The Nietzsche-Wagner Correspondence

The Nietzsche-Wagner Correspondence

by Elizabeth Foerster Nietzsche, Richard Wagner, Friedrich Nietzsche
     
 
Elizabeth Nietzsche gives us many insights into these dimensions of their relationship, in her book The Nietzsche-Wagner Correspondence; but Elizabeth herself is not to be entirely trusted as an accurate analyst of her brother's life. We have to remember that Wagner was essentially the same age as Nietzsche's father and that the latter had died when Nietzsche was only

Overview

Elizabeth Nietzsche gives us many insights into these dimensions of their relationship, in her book The Nietzsche-Wagner Correspondence; but Elizabeth herself is not to be entirely trusted as an accurate analyst of her brother's life. We have to remember that Wagner was essentially the same age as Nietzsche's father and that the latter had died when Nietzsche was only five years old. Nietzsche's whole family was strongly Christian and strictly moralistic. As a young man, Nietzsche embraced music and classics probably very much in the mood of the "naive artist" described in Birth of Tragedy. It seems clear that he had no social experiences with women of his age and was naive about male-female relationships. Imagine, then, the impact of finding Wagner, a genius whom he had admired through his early works and writings, living outrageously with the young wife of Hans von Buelow in Tribschen, the beautiful country house in Switzerland's lake country. Between Schopenhauer and at least three major affairs with married women, Wagner embraced atheism and immoralism. Wagner had been a political exile for twenty years and was author of numerous revolutionary tracts on music, the theater, and the future of German culture. It was not only a heddy experience, being welcomed into the family of a genius of huge proportions, but it also had to be a profound social-sexual revolution for Nietzsche, who certainly became infatuated with Cosima, an attractive woman in her early thirties.

From Genoa, in February 1882, Nietzsche wrote to his sister, "Certainly those were the best days of my life, the ones I spent with him at Tribschen . . . But the omnipotence of our tasks drove us apart, and now we cannot rejoin one another --- we have become estranged. I was indescribably happy in those days, when I discovered Wagner! I had sought for so long a man who was superior to me and who actually looked beyond me. I thought I had found such a man in Wagner. I was wrong. Now I cannot even compare myself to him --- I belong to a different world." (Middleton, Selected Letters . . ., 180) Only six months later, Nietzsche revisited the site of Tribschen with Paul Ree and Lou Salome, Nietzsche told Lou, "I have suffered so much because of this man and his art. It was a long, long passion; I find no other word for it. The required renunciation, the necessary return to myself belong to the hardest and most melancholic experiences of my life." And Lou observed that Nietzsche's eyes were full of tears. What was involved in Nietzsche's commentaries on Wagner was by no means mere criticism of the master; it was Nietzsche's own intellectual and psychological growth.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
2940014884303
Publisher:
Aristeus Books
Publication date:
08/18/2012
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
168
File size:
236 KB

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