January to April: Leipzig and Naumburg
In early January FN expresses ambivalence about his study of classical philology. In a letter to Rohde he writes: "...wollte ich Dir... vorschlagen, gemeinsam Chemie zu studieren und die Philologie dorthin zu werfen, wohin sie gehört, zum Urväter-Hausrat." [I wanted to suggest to you to study chemistry together and to toss philology where it belongs, to grandfathers-furniture. (KSB 2, #608)] This is not a new sentiment; during his Leipzig years, FN remarks continually that, for him, philology is a means to get at more engaging philosophical problems, and is not an end in itself.
In December 1868, the university of Basel begins the process to replace its professor for Greek language and literature. The departing professor, Kiessling, asks Ritschl about FN. Ritschl responds with a glowing recommendation, predicting great things for FN. FN had attracted attention with his publications in Rheinisches Museum; several professors in addition to Ritschl recommend FN for the position. By January 16 FN has heard about this possibility. In a letter dated February 1 to Whilhelm Vischer-Bilfinger, FN writes to declare his willingness to assume the post. The process to approve the appointment begins in Basel on January 28; by February 14 FN has received the official offer of the position. He promptly has business cards printed with the title "Friedrich Nietzsche, Assitant Professor for Classical Philology."
January 21: FN attends the premier performance of Wagner's Meistersinger in Dresden and is much impressed. In his correspondence he refers to it as his favorite opera.
February 2-3: makes a quick trip to Naumburg for his mother's birthday. He does not tell her of the possible Basel appointment. Instead, he surprises her after the appointment is official by sending her his new visiting card, to which he adds his annual salary (800 Thaler or 3000 francs).
FN's appointment at Basel was made despite his lack of doctoral promotion and habilitation ("habilitation" is the German practice of requiring a post-doctoral monograph to qualify to lecture). The faculty of the university of Leipzig quickly bestow the rank of doctor, without examination or disputation, on March 23, citing his publications in Rheinisches Museum.
In a letter to his mother and sister from late February, he asks them to look for somebody he could hire as his servant. [KSB 2 #621]
FN decides to give up his Prussian citizenship, feeling that his first duty to his new university. On April 17, the Prussian government officially cancels FN's citizenship. Curiously, he never officially becomes Swiss, as he never meets the residency requirements. For the remainder of his life, he is officially a stateless individual.
FN leaves Leipzig on March 15, traveling to Naumburg. He departs for Basel on April 12. He makes visits to Bonn, Wiesbaden, and Heidelberg (where he writes his inaugural lecture). In Karlsruhe he is able to take in a performance of his "Leiblingsoper" Meistersinger. He arrives in Basel on April 19.
Publications: Two reviews appear in the Literarisches Centralblatt für Deutschland, issue 6, 30 January 1869, pages 144 and 145. Also: "De Laertii Diogenis fontibus scripsit Friedericus Nietzsche," in the Rheinisches Museum für Philologie, NF 24, 1869, pages 181-228.
Mid-April through mid-July: Basel
FN initially lives in rented rooms at the address Spalentorweg 2.
Summer semester teaching: Lecture: Aeschylos, Choephoren (6 students); lecture: the Greek lyricists (7 students); seminar: exercises (2 students and 5 auditors); Pädagogium: Plato, Homer (Iliad 18), the Greek drama. FN lectures at 7 in the morning.
The "Pädagogium" was a unique Basel institution, designed for senior gymnasium students to help prepare them for the university. Consisting of three classes, the students ranged in age from 15 to 18 years old, and faculty at Basel were required to teach in the program.
28 May: gives his inaugural lecture, Über die Persönlichkeit Homers [On the Personality of Homer] (later printed privately as Homer und die klassische Philologie [Homer and Classical Philology]). FN concludes his lecture with a personal confession about his own way of practicing philology: philology as embedded in and serving an overarching philosophical enterprise. "...daß alle und jede philologische Tätigkeit umschlossen und eingehegt sein soll von einer philosophischen Weltanschauung..." [that each and every philological activity should be surrounded and limited by a philosophical world view. Janz I 271] FN's first book, Geburt der Tragödie, will be precisely that. Initial acquaintance with Jacob Burckhardt.
May 17: visits Wagner for the first time in Tribschen. FN is invited to Tribschen for Wagner's birthday (22 May) but is unable to attend. He returns to visit for the weekend of June 5-6; Siegfried Wagner born during that visit.
Erwin Rohde receives his doctorate. On July 1st, FN moves into the apartment at the address Schützengraben 45 (today 47) in Basel. While he was living here, the house was sold to Otto Baumann-Reisch, from which the jokes about the "Baumanns-Höhle" [Baumann's cave] arose, as Baumann had mining interests. Overbeck will move into this house in 1872. FN remains in the house until 1875.
Very indicative: initially FN plans a standard philological volume with a colleague named Usener (mentioned in a letter to Rohde on June 16). This project is eclipsed by FN's work on what will become the decidedly non-standard Geburt der Tragödie.
Mid-July through early August: Interlaken, Basel, Tribschen, Pilatus
FN's first semester as professor ends on July 17 with Bündelitag [lit: little bundle day]. One this day the students supposedly pack all their belongings in a bundle and dash to the train station to begin summer vacation. [Janz I 333]. The teaching load has been demanding: lecturing Mon-Sat at 7; teaching at the Pädagogium Tuesday through Friday, sometimes twice in the day;.
Visits Tribschen at the end of July; Cosima Wagner writes in her diary: "Zu Tisch den Pr. Nietzsche, der sehr angenehm ist und sich auf Tribschen wohl fühlt." [At mealtime Prof. Nietzsche, who is very agreeable and feels at home in Tribschen]
On 2 August FN spends a few days hiking in the mountains. In his backpack is the manuscript of Wagner's Über Staat und Religion [On Government and Religion]
In a letter to his sister, in which he is discussing the relatively high costs of traveling and living in Switzerland, FN writes: "Aber warurm hast Du die Verwaltung meiner Gelder an Dich genommen? [Why have you taken on the administration of my money?]. Clearly an expression of irritation, FN is pushing back on the intrusions of his sister. It echoes a remark that Elisabeth will make to Heinrich Köseltiz in 1893: "Wer hat Sie denn eigentlich zum Herausgeber gemacht?" [So who appointed you editor?].
Reading of Hartmann's Philosophie des Unbewußten [Philosophy of the Unconscious]
Early August through early October: Basel
Repeated visits to Tribschen: June 5/6; July 31-August 2; August 21-23; August 28-29; September 18-19. For the most part very warm and cordial. Of his relationship to Wagner, FN writes Deussen: "Alle zwei, drei Wochen verlebe ich ein paar Tage auf seinem Landgute... und erachte diese Annäherung als die größte Errungenschaft meines Lebens, nächst dem, was ich Schopenhauer verdanke." [Once every two or three weeks I spend a few days at his estate...and consider this friendship the greatest achievement of my life, next to that which I owe Schopenhauer]
September 19: Argument between Wagner and FN about the latter's new-found vegetarianism (which FN gives up a few days later). Cosima notes in her diary about this debate on vegetarianism: "Da der Professor Richard recht gibt und doch bei seiner Abstinenz bleibt, wird Richard böse." [Richard became angry because the professor acknowledges that Richard is right and yet remains abstinent. Entry from September 19, 1869]
October 6-18: Naumburg
Fall vacation; visits paid in Leipzig on October 10 to Ritschl, Romundt, Ernst Windisch.
Mid-October through late December: Basel
Winter semester teaching (beginning November 1; Pädagogium starts October 19): lecture: Latin grammar (8 students); lecture: the pre-socratic philosophers (not held, no students); continues the seminar on Aeschylos, Choephoren (3 students and 4 auditors); Pädagogium: Hesiod, Plato.
Ritschl, FN's teacher and mentor, plans a new publication series and offers FN the honor of contributing to the first number. FN accepts, suggesting a contribution on the contest between Hesiod and Homer.
Visit to Tribschen November 13-14.
Makes arrangements in Basel for the printing of a portion of Wagner's autobiography Mein Leben [My Life]. The printing of FN's inaugural lecture is completed on December 19.
December 23 to January 2: Tribschen
FN plays "Weihnachtsmann" [Santa Claus] as he makes numerous Christmas purchases in Basel on Cosima's behalf. First Cosima asks him to find a print of Dürer's Melancholia (in a letter dated November 2), then asks him to submit a list on her behalf at a Basel toy store (November 30), and finally for some additional presents (December 15). Even Wagner's request regarding the printing of some of the pages from his newly-begun memoirs is a Santa Claus task, since it needs to be done before Christmas so that it can be a present for Cosima. FN spends the Christmas holidays visiting Richard and Cosima.