Early January through early April: Basel
For the wedding of Gabriel Monod und Olga Herzen (adopted daughter of Malwida von Meysenbug) FN composes a Monodie à deux. Lob der Barmherzigkeit. The title is a play on words using the names of the couple.
On February 3rd, 1873, Ritschl writes to Wilhelm Vischer about FN: "Aber unser Nietzsche!---ja das ist wirklich ein recht betrübtes Kapitel... Es ist wundersam, wie in dem Manne geradezu zwei Seelen nebeneinander leben. Einerseits die strengste Methode geschulter wissenschaftlicher Forschung ... anderseits diese phantastisch-überschwängliche, übergeistreich ins Unverstehbare überschlagende, Wagner-Schopenhauerische Kunstmysterienreligionsschwärmerei!...Am meisten ärgert mich seine Impietät gegen seine eigentliche Mutter, die ihn an ihren Brüsten gesäugt hat: die Philologie." [But our Nietzsche! --- that it certainly a very muddled chapter... it's remarkable how in that single man two souls live side by side. On the one hand the most rigorous methodology of schooled, scientific research... on the other this phantastic-exaggerated, overly clever, reaching into the incomprehensible, Wagnerian-Schopenhauerian art-mysticism-enthusiasm!... What annoys me the most is his impiety against his own mother, who nursed him at her breast: philology (Janz I p. 511)]
March 2-5: travels to Gersau at Vierwaldstätter Lake to escape the noise of the week-long Basel Fasnacht.
In a final broadside relating to the controversy surrounding FN's Geburt der Tragödie, Wilamowitz-Möllendorff publishes on February 21 a new pamphlet called Zukunftsphilologie II [Philology of the Future II], a reply to Rohde's Afterphilologie [Ass-Philology].
FN begins an intensive reading on books on natural science. These include: Zöllner, Natur der Kometen [The Nature of Comets]; Kopp, Geschichte der Chemie [History of Chemistry]; Ladenburg, Vorträge über die Entwicklung der Chemie [Lectures on the Development of Chemistry]; Mohr, Allgemeine Theorie der Bewegung und Kraft [General Theory of Movement and Energy]; Mädler, Der Wunderbau des Weltalls [The Wondrous Construction of Space]; Spir, Denken und Wirklichkeit [Thought and Reality]. FN sketches a Zeitatomlehre [literally: time-atom teaching].
April 6-12: Bayreuth, Nürnberg
FN and Rohde visit Bayreuth; FN brings his just-completed manuscript Philosophie im tragischen Zeitalter der Griechen [Philosophy in the tragic age of the Greeks]. Somber mood in Bayreuth due to the poor financial prospects for the Bayreuth enterprise.
During this visit, Wagner assigns FN the task of responding to David Strauß's latest book.
Mid-April through mid-July: Basel
On April 18, FN begins work on the first Unzeitgemäße Betrachtung [Untimely Meditation]. First draft is completed on May 5; the manuscript is sent to his publisher Fritzsch on June 25.
Complains of often working with eye- and headaches. For much of May and June, FN is unable to write for himself. He dictates to Gersdorff the manuscripts for Über Wahrheit und Lüge im aussermoralischen Sinne [On truth and lie in the extramoral sense] and the first Betrachtung. These manuscripts are sent to publisher Fritzsch on June 25. Gersdorff writes FN's letters to Cosima Wagner and Malwida von Meysenbug.
Heinrich Romundt (1845-1919), one of FN's house mates, invites his friend Paul Rée (1849-1901) to Basel for the summer. He meets FN in early May.
Courses for summer semester 1873, commencing May 2: Lecture on the Greek philosophers up to Plato (9 students and to auditors, Gersdorff and Rée); lecture: Hesiod, Erga (cancelled, no students); seminar: on Greek elegiac poets (4 participants); Pädagogium: Plato, Homer, Iliad IX.
Reading of Turgenev's Fathers and Sons.
FN begins work on what will be his last musical composition Hymnus an die Freundschaft [Hymn to Friendship]. FN will complete an initial version of this on 22 November 1873.
Mid-July through mid-August: Flims
Nietzsche's first meditation was a polemic against David Strauss
In early August FN's next book is published: Unzeitgemässe Betrachtungen. Erstes Stück: David Strauss der Bekenner und Schriftsteller [Untimely Meditations. First part: David Strauss, Confessor and Writer.] One thousand copies are printed and FN receives an honorarium of 210 marks (paid out the following year due to financial difficulties on the part of Fritzsch). Store price for the book is 3 marks. On October 8, 1874, 483 unsold copies will go to FN's next publisher Ernst Schmeitzner.
Mid-August through October 29: Basel
The ninth volume of Wagner's collected works appears. FN writes a longer letter to Wagner, mentioning his plans for a total of 12 untimely meditations. In reply to FN, Wagner writes: "Ich... schwöre Ihnen zu Gott zu, dass ich Sie für den Einzigen halte, der weiss, was ich will!" [I swear to you by God, I consider you the only one who understands what I am trying to accomplish!]
Favorable review of the Strauss book written by Karl Hillebrand, published in the Augsburg newspaper Allegemeine Zeitung Augsburg, number 256-266, Sept 1873, pp 256-266. A scathing review appears in the magazine Grenzboten: "Herr Nietzsche und die deutsche Cultur," year 32, 2nd semester, 2nd volume, October 1873 pp. 104-110. By late October, FN counts a total of nine published reviews. Work on the second meditation proceeds.
Rohde visits FN in Basel in October.
To assist fund raising for Bayreuth -- but much against his own inclinations -- FN writes Mahnruf an die Deutschen [Admonition to the Germans] on October 22 and takes a printed copy with him to Bayreuth.
October 30 through November 2: Bayreuth
The Wagner patron organization (Patronatsverein) declines to use FN's Mahnruf as a fund raising publication. The text is described as "artig, aber bestimmt abgelehnt" [well crafted but definitely rejected] and as "zu scharf" [too sharp]. FN declines to rework it. The text used instead, composed by Prof. Adolf Stern of Dresden, raises fewer than 20 marks.
Wagner sends the first nine volumes of his collected works to FN as a present with a dedicatory poem.
November 3 through December 19: Basel
The writer Gottfried Keller attempts to read the Betrachtung, but complains in a letter to Emil Kuh: "Das knäbische Pamphlet des Herren Nietzsche gegen Strauß habe ich zu lesen begonnen, bringe es aber kaum zu Ende wegen des gar zu monotonen Schimpfstiles..." [I've begun to read Mr. Nietzsche's childish pamphlet against Strauß, which I can not really finish because of the far too monotonous polemical style... (written November 18)]
Lectures for winter semester 1873/74: lecture: introduction to the study of classical philology (which, even though there are students, is cancelled due to FN's ill health); lecture: Über Platons Leben und Schriften [On Plato's Life and Writings] (4 students); seminar: Bios Sophokleous (2 participants); Pädagogium: Sophocles, Thucidides.
Gersdorff arrives in Basel on December 4, in time to assist with the preparation of the final manuscript of the second meditation. Franz Overbeck delivers it to the publisher Fritzsch in Leipzig.
December 20 through early January: Naumburg
Travels to Leipzig on December 27, staying until December 31. Argumentative visit with Ritschl in Leipzig; Ritschl criticizes FN, Wagner and even Overbeck. Ritschl notes in his diary: "Besuch von Nietzsche, voll prinzipieller Streitunterhaltung" [Visit by Nietzsche, full of arguments on fundamental issues] In one letter, FN writes of this visit: "...[Mit Ritschl's ein] Wortkampf, der nichts Peinliches, aber etwas Schmerzliches und Hoffnungsloses hatte" [KSB 4, #341]. And in another letter: "der alte Ritschl fing einmal rasend über Wagner als Dichter zu schimpfen an, dann wieder einmal die Franzosen (ich gelte als Bewunderer der Franzosen), endlich schimpfte er, nach Hörensagen, aber in der gräulichsten Weise über Overbeck's Buch [KSB 4, #338]