“ We are not subtle enough to perceive the probably absolute flow of becoming; the permanent exists only thanks to our coarse organs which summarize things and reduce them to common levels, when in fact nothing exists in that form. The tree is at each instant a new thing; we assert form because we do not grasp the subtlety of an absolute moment.”
“For what purpose humanity is there should not even concern
us: why you are there, that you should ask yourself: and if you have
no ready answer, then set for yourself goals, high and noble goals,
and perish in pursuit of them! I know of no better life purpose than
to perish in attempting the great and the impossible...” (unpublished
note from 1873)
“Woe to you if homesickness for the land overcome you . . . when
there is no longer any land!” (The Joyful Wisdom, para. 124).
“What have we done, in unchaining this earth from its sun? Whence
is it rolling now? . . . Have we not thrown ourselves into a continuous
fall? . . . Are we not straying as across an infinite nothingness?
Do we not feel the breath of the void?” (The Joyful Wisdom)
The truth of language is but “a mobile army of metaphors, metonyms,
and anthropomorphisms—in short, a sum of human relations, which have
been enhanced, transposed, and embellished poetically and rhetorically,
and which after long use seem firm, canonical, and obligatory to a
people: truths are illusions about which one has forgotten that this
is what they are” (“On Truth and Lie in an Extra-Moral Sense,” in
The Portable Nietzsche, ed. and Trans. Walter Kaufmann 
“Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he
does not become a monster. And when you look into an abyss, the abyss
also looks into you.” (Beyond Good and Evil, 147)
“My dear friend, what is this our life? A boat that swims in the
sea, and all one knows for certain about it is that one day it will
capsize. Here we are, two good old boats that have been faithful neighbors,
and above all your hand has done its best to keep me from ‘capsizing’!
Let us then continue our voyage—each for the other’s sake, for a long
time yet, a long time!” (Letter to Franz Overbeck, November 14, 1881)
“The world, as far as we can know it, is our own nervous activity,
nothing more.” (KGW V-1.766)
“Finally we grasp it: a thing is a sum of excitatons in us:
because we however are not firm solids, so too is a thing no firm
sum.” (KGW V-1.767)
“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 — ” (KGW VIII-3, p. 124)
“All of these highest products of German art have been born
so much out of the depths of the German spirit that they have become
simultaneously the sharpest protest against the Jews. One can scarcely
imagine anything more anti-Semitic than the Beethoven symphonies and
Don Juan, Faust and Werther, the Meistersinger and Ring of the Nibelungen.”
“We want to inherit all ancient morality, not start again. All of our activity is only morality turning against the older forms.”
“We’re forced to be conquerors because we no longer have a country we want to remain in. A secret confidence impels us, confidence stronger than our negations. Our very strength doesn’t allow us to stay on this ancient soil.”
Nietzsche on traveling
“Where one must travel.—Direct self-observation does
not by any means suffice for self-knowledge. We need history, inasmuch
as the past wells up in us in hundreds of ways. Indeed we ourselves
are nothing other than what we sense at each instant of that onward
flow. For even when we wish to go down to the stream of our apparently
ownmost, most personal essence, Heraclitus’s statement holds
true: one does not step twice into the same river.—The maxim
has by now grown stale; yet it is as nourishing and energizing as
ever. So too is the maxim that in order to understand history one
must search for the living remnants of historical epochs—and
do so by traveling, as the venerable Herodotus traveled to sundry
nations. . . . It is quite probable that the last three centuries,
in all the hues and refracted colors of their civilization, live on,
quite close to us: they only have to be discovered. . . . Most assuredly,
in remote places, in rarely penetrated mountain valleys, self-contained
communities manifesting a much older sensibility can be more readily
preserved. That is where we have to go looking for them. . . . Whoever
after long practice has become a hundred-eyed Argos in this art of
traveling will finally rejoin his Io—I mean his ego—everywhere,
and will rediscover the travel-adventure of this transformative and
evolving ego in Egypt and Greece, Byzantium and Rome, France and Germany,
in the periods of the migratory or the sedentary peoples, in the Renaissance
and Reformation, in one's own homeland and abroad, and indeed in the
sea, the vegetation, and the mountains.” (Human, All-Too-Human).
Engadine, Switzerland: “Of all the places on earth, I feel
best here in the Engadine. To be sure, the attacks come to me here
as they do everywhere else; yet they are milder by far, much more
humane. I am continuously calmed here, none of the pressure that I
feel everywhere else. Here all excessive stimulation ceases for me.
I would beg of humankind, ‘Preserve for me but three or four
months of summer in the Engadine, otherwise I really cannot bear life
any longer.’ . . . Yet the Engadine summer is so short, and
by September’s end I will return to Genoa. I have never had
such tranquillity, and the paths, woods, lakes, and meadows are as
though made for me; the prices are not altogether beyond my means.
. . . The place is called Sils-Maria. Please keep the name a secret
from my friends and acquaintances; I don't want any visitors.”
(Letter to his sister Elisabeth, July 7, 1881)
Sils-Maria, Switzerland: “Now, my dear and good friend! The
August sun shines over our heads, the year is fugitive, it grows quieter
and more peaceful on the mountains and in the woods. Thoughts have
been looming on my horizon the like of which I have never seen—I
don't want to say a word about them, I want to preserve an unruffled
calm in myself. It seems I shall have to live several years longer.
Oh, my friend sometimes the realization runs through my head that
I am actually living a supremely dangerous life: for I belong among
those machines that can explode! The intensities of my feeling make
me shudder and laugh aloud—already on several occasions I was
unable to leave my room for the ridiculous reason that my eyes were
inflamed—from what? On each occasion I had been weeping excessively
during my hikes the day before; no, not sentimental tears, but tears
of exultation; during which I sang and muttered nonsense, filled to
the brim with my new vision, which I am the first of all human beings
to have.” (Letter to Heinrich Köselitz, August 14, 1881)
Recoaro, Italy: “As far as landscape is concerned, Recoaro
is one of my most beautiful experiences. I literally chased after
its beauty, and expended a great deal of energy and enthusiasm on
it. The beauty of nature, like every other kind of beauty, is quite
jealous; it demands that one serve it alone.” (Letter to Heinrich
Köselitz, June 23, 1881)
Zarathustra in Rapallo: “The following winter [1882-83] I lived
near that charming, quiet bay that intervenes between Chiavari and
the foothills of Portofino, the Bay of Rapallo [Tigullio], not far
from Genoa. My health was not the best; the winter was cold and excessively
rainy; a small albergo, fronting directly on the sea, a happenstance
that made sleep impossible during the nights when the sea was high,
in all respects offered the very opposite of everything my heart desired.
Nevertheless, and well-nigh as evidence for my statement that everything
decisive originates ‘despite all,’ it was during this
winter and under these unfavorable circumstances that my Zarathustra
came to be. In the morning I would ascend in a southerly direction
along the splendid road that leads high up to Zoagli, a road that
passes through pines and offers a view far out over the sea. In the
afternoon, when my health permitted, I would walk around the entire
Bay of Santa Margherita and over the hills all the way to the tip
of Portofino. . . . On these two paths, the first entire part of Zarathustra,
and above all the figure of Zarathustra himself as a type, came to
me. Or, rather, he overcame me.” (Ecce Homo)
Nice: “I’ve tested Munich, Florence, Genoa—but
nothing suits my old head like this Nice, minus a couple of months
in Sils-Maria. At all events, I am told that the summer here is more
refreshing than at any place in the interior of Germany (the evenings
with sea breeze, the nights cool). The air is incomparable, the strength
it gives one (and also the light that fills the sky) not to be found
anywhere else in Europe. Finally I should mention that one can live
here cheaply, very cheaply, and that the place is large enough in
scope to permit every degree of concealment to a hermit. The altogether
select things of nature, such as the forest paths on the closest hill,
or on the St. Jean Peninsula, I have all to myself. Similarly the
entire Promenade (about a forty-five minute walk) is splendidly free,
inasmuch as people visit for only a few hours during the day. . .
. One is so ‘un-German’ here: I can't emphasize that strongly
enough” (Letter to Heinrich Köselitz, November 24, 1885)
Zarathustra in Nice: “The following winter [1883-84], under
the halcyon skies of Nice, which glistened above me for the first
time in my life, I discovered the third part of Zarathustra—and
the book was finished. Scarcely a year for the composition of the
whole. Many concealed spots and many heights in the landscape of Nice
have become sacrosanct to me because of unforgettable moments there.
That decisive part of the third book, ‘Of Old and New Tablets,’
was composed on the difficult and steep ascent from the railway station
at Èze to the marvelous Moorish eagle’s nest overhead.
My muscle tone was always greatest when my creative energies flowed
most abundantly. The body is spirited—let us leave the ‘soul’
out of play. . . . One could often have spotted me dancing: at that
time I could wander through the mountains for seven or eight hours
at a time without tiring. I slept well. I laughed a lot—I was
fit as I could be, and I was patient.” (Ecce Homo)
Ever-holier mountains: “I draw circles and sacred boundaries
about me; fewer and fewer climb with me up higher and higher mountains.—I
am building a mountain chain out of ever-holier mountains.”
(“Of Old and New Tablets,” Thus Spoke Zarathustra)
“It is my fourth winter in this place, my seventh on this
coast: that is the way my health wants it, for it is stupid as well
as demanding, ready to make mischief as soon as the occasioning circumstances
pile up. Nice and the Engadine: that is the circle dance this old
nag cannot escape. . . . To be sure, there can be no more beautiful
season in Nice than the current one: the sky blindingly white, the
sea tropical blue, and in the night a moonlight that makes the gas
lanterns feel ashamed, for they flush red. And here once again I perambulate,
as so many times before, thinking my kinds of thoughts, ebon thoughts”
(Letter to Malwida von Meysenbug, December 13, 1886)
Torino, Italy: “I have discovered Torino. . . . Torino is
not a well-known city, is it? The educated German travels right on
by it. Granted my hardness of heart in the face of everything that
education commends, I have established Torino as my third residence,
with Sils-Maria as the first and Nice as the second. Four months at
each place: in the case of Torino it is two months in the spring and
two in the fall. Odd! What convinces me is the air, the dry air which
is the same in all three places, and for the same meteorological reasons:
snow-capped mountains to the north and west. That is the calculation
that has brought me here, and I am enchanted! Even on the very warm
days—and we have had such already—that famous Zephyr blows,
of which I had heard only the poets speak (without believing them:
pack of liars!). The nights are cool. From the middle of the city
you can see the snow.” (Letter to Reinhart von Seydlitz, May
Torino, a city beyond good and evil: “This is a city I can use now!
That is crystal clear to me, and it was so from the very first moment.
. . . What a worthy and serious city! Not at all a metropolis, not
at all modern, as I had feared: rather, it is city of seventeenth-century
royalty, which has but one commanding taste in all things, that of
the court and the nobles. Aristocratic tranquillity in everything
has been preserved. There is no wretched faubourg. There is a unity
of taste, down to the colors (the whole city is yellow or reddish
brown). And for the feet as well as the eyes it is a classic spot!
What safety, what sidewalks, not to mention the omnibus and the trams,
which are miraculously arranged here! . . . What solemn and earnest
piazzas! And the palaces are built without pretension, the streets
clean and well made—everything far more dignified than I expected!
The most beautiful cafés I've ever seen. These arcades are
necessary here, given the changeable weather: yet they are spacious,
not at all oppressive. Evenings on the bridge over the (river) Po: splendid!
(“Beyond good and evil!” Nietzsche's Letters)
GT Geburt der Tragödie
UBDS David Strauss
UBHL Vom Nutzen und Nachteil der Historie
UBSE Schopenhauer als Erzieher
UBRW Richard Wagner in Bayreuth
MAMI Menschliches, Allzumenschliches I
MAMII Menschliches, Allzumenschliches II
FW Fröhliche Wissenschaft
IM Idyllen aus Messina
Z Also sprach Zarathustra
JGB Jenseits von Gut und Böse
GM Zur Genealogie der Moral
EH Ecce Homo
FWag Der Fall Wagner
AC Der Antichrist
NcW Nietzsche contra Wagner
The following table summarizes the abbreviations used
for individual titles of the unpublished work of Nietzsche's years
GMD Zwei öffentliche Vorträge über
Tragödie. Erster Vortrag: Das griechische Musikdrama
ST Zwei öffentliche Vorträge über die griechische
Tragödie. Zweiter Vortrag: Socrates und die Tragoedie
DW Die dionysische Weltanschauung
GG Die Geburt des tragischen Gedankens
SGT Sokrates und die griechische Tragoedie
BA Ueber die Zukunft unserer Bildungsanstalten
CV Fünf Vorreden zu fünf ungeschriebenen Büchern
NJ Ein Neujahrswort an den Herausgebern der Wochenschrift „Im
PHG Die Philosophie im tragischen Zeitalter der Griechen
WL Ueber Wahrheit und Lüge im aussermoralischen Sinne
MD Mahnruf an die Deutschen
K Kritische Studienausgabe, Bd. 14
C Kritische Studienausgabe, Bd. 15
A = The Antichrist
AOM = Assorted Opinions and Maxims
BGE = Beyond Good and Evil
BT = The Birth of Tragedy
CW = The Case of Wagner
D = Daybreak / Dawn
DS = David Strauss, the Writer and the Confessor
EH = Ecce Homo ["Wise," "Clever," "Books,"
FEI = "On the Future of our Educational Institutions"
GM = On the Genealogy of Morals
GOA = Nietzsches Werke (Grossoktavausgabe)
GS = The Gay Science / Joyful Wisdom
HL = On the Use and Disadvantage of History for Life
HC = "Homer's Contest"
HCP = "Homer and Classical Philology"
HH = Human, All Too Human
KGB = Briefwechsel: Kritische Gesamtausgabe
KGW = Kritische Gesamtausgabe Werke
KSA = Kritische Studienausgabe
LR = "Lectures on Rhetoric"
MA = Nietzsches Gesammelte Werke (Musarionausgabe)
NCW = Nietzsche contra Wagner
PPP = Pre-Platonic Philosophers
PTA = Philosophy in the Tragic Age of the Greeks
RWB = Richard Wagner in Bayreuth
SE = Schopenhauer as Educator
TI = Twilight of the Idols ["Maxims," "Socrates,"
"Reason," "World," "Morality," "Errors,"
"Improvers," "Germans," "Skirmishes,"
TL = "On Truth and Lies in an Extra?moral Sense"
UM = Untimely Meditations / Thoughts Out of Season
WDB = Werke in drei Bänden (Ed. Karl Schlechta)
WP = The Will to Power
WPh = "We Philologists"
WS = The Wanderer and his Shadow
Z = Thus Spoke Zarathustra
Kritische Gesamtausgabe Briefwechsel. ed.
G. Colli and M. Montinari, 24 vols. in 4 parts. Berlin: Walter de
The Antichrist. Trans. Walter Kaufmann, in
The Portable Nietzsche, ed. Walter Kaufmann. New York: Viking Press,
Beyond Good and Evil. Trans. Walter Kaufmann.
New York: Random House, 1966.
The Birth of Tragedy. Trans. Walter Kaufmann,
in The Birth of Tragedy and The Case of Wagner. New York: Random House,
The Case of Wagner. Trans. Walter Kaufmann,
in The Birth of Tragedy and The Case of Wagner.
New York: Random House, 1967.
Daybreak: Thoughts on the Prejudices of Morality.
Trans. R. J. Hollingdale. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982.
Ecce Homo: How One Becomes What One Is. Trans.
Walter Kaufmann, in On the Genealogy of Morals and Ecce Homo. New
York: Random House, 1967.
The Gay Science, with a Prelude of Rhymes
and an Appendix of Songs. tr. Walter Kaufmann. New York: Random House,
Human, All Too Human: A Book for Free Spirits.
Trans. R. J. Hollingdale. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986.
Nietzsche Contra Wagner. Trans. Walter Kaufmann,
in The Portable Nietzsche. New York: Viking Press, 1968.
On the Genealogy of Morals. Trans. Walter
Kaufmann and R.J. Hollingdale, in On the Genealogy of Morals and Ecce
Homo. New York: Random House, 1967.
Philosophy and Truth: Selections from Nietzsche's
Notebooks of the Early 1870's. Trans. and ed. Daniel Breazeale.
Atlantic Highlands, N.J.: Humanities Press, 1979.
Philosophy in the Tragic Age of the Greeks.
Trans. Marianne Cowan. Chicago: Henry Regnery Company, 1962.
Thus Spoke Zarathustra. Trans. Walter Kaufmann,
in The Portable Nietzsche. New York: Viking Press, 1968.
Twilight of the Idols. Trans. Walter Kaufmann,
in The Portable Nietzsche. New York: Viking Press, 1968.
Untimely Meditations. Trans. R. J. Hollingdale.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983.
The Will to Power. Trans. Walter Kaufmann.
New York: Random House, 1967.
GAG — First edition of Nietzsche’s
works, by Köselitz, Gesamtausgabe Gast, 5 vols.
GAK — Second edition of Nietzsche’s works,
by Koegel, Gesammtausgabe Koegel, Division I: 8 vols; Division
II: 4 vols., a subset of the Nachlaß [unpublished notes].
GOA — Third edition of Nietzsche’s works,
KGW — Kritische Gesamtausgabe Werke or
paperback version, Kritische Studienausgabe (or KSA), edited
by Giorgio Colli and Mazzino Montinari.
1844, Nietzsche is born in Röcken near Leipzig,
in the Prussian province of Saxony on October.
1846, Birth of Elisabeth Nietzsche, his sister
1849, Nietzsche’s father, a Lutheran minister dies
of a brain tumor at the age of 36.
1864, Nietzsche enrolls as student of theology and philology
at the University of Bonn.
1865, Continues his studies at the University of Leipzig,
where he discovers the works of Schopenhauer in Rohm`s second-hand bookshop.
1866, Begins friendship with Erwin Rohde.
1868, Nietzsche meets Richard Wagner. Nietzsche’s
devotion to Wagner lasts until the early 1880’s, when the two
men have a bitter falling-out.
1869, Though he has not completed his doctorate, Nietzsche
is appointed professor of Classical Philology at the University of Basel,
Switzerland. Gives acceptance speech at the University of Basel on “Homer
and Classical Philology.” Nietzsche taught at Basel from 1869-79,
excluding a brief time in the military. During this time, Nietzsche
was the younger colleague of Jacob Burckhardt and Franz Overbeck. His
relationship with Overbeck solidified with the two becoming lifelong
friends and associates.
1870, Becomes tenured professor at University of Basel.
Nietzsche volunteers as a medical orderly and also serves briefly as
a soldier with the Prussian forces in the Franco-Prussian war. Returns
to Basel, and begins friendship with Franz Overbeck.
1872, January through mid-May: Basel. Die Geburt der Tragödie
aus dem Geiste der Musik [The Birth of Tragedy out of the Spirit
of Music] is published on January 2. Enthusiastic reception in
Tribschen. After reading the book, Wagner remarks to Cosima: “that
is the book I have always wished for myself”.
1872 Mid-May: Bayreuth. Together with Rohde and Gersdorff,
Nietzsche attends the laying of the foundation stone of the theater
in Bayreuth. Acquaintance with Malwida von Meysenbug (1816-1903), a
close friend of Cosima, Wagner’s wife.
Rohde’s favorable review of Geburt der Tragödie
appears on May 26. Four days later, Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Möllendorf
publishes his harsh criticism of Nietzsche’s book, a 32 page pamphlet
entitled Zukunftsphilologie! [Philology of the Future!].
Wilamowitz attacks Nietzsche’s book on strictly philological grounds,
whereas Rhode recognizes and recommends the book as a philosophical
1878, Late April through end of July: Basel. In late April,
Schmeitzner issues Nietzsche’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 Wagner, barely reads the book before rejecting it utterly.
1873, Nietzsche meets Paul Rée.
1873, Writes the fragment On Truth and Lie in an Extra-Moral
Sense. Publication of the first Untimely Meditation: David
Strauss, the Confessor and the Writer. Finishes the second Untimely
Meditation: On the Use and Abuse of History for Life
1874, Publication of On the Use and Abuse of History
for Life. Publication of the third Untimely Meditation: Schopenhauer
1875, Begins work on the fourth Untimely Meditation:
Richard Wagner in Bayreuth
1876, Writes the first part of Human, All Too Human.
Requests leave of absence from University of Basel (granted June
2, 1876). Nietzsche attends first Bayreuth Festival. Publication of
the fourth Untimely Meditation: Richard Wagner in Bayreuth. Arrives
in Naples. Last meeting with Wagner. Winter in Sorrento with Paul Rée,
Malwida von Meysenbug and Nietzsche`s student, Albert Brenner.
1877, Leaves Sorrento. Requests extension of leave of
absence from University of Basel.
1878, Requests extension of leave of absence from University
of Basel. He spends the rest of his active life in Switzerland and Italy.
Publication of Human, All Too Human (Nietzsche sends copy to
Wagner; their last correspondence).
1880, Travels to Venice with Heinrich Kaselitz. In the
same year, arrives in Genoa. Works on The Dawn.
1881, Early July through September: Sils-Maria, Switzerland.
In early August, the revelation of eternal recurrence
strikes Nietzsche. He recounts this event in his autobiography Ecce
Homo, in the section on Zarathustra. Sends manuscript of The
Dawn to Kaselitz. Leaves Sils-Maria for Genoa.
1882, Late June through August: Tautenburg. The first edition of Die
fröhliche Wissenschaft [The Gay Science] contained
the first four books of the later edition. With Köselitz’ assistance the correction of the page proofs begin. Nietzsche receives
the first copies of Fröhliche Wissenschaft on August 20.
The book was originally conceived as a continuation of Morgenröte,
but in May 1882, Nietzsche decides to publish it as a separate work.
Leaves Sils-Maria for Genoa. Paul Rée visits Nietzsche
in Genoa. They travel to Monte Carlo. Nietzsche stays in Rapallo. Nietzsche
arrives in Sicily. Writes Idylls From Messina. On April 24,
1882 Nietzsche arrives in Rome.
1883. Mid-June to early September: Second residency in
Sils-Maria. In the first half of July, Nietzche completes the second
part of Zarathustra. In late August, after much delay, Schmeitzner
issues the first part of Also Sprach Zarathustra.
January through late February: Rapallo
Nietzsche's tendency to swing between states of depression and high
spirits illustrated at the outset of 1883: having concluded 1882 with
severe depression, Nietzsche, enthused by several weeks of good health,
completes a clean copy of the first part of Zarathustra.
1883. Richard Wagner dies on February 13. Nietzsche writes a
letter of condolence to Cosima. In a letter to Malwida, first mention
by Nietzsche of a “fatal insult” done to him by Wagner;
it is unclear just what incident Nietzsche means. In the same letter,
Nietzsche writes of Wagner: “It was hard, very hard, for six years
to have to be the opponent of someone one has honored and loved as I
have loved Wagner”.
May through mid-June: Rome. The book Also sprach Zarathustra.
Ein Buch für Alle und Keinen [Thus Spoke Zarathustra. A Book for
All and for None] finally is published. Nietzsche sends copies
to Jacob Burckhardt, Karl Hillebrand and Gottfried Keller. Nov. 23,
1883 Nietzsche arrives in Nice.
1884, January through April 20: Nice. The second part
of Also sprach Zarathustra appeared at the very beginning of
1884. In rapid succession the third part of Zarathustra appears in print.
Nietzsche worked on this part from August 1883 through January 1884.
April 21, 1884 Nietzsche leaves Nice for a seven-week visit in Venice.
1885. January to April 9: Nice. Completion of the fourth
part of Zarathustra. Nietzsche, who loaned a portion of his savings
to Schmeitzner in support of his publishing firm, is now in financial
difficulty because Schmeitzner cannot repay the debt.
1886 Publication of Beyond Good and Evil.
1887, January through March: Nice. Page proofs for the
preface of Fröhliche Wissenschaft [Gay Science]
arrive. Late September through late October in Venice, Nietzsche and
Heinrich Köselitz (aka Peter Gast) work together on the page proofs
of Zur Genealogie der Moral [Toward a Genealogy of Morals].
1888, April and May: Torino (Turin) [Via Callo Alberto no. 6]. Nietzsche writes three of his most important
works, Ecce Homo, Twilight of the Idols, and The Antichrist.
Nietzsche 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 Torino before heading to Sils-Maria,
Switzerland. He finds the city agreeable. Completed work 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.
End of August: Nietzsche 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
In a letter to Köseltiz on Oct. 25, Nietzsche first mentions the
autobiographical work Ecce Homo [Behold the Man] which
he had begun in Torino (Turin) on his birthday (15 Oct.) (publ. posthumously
April 1908). It is suggested that this work was withheld until after
his death so that Elisabeth could publish excerpts as her own writings.
The history of Ecce Homo is very complex and fraught with controversy.
In the first days after Nietzsche’s collapse, Köselitz made
a copy of the Nietzsche’s final manuscript. Köselitz apparently
suppressed some passages; these passages are also missing in the printed
manuscript. These were destroyed by Nietzsche’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
After seeing a coachman flogging a horse, Nietzsche rushes
toward the horse and collapses with his arms around the horse’s
neck. This collapse marks the outbreak of Nietzsche’s insanity.
His madness, accompanied by physical paralysis, will last for the rest
of his life. Most of his final years were spent in his sister Elisabeth’s
1889, Early January: Torino, 6 Jan. Jacob Burckhardt visits
Overbeck, expressing concern over one of Nietzsche’s letters.
Overbeck undertakes a trip to Torino and finds Nietzsche in the full
grip of insanity, sitting on a sofa and reading the proofs for Nietzsche
contra Wagner. He is brought to Basel and delivered to Wille’s
clinic. Pn 13 Jan., Franziska Nietzsche arrives in Basel and stays at
the Overbecks’ residence. On Jan. 17, Nietzsche is transferred
to Binswanger’s clinic in Jena. He remains in the Jena clinic
until 24 March 1890. Overbeck is clear about the finality of Nietzsche’s
insanity, writing in a letter “Mit Nietzsche ist es aus!”
[Nietzsche is finished!]
During this time, Elisabeth grew more and more involved
in the burgeoning anti-semitic movements in Germany. While he wasted
away, she collected and edited many of his scattered notes and tailored
them to suit her own political agenda. The fruition of this was Nietzsche’s
altered works and philosophy being a cornerstone in the Nazi party and
Adolf Hitler’s personal mantra.
1890, January through mid-May: Jena
Early in the year, Nietzsche’s condition stabilizes and improves.
Mid-May through December: Franziska rents a new set of rooms in Naumburg
so that she can move Nietzsche out of the Jena institution entirely.
On March 24, Franziska and Nietzsche move into these rooms; Nietzsche
is never again put in institutionalized care. All goes well until May
when one day Nietzsche wanders out of the house alone. After searching
for several hours, Franziska finally finds him accompanied by a policeman.
This incident causes Franziska to move Nietzsche back to her home in
Naumburg on May 13.
1891, Naumburg. Early in the year, Nietzsche’s condition deteriorates.
The gains made in early 1890 now begin gradually to fade.
1893, Naumburg. Nietzsche’s deterioration continues.
Franziska reluctantly discontinues the two daily walks, up to this point
an important part of their routine. A stiffness in the back and an aimless
rubbing of his side marks the advance of Nietzsche’s paralysis.
1894, At the end of December the eight volume complete
works, edited by Koegel (Gesammtausgabe, ed. F. Koegel or GAK)
and dated 1895, appears.
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.
1897, Mid-July through December: Weimar
Death of Nietzsche’s mother. Elisabeth moves Nietzsche is from
Naumburg to Weimar on July 17.
During the decade of Nietzsche’s incapacity, there
were no fewer than three attempts to publish the complete works. The
first, undertaken by Köselitz, was the Gesamtausgabe Gast
[GAG]. This edition commenced in 1892 and ran through 1894.
The GAG consisted of 5 volumes (Betrachtungen, Menschliches
I & II, Zarathustra I-IV, Jenseits, and Genealogie
der Moral). More than the other editors, Köselitz applied
“corrections,” divided Menschliches into a new
schema, and supplied titles to numerous aphorisms in Jenseits.
Next was Koegel’s edition (Gesammtausgabe Koegel
or GAK), which ran from 1895 to 1897. The GAK consisted of two Abteilungen
[divisions]. Division I had 8 volumes that spanned Nietzsche’s
published books; division II had four volumes that published a subset
of the Nachlaß [unpublished notes]. Koegel undertook
many "reconstructions," utilizing not only the printing manuscripts
but also reaching back to Nietzsche's earlier drafts. The third edition,
the so-called Großoktavausgabe [GOA], commenced in 1899.
It was largely done by 1913; only a index volume as added in 1926. The
distribution of works in the GOA’s first division followed the
GAG and GAK. The GOA’s second division was a greatly expanded
(though still incomplete) compilation of the unpublished notes. It was
here that the myth of the Will to Power “work”
1900, Nietzsche dies in 25 August. Wiemar. Buried in Röcken, near Leipzig.
September 13: Overbeck visits Köselitz briefly in
Weimar. In December he receives the first volume of Nietzsche’s
correspondence as edited by Köselitz.
1901, Elisabeth publishes The Will to Power.