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Frau Lou: Nietzsche's Wayward Disciple

Frau Lou: Nietzsche's Wayward Disciple

Copyright Date: 1968
Pages: 601
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    Frau Lou: Nietzsche's Wayward Disciple
    Book Description:

    The rich and fascinating life of Lou Andreas-Salomé (1861-1937) has been reconstructed by Professor Binion on a vast documentary basis, and his findings contradict all earlier versions of her life. Frau Lou was a woman of prodigious intellect, a woman of letters, and a powerful personality. She was closely linked with many of the great cultural figures of the time, often before they achieved recognition. This was the case with Nietzsche, Rilke, Freud, Ferdinand Tönnies, Gerhart Hauptmann, Arthur Schnitzler, and Martin Buber.Frau Lounot only relates but interprets Lou's life, and the point of the book is to discover how the works of the mind, whether scientific or imaginative, arise out of personal experience.

    Contents: I. Father and Father-God. II. God's Vicar, Gillot. III. After Gillot. IV. The Unholy Trinity. V. From Pillar to Post. VI. "A Pity Forever." VII. Lou Without Nietzsche. VIII. The Wayward Disciple. IX. Rites of Love. X. Super-Lou and Raincr. XI. Russia In, Raincr Out. XII. Idly Busy. XIII. At Freud's Elbow. XIV. A Personalized Freudianism. XV. Theorizing for Freud. XVI. Living for Freud. XVII. Aside from Freud. XVIII. Revamping the Past. XIX. "Homecoming." XX. A Retrospect. XXI. Beyond Frau Lou. Bibliography. Index.

    Originally published in 1974.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-7219-0
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
    (pp. v-vii)

    When a research committee asked me long ago whether a comprehensive study of Lou Andreas-Salome deserved support, the answer was easy to give: Of course. After all, she was a fascinating woman, and her successive friendships with Nietzsche, Rilke, and Freud clearly deserved investigation. Asked many years later to read the manuscript that had grown out of this project, I was astonished by its vastness. Was Lou reallythatimportant? The brief first part reinforced my doubts. For all my admiration for Freud, I do not care for books that substitute psychoanalytical speculations for painstaking scholarship. But the long second...

  3. Key to the Reference Matter
    (pp. viii-viii)
    (pp. ix-xii)
    Rudolph Binion
  5. Table of Contents
    (pp. xiii-2)
  6. Part One: Childhood

      (pp. 5-13)

      Siegfried Wilm, a Hamburg baker’s son faced with conscription in 1813, fled with a Danish bride to Saint Petersburg. There he made a fortune as a sugar refiner. He was fitfully unmaking it when, in his prime, he took a knife to his son on orders from God to destroy all survivors of the Neva floods. His wife disarmed him, then kept him under guard in a back room, addressing “diary pages” to him regularly until his death and even afterwards “on remembrance days, anniversaries, children’s birthdays”—not excluding “the very day” of her remarriage.¹/a

      In 1844 the Wilms’ daughter,...

      (pp. 14-20)

      Hndrik Gillot was an ultraliberal pulpit orator attached to the Dutch legation in Petersburg, hence independent of the local church authorities. He preached at a Dutch Evangelical Reformed chapel on the Nevsky Prospect—in German as a rule. He would begin his sermons with a brief prayer, then take off from a line in the Bible or even in Goethe or Kant to lecture on the history or the philosophy of religion. He saw four typical historic stages to religion: first, “natural powers are represented as gods”; next, “the gods are dissociated from the natural powers”; then comes “a Philosophic-theoretical...

      (pp. 21-32)

      For one long, decisive moment, Lou’s Gillot romance had drawn her attention away from her self and her past. It left her supremely capable of coping with actualities on her own terms—that is, in the service of her predilection for pliant phantasms. Her ego’s crucial new assets were Gillot’s ethic of self-regard and his rationalistic bent. She turned each to extremest account. Of the first she made a sacred egoism—a licence to affirm herself before the world at large, even against it if need be. The second she applied to comprehending the world's purposes in basic accord with...

  7. Part Two: Youth

      (pp. 35-57)

      Lou Salomé spent the academic year 1880–1881 as an auditoraat the University of Zurich. She lived just outside of town with a family of sometime Petersburg Germans named Brandt and, to her undisguised vexation, her mother. On campus she listened longest to Andreas Ludwig Kym, a Spinozist who treated by turns of psychology, of “logic in conjunction with metaphysics,” and of philosophy since Ionia, all with impressive system and scope. She heard little worth noting from Richard Avenarius, famed for his approach to pure experience called “empiriocriticism,” who lectured topically yet fitfully on psychology one term and on...

      (pp. 58-80)

      This time Lou was only two weeks in Zurich, On May 30, 1882, she and her mother left for a Wilm family reunion in Hamburg, arriving June 2. From Vienna, where he was serving a medical internship, Jenia came after them to escort his mother home. The three Salomés quit Hamburg for Berlin sometime before June 13,¹ and on June 19 Lou saw her mother and brother off by sea, then took a night train back to Berlin en route to Stibbe.

      All this while, Rée assailed Lou with mail.mOf his leaving Zurich he wrote within the hour:...

      (pp. 81-111)

      TALK had set them asunder; talk brought them back together. Morning, noon, and night the two talked—in the pine forest, on an inn terrace beneath lindens, along precipitous chamois paths, in her room and in his. They talked of unholy things—of squeamishness about suffering as inhibited delight in it (“we did not dare look at each other afterwards”¹⁵¹) and, over a cognac (“Ah, how foul it tasted!” he exclaimed¹⁵²), of his potential for madness. More academically, he argued the original ascendancy of the “herd instinct” over Rée’s constant: egoism.¹⁵³

      Yet religion was, he later remarked, “really our sole...

      (pp. 112-140)

      Lou and Rée meanwhile did not go to Paris. Instead, Rée’s mother consenting, they set up a chaste ménage in a Berlin boarding house suite consisting of two bedrooms separated by a parlor.iLou sought to turn this parlor into a philosophical salon—copying Malwida to the extent of calling herself LouisevonSalomé.jAmong her first callers was Malwida’s idealistic correspondent Ludwig Hiiter, then studying under the eclectic philosopher Friedrich Paulsen. “Big fight over Paulsen,” Hiiter later recollected. “Dr. Rée offhandedly dubs him a ‘brother believer’ . . . hence a materialist, since he calls himself onede pur...

      (pp. 141-172)

      “It grieves me that you should think me so gullible,” wrote Louise Salomé late in May 1887 to her daughter, who, on top of earlier dark words about how “experiences and circumstances render it desirable for me to live alone,” and again about “conflicts that make me suffer and impede an early marriage,” had specified reluctance to play the fiancée as her “sole reason” for insisting on yet a seventh month of secrecy about her betrothal—which was no secret in any case, her mother added, as a most upsetting anonymous letter about it had been received from Berlin, and...

  8. Part Three: Womanhood

      (pp. 175-211)

      In 1892 Lou Andreas, thirty-one-year-old virginal wife, and Georg Ledebour, a Marxist journalist and lecturer eleven years her senior, fell in love. Lou enjoined Ledebour to be patient until her husband was over a worrisome illness. Ledebour complied until on October 18 the three met unexpectedly at the Bölsches’ and a robust Andreas glowered at Ledebour demonstratively a whole evening through.Thatwas the worrisome illness, Lou told Ledebour: it would pass. Ledebour, calling her marriage madness, demanded to confer with Andreas. “He did not knowhowimpossible it would be,” Lou lamented, “and that Fred spoke only with knives...

      (pp. 212-265)

      “Woke up in Vienna,” reads Lou’s calendar for October 1, 1896; then after a week in Zemek’s entourage, “. . . in the hospital with Zemek. The summons to the dying man. Night in the hospital. Departure at 5 AM . . . for Hallein,” alone. That night was the one in Lou’s touching story “Eine Nacht,”² in which a young intern, Berthold, while receiving his fiancée’s clandestine visit from out of town one night in his room at the hospital, is called to attend a dying man. He goes reluctantly and returns hours later, aghast and distraught, to rail...

      (pp. 266-304)

      Arriving in Moscow on May 9, 1900, Lou and Rainer took their “old rooms.” For the first night Lou noted: “Bedbugs!” For May 14: “Bugs in the tea!” and for May 15: “Moved.” The two visitors consorted mostly with Sofia Schill, attending a “people’s lecture” or two given by her and even meeting workingmen.⁴⁵⁸ As Rainer told his mother on May 21: “Every day brings surprises and occurrences that penetrate deep into experience.”⁴⁵⁹ They saw Paster nak once,⁴⁶⁰ then other artists. Again they frequented galleries, churches, and the Kremlin.

      As they were about to board the train for Kiev at...

      (pp. 305-332)

      You returned to Berlin on June 16, accompanied by Zemek as far as Dresden. “Home with Oldster,” reads her diary; “roses and edelweiss in the room. Late supper, then long, long, endless sleep as at the bottom of some fountain.” And two days later: “No peace yet for work all yesterday, which flitted away between tries. . . . This afternoon I must enter into my work.” Then on June 23: “One week now I’ve been back. One week without work, but full of work stirrings within. And perhaps a fresh-sown field hardly looks any different one week after.”yIn...

  9. Part Four: Maturity

      (pp. 335-339)

      Lou continued studying psychoanalysis at home most of 1912 with few diversions. One such was a springtime stay in Berlin during which she impressed Freud’s disciple Karl Abraham with her uniquely “deep and subtle understanding of analysis.”¹ Another such was an article lauding Elisabeth Siewert’s writings as “nowhere debilitated by modern-day ‘psychologism’ with its sauntering problem-phantoms and emotional concoctions supersubtly unraveled past recognition”²—an odd tribute from Lou in any year.

      On October 25, 1912, Lou arrived in Vienna with Ellen Delp. Following in Zemek’s old footsteps, she had obtained Freud's leave beforehand to attend his university course on psychoanalysis...

      (pp. 340-346)

      Lou’s personalized Freudianism was a foregone conclusion in all essentials beginning with its being a personalized Freudianism. Anticipated already in her scant marginalia of 1911–1912, it was spelled out piecemeal in her diary for 1912–1913. Thereafter it was much elaborated but virtually unaltered.

      The grand source for Lou was the narcissism of earliest infancy, in which ego and libido are as yet undifferentiated, self and world as yet undistinguished: “protonarcissism,” as Freud called it in contradistinction to the narcissism that comes of it as the libido withdraws from objects and fixes on the emergent self. Originally there are...

      (pp. 347-365)

      Inevitably, Lou’s apprenticeship in psychoanalysis stirred up her mighty father complex, particularly when in Vienna she lived psychoanalysis day by day. Before such a Mosaic figure as Freud, destroyer of old law and bringer of new, she perforce felt the old lure of idolatrous pupilage, even at fifty-two. In fact Freud’s credentials as god-man had drawn her to Vienna: she came predisposed, notebook in hand. The weekly closed sessions with her five “big brothers”⁶⁷/rplus Freud “at their head,”⁶⁸ all so respectful and considerate of her, took her back to her childhood ⁶⁹ as it had never been. Freud’s gallant...

      (pp. 366-399)

      Lou was, then, pretendedly and again actually her own main subject for research into narcissism. Yet she did not lack ready alternatives, for besides theorizing about psychoanalysis she practiced it. She underwent no training analysis beyond Freud’s two Sunday chats with her. After the first of these she noted that she—exceptionally—had not come to psychoanalysis to untangle “mix-ups between depths and surface.”¹³⁰ In this spirit she conducted a selfanalysis amounting to a reworking and especially rewording of stock reminiscences out of her childhooddShe could make out neither the wishful thinking beneath her fictionenor the human being...

      (pp. 400-458)

      At Alvastra in 1911 Lou seduced Poul Bjerre after having befriended his wife, an invalid, and laughed down his marital scruples: she was rectifyingRuth.Bjerre was then thirty-five to Lou’s fifty. He had married Professor Andreas Bjerre’s—his brother’s—mother-in-law,rso that Frau Professor Andreas was taking nominal advantage of him. Lettered, he too had once written on Nietzsche as a mad genius, but expressly to eschew reductive exegetics.³⁶⁴ His most recent work was a drama.³⁶⁵ Pursuant to her passion, Lou learned not only psychoanalysis but Swedish.³⁶⁶ By the late spring of 1912, when they last met as lovers,...

  10. Part Five: Old Age

      (pp. 461-480)

      Lou Salomé’s childhood began more or less punctually with her birth, her youth upon her break with Gillot, her womanhood somewhere along the Beer-Hofmann/Zemek continuum, her maturity at Freud’s elbow. Only her old age did not declare itself at any one time or through any single experience. Ascendant from the time of her essay on old age and eternity, it was already latent in her nonage insofar as it consisted in an increasing indulgence in phantasmal reminiscence, experienced as an increasing relaxation of resistance against an upsurge of old memories both pleasant and painful. She would gladly have done without...

      (pp. 481-490)

      At forty Lou had looked forward to senescence as to a fulfillment.¹⁵⁴ At forty-one she had considered: “Perhaps in old age one reattains to a half dreamlike view of things such as belongs to childhood and substantially lightens the pressure of life.”¹⁵⁵ And at forty-two she had reflected on the subsidence of erotism: “It is just as strong a renewal of life as puberty: and at the same time a reconquest of the land of our childhood, which spread out well beyond love.”¹⁵⁶ Twenty years later she was wavering: “Who would not often like to get out along the way,...

      (pp. 491-492)

      Outwardly and inwardly both, Lou Salomé’s life is among the richest on record. She kept company—uncannily stimulating, uncannily receptive—with the cultural elite of her times as judged from ours. She wrote in the widest variety of literary genres, including a couple of her own devising, happy and unhappy respectively: the diary essaylet and the achronological memoir. And by and large she wrote well: her peers among essayists at all odds are numbered (which is not to say that she essayed no nonsense). She also grasped the other business of culture as if from the inside: painting, the performing...

    (pp. 493-510)

    Frau Louregisters my progress to date with its subject: a mind at work throughout a lifetime. As I wrote it, new lines of inquiry kept opening up, leading to new factual or interpretive discoveries, and therewith to newer lines of inquiry. I refrained as best I could till a full draft was done, then followed up lead after lead left out standing: huge piecemeal revisions ensued—and my lead list came off only the longer. I am leaving the text discontinuous and inconsistent just so as to underscore its inconclusiveness.

    I called an arbitrary halt in the thick of...

    (pp. 511-536)
  13. APPENDIX A: Lou’s Literary Expression (from “Dichterischer Ausdruck,” Das literarische Echo, December 15, 1918: 325-27)
    (pp. 537-542)
    (pp. 543-556)
    (pp. 557-576)
  16. INDEX
    (pp. 577-587)