1896

Naumburg

In January Rudolf Steiner undertakes his first official task at the Nietzsche Archive: the organization of Nietzsche's library. Steiner organizes some 1,077 books and pamphlets into 19 categories, producing a catalog of 227 pages. Steiner was enthused by this work; in his memoirs he recalled: "Es war eine schöne Aufgabe, die die Bücher vor meine Augen stellte, in denen Nietzsche gelesen hatte...Bücher mit leidenschaftlich kritisierenden Bemerkungen von seiner Hand. Eine große Anzahl von Randbemerkungen, aus denen man die Keime seiner Ideen aufschiessen sieht... ich sah, welch ein Gegensatz zwischen Nietzsches Geistesart und der seiner Zeitgenossen war." [It was a wonderful task, which placed before my eyes the books in which Nietzsche had read... books with passionate critical comments by his hand. A great number of marginal comments, in which one sees the seeds of his ideas sprouting... I saw what an antithesis there was between Nietzsche's thought that that of his contemporaries. Hoffmann, pp. 183-184]

However rewarding this task may have been, Steiner noted the tense atmosphere in the Archive and how difficult it was to work under Elisabeth: "Wie muß man die Worte abwägen, wenn man z.B. etwas antworten soll auf eine Klage, die aus einer Stimmung kommt, die am nächsten Tage nicht nur ganz verflogen ist, sondern sich sogar in das Gegenteil verwandelt hat. Man fühlt sich da in einer Unsicherheit, die einem jedes Wort sauer macht. [How one has to weigh one's words, whenever for example one needs to make some reply to a complaint that is the product of a mood that the next day has not only flown away, but has even transformed itself into its opposite. One feels very uncertain in a way that sours every word. Steiner to Anne Eunike, about January 20, 1896; Hoffmann, p. 184]

As a reward for his devotion, Steiner is admitted to the Nietzsche presence on January 22nd. In his notebook entry for that date, Steiner wrote: "Habe eben Nietzsche gesehen. Er lag auf dem Sofa, wie ein Denker, der müde ist und ein lang gehegtes Problem liegend weiterdenkt...Sein Aussehen ist das eines völlig gesunden. Keine Blässe. Kein weißes Haar. Der mächtige Schnurrbart wie auf dem Zarathustrabilde. O, diese mächtige Sirn, Denker und Künstler zugleich verratend... Friede des Weisen um sich verbreitend. Man glaubt hinter dieser Stirne die ganze gewaltige Gedankenwelt schlummernd." [Have just seen Nietzsche. He lay on the sofa, like a thinker who is tired and continues to think through a problem, long wrestled with, lying down. His appearance is that of a healthy person. No paleness. No white hair. The powerful mustache as in the Zarathustra picture. O, this powerful forehead, simultaneously betraying thinker and artist. Radiating the peace of the sage. One has the impression of a powerful world of thought lying hibernating behind this forehead. Hoffmann, p. 185. The "Zarathustra picture" is that of Nietzsche from 1882; it was printed in the first complete Zarathustra edition of 1882.]

On August 1, Elisabeth moves the archive from Naumburg to Weimar. Apparently she announces this to the staff at the Archive without any prior consultation. It is her obvious intent to have the Nietzsche Archive profit from its new proximity to the Goethe-Schiller Archive, and, indeed, to compete with it. None of the Archive staff share Elisabeth's enthusiasm. Koegel describes the manuver as "unfaire Überrumpelung" and wrote: "Alle in Weimar, Gabriele Reuter, Dr. Steiner, Dr. Heitmüller, Fresenius, die Goethe-Leute, die noch dort sind, raten ab und weissagen Unheil." [Everyone in Weimar, Gabriele Reuter, Dr. Steiner, Dr. Heitmüller, Fresenius, the Goethe people who are still there, advise against it and predict misfortune. Hoffmann, p. 194]

Shortly after this move, a rumor appears in several newspapers that Steiner had been appointed co-editor of the Nietzsche edition. Because of Koegel's touchiness on this, Steiner is obliged to print denials in several publications. Hoffmann suggests that Elisabeth was the source of these rumors. If so, he writes, it makes her out to be either terribly naive or to be a first-class intriguer [Hoffmann, p. 196]

Sidelight

The December crisis at the Nietzsche Archive

Rudolf Steiner is appointed to a "Lehrstelle" [teaching position] to instruct Elisabeth in her brother's philosophy. On December 5, Elisabeth offers an editorial position to Steiner, which he refuses. Elisabeth nevertheless circulates the report that Steiner had joined the staff, which leads of difficulties with Koegel, the current editor.

Henry & Co. issues Thus Spake Zarathustra (translated by Tille) and The Case of Wagner (translated by Common, and which also included Nietzsche contra Wagner, The Twilight of the Idols, and The Antichrist). Tille translates FN's term "Übermensch" as "Beyond-Man."

November: The premiere of Richard Strauss' tone poem Also sprach Zarathustra.

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