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A Companion to Friedrich Nietzsche

A Companion to Friedrich Nietzsche: Life and Works

Edited by Paul Bishop
Volume: 114
Copyright Date: 2012
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 464
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  • Book Info
    A Companion to Friedrich Nietzsche
    Book Description:

    Nietzsche looms over modern literature and thought; according to Gottfried Benn, "everything my generation discussed, thought through innerly; one could say: suffered; or one could even say: took to the point of exhaustion - all of it had already been said . . . by Nietzsche; all the rest was just exegesis." Nietzsche's influence on intellectual life today is arguably as great; witness the various societies, journals, and websites and the steady stream of papers, collections, and monographs. This ‘Companion’ offers new essays from the best Nietzsche scholars, emphasizing the interrelatedness of his life and thought, eschewing a superficial biographical method but taking seriously his claim that great philosophy is “the self-confession of its author and a kind of unintended and unremarked ‘memoir’.” Each essay examines a major work by Nietzsche; together, they offer an advanced introduction for students of German Studies, philosophy, and comparative literature as well as for the lay reader. Re-establishing the links between Nietzsche's philosophical texts and their biographical background, the volume alerts Nietzsche scholars and intellectual historians to the internal development of his thought and the aesthetic construction of his identity as a philosopher. Contributors: Ruth Abbey, Keith Ansell-Pearson, Rebecca Bamford, Paul Bishop, Thomas H. Brobjer, Daniel W. Conway, Adrian Del Caro, Carol Diethe, Michael Allen Gillespie and Keegan F. Callanan, Laurence Lampert, Duncan Large, Martin Liebscher, Martine Prange, Alan D. Schrift. Paul Bishop is Professor of German at the University of Glasgow.

    eISBN: 978-1-57113-773-9
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-ix)
  4. A Note on Editions and Abbreviations
    (pp. x-xii)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 1-12)
    Paul Bishop

    Fridrich nietzsche (1844–1900) is a figure from the mid-nine- teenth century whose influence reached well into the twentieth century and extends beyond, into our own time. Both his professional (and professorial) beginnings and his tragic personal end condition our perception of his philosophical achievement: his appointment, at the extremely young age of twenty-four, to a chair of classical philology, and his final decade of insanity, following his mental collapse in 1889. From a body of writings that went virtually unnoticed when they were first published has arisen a tradition of commentary and analysis that sometimes threatens almost to obscure...

  6. Link to Nietzsche’s Early Writings
    (pp. 13-23)

    At ten o’clock in the morning on Tuesday, 15 October 1844, a child was born to Franziska Nietzsche, née Oehler, and Karl Ludwig Nietzsche, the pastor of the village of Röcken, near Lützen in the eastern part of Germany.¹ On 24 October, the boy was christened Friedrich Wilhelm; his father, on the anniversary of whose own baptism the service had taken place, gave his son the following Taufspruch or baptismal motto: “What manner of child shall this be? And the hand of the Lord was with him” (Luke 1:66).

    As Nietzsche was well aware, he was well aware, he was...

  7. 1: Nietzsche’s Early Writings
    (pp. 24-48)
    Thomas H. Brobjer

    There is much extant material from and about the young and early Nietzsche, including large numbers of early poems, school essays, school records, general notes, etc. In fact, Nietzsche seems, of all the great philosophers and of all important nineteenth-century intellectu- als, to be the one about whom we have the most early extant material.¹ The German critical edition of Nietzsche’s writings covering the period after he became professor in Basel in 1869, the Kritische Studienausgabe (KSA), consists of thirteen volumes (as well as two volumes of philo-logical commentary and chronology),of which six contain his published texts (along with a...

  8. Link to The Birth of Tragedy
    (pp. 49-53)

    Following his inaugural lecture on Homer, Nietzsche settled in to his professorial duties: to his teaching, his research, and to socializing with his university colleagues, including the philologists Jacob Mähly and Hermann Usener. His lecture on Homer had made a favorable impression, or so Nietzsche initially thought (see his letters to Erwin Rohde of 29 May 1869 and to Franziska Nietzsche of mid-June 1869; KSB 3, 13 and 15). Writing to Rohde a few months later, however, in mid-July 1869, Nietzsche sounded more cautious: “With my ‘colleagues’ I am having a strange experience: I feel among them as I used...

  9. 2: The Birth of Tragedy
    (pp. 54-80)
    Adrian Del Caro

    The dramatic difference between the first edition of The Birth of Tragedy (Die Geburt der Tragödie), published in 1872, and the new edition — technically the third — of 1886 does not involve the content of the work itself, but is limited to the manner in which the new edition is framed.¹ The early title had been The Birth of Tragedy from the Spirit of Music (Die Geburt der Tragödie aus dem Geiste der Musik), now changed to The Birth of Tragedy: Or, Hellenism and Pessimism (Die Geburt der Tragödie: Oder Griechenthum und Pessimismum. Appended to the title of this...

  10. Link to Untimely Meditations
    (pp. 81-85)

    The Birth of Tragedy was written in (and, in a sense, against) a number of contexts: the military context of the Franco-Prussian War; the political context of the proclamation of the German Reich in Versailles on 18 January 1871, of the declaration of the Paris Commune on 18 March of the same year, and of the growing revolutionary movement in Europe; and the academic-political context of Basel, especially the philological circles in which Nietzsche had to operate. As early as on 20 November 1868, after his first meeting with Wagner in the Brockhaus household, Nietzsche wrote a letter to Rohde...

  11. 3: Untimely Meditations
    (pp. 86-108)
    Duncan Large

    The untimely meditations (Unzeitgemässe Betrachtungen, 1873–76) are some of Nietzsche’s most neglected works. They have attracted the attentions of translators less often than most of his other, more celebrated books — Walter Kaufmann, the doyen of postwar American Nietzsche translators, never got round to translating them, and he goes so far as to suggest that they merit translating last of all.¹ They have attracted relatively little scholarly interest, too, and are omitted from the canon established by Robert C. Solomon and Kathleen Higgins in their Reading Nietzsche,² while the term “untimeliness” has routinely been passed over in Nietzsche dictionaries.³...

  12. Link to Human, All Too Human
    (pp. 109-113)

    In Leipzig Nietzsche had become friends with Heinrich Romundt (1845– 1919), another classical philologist who joined the Philological Society, or Philologischer Verein, co-founded by Nietzsche. But both Nietzsche and Franz Overbeck, the theologian, were amazed by Romundt’s decision in February 1875 to convert to Roman Catholicism and become a priest. Writing to Erwin Rohde on 28 February 1875, Nietzsche described Romundt as “a domestic problem, a house ghost” (ein Hausleiden, ein Hausgespenst), and expressed his indignation at Romundt’s decision in a way that might surprise us: “Our good, pure, Protestant air! I have never felt my innermost dependence on the...

  13. 4: Human, All Too Human: A Book for Free Spirits
    (pp. 114-134)
    Ruth Abbey

    One of the first interpretive works about Nietzsche advanced the idea that three periods can be discerned in his writings. Lou Andreas-Salomé’s Friedrich Nietzsche in seinen Werken, published in 1894, proposed that Nietzsche’s middle period comprises the two volumes of Human, All Too Human (Menschliches, Allzumenschliches, 1878–80),Daybreak (Morgenröthe, 1881), and the first four books of The Gay Science (Die fröhliche Wissenschaft, 1882).¹ Nietzsche’s middle period is thus demarcated at one end by contrast with his early writings and their enthusiasm for Wagner and Schopenhauer,² and at the other by Thus Spoke Zarathustra (Also sprach Zarathustra,1883) and his subsequent writing....

  14. Link to Daybreak
    (pp. 135-138)

    Against the wishes of his mother and his sister (KGB II.6.1, 501), and against the advice of his friend Erwin Rohde (KGB II.6.1, 595) — which may, ever since Rohde’s marriage in August 1877, have counted for much less (cf. KSB 5, 277) — Nietzsche decided to give up his professorship at Basel, and he applied to be released from the post on grounds of ill-health on 2 May 1879 (KSB 5, 411–12). He had developed, as he told Franz Overbeck on 3 April 1879, “a phobia about Basel, a veritable anxiety and inhibition about the bad water, the...

  15. 5: Daybreak
    (pp. 139-158)
    Rebecca Bamford

    Nietzsche began to make preparatory notes for Daybreak: Thoughts on the Prejudices of Morality (Morgenröthe: Gedanken über die moralischen Vorurteile) in January 1880, and performed most of the main work of composing it in Genoa between November 1880 and May 1881; the preface was added in 1886.¹ In Ecce Homo(published 1908), Nietzsche claims that the particular pathologies of his existence provided the necessary conditions for Daybreak. He writes that during the winter of 1880, spent at Genoa, a “sweetening and spiritualization” (Versüssung und Vergeistigung) almost inseparable from an “extreme poverty of blood and muscle” (extremen Armuth an Blut und Muskel)...

  16. Link to The Gay Science
    (pp. 159-166)

    In June 1881, Nietzsche traveled on from Recoaro into the Engadin, staying first in St. Moritz and the moving on, in July 1881, to a small town in the mountains, where he was to stay for three months, and return time and again: Sils Maria. Here Nietzsche read Spinoza,¹ went for walks by the lake—noting, in particular, the existence of a large, pyramid-shaped rock by the water, close to Surlei—and wondered about whether to buy a typewriter. Externally, Nietzsche’s life looked dull, even boring: he stayed in a small house near the woods, ate a cheap lunch from...

  17. 6: The Gay Science
    (pp. 167-192)
    Keith Ansell-Pearson

    The Gay Science (Die fröhliche Wissenschaft) was originally published in four parts or books, with a prelude in German rhymes in 1882; a fifth part, together with an appendix of songs and a preface, was added and published in 1887. Nietzsche began to compose notes for what would become The Gay Science in the summer of 1881, drafting a set of remarkable notes that have yet to be translated into English, many anchored around his experience of the thought of eternal recurrence.¹ Nietzsche’s initial plan was for an addition to his previously published book,Daybreak (Morgenrüthe), and he conceived it as...

  18. Link to Zarathustra
    (pp. 193-200)

    The catastrophic breakdown in relations with family and friends alike after the débâcle with Lou von Salomé and Paul Rée left Nietzsche isolated from almost everyone in his life. After his mother accused him of having besmirched the name of his father, Nietzsche packed his bags and left Naumburg for Leipzig in September 1882 (cf. KSB 6, 256 and 326); his sister, Elisabeth, was seemingly unable to understand why Nietzsche was so upset by this remark, but we should remember Nietzsche’s identification with his father, following his early death. Although the Pindaric imperative, “become who you are” that Nietzsche’s identification...

  19. 7: Thus Spoke Zarathustra
    (pp. 201-226)
    Laurence Lampert

    A mong my writings my Zarathustra stands alone” (Innerhalb meiner Schriften steht für sich mein Zarathustra; EH preface §4; KSA 6, 259). But Nietzsche never thought that Thus Spoke Zarathustra (Also sprach Zarathustra) should be studied alone. While it is strikingly unique, it fulfills and extends the relatively more conventional books that preceded it and is supplemented by those that followed it. It stands alone because Nietzsche chose a unique vehicle to introduce a unique thought, one that came to him suddenly but only as a consequence of the gathering understanding acquired across decades of study and writing. The oddness...

  20. Link to Beyond Good and Evil
    (pp. 227-231)

    Although Nietzsche had sought, and found, solitude in Sils Maria, he had not given up on his project for a secular monastery. Before leaving Nice, he had written to Franz Overbeck about his hope, when he returned next winter, to establish “a society” (eine Gesellschaft) in which he would not be completely in hiding: possible members included the poet Paul Lanzky (1852–?), whom Nietzsche had gotten to know in Nice, and Heinrich Köselitz (known as Peter Gast), his trusted friend, perhaps even (as unlikely as it sounds) Paul Rée and Lou von Salomé (KSB 6, 494–95). And in...

  21. 8: Beyond Good and Evil
    (pp. 232-250)
    Martine Prange

    Toward the end of june 1885, Nietzsche wrote to Resa von Schirnhofer that he was dictating to Louise Röder-Wiederhold for several hours a day his “thoughts on the dear Europeans of today and—tomorrow” (meine Gedanken über die lieben Europäer von heute und — Morgen ; KSB 7, 59). Thirteen months later, these thoughts were published as the “dangerous” book Beyond Good and Evil (Jenseits von Gut und Böse , 1886).¹ The book developed out of a reworking of Human, All Too Human (Menschliches, Allzumenschliches), and it was originally conceived as a companion volume to Daybreak (Morgenröthe). Toward the end...

  22. Link to On the Genealogy of Morals
    (pp. 251-254)

    Of Nietzsche’s publications to date (i.e., to 1886),Beyond Good and Evil (Jenseits von Gut und Böse) had enjoyed arguably the best critical reception. In a review for the Swiss journal Der Bund , Josef Victor Widmann described it as Nietzsche’s “dangerous book” (gefährliches Buch), pointing out that the dynamite used in the construction of the Gotthardbahn, the railway line that traverses the Swiss Alps, always bore a black warning-flag to alert people to its danger — and that Nietzsche’s book deserved a similar warning.¹ Nietzsche was delighted by the review, both for commercial reasons (KSB 7,249 and 256) and because,...

  23. 9: On the Genealogy of Morals
    (pp. 255-278)
    Michael Allen Gillespie and Keegan F. Callanan

    From his youth nietzsche was concerned with the problem of German culture and the possibilities for cultural renewal. In his early work his hopes for renewal centered on Wagner and the rebirth of a tragic age out of the spirit of (Wagnerian) music.¹ After his break with Wagner, he gave up the idea of an immediate transformation of culture through a public festival or performance, and sought instead to provide the foundations for a new European cultural elite. This vision of cultural renewal gave way after 1881 to a more apocalyptic notion of cultural transformation that he connected to the...

  24. Link to The Case Of Wagner and Nietzsche Contra Wagner
    (pp. 279-284)

    While he and Heinrich Köselitz were still correcting the proofs of On the Genealogy of Morals (Zur Genealogie der Moral), Nietzsche told Meta von Salis that the work indicated everything essential that should be known about him: from the preface to The Birth of Tragedy (Die Geburt der Tragödie) to the preface of his latest work there was revealed, he said, “a kind of ‘evolution’” (eine Art “Entwicklungsgeschichte”; KSB 8, 151). Before Nietzsche returned to Nice for his fifth winter, E. W. Fritzsch published a composition by Nietzsche, his setting of Lou von Salomé’s “Hymn to life” (Hymnus an das...

  25. 10: The Case of Wagner and Nietzsche contra Wagner
    (pp. 285-308)
    Daniel Conway

    The year 1888 was not only Nietzsche’s most productive as an author, but also his final year of sanity. In May of that year he completed a first draft of The Case of Wagner (Der Fall Wagner), to which he subsequently added a preface, two postscripts, and an epilogue.² The first edition was published by C. G. Naumann in September of that year.³ Later that year, responding in part to reviews of The Case of Wagner,⁴ Nietzsche quickly prepared Nietzsche contra Wagner for print. He excerpted the contents from his earlier books, contains very brief preface. By design, this book...

  26. Link to Twilight of the Idols,The Anti-Christ, and Ecce Homo
    (pp. 309-314)

    Turin forms the backdrop to Nietzsche’s most productive year, and his last year of sanity: in addition to The Case of Wagner (Der Fall Wagner), published in September 1888, and Nietzsche contra Wagner (a series of selections from his earlier writings, first published in 1889 and then again in 1895), 1888 saw the preparation of three new works, Twilight of the Idols (Götzen-Dämmerung), The Anti-Christ or The Anti-Christian (Der Anti-Christ),and Ecce Homo , all published posthumously—all of which stand in some relation or another to Nietzsche’s final philosophical project. This work is (or a part of it) is referred...

  27. 11: Twilight of the Idols
    (pp. 315-338)
    Carol Diethe

    The great tragedy of Nietzsche’s mental breakdown is compounded by the fact that, by the time of his last year of sanity, he had severed his connections with those formerly nearest to him (Wagner, his mother Franziska, and his sister Elisabeth): he was free at last to concentrate on what he intended to publish as his magnum opus , The Will to Power (Der Wille zur Macht). His sister, with whom he had had a fraught relationship ever since her involvement in his attempt at a rapprochement with Lou Salomé in 1882, had married the anti-Semitic agitator and Wagnerian acolyte...

  28. 12: The Anti-Christ
    (pp. 339-360)
    Martin Liebscher

    The last sunday of august 1888 saw Nietzsche drafting the very last plan for his main philosophical work that was to have been entitled The Will to Power (Der Wille zur Macht).¹ This was to be endowed with the subtitle Attempt at a Revaluation of Values (Versuch einer Umwertung aller Werte). To the credit of Mazzino Montinari and the critical edition of Nietzsche’s works, there can no longer be any doubt that Nietzsche subsequently abandoned The Will to Power and replaced it with a project under the former subtitle, Revaluation of values (Umwertung aller Werte).² As a letter to Heinrich...

  29. 13: Ecce Homo
    (pp. 361-390)
    Paul Bishop

    In the final aphorism in the first section of Twilight of the Idols (Götzen- Dämmerung) Nietzsche tells us: “Formula of my happiness: a Yes, a No, a straight line, a ,goal…” (Formel meines Glücks: ein Ja, ein Nein, eine gerade Linie, ein Ziel…; TI “Sayings and Arrows” §44; KSA 6, 66). How Nietzsche chose his path through life, abandoning the zig-zag of his academic, Wagnerian, decadent path for the straight line of his philosophy, which says “yes” (and hence also says “no”: by affirming one thing, it also “renounces” another), and how he did so in an exemplary fashion, is...

  30. 14: Dithyrambs of Dionysos
    (pp. 391-398)
    Paul Bishop

    In 1860, while Nietzsche was a student at Schulpforta (and perhaps because of what he experienced in his schooldays), he wrote a sequence of poems entitled “In the Distance” (“In der Ferne”), the second of which moves from a Wertherian sense of constriction, via a nostalgic recollection of domestic harmony, to a melancholy realization of loss:

    And this homeland where you were born,

    Where you have richly enjoyed life’s bliss,

    This you have lost.

    [Und diese Heimath, wo du bist geboren

    wo du des Lebens Wonne reich genossen,

    Hast du verloren!—]¹

    Around the same, time, he wrote “without a...

  31. Link to the Nachlass
    (pp. 399-404)

    When he received a Wahnsinnszettel from Nietzsche, Strindberg replied immediately (in Latin) with a quotation from Horace:

    Rectus vives, Licini, neque altum

    semper urgendo neque, dum procellas

    cautus horrescis, nimium premendo litus iniquum.

    [You would lead a better life, Licinius, if you neither shaped your life constantly towards the open sea, nor, shivering tremulously in the face of the storm, held too closely to the treacherous coast.]¹

    Much of Nietzsche’s life had been spent, in metaphorical terms, doing precisely this: he had looked into the horizon of the infinite (GS§124), lived dangerously, built his cities on the shores of Vesuvius...

  32. 15: Nietzsche’s Nachlass
    (pp. 405-428)
    Alan D. Schrift

    Technically speaking, nietzsche’S nachlass or literary remains is comprised of all of his work, excluding his letters, that remained unpublished when his mental collapse ended his productive life in January 1889. This would include: (1) texts that he had prepared for publication but which he was unable to see through to publication, namely The Anti-Christ (Der Antichrist), Nietzsche Contra Wagner, Dithyrambs of Dionysos (Dionysos-Dithyramben), and Ecce Homo;(2) his early, unpublished essays and lectures, many of which could be considered complete, albeit never published, works; and (3)his notes, as well as drafts and variants of his published works. The size of...

  33. Conclusion
    (pp. 429-430)

    In his notebooks for the period from the end of 1876 to the summer of 1877, we find the following sketch for a section in the first volume of Menschliches, Allzumenschliches(Human, All Too Human) (MA I §292; KSA 2, 235–37). Where, in the published version of this passage, which is entitled “Forward” (“Vorwärts”), Nietzsche casts his observations in the form of recommendations for the reader, in this draft he states them as his personal ambition. So it seems appropriate, as a conclusion to this Companion to Friedrich Nietzsche, to his life and his works, to this Companion to Friedrich...

  34. Contributors
    (pp. 431-436)
  35. Index
    (pp. 437-449)
  36. Back Matter
    (pp. 450-450)