ded-and stIll does provlde-a rIgorous general education to selected pu­ pIls at a younger age. While American teenagers attend high schools that attempt to educate them all equally, Germany has traditionally had a sepa­ r�te sc�ool-the Gymnasium-for those who will go on to attend the univer­ SIty. WI , th the less academically gifted pupils attending trade schools, the Gymnaszum c�uld present more advanced material and demand higher stan­ dards of achIevement from younger students than does the American high school. Lest we console ourselves with the thought that our educational sys­ tem wa� more democratic ifnot quite as excellent, we should remember that �t the tIme ofNietzsche's writing the American high school had not yet been mvented! �nd even today German students with the Abitur-the certificate ,j of gr�duatIOn from the Gy�nasium-are generally as broadly educated as Amenc�n students graduatmg from college with a four-year baccalaureate �eg�ee:, If not more so. (Of�ourse they still lack the specialized training in a major �eld that �tudents m both countries get in the university.) The dIfference . IS the�ef?re more than elitism versus democracy. Ameri­ can stu�en�s acq�Ire theIr lIberal education in college, along with their con­ centratIOn m maJ?r and minor fields ofstudy. There is necessarily a tension bet.ween thereqUIrements ofa major field and courses in general education, ,;hlch are . often perceived-especially in the sciences-as needless distrac­ tIOns; and m fact, general education courses are often aimless. American stu-
  • Notes 239 dents fulfill their general education requirements by choosing among a large number of college courses that have no prerequisites. These courses are not cumulative; that is, they are unrelated to other courses the student may take, and do not lead to any examination beyo�d the course gra�e. Ger­ man students, on the other hand, must master theIr general educatIOn be­ fore they enter the university, by the age of nineteen or twen�y (gener�lly one year later than their American counterparts). The Gymnaszal educatIon is strictlycumulative in that it leads up to final examinations that cover all of the subjects one has taken at school and determine whether one graduates. Thus the Gymnasium attempts to provide a foundation for more speciali . zed training, for example, in medicine or law, and to inoculate students agamst becoming mere specialists in their ultimate professions. , , " 58. Nietzsche, Werke: kritische Gesamtausgabe 111,2:169, and Werke zn drez Banden III:200. 59. Nietzsche, Werke:kritische GesamtausgabeIII,2:243-44, and Werke indreiBiinden 111:263. 60. Nietzsche, Wer'ke: kritische Gesamtausgabe III,2:242, and Werke in drei Biinden 111:262. 61. Nietzsche, Werke:kr'itische Gesamtausgabe I1I,2:191 -92, and Werkeindrei Biinden 111:218-19. 62. Nietzsche, Wer'ke: kritische Gesamtausgabe 111,2:190, and Werke in drei Biinden III:218. 63. Jerrold Seigel, Bohemian Paris: Culture, Politics, and the Boundaries ofBourgeois Life, 1830-1930 (New York: Viking, 1986). 64. It had long been common to speak of a "natural" aristocracy, but the sense ofthat expression had been simply to discredit the aristocracy ofblood, the ruling class of the ancien regime. But the aristocracy of blood was no longer much of a threat to intellectual and artistic expression. In fact, members of the old aristocracy were often the ones who could appreciate avant-garde art, while it was the common taste of the bourgeoisie that threatened art. And the genius could only be distinguished from the bourgeois!e by resort to the theory of separate birth. The circle of genius was an arIstocracy of people born to create and lead. Since then there has always been a band of progressive artists and intellectuals who conceive of themselves as far �ore progressive than,the most progressive politicians. As ifthe non-aesthetIc do­ mains became nonprogressive by re-definition at this time. EIGHT Strugglefor Autonomy 1 . See Wagner's description of the event in his Gesammelte Schriften und Dichtungen 9:322-44, Nietzsche'S description in Werke in drei Biinden 1:367- 434, and Newman's account in TheLife ojRichard Wagner 4:350-64. 2. DieBriefeRichard Wagners 17:542; Briejwechsel II,4:104 (October 24, 1872). See also CosimaWagner's Tagebucher 1 :167. 3. This is a provocation that creative individuals not infrequently issue. Freud is a good example. . 4. Joachim Bergfeld, "Sieben unbekannte Briefe Friedrich Nietzsches an RIch- ard Wagner," Ar'chiv fur Musikwissenschaft 27 (1970), pp. 179-81, and
  • �40 Notes Briefwechsel II,3:61-63 (October 15 1872)' D ' . .44, and Brie�"echselII 4'102 6 (0 ' b 2 ' ze Bnefe Rzchard Wagners 1 7:540• 'jW , . - cto er 4 1872) - 5. Th .Ierbach Die Br'ie'{;e CO ' U! ' • , '.Ie szma vvagners F , . d 'BriefwechsellI 4'142 45 (D b an ne nch Nietzsche 2'43 and 6. Nietz h , . � ,. ecem er 4, 1872). . , 7 . sc e, Werke: kntzsche Gesamtausgabe III,2:245-86. Unfortunately, Nietzsche's letter informin th . Naumburg instead of to Ba reuth for g . e Wagners thathe was going to Bayreuth by Wagner's heirs aio . h ChrIstmas was later destroyed in ship. ng WIt many other artifacts of the relation_ 8. Thierbach, Die Brieje Cosima "WI ers "�r'iefwechsel lI,4:207 (February 12 1!;3) S an Frzedrzch , Nietzsche 2:44, and SIOn in his "Drei unbekannte B : f· N.' ee alsoJoachIm Bergfeld's discus- d rIe e Ietzsches an C ' Wun Kothurn. Vierteljahresschrijtfilr The t ,. OSIma agner," Maske 9. Nietzsche, Br"iefe 3:360-61 and Brie�" a erwzssenschajt 10 (1964):597-602. 10. Schlechta and Thierbach ' D' B " jUJ de echsel I�,3:131-32 (March 2, 1873)., ze nefe s Frezherrn C l Ga�d Br"iefwechselll,4:233-25 (March 9 1873 ar von ersdorff2:50-51, 1 1. NIetzsche, Br"iefe 3:349 and 3'353 54 ' ). , a�d 11,3:124 (Feb. 21, 1873). . - , and Bnefwechsel ll,3:121 (Jan. 31, 1873), 12. NIetzsche, Werke:kritische Gesamtaus btroduction, by Marianne Cowan' N�:t: 1I1,2:29�-366_ T . ranslated, with an in­ Greeks(�hicago: Henry Regnery, ' 1962)_ sche, PhzlosoPhy zn the Tragic Age ofthe 13, ja . nz, Nzetzsche 1:515 & 526-29.14. NIetzsche, Werke: kritische Gesamta 'Oh Agef!/the Greeks, trans. Marianne C�! e � 1,�:303-4, and PhiloSOPhy in the Tragic 15. Nietzsche, Werke: kritische Gesa t . an ( hicago: Regnery, 1962), p_ 34. Age ofthe Greeks, p. 25_ m ausgabe 111,2:297, and PhilosoPhy in the Tragic 16. Nietzsche werk ' k " t ' h,. ' rJ"4 e. n zsc e Gesamtaus 'abe 111 2'2 'Tragzc Age ojthe Greeks, p. 24. :g, , . 95-96, and PhzlosoPhy in the 17. On Heraclitus cf. Nietzsche "WI 'k ' "PhilosoPhy in the TragicAue of';he �r e k · kntzsche Gesamtausgabe 1I1,2:316ff., and 18 Th' fi ' h t>' 'J ree s, pp. 50ff. �s, urt ermore, is the first formulation ' . .c�aIms and counterclaims about wheth . of the pOSitIOn that has led to hIstory of metaphysics Long aft N' er �Ietzsche brought an end to the book, Ecce Homo, where' he review e e r d h I . etzsc e disavowed Wagner in his last , d IS Own writings h d . dpre ecessor: Heraclitus. Nietzsche On t ' e a mItte only one trans. Walter Kaufmann (Ne Y k ' R he Genealogy ofMorals and Ecce Homo 19 Cf N' w or : andom House 1969) 27 ' . . Ietzsche, Werke: kritische G t b " p. 3. Tragi�Age ofthe Greeks, pp. 79ff. esam ausga e 1I1,2:337ff., and Philosoph,y in the 20. Cf. hIS letter to Gersdorff B '.(; 1873). ' nfJ.Je 3:367, and Briefwechsel 11,3:139 (April 5, 21 Perhaps th d'. . ey Iscussed it together after leavin Bat the raIlway station in Licht £ I .h . g ayreuth, but before parting'. . en e s t e next day InwrItmg, and his first letter do . ' any case, Rohde delayed f h es not mentIon "Phil h 'o t e Greeks." Cf. Briefwechsel II 4'253 55 osop y m theTragicAge 1873). , . - (Rohde to Nietzsche, May 20, 22. On �he whole episode, see Forster-Nietzsche "WI ' COSIma Wagner, Tagebucher 1:667-69 dJ ' agn . er undNzetzsche, pp. 152ff., what Wagner said about th : an . anz, Nzetzsche 1:530-32. Preciselye manuscrIpt wIll apparently never be known. ,
  • Notes 23. Nietzsche's letter is to be found in Briefe 3:374-75 (April 18, 1873), and Briefwechsel 11,3:144-45. By contrast, Wagner's first letter to Nietzsche, writ­ ten afterreceivingNietzsche's apology, is calm and understanding; in facthe seems to encourage Nietzsche to pursue his independence. On the other hand Wagner does not mention "Philosophy in the Tragic Age of the Greeks" and does indicate that he can hardly wait for Nietzsche's essay on Strauss. Cf. Briefwechsel 11,4:248 (Wagner to Nietzsche, April 30, 1873). 24. Br'iefe 3:374-75, and Briefwechselll,3:144-45 (April I8, 1873). 25. Briefe 3:375, and Briefwechsel 11,3:145. 26. Brieje 4:4-5, and Briefwechsel 11,3:149-50 (May 5, 1873). 27. Daniel Breazeale, "Introduction" to Philosoph,y and Truth: Selections from Nietzsche's Notebooks oj the ear�y 1870s (Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Humanities Press, 1979). These selections are some of the raw materials, according to Breazeale, ofthe projected Philosophenbuch. But he does not include "Philos­ ophy in the Tragic Age ofthe Greeks." (In fact, Breazeale seems to acknowl­ edge this by not republishing "Philosophy in the Tragic Age of the Greeks" in his edition of these early fragments.) His construction of the place that this manuscript had in Nietzsche's larger plan, based upon Nietzsche's let­ ters, is questionable. In fact, the letters he cites to indicate the existence ofa larger book seem to me to refer to the manuscript of "Philosophy in the Tragic Age" itself, and to it alone. Cf. Breazeale, pp. xxii-xxvii. Breazeale suggests we should regard all ofNietzsche's unpublished work from this pe­ riod, including "Philosophy in theTragicAge ofthe Greeks," as preliminary drafts intendedfor inclusion in thisPhilosophenbuch. He suggests further that these fragments contain the basic ideas that Nietzsche developed in his later works, and that the fragments and notebooks are indispensable to under­ standing Nietzsche's philosophy. Breazeale is persuasive, but his argument makes more sense forthe shorter, fragmentary, and experimentalworkslike "On the Pathos of Truth" than for "Philosophy in the Tragic Age of the Greeks." 28. David Friedrich Strauss, The Life ofJesus Critically Examined, trans. George Eliot, ed. with Introduction by Peter C. Hodgson (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1972). In addition to Hodgson's Introduction, see H()rton Harris, David Friedrich Stmuss and His Theology (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1973) for an accountofStrauss's intellectual odyssey. 29. See above, pp. 6·7-68, andJanz, Nietzsche 1:146. 30. ThatWagnerhad been offended by Strauss is mentioned byJ. P. Stern in his Introduction toNietzsche, UntimelyMeditations, trans. R.J. Hollingdale (Cam­ bridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983), p. xii. 31. Strauss,DerAlteundder neue Glaube: ein Bekenntnis (Leipzig: Hirzel, 1872). 32. Nietzsche, Werke: kr#ische Gesamtausgabe 111,1:153-238, and Untimely Medita­ tions, trans. R.J. Hollingdale (Cambridge: Cambridge UniversityPress, 1983), pp. 1-55. This was the first, but by no means !the most interesting, of Nietzsche's Untimely Meditations, published in August 1873. 33. Cf. Walter Kaufmann, Nietzsche: Philosopher, Psychologist, Antichrist, 4th ed. (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1974), pp. 134-41. It has also been suggested that Nietzsche had a deeper motive: Nietzsche's later philosophy contains many importantstrands thatappear in Strauss's writings, most par-
  • 242 Notes ticularly the idea that reli . the living needs ofa peop�:ou N s . m t yths are necessary fictions produced fbyc . . . . . Ie zsche freq I ' rom . nticiZIngauthors with simila ' . . uent Y worked out his own idSion of"D 'd r VIews ThIS rna b h eas . aVI Strauss." Cf J P S · y e t e one positive d' �eduations, pp. xiii-xiv. ' " tern, Introduction to Nietzsche's Un�� en .34. NIetzsche, Briefe 4'49 a d ' zmely also Cosima W. . " n . Brzefwechsel II,3:1 99-200 (Febru II,4:414 (Marchr:/��:4 r ) zefe an Friedrich Nietzsche 2:49-50 a 7nd l I B ' 1 � � �:); See 35. J. p . ' . , rze.;wechsel. Stern, Introductio N'added. n to Ietzsche, Untime�y Meditations . . 36 W ' . ' p. XIV. ItalIcs. agner s letter In Forster N' t h " t b . Ie zsc e W. . .em er 21, 1873); Nietzsche's in Brie/e . agner und ":zetzsche, pp. 162-63 (Se . 37 ;e�;7, 1873). See also Newman, TheL�e 1 �;;��BnefwechselII,3:161 (Septe!.. r�e.;e 4:1 7, and Briefwechsel II 3'16 CJ.J . zc ard Wagner' 4:403. 38 �rzefwechselII,4:329-30 (Rohd� �o ��67 (NIetzsche to Rohde, Oct. 18, 1873)' . Mahnruf an d' D Ietzsche, Oct. 23 1873) , Ie eutschen " N' ' . III,2:385-91 . ' Ietzsche, Werke: kritische G 39 It . esamtausgabe. was Incidentally in Nietzsche's lifef :::: e �e ;:�u�;:many to learn the hi:::i:�t��:�!c ::�(and others) fir�t 40 N' programs. return home to. Ietzsche, Werke: kritische Gesamtaus b�nd On the Advantage andDisadvanta :g :o e III . '1:248; Untimely Meditations p 63' f: tIOn by Peter Preuss (Indianapolis. :g �if H k zstoryforLife, trans. with Int�oduc ' act the whole . . ac ett 1980) p 10 I } ' . 41 N' ' passage IS italicized in th .' . " . ta ICS added' in. Ietzsche, Werke' krit . h G e ongInal. ' and Preu . zsc e esamtausgabe III 1'246 U: . 42 Th' b ss, e? , On theAdvantage andDisad " , ntzme�y Meditations, p. 62. Ier ach, DzeBriefe Cosima Wa ers . va �tage, p. 10, respectively , ;nd Ni . etzsche, BriefwechselII,4:�2-1 �n ( :;zedrzch Nietzsche 2:48-49 and 55-58,43. .g., NIetzsche, Briefe 4'77 d B ' arch 20 and April 20 1874) 1874). . , an nefwechsel II,3:231-32 (to Ger�dorffJ ' u44. Schlechta and Th' . ' ne 1, and N' Ierbach, Dze Briefe des Freih 45 W . Ie , tzSC?e, BriefwechselII,4:480 (Ma 29 errn Carl Von Gersdorffs 2:87-88. agner s bIographers E . Y , 1874). ' need t h . ' rnest Newman amo h h' 0 ave hIS disciples put aside th . ng t em, testify to Wagner's 46 N I . m COurt. Newman, TheLife ojRichard e;"own �reative work in order to pay. Ietzsche, Briefwechsel II 3'228 agner :292. Briefe," pp. 186-90 , . -30. Also in Bergfeld "s · b 47 N" , Ie en unbekannte. Ietz�che, Briefwechsel II,3:228.48. ESpeCially in the paragraphs wh hm�tes that he might have to .::: e to�che� on his own future and inti-BrzejwechselII,3:228_29 g up hIS UnIversity position N'49 N- ' . Ietzsche. letzsche, Ibid., II,4:654-56 . ' 50. Nietzsche, Ibid. II 3'230 (ApnI 6, 1874). 51. Nietzsche Brie�4'77 ' G (May 20, 1874). 187 ' '.Ie . une 1, 1874) 4'83 G4), and Briefwechsel II,3:231-32 ' G ' uly 4, 1874), and 4:91 -92 Guly 26 52 ��74), and II,3:246-47 Guly 26 1874) une 1, 1874), and II,3:237-38 Guly 4'. letzsche, Briefe 4:83 and . ' . , 53. Nietzsche, Briefe 4'91 ' Br�efw�chselII,3:237-38.. , andBrzefwechsel II,3:246 Guly 26, 1874).
  • Notes 54. Nietzsche, Brieje 4:82, and Briefwechsel II,3:236 (June 14, 1874) to Rohde. 55. Compare Elisabeth Forster-Nietzsche, Nietzsche und Wagner. Cosima's ac­ count, which might be more accurate since it was contemporary, is vague. Cosima Wagner,Die Tagebiicher� 1869-1877, 1:842-44. Nietzsche's Swiss biog­ rapher concludes that this episode marks the turning point in Nietzsche's disillusion with Wagner.Janz, Nietzsche 1:579-81 and 584-86. 56. Stern, Introduction, Untime�y Meditations, pp. xxvii: "The tyrant who suppresses all individuality other than his own and his followers'. This is Wagner's great danger: to refuse to accept Brahms, etc.; or theJews." 57. Janz,Nietzsche 1:586. 58. Nietzsche, Werke:kritische Gesamtausgabe III,1:346, and Untimely Meditations, p. 136. 59. Werke: kr#ische Gesamtausgabe III,I:332-37, and Nietzsche, Untimely Medita­ tions, p. 127-30. 60. Nietzsche, Werke: kritische Gesamtausgabe III,1:338, and Untimely Meditations, pp. 130-31. 61. Nietzsche, Werke:kritische Gesamtausgabe III,1:347, and Untimely Meditations, p. 137. 62. Nietzsche, Werke:kritische Gesamtausgabe III,1:354, and Untimely Meditations, p. 142. 63. Of course Bismarck was also recognized as a genius for accomplishing the unification of Germany. But Nietzsche found the Iron Chancellor repug­ nant as a person, and would hardly have admitted that he could have been the object of emulation or inspired others to creativity. Quite the contrary: Nietzsche thought that the Reich tended to inhibit creativity. 64. Nietzsche, Werke: kritische Gesamtausgabe IV, 1: 173-96; translated in Daniel Breazeale, Philosophy and Truth, pp. 127-46. In the same notebook Nietzsche wrote numerous adenda to the earlier unpublished manuscripts on the Greek topics. 65. Nietzsche, Wer-ke: kritische Gesamtausgabe IV,I:191-92; Breazeale, p. 143. 66. One editor ofthe UntimelyMeditations notes thatNietzsche's difficultieswere "obviously psycho-psychosomatic," but he does not specify their psychologi­ cal source.J. P. Stern, "Introduction," Friedrich Nietzsche, Untimely Medita­ tions, p. viii. 67. Janz,Nietzsche 1:614-20. 68. Nietzsche, Briefe 4:251-52, andBriefwechsel II,5:132 (Jan. 18, 1876). 69. Ni/etzsche, Briefe 4:252; and Briefwechsel II,5:131-33, especially p. 133 (Jan. 18, 1876). 70. Janz,Nietzsche 1:626-27. 71. Nietzsche, Brieje 4:270, and Briefwechsel II,5:152 (April 15, 1876). 72. This seems clear from Gersdorffs letter of April 4, 1876, soon after he left Nietzsche. Nietzsche, Briefwechsel II,6/i:305. 73. The whole episode is narrated inJanz, Nietzsche 1:628-32. 74. Janz,Nietzsche 1:631-32: Simply surprised by Mathilde's high spirit andjudgment and bedazzled by the relative freedom from inhibition in her youthful relationships with people, a spontaneity that Nietzsche himself lacked completely.
  • 244 Notes Here there seemed to open th . inhibitions in relating to p e l Pro l spect offreemg himselffrom his Oweop e. n the comp f h ' n p�rson he could feel himself bein 1 d . any 0 t IS naturally freephcated future g e mto an unburdened and un. . . com· 75. Nietzsche, Briife 4:272 and B '76. Janz, Nietzsche1:632; Nietzsch ;Z:��hs 4 �l 1 7 1,5:154 (A�ril I 5, 1876). 1876). ' e;e .2 0, and BneJwechsellI 5' 1 52 (A '1 7 . ' . pn 15,7. !n SpIte of marriage and family M . Bmterested , in Nietzsche But N " h ane . aumgartner became romanticall '. 1 . Ietzsc e dId not a ' YJea ous of his devotion to C · W ppreClate that she might b m " OSIma agner nor d'd h e antIC mterest. In spite of her fair! 0 en ' 1 . e reciprocate her ro- 78 e�en have been aware that she loved �ir !:. suggestIOns, Nietzsche may not. NIetzsche became acquainted with Mal . Wagners. She ",:as chaperone to Natali:�: von Meysenbug through theHerzen), but an mtellectual herself d h rzen (daughter of Alexander trast to Marie Baumgartner M I 'd an t e author of several books. In Con h f ' , a WI a seems to have h d . er nendship with Nietzsche that s ' . a an understanding ofmotherly friend who would qu�red WIth NIetzsche's OWn: she was 79. On Nietzsche's relationship;:���� hIm as she could. a and 675-92. ese women, seeJanz, Nietzsche 1:645-5280. Nietzsche Br'?fi 4'269 7 81. Newman ' Th z�e ifi " "R � 0, and BrieJwechsel 11,5:1 52 8 N ' , e z e o) zchard Wagner IV:477_90 . 2. Ietzsche, Untimely Meditations p xx , ' . 83. Ibid., pp. xxvi-xxvii. ' . VI. 84. Ibid P x . N '. , . XVI. Ietzsche repeatedly n t hand that Wagner's art spoke a "th t o . es l t l at Wagner'S talent was histrioni,c h' ea rIca angua " B . " IS notebooks to give Wagner credit for bei ' ge. ut he IS unwilling in a born actor, but like Goeth . ng agreat actor. He calls Wagner h d " A' e, as It were a pa' t . han s. nd again "If Goeth ' . ' m er WIt out a painter's orator, then Wagn�r is a mI'Spl e Is d a mIsplaced pain , ter, Schiller a misplaced S h ace actor " Th ' . h .c openhauer, whom Nietzsche ch ' ' . IS mIg t remmd one further of t " · ' aractenzed ' "S hor as havmg to overcome his d' . d d m c openhauer as Educa- Nietzsche admired all of' th " I . VI e talents to create his philosophy h . ' ese mIs-talented'" d' . . t elr talents; for him they were all "sentim I� IVlduals for overcoming was unconSciously preparing a wa to ' ��tal poets. Perhaps Nietzsche cusations. But in these notes h f Y r d ehablhtate Wagner from his own ac- Wag' ' " e Oun only negati h 'ner s great histrionic gift " S " . ve t mgs to say about "to find its outlet in the most d : mce It was mIsplaced in Wagner it failed v . Irect ways' to find th t [W , ' �Ice, and the necessary modesty.'" a , agnerJ lacks stature,85. NIetzsche, Untimely Meditations .. Nietzsche's later w�iting-eSpe�i�i �XVI�Worthy of note is the fact that but by ostentatious self-importanc: t �ce t :mo-was not marked by modesty 8 �agner, but which some have mist k a c e could only have learned from 6. NIetzsche IbI'd p ' " a en lor megalomania, ., . XXVIII. . 87. Ibid., p. xxvi. 88. Ibid pp XXVI'l' x . . .., . - XVUI. 89. Ibid., p. xxvi. "It is this [the question ofan audience] that d ' [WrIves agnerJ on,
  • Notes 245 to criticize the public, the state, society. Between the artist and the public he posits the relationship of subject and object-quite naively." 90. Ibid., p. xxvii. 9 1 . N ietzsche, Werke: kr'itische Gesamtausgabe IV, 1:3-4; Untimely Meditations, p. 1 97. 92. Nietzsche, Wer'ke: kritische Gesamtausgabe IV,1:4; Untime�y Meditations, p. 1 98. 93. Nietzsche, Wer'ke: kritische Gesamtausgabe IV, 1:3-5; Untimely Meditations, pp. 1 97-98. Recalling Wagner's address at the dedication of the ground for the Festspielhaus in 1872, Nietzsche quoted Wagner to the effect that there were only a select few who could appreciate his grand project. In a passage remi­ niscent of an even earlier letter of Nietzsche to Wagner (May 22, 1 869), he wrote, All to whom this belief is accorded should feel proud of the fact, whether they be few or many-for that is not accorded to everyone, neither to the whole of our age nor even to the German people as it stands at present, he told us so himself in his dedicatory address of 22 May 1 872. . . . "When I sought those who would sympathize with my plans," he said then, "I had only you, the friends of my particular art, my most personal work and creation, to turn to: it was only from you that I could expect assistance." 94. Nietzsche in his notebooks rewrote his criticism to assert that Wagner was a dilettante as ayouth: "Wagner'syouth was the youth ofa many sided dilettante . . . " He even rewrote the note about Wagner's music, poetry, plot, and dra­ maturgy not being worth much; in the revised version, "his early music is not worth much . . . " The obvious implication is that Wagner was no longer a dilettante and that his music, poetry, and drama were no longer superficial. Nietzsche, Untime�y Meditations, pp. xxvi-xxvii. Italics added. J. P. Stern has also noted this in the introduction to Untimely Meditations, p. xxix. "Almost all the failings N ietzsche had ascribed to [Wagner] in the preliminary notes now figure as temptations resolutely overcome, trials strenuously undergone and since won." 95. Nietzsche, Werke: kritische Gesamtausgabe IV,1 :7; Untimely Meditations, p. 200. 96. "Only a force wholly pure and free could direct this will on the pathway to the good and benevolent." Nietzsche, now transforming Wagner's theatrical character into a vIrtue, notes that it is only appropriate that the life ofa great dramatist should be dramatic. Nietzsche, Werke: kritische Gesamtausgabe IV,I :7-10; Untimely Meditations, pp. 200-2. Nietzsche's description of Wagner's "will" reaching up to the light is oddly reminiscent of Nietzsche's description of his own creative impulse in "The Struggle between Science and Wisdom" (Nietzsche, Werke: kritische Gesamtausgabe IV,1:191-92, and Breazeale, Philosophy and Tmth, p. 143). 97. Nietzsche, Werke: kritische Gesamtausgabe IV,1 :9- 1 1 ; Untime�y Meditations, pp. 202-3. 98. Nietzsche, Werke: kritische Gesamtausgabe IV,1 :21-23; Untimely Meditations, pp. 210-1 1 , and somewhat less clearly on pp. 244-54. 99. Nietzsche, EcceHomo, p. 281 . 100. Nietzsche, Werke: kritische Gesamtausgabe IV,l:1 1 ; Untimely Meditations, p . 203. ,/1" I ,
  • 246 Notes 101. Nietzsche, Werke: kritische Gesamtausgabe IV, 1:46-50; Untimely Meditations, pp. 228-3 1 . 102. Nietzsche, Werke: kritische Gesamtausgabe IV,1 :50-51 ; Untimely Meditations, p. 232. 103. Nietzsche, Werke: kritische Gesamtausgabe IV,1:52; Untimely Meditations, p. 233. 104. Some of his remarks about the audience in Bayreuth-which had of course not yet assembled-are fraught with double entendre, as "in Bayreuth the spectator too is worth seeing." Nietzsche, Werke, kritische Gesamtausgabe IV, 1:4-5; Untime�yMeditations, p. 198. 105. Rather, he asserts that "To us," the putative public, "Bayreuth signifies th� morning consecration on the day of battle." 106. Nietzsche, Werke: kritische Gesamtausgabe IV, 1:25; Untimely Meditations, p. 213. 107. Nietzsche, Werke: kritische Gesamtausgabe IV,1 :78-82; Untimely Meditations, pp. 251 -54. 108. Brie.fwechsel II:5: 175 (to Ernst Schmeitzner, Nietzsche's publisher, July 14, 1876). Nietzsche's advance letter to Schmeitzner in Leipzig requested that two copies be sent to Bayreuth, but that the package wait until he had for­ warded letters ofdedication for inclusion in it. Only one letter has survived, if indeed there were two-the one to Cosima. Some authors suggest that the one to Wagner was later destroyed in Bayreuth; it is also possible that in his vacillation Nietzsche never actually wrote a final version to send to Wagner. 109. Ibid., II:5:173-74 (to Cosima Wagner, earlyJuly, 1876). 1 l0. Ibid., II:6/1 :362-63. 1 1 1 . Ibid., II:611 :357. 1 12. Ofcourse, Nietzsche might have said something more in his letter to Wagner himself, if indeed he wrote a separate letter to Wagner. 1 13. Newman, The Life ofRichard Wagner IV:458. 1 14. Newman, IV:438-90. 1 1 5. Wagner was perhaps unique among composers of opera in the intensity of his concern for the details ofproduction. From the design ofthe sets and the gestures of each actor to the phrasing of the singers and the tempi of the orchestra, Wagner knew exactly what he wanted. "Wagner," writes Newman, was a far better conductor than any of his conductors, a far better actor than any of his actors, a far better singer than any of his singers in every­ thing but tone. Each of his characters, each of his situations, had been created by the simultaneous functioning within him of a composer's imagination, a dramatist's, a conductor's, a scenic designer's, a singer's, a mime's. IV:487. As a consequence, no one knew as well as Wagner himself how to carry out a part. And he felt compelled to coach all of the participants in every excruci­ ating detail. 1 16. In drafts of his letters announcing "Richard Wagner in Bayreuth" he admit­ ted he had no idea how Wagner would react. But everything else in those drafts indicates that he feared the worst. In one he intimated that the Wagners should not read it at all. In another he "shuddered to think what [he] had dared;" he just wanted to close his eyes and forget; and he hoped that Wagner would accept the essay "without recoiling." In yet another he
  • 247 Notes , ld "read it as though it were not about you, and not hoped that Wagner wou " B ' ,/:i" chsel II·5·171-73. . ' hwritten by me. rzeJ' . '. ' che's draft-letters to Wagner mdlcate, 0":- 17 Several other statements m Nletzs . h f' of one more blast of denuncI- 1 . t take for hIm t an ear . f "R' h d ever, that more was a s f 'd that the publicatIon 0 IC ar W Nietzsche was a ral . l ' ther ation from agner. h d of their relationshIp a toge . B th" would mean t e en Wagner in ayreu that when I have published a I has the consequence , "My writing a ways 1 ' lationships is called into ques- h' 'n my persona re new piece, somet mg I . 11 today I cannot say any more . How much I feel that especIa y , Hon. . . . clearly." Briejwechsel II:5:173. ���� �����:���������79 (to Elisabeth Nietzsche, 25July, 1876). 1 20 Forster_Nietzsche, Nietzsche und Wagner, p. 12, y and energetic critic of Elisa- . N 's view He was an ear 1 121 . This is Ernest ewma� . ' It u on Elisabeth's falsifications was a sa - beth Nietzsche'S veracIty. H� s as� au d'� her but even in establishing the . t only m dlscre ItIng 'ther utary correctIve, no f B reuth However, he was el . f N' t che's letters rom ay · . . . f Proper datmg 0 Ie zs . h ' 1 dy well-developed cntICISm 0 . . . ' ing NIetzSC e s a rea '503unaware orJust mmimiZ . f h' followers Newman, IV. - Wagner's "actor" nature and the vulganty 0 IS this point. Janz, Nietzsche . II 506-7 Janz follows Newman on 39, espeCla Y • 1:71 5. 28 1 876). 122. Briejwechsel II:5:179 (Ju 7 1876 to Elisabeth Nietzsche). 123. Ibid., II:5:181 (August , ' 124. Ibid., II:5:181. 6 1 876 to Elisabeth Nietzsche). 125. Ibid., II:5:182 (August , ' 1 26. Newman, IV:525-27. 1 27. Cf.Janz, Nietzsche1:17-20. . 1 b Janz in h is Nietzsche 1:720-24. 128. The articles are excerpted extenSIve Y Y , 129. Quoted in Newman, IV:531 . , 1 30. Quoted in Newman, IV:533. b VI 3'321 ' trans. in On the Genealogy oj 131. Nietzsche, Werke: kritische Gesamtausga e (N' York: Random House, 1 967), Morals /Ecce Homo, ed. Walter Kaufmann ew p. 284. 2 In the words ofWalter Kaufmann, , . . ed1 3 . � . lonel genius, Wagner s ImpaSSIOn As long as he lived at Tnbschen, a y d the inferiority of other peo­ faith in the superiority of the Germ J ans an uld perhaps be decently ig- h F ch and the eWS, co . PIe, especially t e ren 'th the new German EmpIre h W ' er came to terms WI dnored; but w en agn . B th the time for a clear stan and set up a great cultural cent d � r m . �y �e �i �self from what Bayreuth h d and Nietzsche ISSOCIa e was at an - symbolized. . h .r T d'll w: er in Nietzsche, The Bzrt oJ rage J Kaufmann, Preface to The Case oj agn , (N w York: Random House, and the Case oj Wagner, ed. Walter Kaufmann e 1 967), p. 1 49. b VI 3'322' trans. in On the Genealogy oj Nietzsche, Werke: kritische Gesamtausga e " , 1 33. 6 Morals /Ecce Homo, p. 28 .
  • 248 Notes 1 34. Nietzsche, Nietzsche contra Wagner- in Wer'ke: kritische Gesamtausgabe VI,3:429; trans. Walter Kaufmann, in The Portable Nietzsche (New York: Viking, 1 954), pp. 675-76. 135. Nietzsche, Werke:kritische Gesamtausgabe VI,3:429-30; ThePortable Nietzsche 676. , po 1 36. Nietzsche, Werke: kritische Gesamtausgabe VI,3:322; On the Genealogy ofMorals / EcceHomo, p. 286. 137. Nietzsche, The Case ofWagner, in Werke:kritische Gesamtausgabe VI,3:3; trans. in The Birth ofTraged,y and the Case ofWagner, p. 1 55. 138. Nietzschecontra Wagner, in Werke:kr-itische Gesamtausgabe VI,3:430; trans. in The PortableNietzsche, p. 676. . NINE Redefining Genius 1 . Ernest Kretschmer, Geniale Menschen (Berlin: Springer, 1929); and Robert Minde�, "Das B . ild des Pfarrhauses in der deutschen Literature von Jean. Pa�l bIS Gottfned Benn," Akademie der Wissenschaften und der Literatur in Maznz, Abhandlungen derKlasseLiteratur, 4 (1 959):53-78. 2. The theory of gen . ius w�s of co�rse no more gender neutral than the theory of popular sovereIgnty m the nmeteenth century, and it excluded women by definition. 3. Tho�e who �heorized about genius apparently overlooked the possibility that mnovatIon may be a result of cooperation. 4. The Gay Science, trans. Walter Kaufmann, pp. 216-17. 5. Ecce Homo, p. 220. Quotation from the last chapter of Thus spakeZarathustra, Part I. 6. This view is consistent with the interpretation of Nietzsche put forward by Alexander Nehemas in his Nietzsche: Life as Literature (Cambridge, MA: Har. vard University Press, 1985). 7. EcceHomo, trans. Walter Kaufmann, pp. 295-309. 8. Ibid., pp. 300-1 . 9. Ibid., p . 298. 10. EcceHomo, p. 219.
  • Suggestionsfor Further Reading N ietzsche's works and correspondence are most fully presented in German in the Kritische Gesamtausgabe, edited by Giorgio Colli and Mazzino Montinari. The Briefwechsel (Berlin: de Gruyter, 1975-84) is complete in 16 volumes, but the Werke (Berlin: de Gruy­ ter, 1967-), unfortunately, are complete only from Vol. 2 onward. For the works of Nietzsche's youth (before 1867), one must there­ fore consult the older, also incomplete edition, the Historisch­ kritische Gesamtausgabe, edited by Hans Joachim Mette, Karl Schlechta, and Carl Koch, 5 vols. (Munich: Beck, 1933-40). (In the notes to this book, Briefwechsel and Werke refer, respectively, to the letters and works of the newer Kritische Gesamtausgabe; the works of the older edition are cited as Historisch-kritischeGesamtausgabe: Werke for the works, and the Briefe of that edition are cited alongside the Briefwechsel for readers who do not have access to the newer edi­ tion.) A handier German edition is the Werke indreiBiinde, edited by Karl Schlechta (Munich: Carl Hanser, 1954-56). In English, most of Nietzsche's works are readily available in the fine translations ofWalter Kaufmann published between 1954 and 1974, often containing several different works, for example, ThePortableNietzsche (NewYork: Viking, 1954) and TheBirth ofTrag­ edy and the Case of Wagner (New York: Random House, 1 967). New and valuable translations of some of the less popular works that Kaufmann did not translate began to appea:t; in the 1980s. Espe­ cially relevant to this book are the Untimely Meditations, edited byJ. P. Stern and translated by R. J. Hollingdale (Cambridge: Cam­ bridge University Press, 1983). Other translations of manuscript papers and lectures from Nietzsche's early career are available in Philosophy and Truth: Selec­ tionsfromNietzsche'sNotebooks oftheearly 1870s, edited and translated
  • 250 SuggestionsforFurtherReading by Daniel Breazeale (Atlantic Highlands, N]: Humanities Pres 1979), and Friedrich Nietzsche on Rhetoric and Language, edited an� translated by Sander L. Gilman, Carole Blair, and DavidJ. Parent (New York: Oxford University Press, 1989). . There is also an excellent edition of Nietzsche's letters in En­ glIs�, Selected Le . tters ofFriedri�h Nietzsch�, edited and translated by Chnstopher MIddleton (ChIcago: UnIversity of Chicago Pr 1969). ess, The fullest biography is really a reference work in three vol­ umes, by Curt Paul ]anz, Friedrich Nietzsche: Biographie (Munich: Han�er, 1978-?9). Handy biographies in English are by R. J. Hol�u�gdale, Nzetzsche, the Man and His Philosophy (Baton Rouge: L�uIsiana St�t� Un�versity Press, 1965), and Ronald Hayman, Nzet-:sche:A . Cntzcal Life (New York: Oxford University Press, 1980). An . Inter�stIn? complement to Nietzsche's life and letters is Conver­ satzons wzth Nzet-:sche, a Life in the Words ofHis Contemporaries, edited by Sander L. GIlman and translated by David]. Parent (New York­ Oxford University Press, 1987). . Long t�e �ost impor�ant book on Nietzsche in English, Walter K�ufmann s Nzetzsche: Phzlosopher, Psychologist, Antichrist (Princeton: �nncet�n University P:ess, 19�0) has been revised in many edi­ tIons. It IS a somewh�t bIogr�phic studyofNietzsche's thought. But thebestrece�tbook I�EnglI�h onNietzsche's thoughtisAlexander �ehamas, Nzetzsche: Life as Lzterature (Cambridge: Harvard Univer­ SIty Pre�s, 1985) : Also valuable as a sampling of French writing a . bout�Ietzsche IS TheNew Nietzsche: Contemporary Styles ofInterpreta­ tlOn, edited by David B. Allison (New York: Delta [Dell], 1977). • The topic ofgenius is only now becoming subject to historical stu�y, ha:Inglongbeen regarded primarilyas a matterofresearch o� IntellIgence. A volume edited by Penelope Murray, Genius: The �zstory . ofan Idea (O�fo:d: Basil Blackwell, 1989), is misleadinglyen­ tItled, Inasmuch as ItgIves not a historybut a few interesting essays on fragments �fthe history ofgenius. M. H. Abrams traces the rise ofthe �omantictheoryofcreativity, includingthe idea ofgenius, in The Mzrror and the Lamp: Romantic Theory and the Critical Tradition (NewYork: OxfordUniversityPress, 1953). RobertCurrie discusses the portrayal ofgenius in nineteenth-century literature in Genius' An Ideology in Literature (New York: Schocken 1974) A C • • t .. . ' . J.eminiS cn- tique of the romantic t?eory of genius is argued by Christine Battersby, Genderand Genzus: Towards aFeministAesthetics (Blooming-
  • Suggestionsfor FurtherReading 251 ton: Indiana University Press, 1989). One chapter ofRoy Porter's Social History ofMadness (New York: Dutton, 1989) is dedicated to "Madness and Genius." There are several valuable anthologies, including The Creative Process, a Symposium, edited by Brewster Ghiselin (Berkeley: Univer­ sity ofCalifornia Press, 1952). Artistic and scientific creativity are the focus of The Concept of Creativity in Science and Art, edited by Denis Dutton and Michael Krausz (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1981), and Scientific Genius and Creativity, readings from Scientific American, edited by Owen Gingerich (New York: W. H. Freeman, 1987). Interesting material on the mythological background to the modern enthusiasm for geniuses may be found inJoseph Camp­ bell, The Hero with a Thousand Faces (New York: Bollingen, 1 949). And Sidney Hook, in The Hero in History (New York: John Day, 1943), discusses the role ofthe hero in modern history. A sophisticated psychoanalytic study of the personal side of creativity is Albert Rothenberg, The Emerging Goddess: The Creative Process in Art, Science, and Other Fields (Chicago: University of Chi­ cago Press, 1979). The later portions of Leon Braudy's book, The Frenzy ofRenown: Fame andIts History (New York: Oxford University Press, 1986), dealingwith modern fame, reveal much about the so- cial settingand motivation ofgenius. I I I " I ' I I
  • Index Abiturium, 58, 60, 61 Academic freedom, 63, 153 Actor, the, 186-187 Aeschylus, 138, 143 Aesthetics, 135 Altklug ("old for his years"), 52 Anaxagoras, 162, 163, 164 Anti-Semitism, 202 Apollonian principle, 128, 130-132 ApollonianlDionysian principles, 1 13, 135 Aristocracy, 2 of intellect, 2 "natural," 155, 239 of talent, 155 Aristotle, 138, 213, 228 Arouet, Franc;ois. See Voltaire. Artist, the, 4-8, 86, 88, 189 relationship with public of, 188 Aus meinem Leben (Out ofMy Life or Dichtung und Wahrheit) (Goethe), 4 Aus meinem Leben (From My Life, Out of My Life) (NietzscI1e), 1 1 , 44 Autobi9graphy, 3-5 Avant-garde, the, 155 Bachofen, j. j. , 1 13-1 14, 230 Baumgartner, Marie, 186, 244 Beethoven (Wagner), 128, 142, 233 Being (essence) vs. becoming (exis- tence), 163, 164 Berlioz, Hector, 7, 210 Bernays, jakob, 90, 99, 228 Berndorf, Otto, 54 Biedermann, Karl, 95 Bildung (education, development), 4, 40, 162, 193 Bildungsanstalten (multiplication of schools), 154 Bildungsburgertum (educated middle class), 20, 33, 37, 40 values of, 49 Biography, 3, 9, 10, 212 Birth of Traged,y out ofthe Spirit ofMusic, The (Nietzsche), 12-14, 76, 91, 102, 104, 106, 107, 109, 1 13, 1 14, 1 18, 125, 1 26, 133, 137, 138, 142, 143, 151, 152, 156, 158, 171, 213, 228, 233-235, 236 autobiographical dimension of, 135, 136 beginnings of, 127 first part of, 130, 132, 134, 139 hostility toward, 143-147 last part of, 130, 134, 136 Ritschl on, 143-�45 textual history of, 129 "Birth of the Tragic Idea, The" (lec­ ture) (Nietzsche), 129 "Bohemia," Bohemianism, Bohe- mians, 7, 91, 155 Boswell, james, 3 Brahms, johannes, 175-176 Breast feeding, 24 Breeding (Zucht), 153 Brockhaus, Hermann, 97 Brockhaus, Otilie, 95, 97 Buddensieg, Professor Robert, 51, 54 Burckhardt, jacob, 14-15, 109, 1 13, 1 14-1 1 5, 150, 170, 231 lectures of, 1 12 Burgertum (upper middle class), 18 Burschenschaft, 64, 65-66, 69, 225
  • 254 Case of Wagner� The (Nietzsche), 214 Catharsis, 228 Chesterfield, Lord, 3 Chorus, the, meaning of, 1 37-139, 235 Cicerone (Burckhardt), 1 14 Classical ideals, 47-49 Classics, study of, 76 Confessions (Rousseau), 4 Conservatism, 31 Creativity, 6, lO, 105, lO6, 120, 1 27, 1 33, 141, 1 70, 1 71 , 1 74, 180, 209, 2 1 2, 214 Crimean War, 43 Cr'itique ofPure Reason, The (Kant), 1 79 Cultural criticism, 130 Cultural models, 84 Culture, theory of, 1 55 Culture ofthe Renaissance in Italy (Burckhardt), 1 14 D'Agoult, Marie, 121 Darwin, Charles, 83, 210 David Strauss, the Confessor and the Au- thor (Nietzsche), 166-167 Decadence, 169, 1 70 Democracy, 149, 1 51, 1 55, 238 Destiny ofOpera, The (Wagner), 142 Deussen, Marie, 65 Deussen, Paul, 51, 53, 57-58, 63, 64, 65, 66-67, 71, 78, 92, 93-94 109 22� 226 l , Dictionary of the English Language (John- son), 3 Diderot, Denis, 2 Dindorf, Wilhelm, 74-75 Diogenes Laertius, 75, 226 Dionysian principle, 128, 1 30-132, 1 37, 139 "Dionysian Weltanschauung, The" (lecture) (Nietzsche), 128, 129 Discipline, 33, 44, 48 . 55 58 63 64 1 53 ' , , , , Nietzsche's rebellion against, 56, 57 Doppelganger (double), 59-60 Diihrung, Eugen, 93 Ecce Homo (Nietzsche), 70, 200, 201 , 215-217, 240, 244 Index Education, 5, 76, 1 53-155, 1 76, 238 goal of, 1 50 humanistic, 47, 48, 60, 61, 171 romantic view of, 4 Educational system German, 148, 149, 222 U.S., 238-239 "Ego ideals," lO, 84 Egotism, absolute, 1 5 �leatic philosophers, 163, 164 Emile (Rousseau), 4 Enlightenment, the, 1, 5, 202 Enthusiasm (Begeistemng), 90 Epilepsy, 26, 221 Erikson, Erik, 24 Erzieher, role of, 40, 41, 79 Erziehung (education), 56 Essays on Music (Jahn), 96 "Ethical pessimist," 79, 137 "Euphorion" (Nietzsche), 59 Ex nihilo creation, 6, 8, 213, 217 Family romance, 122, 123 Father figures (surrogates), 1 1, 35-38, 94, 1 15, 176, 208, 213. See also Mentors. Faust, 7 Festschrift, 90, 92 Flotter Student, 66, 69 Franck'sche Stiftung, 38 Franconia, 64, 65-66, 69, 225 Franco-Prussian War, 106, 1 1 1, 129 Fraternity, 51, 64, 65, 67, 69, 70, 72, 225 Frauenstadt, Julius, 93 Freud, Sigmund, 9, 235 Friendship, 33, 34, 39, 41, 50, 53-54, 78-79, 109- 1 10, 1 1 3, 222 Fiirstenschulen (ducal schools), 47 Games, 39, 223 Gay Science, The (Nietzsche), 214 Gehirnerschiitterung, 222 Gehirnerweichung ("softening of the brain"), 26, 222 Geist (mind, spirit), 40, 42 Gemiithlichkeit, 37 Gemiithskrank(heit), 26, 222
  • Index 255 Genius, 3-5, 10, 88, 94, 104, 1 52, 1 54, 1 79 characteristics (traits) of; 125, 2 1 2 i n conflict with himself, 1 93 cult of, 1 , 187, 2 1 6 culture of, 208, 209 definition of, 5, 1 5, 1 78 as (demi)god, 1 53, 1 80 emotional hostility toward, 9 God and, 5-6, 8 idea (ideology) of; 1 , 7, 10 as inborn ability, 18 as individual, 1 50-1 5 1 and insanity (madness), 6 , 26, 88, 144, 228 as mentor (moral exemplar), 1 81 and middle classes, 7-9 modern, 1 5 myth of unrecognized, 86, 191, 212 mythical life of, 212 mythology of; 1 29 naive theory of, 143, 148, 1 56, 1 80 in new version, 171 nineteenth-century, 2 10 rights of the, 148 role of, 1 5, 82, 84, lO5, 1 1 5, 1 56, 209, 210, 2 1 1, 213, 214 romantic idea of, 188 as savior, 1 80 Schopenhauer's theory of, 86-89 sentimental, 143, 180 vs. talent, 5 tests of, 1 79 theory of, 2, 5, 1 2, 1 6,)8, 105, 1 17, 1 5� 1 5� 17� 212�21� 248 as transcending its model, 98 Genius worship, 10 Genius (master)-disciple relationship, 1 73, 174, 176, 1 79 Gerlach, Professor F. D., 107, 108 German nationalism, 106 German unification (unity, idea of), 48, 66 Germania, the (fraternity), 51, 72 Gesamtkunstwerk (total work of art), 96, 128 Gesamtschule, 222 God, and genius, 5-6, 8, 187, 213 Goethe, Johann Wolfgang, 1 , 4, 6, 7, 1 1 , 44, 70, 104, 1 37, 1 38, 1 70, 1 78, 208, 217 Grand En�yclopedia, The, 2, 5 Greek Cultural History (Burckhardt), 1 14 "Greek Music-Drama" (lecture) (Nietz- sche), 1 27, 129 Greeks, ancient, 170, 181 Guilt, 29 Gymnasial system, 47 Gymnasium, 44, 48, 60, 148, 1 50-151, 1 53, 171, 177, 238-239 as too democratic, 149 Hahn, Johanna (Friedrich's maternal grandmother), 21 Hegel, Georg, 2 1 1 Hegelian idea, Hegelianism, 170, 226 Heraclitus, 80, 162, 1 63, 164, 1 82, 240 Heroes, 10 excessive worship of; 9 need for, 8 romantic, 1 , 4, 5 Herzog, Heinrich, 47 Herzog, Moritz, 47 Historicism, 1 46, 1 68, 171, 237 History, 168, 169 as genealogy of geniuses, 181 History oj Materialism and Critique ofIts Present Significance, The (Geschichte des Mater'ialismus und Kritik seiner Bedeutung in der 'Gegenwart, Die) (Lange), 79, 82-84, 228 Holderlin, Friedrich, 6, 57, 76, 208, 217 "Homer and Classical Philology" (lec­ ture) (Nietzsche), 104 Homer's authorship, question of, 104-105 Homosexuality, 78 Hugo, Victor, 2lO, 2 1 1 Human, All Too Human (Nietzsche), 202, 206, 207 "Humanists," 68 Idealism, German, 81 Indian thought, 79, 81 'I!, ' , I ! , I JI
  • 256 Index Individuality, 149, 1 50-151, 1 53, 1 57, 1 76, 1 77 Individuation, 131, 144 Insanity. See Genius, and insanity (madness) Intellect, surfeit (excess) of, 87, 88 Intellectuals alienation from middle class of, 6 independence of, 1-3 new roles of, 1 Intelligentsia, German, 18, 220 Jahn, Otto, 64, 68-69, 96, 229 Johnson, Samuel, 3, 4 Journalism, 1 51-152 Julie, or the new Heloise (Rousseau), 4 Kant, Immanuel, 79, 80-83, 93, 1 79 Kierkegaard, Soren, 228 King Eichhorn game, 39-40 Knowledge, 81, 131, 1 33, 1 39, 144, 1 70, 1 77 excess of, 1 69 historical, 168-171 Korps, 225 Kriegslisten, 43 Krug, Gustav, 1 1 , 32-35, 37, 39, 40, 42, 43, 49-50, 51, 52, 60, 64 relationship with Nietzsche, 41 Krug (senior), 1 1, 36 Lange, Friedrich Albert, 79, 82-84, 228 Latency, 27 Leadership, 42 intellectual, 52, 53, 72, 73 Lenbach, Franz, 140 Lieblingskinder, 61 Life ofJesus, The (Strauss), 165, 166 Life ofRichard Wagner, The (Nietzsche), 231 Life ofSamuelJohnson, The (Boswell), 3 Liszt, Franz, 121 Literary history, 91, 92 Lohengrin (opera) (Wagner), 1 94 Lombroso, Cesare, 26 Loving one's fate (amor/ati), 14, 70, 209 Loyalty (Tr'eue), 192 Ludwig II of Bavaria, 1 19, 120 Mahly, j. A., 107-108 Marx, Karl, 7, 15, 210, 2 1 1 Masses, the, 1 52-155 Materialism, 82, 83, 149, 169 Meaninglessness, of individual life, 75 Mendes-Gautier, Judith, 1 19, 122 Mein Leben (My Life) (Wagner), 124, 140, 1 57 Meistersinger� The (opera) (Wagner), 96-98, 124, 147, 194 Mendelssohn, Felix, 1 1, 35, 36 Mental illness, 26, 222 Mentors, 177, 208-21 1, 213, 214, 216, 217 Metaphysics, 93, 164, 210 Meyer, Guido, 57-58 Michelangelo, 210 Middle classes, 2-4, 10, 149, 1 50, 151, 1 55, 238 and genius, 7, 8 and view of intellectuals, 6 Militarism, I l l , 1 12 Mimicry, 88 Model-of-life games, 39 Modernism, 1 33 Mozart, 7 Murr, Wilhelm, 200 Mushacke, Hermann, 71 Muster' (model), 42 Mutterrecht, Das (Bachofen), 1 13 Napoleon, 8, 155 Neologisms, 1 52 Nietzsche, Augusta (Friedrich's aunt), 22, 24 Nietzsche, Elisabeth (Friedrich's sis­ ter), 21, 23, 31, 38, 39, 65, 69, 101, 182, 198, 221, 247 birth of, 25 relationship with Friedrich, 40-41 Nietzsche, Franziska (nee Oehler) (Friedrich's mother), 10, 17, 20, 38, 67, 101 ancestors of, 21 devotion to children of, 24, 32 position of, at Naumburg, 32
  • Index relationship with Nietzsche family, 22-23 and role of mother, 23-24 Nietzsche, Friedrich August Ludwig (Friedrich's grandfather), 1 9 Nietzsche, Friedrich Wilhelm and ambition, 37, 207 in army, 89, 91 attack on Gymnasium by, 1 48-151, 1 53 attack on D. F. Strauss by, 1 65-1 67 attack on Western thinking by, 1 4 austere life of, 14 autobiography of, 24-26, 36, 43-45, 221 , 225 to Bayreuth, 1 59, 161, 167, 1 74-1 76, 1 97-200 birth of, 1 7 career, unsureness about, 59-62 character of, 33-34, 38, 39, 41, 42, 44, 49, 55, 74 childhood of, 24-25, 30, 221 and Christianity, 59, 67, 71, 1 66, 202-203 citizenship of, 100, 1 1 1 , 206 and Cosima von Billow, 1 22-123 delinquency of, 58, 64 and dream about father's death, 27- 28, 55 early life of, 10-1 1 and epilepsy, 222 family of, 10, 1 7-18, 23, 29/ fantasy life of, 59-60, 91 father figures (surrog:ates), attract­ ion to, 1 1 , 1 3, 35, 36-39, 56, 85, 94, 1 1�, 164, 208, 213, 214 father's death and, 10, 25-26, 30, 55, 207 in fraternity, 64-66, 67, 69, 225 and friendship, 33-34, 51, 53-54, 78, 109-1 10, 1 13 and games, 39-40, 42 and genius, 10, 1 2, 1 3, 1 5-16, 1 05- 106, 1 16, 123, 1 78 as genius, 1 33-1 34, 1 36, 1 42, 1 43, 145, 1 58, 171, 209 in Germania, 51-52 and grandfather Oehler, 37-38 257 health of, 54-55, 1 1 1, 1 12, 1 29, 141, 182-184, 1 97, 1 98, 206, 210 and historicism critique, 1 68-1 72 and independence, struggle for, 1 60, 161, 1 64, 1 67-168, 1 71-174, 182 inhibitions of, 39, 41 interest in music and literature of, 1 1, 35-37, 39, 66 on Lange, 82-84 and leave of absence from teaching, 205-206 lectures of, 124-1 25, 127-128, 148-1 52 and marriage, 184-1 85 on the masses, 1 52-155 as medic in Franco-Prussian War, 1 1 1- 1 12 and megalomania, 244 and model, search for, 74-75, 77 native (hereditary) intelligence of, 18, 24, 29, 37, 207 at Naumburg, 31-33 and oedipal relationships, 27, 95, 120, 121, 200 and older women, 186 originality of, 132, 1 35-137, 142, 143 and philology, 62, 68-70, 72-73, 75-77, 79, 82, 90-92, 104-105, 1 1 3, 1 32-133, 1 36, 1 38, 1 39, 1 44, 146 and philosophy, 1 1 2, 1 30, 1 62-163, 181 philosophy of, 71, 75-77, 79-83, 1 79, 216, 241 and preoccupation with kingliness, 220 professorship, in Basel, 91-92, 96, 98-108, 229 relationship with sister Elisabeth, 40-41 Ritschl's judgment of, 99, 229 at school, 1 1, 33-36 and Schopenhauer, 1 1-12, 70-71 , 73-85, 86-89, 93, 94, 106, I l l , 1 12, 1 1� 1 20, 17� 1 7� 227 at Schulpforta, 46, 49, 50, 51, 55-58, 60 I �
  • 258 Index Nietzsche, Friedrich Wilhelm (cont.) and sex, 66-67, 78 syphilis of, 26, 67, 225 and theology, 61, 62, 68-70, 225 and Triebschen years, 147-148 at university, 61, 63, 65, 68, 70 and Wagner, 96-99, 1 15-1 19, 120- 121, 123, 125, 127-128, 142, 143, 1 51, 1 52, 156-157, 160-161, 173- 1 76, 181, 183, 186-192, 19� 200-203, 245, 247 women and girls, lack of interest in 58, 65, 78, 89, 185 ' Nietzsche, Grandmother, 25, 29, 31, 32-33, 38 Nietzsche, Joseph (Friedrich's brother), 25 death of, 27-28 Nietzsche, Pastor Karl Ludwig (Fried- rich's father), 10, 17, 108, 121 and children, 24 illness and death of, 25-27, 28, 30 loss of his father, 19-20 as pastor, 1 7, 20 Nietzsche, Rosalie (Friedrich's aunt) 22 ' Nietzsche contra Wagner (Nietzsche) 214 . , Nietzsches, conservatism of, 31 Nihilism, 14 Novel, the, 3, 4 Ober'landesgericht (provincial court of appeals), 31, 32 Oedipal relationships, 27, 95, 120 121, 200 ' Oehler, Pastor David (Friedrich's ma­ ternal grandfather), 17, 21 37 3� 48 ' , Oehler, Max, 18, 220 Oehlers, as contrasted to Nietzsches 21-22 ' Old Faith and the New, The (Strauss) 166 ' On the Fourfold Root ofSufficient Reason (Schopenhauer), 85 "On the Future of Our Educational Institutions" (lectures) (Nietz­ sche), 148, 151, 152, 1 56-158 "On t�e Uses and Disadvantages of HIstory for Life" (Nietzsche) 76 167-1 70, 181 . , , as autobiographical, 171, 1 72 On the Will in Nature (Schopenhauer) 85 ' Opera and Drama (Wagner), 98, 128 Overbeck, Franz, 109-110 Oxenford, John, 86 PaTerga and Paralipomena (after­ thoughts and asides) (Schopen­ hauer), 85, 86, 90, 228 Parmenides, 162, 163, 164 Parsifal (opera) (Wagner), 122 159 203 ' , "Party of humanity;" 2 Patriotism, 1 1 1, 202 "Perspectivism," 80 Pf�rrers�and (German ministry), 18 PhIlologIcal Society (Philologischer Ver- ein), 72-73, 90 Philology, 68, 90-93, 101, 104-106 150, 237 ' Philosophenbuch (Philosopher'S Book) (Nietzsche), 165, 168, 172, 241 Philosophes, 2, 4, 5, 180 "P�ilosophical seriousness," 71, 127 PhIlosophy, 75-77, 79, 81, 93, 139, 145, 181, 226 history of, 79, 82, 83, 162, 163 life-affirming, 80 personal element in, 162, 163 Schopenhauer's, 71, 79-80, 85 90 226 ' , Western, 164 world-denying, 80 "Philosophy in the Tragic Age of the Greeks" (Nietzsche), 161-165, 166, 172, 182, 241 Pinder, Wilhelm, 11 32-35 37 39 40 43, 49-50, 51, 52, 60, 64 ' , , . relationship with Nietzsche, 41, 42 Pmder (senior), 1 1 , 32, 35, 36 Plato, 138 (Platonic) Ideas, 87, 88
  • Index 259 Principium individuationis (principle of individuation), 87; see also Indi­ viduation Private school, 33, 35, 36 Prometheus, 52 Proto-Nazism, 221 Prussian cadet schools, 47 Prussian society, 43 Public opinion, 1 51 , 1 53 Public school, 33, 34, 222 Psychohistory, 221 Ranke, Leopold von, 1 68, 226 Rationalism, 130, 1 32, 145, 234 Rationality, 131, 1 33 Reality, 80, 81, 1 37 Reason, 80 Ree, Paul, 184, 200 Renaissance Man (men), 1 5, 210 Representations (Vorstellungen), 80, 131 Revenge, fear of father's, 28 Revolution of 1789, 2 Rheinische Museumfur Philologie, Das, 68, 73, 79, 9 1 Richard Wagner in Bayreuth (Nietzsche), 181, 186, 189, 191, 192, 1 94-19� 214 autobiographical element of, 1 93 Ring of the Nibelungen, The (Wagner), 1 19, 121, 147, 1 59, 186, 194 Ritschl, Professor Friedrich, 1 1, 12, 64, 68-70, 72-77, 79, 91; 98-100, 136, 142-144, 146, 147, 151, 208, 214, 217, 226, 233 ' on Nietzsche, 99, 229 Ritschl, Sofie, 94-95, 97 Rohde, Erwin, 78-79, 89-90, 92, 101, 109, 1 12, 145, 146, 161, 1 64, 1 67, 236-237 Rousseau, Jean:Jacques, 4 Sainthood, 1 79-180 Schiller, Johann von, 104, 137, 1 38 Scholarship, 46, 48, 49, 52, 102, 1 32, 1 36, 1 69 mask of, 76 "School-state," 46, 48 Schopenpauer, Arthur, 1 1, 12, 14-16, 70-71, 73-79, 83-85, 93-94, 97, 1 1 1-1 13, 1 15, 1 1 7, 120, 124-1 28, 1 35-137, 146, 148, 1 50, 151, 1 57, 158, 162-164, 170, 173, 174, 1 76- 179, 182, 187, 189, 194, 208-21 1, 213, 214, 217, 234, 244 books of, 85 genius theory of, 86-89, 231 lack of recognition of, 86 philosophy of, 137, 144, 1 76, 1 78, 179 as "redemptive man," 180, 181 and the will, 80-81 , 83 Schopenhauer as Educator (Schopenhauer als Erzieher) (Nietzsche), 84, 1 73, 174, 1 76, 178, 180, 181, 1 94, 244 Schreber, D. G. M., 221 Schulmeisterisch (schoolmasterly), 52 Schulpforta, 1 1, 33, 38, 44, 76 academic standards of, 49 founding of, 46 intention of, 48-49 under Prussian jurisdiction, 47 as substitute father, 56 Schure, Edward, 200-201 Scienc� 1 32, 13� 139, 14� 169 "Science and Wisdom at Odds" ("The Struggle Between Science and Wisdom") (Nietzsche), 181 Servitude (Dienstbarkeit), 153 Siegfried (opera) (Wagner), 124, 142 Socrates, 14, 127, 129, 132, 138 "new," 139 "Socrates and Tragedy" (lecture) (Nietzsche), 127, 1 29 Sorrows of the Young Werther (Goethe), 4, 6 Specialization, 1 32, 1 50, 169, 1 77 Spielhagen, Friedrich, 93 Spieser ("nerd"), 58 Statism, 1 12 Strachey, Lytton, 9 Strauss, David Friedrich, 1 65-167, 241 Tagebucher (Diaries) (Cosima von Bii­ low), 1 23
  • 260 Talent, 180 definition of, 5 innate, 4 Tannhiiuser (opera) (Wagner), 194 Theognis, essay on, 72, 73 Thus Spake Zarathustra (Nietzsche), 213-21 7 Tischendorf, Konstantin, 74-75 Toilet training, 24 Tragedy, 1 26-128, 132, 1 36-138, 144, 181, 234, 235 Attic, 1 1 1, 1 14, 1 27, 1 29 Greek, 1 30, 133 rebirth of, 134, 1 38 riddle of, 1 35-1 36 Trampedach, Mathilde, 184, 185 Transference relationship, 227 Index Von Meysenbug, Malwida, 186, 1 98- 200, 244 Von Salome, Lou, 184 Von Senger, Hugo, 184, 185 Von Treitschke, Heinrich, 168 Von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff, Ulrich, 145, 146 Von Wittgenstein, Princess, 121 Tristan and Isolde (opera) (Wagner), 96, Wagner, Richard, 7, 1 1-16, 30, 35, 52, 82, 84, 87, 94-97, 109, 1 15-1 1 7, 121, 1 22, 12� 12� 13� 1 3� 14� 148, 1 50, 1 52, 1 55, 156, 1 58, 1 60, 161, 163-165, 167, 1 70, 172-1 76, 1 78, 181, 182, 184, 192, 1 96, 208- 2 1 1 , 213, 214, 216, 217, 229, 234, 236, 237 1 93, 194 Triumphlied (Brahms), 1 75-1 76 Truth, 14, 69, 1 63, 179, 210, 227 Twilight of the Idols, The (Nietzsche), 80 Two Fundamental Problems ofEthics, The (Schopenhauer), 85 "Unmoved mover," 8, 213 Untimely Meditations (Nietzsche), 84, 168, 1 72, 1 73, 175, 181, 206, 213 Usener, Professor Herman, 99 Valkyrie, The (opera) (Wagner), 96 Values, 14 Vischer-Bilfinger, Professor Wilhelm, 98-100, 1 13 Voltaire, 2 Von Altenburg, Princess Alexandra, 108 Von Bismarck, Prince Otto, 181, 243 Von Biilow, Cosima, 1 1 6, 1 1 7, 1 19, 120, 123-125, 140, 142, 147, 1 60, 161 , 1 72 background of, 121-122 Von Biilow, Hans, 1 19-12 1 Von Carolsfeld, Ludwig Schnorr, 1 19, 120 Von Gersdorff, Carl, 51, 53-54, 71, 109, 145, 161, 1 73, 1 75, 183, 1 84, 225 as actor, 244 as Aeschylus, 138, 140 and Bayreuth Festival, 1 96-197 and Birth of Tragedy, 140-141 career of, 1 59 children of, 120 as creator, 1 18-1 19 encouragement to Nietzsche of, 1 27-128 as enigma, 128 music of, 96 Nietzsche's critique of; 186-189 Nietzsche's influence on, 142, 233 on Nietzsche's works, 164-165, 167-168, 172-173 projects of, 123-124 and publi� 190-191, 194-1 95 and Triebschen years, 147 and women, 1 19 and young men, 1 19-120 Wagner's music, 129, 1 30, 132, 1 34, 138 Wanderer and His Shadow, The (Nietz- sche), 207 War games, 42-43 Weltanschauung, 94 Weltgeschichtliche Betrachtungen (Burck­ hardt), 1 1 2, 230 Wholeness, 1 77, 1 93 Wilhelm Meister (Goethe), 4
  • Will, the, 71, 80-81 , 83, 93, 94, 131, 1 37, 1 78, 1 79, 193, 234 intellect over, 89 "Will to power," 81, 83 Willing, 81, 1 37 Winckelmann, J. J., 104, 1 37, 1 50 Wissenschaft, 52, 102, 106, 145 Wolf, Friedrich August, 104 Index 261 World as Will and Representation, The (Schopenhauer), 70, 79-81, 85, 86, 88, 208 Zarathustra, 208, 214-2 16 ZeitschTiftfUT Musik, 52 Zukunftsmusik ("music of the future"), 191 Zukunftsphilologie (The Philology of the Future) (Wilamowitz-Moellen­ dorff), 145
  • Praise for "YOUNG NIETZSCHE "Provocative and ." which a gifted but awkward philology student became one of the modern .world's most original thinkers ..." Deserves to be read anyone interested in the dynamics of creative influence and achievement. tt - Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times "An imaginative and acute psychological, biographical, and historical analysis of a cultural construction - the idea of genius - that bears with originality and saliency on contemporary intellectual preoccupations. tt - Steven Marcus, Author of Freud and the Culture ifpsychoanalysis "An intellectual achievement of great originality and psychological sophistication.PIetsch offers the reader the fruits of his long and creative journey into Nietzsche's world of ideas and humanity which have far­ reaching implications for intellectual history, human development and, above all, the understanding of creativity. tt - George Moraitis, M.D., Chicago Institute for Psychoanalysis "PIetsch's brilliant and compelling account shows how the young Friedrich Wilhelm, coming of age in a Europe saturated with.the ideology of genius, turned himself into 'Nietzsche.' In a narrative both subtle and powerful, he offers us a Nietzsche who was, to use a much-abused term, a deconstructionist avant la lettre. tt - Peter Novick, Author of That Noble Dream "To my knowledge, there is no study of Nietzsche like it. PIetsch's great virtue is being able to write a scholarly biography that is, in both argument and manner, completely accessible to the intelligent layman.Pletsche's account manages to be sympathetic yet objective, and he is unfailingly successful in rendering his subject intelligible.This is a rare achievement. tt - Paul Robinson, Author of The Freudian Lift ISBN 0-02-925042-0 90000) 29 250426 Illpll THE FREE PRESS A Division ifMacmillan, Inc. NEW YORK © 1992 Macmillan, Inc. (New York) Cover design © Soloway-Mitchell Cover hoto © The Bettmann Archive