1887

January through March: Nice

Title page, second edition, Froehliche Wissenschaft

For the second edition, Nietzsche added a fifth book and an appendix of 14 poems. Modern editions of this work follow this second edition.

28 Februar: page proofs for the preface of Fröhliche Wissenschaft [Gay Science] arrive; on 5 March proofs for the "Lieder des Prinzen Vogelfrei" ["Songs of Prince Free-as-a-Bird"] arrive. Decides to add the fifth book to Fröhliche Wissenschaft. Book Five contained 40 new aphorisms, many of which elucidate the famous "God is dead" aphorism in this work (Book Three, number 125).

For the first time hears the prelude from Wagner's Parsifal and is much taken by it. Writes to Köselitz: "Rein ästhetisch gefragt: hat Wagner je etwas besser gemacht?" [Asked purely aesthetically: did Wagner ever write anything better?]

Theodor Fritsch, a leading antisemitic writer, sends FN several mailings with antisemitic literature. After several hints, FN finally explicitly asks Fritsch to discontinue these mailings, writing:

Hiermit send ich Ihnen die drei übersandten Nummern Ihres Correspondenz-Blattes zurück, für das Vertrauen dankend, mit dem Sie mir erlaubten, in den Principien-Wirrwarr auf dem Grunde dieser wunderlichen Bewegung einen Blick zu thun. Doch bitte ich darum, mich fürderhin nicht mehr mit diesen Zusendungen zu bedenken: ich fürchte zuletzt für meine Geduld. Glauben Sie mir: dieses abscheuliche Mitredenwollen noioser Dilettanten über den Werth von Menschen und Rassen, diese Unterwerfung unter "Autoritäten", welche von jedem besonneneren Geiste mit kalter Verachtung abgelehnt werden (z.B. E. Dühring, R. Wagner, Ebrard, Wahrmund, P. de Lagarde —wer von ihnen ist in Fragen der Moral und Historie der unberechtigtste, ungerechteste?), diese beständigen absurden Fälschungen und Zurechtmachungen der vagen Begriffe "germanisch", "semitisch", "arisch", "christlich", "deutsch" — das Alles könnte mich auf die Dauer ernsthaft erzürnen und aus dem ironischen Wohlwollen herausbringen, mit dem ich bisher den tugendhaften Velleitäten und Pharisäismen der jetztigen Deutschen zugesehen habe. — Und zuletzt, was glauben Sie, das ich empfinde, wenn der Name Zarathustra von Antisemiten in den Mund genommen wird?...
[Herewith I am returning to you the three issues of your correspondence sheet, thanking you for your confidence which you permitted me to cast a glance at the muddle of principles that lie at the heart of this strange movement. Yet I ask in the future not to provide me with these mailings: I fear, in the end, for my patience. Believe me: this abominable ‘wanting to have a say’ of annoying dilettantes about the value of people and races, this subjection to "authorities" who are utterly rejected with cold contempt by every sensible mind (e.g., E. Dühring, R. Wagner, Ebrard, Wahrmund, P. de Lagarde – who among these in questions of morality and history is the most unqualified, the most unjust?), these constant, absurd falsifications and rationalizations of vague concepts "germanic," "semitic," "aryan," "christian," "German" – all of that could in the long run cause me to lose my temper and bring me out of the ironic benevolence with which I have hitherto observed the virtuous velleities and pharisaisms of modern Germans. And finally, what do you think that I feel when the name of Zarathustra is mouthed by antisemites?]

April through mid-June: Cannobio, Zürich, Chur, Lenz

FN works to correct the page proofs for the fifth book of Fröhliche Wissenschaft.

April 12-18: Rohde in Basel.

While in Zürich (April 28 through May 6), meets with Meta von Salis, Resa von Schirnhofer; visit by Franz Overbeck. May: after an argumentative exchange of letters, Rohde and FN never again meet or exchange letters. Lou von Salomé announces her engagement to Carl F. Andreas. FN meets with Overbeck for the last time before the onset of insanity.

In Lenz, on June 10, FN composes the famous note on european nihilism. A brief excerpt:
Aber unter den Kräften, die die Moral großzog, war die Wahrhaftigkeit: diese wendet sich endlich gegen die Moral, entdeckt ihre Teleologie...und jetzt wirkt die Einsicht in diese lange eingefleischte Verlogenheit, die man verzweifelt, von sich abzuthun, gerade als Stimulans. Zum Nihilismus.
Denken wir diesen Gedanken in seiner furchtbarsten Form: das Dasein, so wie es ist, ohne Sinn und Ziel, aber unvermeidlich wiederkehrend, ohne ein Finale ins Nichts: "die ewige Wiederkehr".
Das ist die extremste Form des Nihilismus: das Nichts (das "Sinnlose") ewig!

[But among the forces that raised morality on high was truthfulness: this turns itself finally against morality, discovers its teleology...and now the insight into this long, incorporated lie, of which one despairs of ridding oneself, works precisely as stimulus. To nihilism.
Let us think this thought through to its most terrible form: existence, as it is, without meaning and goal, but inescapably returning, without finale, to nothingness: "the eternal return".
That is the most extreme form of nihilism: nothingness ("senselessness") eternally!]

Mid-June through September: Sils-Maria

Sixth summer in Sils-Maria. Long visit by Meta von Salis, who was the first female Swiss citizen to receive a docorate (in history from the University in Zürich). Von Salis and FN engage often in deep intellectual discussions. Reunion with schoolmate Paul Deussen.

Sudden death of Heinrich von Stein, of a heart ailment, the day after his appointment to the newly created chair of aesthetics.

22 June: the new editions of Morgenröte [Dawn] and Fröhliche Wissenschaft [Gay Science] published.

In July, FN completes work on the manuscript of Zur Genealogie der Moral [On the Genealogy of Morals] and sends it to his publisher Naumann.

Late September through late October: Venice


FN and Heinrich Köselitz (aka Peter Gast) work together on the page proofs of Zur Genealogie der Moral.

October through December: Nice

Title page for Genealogie der Moral

The Genealogie is arguably Nietzsche's most important single work.

On 10 November, FN's book Zur Genealogie der Moral. Eine Streitschrift [On the Genealogie of Morals. A Polemic] appears. FN composes the final manuscript in a such a rush that the important passage of Tertullian (essay 1, aphorism 15) is not translated but appears only in the original Latin.

FN composes an initial draft of a "systematic main work" ["systematisches Hauptwerk"]. For this draft, FN composes 372 sketches, numbers them, and assigns them to four "books" using the roman numerals I through IV. It is important to note that this sketch was but one of many he made as he organized his thoughts about future publications. This particular sketch was misinterpreted as FN's genuine intention by the early editors at the Nietzsche Archive, and so was published as the first version of the "Wille zur Macht." [Will to Power] This initial version was quickly superceded by a second "version," carrying the same title but this time with 1067 aphorisms. Of interest is that not all of the original 372 sketches were included in the second version!

Readings: Teichmüller, Griechische Philosophie [Greek Philosophy]; Reuter, Augustin und die religöse Aufklärung des Mittelalters [Augustine and the Religious Enlightenment of the Middle Ages]; Sainte-Beuve, Port Royale; George Sand, Lettre d'un voyageur; Flaubert; Mérimée; Stendhal; Baudelaire; Renan; Victor Hugo; Montaigne; Galiani; A. Pougin, Les vrais créateurs de l'opéra fran&cced;ais; Roberty, L'anncienne et la nouvelle philosophie; Tolstoi, Ma religion; G. Brandes; J. Wellhausen.

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