January and February: Basel
In early January, the text of Wagner's next opera Parsifal appears. FN's remark in a letter to Seydlitz: "Mehr Liszt als Wagner, Geist der Gegenreformation." [More Liszt than Wagner, spirit of the counter reformation] In a letter to Elisabeth, Cosima notes: " 'Parsifal' hat mit keiner Kirche ja mit keinem Dogma etwas gemein, denn in ihm wird das Blut zu Brod und Wein, während in der Eucharistie es umgekehrt ist." ['Parsifal' has nothing in common with any church or even any dogma, as in it blood becomes bread and wine, while in the eucharist the opposite is the case]
FN sends the manuscript for his new book to Schmeitzner. Initially, FN wants the book to appear anonymously, but Schmeitzner firmly rejects this. Correction of the page proofs is done with the help of Köselitz and Widemann.
Early March through April 23: Baden-Baden, Naumburg
On March 7th, FN is relieved of his teaching responsibilities at the Pädagogium in Basel due to reasons of health. He undertakes a hydrotherapeutic cure in Baden-Baden.
Schmeitzner purchases the second printing of Geburt der Tragödie, which has remained in Fritzsch's storeroom since 1874. This includes all 750 copies.
Köselitz transcribes FN's composition Manfred-Meditation. Work on the page proofs of the new book is finished.
Late April through end of July: Basel
Lectures for the summer semester of 1878: Hesiod, Erga; Plato, Apology. Seminar: Aeschylos, Choephoren.
The first edition contained what is known today as MAM I
In late April, Schmeitzner issues FN's new book, Menschlisches, Allzumenschliches; Ein Buch für freie Geister. Dem Andenken Voltaires geweiht zur Gedächtnisfeier seines Todestages, den 30. Mai 1778 [Human, All Too Human; a Book for Free Spirits. Dedicated to the memory of Voltaire on the commemoration of the day of his death, 30 May 1778].
Cosima, like her husband, barely reads the book before rejecting it utterly. The antisemitic atmosphere in the house Wahnfried in Bayreuth plays a role in the interpretation. Cosima writes in a letter:
"Das Durchblättern und einige prägnante Sätze daraus genügten mir und ich legte es ad acta. ... Vieles hat mitgewirkt zu dem traurigen Buche! Schließlich kam noch Israel hinzu in Gestalt eines Dr. Rée, sehr glatt, sehr kühl, gleichsam durchaus eingenommen und unterjocht durch Nietzsche, in Wahrheit aber ihn überlistend, im Kleinen das Verhältnis von Judäa und Germania..." [A thumbing through and a few significant sentences were sufficient for me and I laid the book aside... Much accounts for the sad book! Finally Israel came into it in the form of a Dr. Rée, very smooth, very cool, at the same time captivated and subjugated by Nietzsche, in truth however duped by him (Rée), a microcosm of the relationship of Judea and Germany]
Because the new work is a dramatic departure from Wagner, many of FN's friends either follow Cosima's lead and ascribe it to the influence of Rée, or, as does Otto Eiser, sees it as the beginning of a "Gehirnzerrüttung" [mental derangement]. FN writes to Rée: "Alle meine Freunde sind jetzt einmüthig, daß mein Buch von Ihnen geschrieben sei und herstamme: weshalb ich zu dieser neuen Autorschaft gratulire ... Es lebe der Réealismus und mein guter Freund!" [All my friends are now in agreement that my book was written by you: for which I congratulate you on its authorship ... Long live Réealism and my good friend!]
Schmeitzner, in a note to Köselitz, reports with dismay the virulence of Wagner's antisemitic remarks with regard to FN's book. This is odd, given Schmeitzner's active participation in the antisemitic movement in the early 1880's.
On June 10, Rohde, as did Overbeck and FN, also declines to participate in the Bayreuther Blätter. Later in June, Rohde receives an appointment to a professorship in Tübingen.
Readings: Paul de Lagarde, German Essays; Grieebach, German Literature from 1770 On; Taines, History of English Literature; Rénan, Philosophical Dialogues.
Albert Brenner, a member of the Sorrent party, dies in the hospital on May 17.
Early August through mid-September: Grindelwald, Interlaken
Schmeitzner sends a copy of Allzumenschliches to Bismarck. Schmeitzner also alerts FN about Wagner's polemic against Allzumenschliches that will appear in the Bayreuther Blätter. This article appears in the August/September issue entitled Publikum und Popularität [Public and Popularity]
Late July: Overback visits Rohde in Jena.
The second printing of Geburt der Tragödie appears in publication. Tags with the new publication date and publisher are glued onto the title page.
Late September through mid-October: Naumburg
20 September: FN visits Franz and Ida Overbeck in Zürich.
Franziska purchases the house at Weingarten 18 in Naumburg and helps to support herself by renting rooms. She engages Pauline Albine Freytag (1862-1938) to assist with the household chores. Pauline is known as "Alwine" and becomes a regular member of the household. FN, in a letter from August 1888, will refer to her as the "vortreffliche Alwine" [the excellent Alwine]. Alwine will participate in the care of FN after the onset of his insanity and will move with FN to Weimar in 1896. In 1905 she marries Adolf Schaaf. She remains in contact with Elisabeth and participates at Elisabeth's funeral in 1935, at which Hitler makes an appearance and Saukel the memorial address. [Haufe]
Visit by Schmeitzner, who is alarmed by FN's appearance. FN is plagued by the usual round of pains in the eyes and stomach.
Mid-October through December: Basel
FN's wretched health continues; he pays for lectures and seminar sessions with days in bed with severe headaches. In spite of all that, FN is able to complete a fresh collection of aphorisms. Marie Baumgartner transcribes them. This collection is then sent to Schmeitzner as a "new years greeting" at the end of December.
Lectures for the winter semester of 1878/1879: selected fragments of the Greek lyricists; introduction to Plato. Seminar: Thukydides. This will be FN's last teaching semester.