1895

Naumburg

Sidelight

Friedrich and Elisabeth

April: the first volume of Elisabeth's biography of FN is published, entitled Das Leben Friedrich Nietzsche's. Elisabeth hardly mentions her mother or Overbeck, emphasizing instead the closeness of her own relationship to her brother. About this time, Overbeck and Rohde meet at the train station in Heidelberg.

Elisabeth takes it upon herself to attack Dr. Oscar Gutjahr, the physician watching over the health of FN and Franziska. Elisabeth accuses Gutjahr of succumbing to the influence of her mother and of taking positions against her. Gutjahr, who has remained in constant contact with Binswanger in Jena, decides not to file a lawsuit against Elisabeth (cf. Janz III 177).

In June, Franziska writes a long letter to Adalbert Oehler, in which she voices criticism of the initial volume of Elisabeth's biography of FN. One specific instance concerns the story that, according to Elisabeth, FN did not learn to speak until he was two and a half. After recounting several other such instances of embellishment, invention and exaggeration, Franziska concludes: "Kurz die Biographie ist 'Wahrheit und Dichtung'." [In short: the biography is 'truth and poetry'. She is obviously aluding to Goethe's autobiography (Chronik p. 19)]

The firm of C. G. Naumann and Richard Oehler reach an agreement with the new English firm Henry & Co. to publish English translations of FN's main works. A team of translators is assembled, lead by Thomas Common and including W. A. Haussmann and Helen Zimmern. Alexander Tille, who interprets Nietzsche as a German proponent of Darwinism, is appointed overall editor.

September. On September 19, Franz Overbeck meets with Elisabeth; Elisabeth is unable to convince Overbeck to undertake editorial supervision of the publication of FN's letters. On September 24, Overbeck visits FN for the last time. FN's condition has deteriorated to the point that he recognizes only his mother, the servant Alwine, and his sister Elisabeth. Of this final visit Overbeck wrote: "Er verließ die ganze Zeit nicht seinen Krankenstuhl, sprach mit mir kein Wort... und machte mir überhaupt den Eindruck eines todeswunden, edlen Tiers, das sich in den Winkel zurückgezogen, in dem es nur noch zu verenden denkt." [He never left his chair the entire time, spoke not a word to me... and left me with the general impression of a mortally wounded, noble animal that has withdrawn into a corner with the sole intent of ending its life.]

Mid-December: Meeting with Overbeck, Rohde is critical of the new edition of FN's work.

In the latter half of December, Elisabeth offers her mother and Stadtrat Edmund Oehler (who together are FN's legal guardians) 30 thousand marks for the publication rights to FN's works. Since she does not have the money in hand, Elisabeth first concludes the agreement, and then secures a loan against the publishing rights (cf. Janz III p. 202).

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