1888

January through early April: Nice

Readings: Plutarch; Baudelaire, Oeuvres posthumes; Dostoevsky, Les Possédés [French translation]; Tolstoi, Ma religion; Wellhausen, Prolegomena zur Geschichte Israels; Renan, Vie de Jésus.

To FN's great delight, Georg Brandes gives lectures on FN's philosophy at the university in Copenhagen. FN and Brandes initiate a lively correspondence. On 11 January 1888, Brandes recommends to FN the works of Kierkegaard. On the basis of that recommendation, FN formulates plans to read Kierkegaard, but this plan was never realized.

FN has mixed views about a review of his works by Carl Spitteler.

Excerpts from the notebooks
"Parmenides hat gesagt 'man denkt das nicht, was nicht ist' -- wir sind am anderen Ende und sagen 'was gedacht werden kann, muß sicherlich eine Fiktion sein'. Denken hat keinen Griff auf Reales, sondern nur auf -- -- -- " (KGW VIII-3, p. 124) [Parmenides said "one cannot think that which is not" -- we are at the other end and say "that which can be thought must surely be a fiction". Thought has no grip on the real, but rather only on -- -- -- ]

"Welcher Unterschied bleibt zwischen einem Überzeugten und einem Belogenen? Keiner, wenn er gut belogen ist." (KGW VIII-3, p. 135) [What is the difference between someone who is convinced and one who is deceived? None, if he is well deceived.]

"-- ein Mensch, wie er sein soll: das klingt uns so abgeschmackt wie: 'ein Baum, wie er sein soll' " (KGW VIII-2, p. 304)
[-- a person, as he should be: that sounds to us as tasteless as "a tree, as it should be"]

April and May: Turin

FN gives up Nice as his traditional spring residence, citing the intensive brightness of the sun and the noise of the city. Decides instead to spend some months in Turin before heading to Sils-Maria. FN finds the city agreeable.

Work completed on the manuscript of Der Fall Wagner [The Case of Wagner]. Intensive work during this period, recorded in the Nachlasshefte [notebooks] W II 5 and W II 6.

April 5-7: Rohde meets Overbeck in Locarno.

Readings: V. Hehn, Gedanken über Goethe [Thoughts on Goethe]; L. Jacolliot, Les législateurs religieux. Manou - Moise - Mahomet.

Early June through late September: Sils-Maria

Sixth and final residency in Sils-Maria. Visit by Meta von Salis; acquaintance with the pianist Carl von Holten and the theologian Julius Kaften. Readings: L. Nohl, Leben Richard Wagner's [Richard Wagner's Life]; Stendhal, Romes, Naples et Florence.

Title page of Der Fall Wagner

The title page of the first edition of Der Fall Wagner.

On 26 June, FN sends the initial manuscript of Der Fall Wagner [The Case of Wagner] to his publisher Naumann. Between 28 June and 1 July FN sends a series of additions, creating much confusion for the typesetters. Naumann returns the manuscript to FN in Sils-Maria, claiming it is unreadable. FN undertakes the composition of a new manuscript, which he returns to Naumann on 16 July.

At the end of July, FN sends a telegram to Naumann, requesting the return of his original concluding remark (Schlußanmerkung); This is replaced by a pair of "Nachschriften" (postscripts). Finally FN adds an "Epilog" and the book is complete. The typesetting is rapidly completed, allowing the work to be published by mid-September: Der Fall Wagner. Ein Musikanten-Problem. [The Case of Wagner. A Musician's Problem.], Leipzig 1888, Verlag von C. G. Naumann.

End of August: FN decides to publish the material of Götzen-Dämmerung [Twilight of the Idols] separately, to be followed by a four volume work to be called Umwerthung aller Werthe [Revaluation of All Values]. For this latter work, Der Antichrist [The Antichrist] is to be the first volume.

Richard Meyer, a young Jewish student, anonymously gives FN 2000 Marks; FN gratefully accepts the gift in order to cover some of his printing costs. Meta von Salis gives FN 1000 francs for the same purpose.

Late September through December: Turin

Facsimile of the title page of Götterdämmerung

The title page of the first edition of Götterdämmerung.

Hardly has FN completed the manuscript for the Wagner book (24 August) when he sends a new manuscript to Naumann. This work carries the title Müßiggang eines Psychologen [Idleness of a Psychologist]. In contrast to the work on Wagner, this new book was composed rapidly and was intended to be a introduction to FN's philosophy. Köselitz objects to the proposed title, so FN substitutes a new title: Götzen-Dämmerung [Twilight of the Idols]. The title is of course a poke at Wagner and his opera Götterdämmerung [Twilight of the Gods].

Work with Köselitz commences on the page proofs. Although the printing is completed by mid-November and FN receives his initial copies, the delivery of the book for commercial sale was delayed until 27 January 1889, when it finally appears in the bookstores in Basel.

Early signals of the acute stage of FN's madness; in letters written in October he characterizes himself as "der erste Geist des Zeitalters" [the first spirit of the age] and as "ein Genie der Wahrheit" [a genius of the truth]. This accelerates so that by the end of November, FN is regularly referring to himself in sharply meglomanical terms.

Nietzsche's sketch for the title page of the Antichrist

Nietzsche's sketch for the title page of Der Antichrist

Der Antichrist
This book was originally planned as the first volume of a four volume work entitled Umwerthung aller Werthe [Revaluation of all Values]. By late November 1888, FN had changed his mind, as letters to Georg Brandes (20 Nov.) and Paul Deussen (26 Nov.) attest. Instead of being the initial volume, this work became the entire Umwerthung. As evidenced by this title page draft, the title Umwerthung aller Werthe was abandoned; the book now received the title of Der Antichrist.

For the final draft of the title page (pictured here), FN crossed out Umwerthung aller Werthe as the book's subtitle and in its place substituted Fluch auf das Christenthum [Curse upon Christianity].

Although the manuscript was completed at the time of FN's collapse, the work was not published until 1895. It was feared that the book, phrased as sharply as it was, might provoke legal problems. In addition, Elisabeth was attempting to have a German pastor assigned to the Paraguay colony and felt the publication of the book would make that impossible. Even when Der Antichrist finally appeared in 1895, four passages, still considered too provocative, were suppressed.

All the of initial editions of Der Antichrist gave incorrect versions of the title page. Most of these early editions incorrectly called the book the first volume of the Umwerthung. It was not until Karl Schlechta's edition of 1956 that the title page was given according to FN's last recorded draft.

The sketch for the title page of Ecce Homo

Nietzsche's sketch for the title page of Ecce Homo. Wie man wird, was man ist.

Ecce Homo
In a letter to Köseltiz on October 25, FN first mentions the autobiographical work Ecce Homo [Behold the Man], which he had begun on his birthday (15 October). This was followed by an announcement of the work to his publisher C. G. Naumann on November 6. FN reported completing the manuscript on November 13 and sent the manuscript to Naumann in late November. But FN then recalled the manuscript in order to make additional revisions.

FN sent the revised manuscript to Naumann on 6 December. He received 2 signature sheets from Naumann in mid-December; the second one was returned to Naumann in Leipzig around 27 December 1888. On 29 December, he sent further additions. (Unfortunately, most of these additions from 12/29 have been lost.) On the same day he indicated in a letter to Naumann of still more additions in the offing, including a concluding poem. Yet on 2 January 1889 he requested the return of the concluding poem "Ruhm und Ewigkeit" ["Fame and Eternity"].

The history of Ecce Homo is very complex and fraught with controversy. In the first days after FN's collapse, Köselitz made a copy of the FN's final manuscript. Köselitz apparently suppressed some passages; these passages are also missing in the print manuscript. These were destroyed by FN's sister and mother.

The first edition of Ecce Homo Wie man wird, was man ist. [Ecce Homo. How one becomes who one is.] did not appear until 1908.

Dionysos-Dithyramben
The manuscript containing the nine poems that comprise this work was assembled in the very last days of FN's sane life.

Title page for the Dionysos-Dithyramben

Dionysos-Dithyramben was conceived as a short work of nine poems.

FN made many different plans for publishing his poems. Two of the poems in this work, "Ruhm und Ewigkeit" [Fame and Eternity] and "Von der Armut des Reichsten" [Of the Poverty of the Richest] were sent to the publisher Naumann in the last days of December to form the end of Ecce Homo. Yet by 2 January 1889 FN asked that these poems be returned to him. He wrote the title of the collection (pictured above) and a table of contents that listed nine poems. Six of these had been originally included in a collection called "Die Lieder Zarathustras" ["The Songs of Zarathustra"]. The other three were taken from the fourth part of Zarathustra with minor changes. These include "Nur Narr! Nur Dichter!" [Only a Fool! Only a Poet!], "Unter Töchtern der Wüste" [Among the Daughters of the Desert]. and "Klage der Ariadne" [Lamentation of Ariadne].

Facsimile of the title page for Nietzsche contra Wagner

The title page for the initial edition of Nietzsche contra Wagner.

Nietzsche contra Wagner
Some of the early reviews of Der Fall Wagner criticized FN for having suddenly left the Wagner camp. To refute this claim, FN determined to assemble a collection of passages from his earlier writings that dealt with Wagner and the problem of décadance.

On 10 December and 11 December (to F. Avenarius and C. Spitteler respectively) FN wrote letters, listing in each the passages he wished to include in this collection. On 12 December FN began work on the manuscript and could send it off to Naumann on 15 December.

Yet FN was indecisive about the manuscript, writing on 22 December to Köseltiz: "Die Schrift 'Nietzsche contra Wagner' wollen wir nicht drucken. Das 'Ecce' enthält alles Entscheidende über diese Beziehung." [Let's not publish the work 'Nietzsche contra Wagner'. The 'Ecce' contains everything that is decisive about this relationship].

On the same day, FN wrote a similar note to Naumann, but, again on the same day, the page proofs for the work arrived at FN's address in Turin. This evidently made FN determined to publish the work; he corrected the proofs and returned them to Naumann, even adding an "Intermezzo" to the manuscript. Between 28-30 December, using postcards, FN sent Naumann a series of changes.

Yet FN changed his mind again about the publication of this work. On 2 January 1889 he wrote to Naumann: "Die Ereignisse haben die kleine Schrift Nietzsche contra W. vollständig überholt... Vorwärts mit Ecce!" [Events have completely overtaken the short work Nietzsche contra W... Forward with Ecce!]

The book appeared in 1889 in a limited edition. It was republished in 1895 in volume 8 of FN's works, without the Intermezzo and concluding poem. All subsequent editions (including Schlechta and KGW) follow the 1895 version.

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