Nietzsche's Letters | 1862© The Nietzsche Channel

Nietzsche's Letters


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Friedrich Nietzsche.
June, 1862.
From b/w photo by:
Ferdinand Henning, Naumburg.
Colorized and enhanced image ©The Nietzsche Channel.

Pforta, November 10, 1862:
Letter to Franziska and Elisabeth Nietzsche.

Dear everyone!

I'm sorry that I could not meet you in Almrich1 yesterday; but I was prevented, since I was detained. As far as that is concerned, I will tell you a little tale. Every week one of the newest senior students has School Inspector Week, i.e., he has to make note of everything in need of repair in the rooms, cabinets, and lecture halls and hand in a list with all these comments to the inspection office. I had this job last week; it occurred to me, however, to make this somewhat tedious business more piquant by means of Nietzsche humor and to write a list in which all the comments were couched in the form of a joke.2 The strict teachers were very astonished about that (how one could mix jokes in with such a grave matter), summoned me before the Synod Saturday, and there pronounced my punishment as nothing less than three hours detention and the loss of a few walks. If I could attribute to myself any other fault than carelessness, I would be angry about it; but as it is I haven't troubled myself about the matter for a moment, and have only learned a lesson from it: next time to be more careful what I joke about. —

By the way, I have waited for the chest day after day, especially for the big boots; hardly anything can be done in these. I still had clean clothes for Sunday. I don't have many clean socks. I always have a lot of work now, and yet I feel that I am doing quite well and only wish that the weather would be better.

Today is St. Martin's Day3 and we ate the usual Martin goose (of course in 12 parts). This period is also marked by St. Nicholas [Day].4 This is a pleasant time, this transition from fall to winter, this preparation for Christmas, to which I look foward. Something we really want to enjoy together. Write to me soon. Warmest greetings to dear uncle and dear Lisbeth!5


1. A village between Naumburg and Pforta, where Nietzsche would meet his relatives on Sunday.
2. Nietzsche's sister comments on the affair: "In Berlin, the facetious remarks were read aloud to the general amusement of the old Pforta alumni association. For myself, some of the utterly innocuous comments that caused such annoyance are stuck in my memory, e.g.: 'In such and such lecture room, the lamps burn so dimly that the students are tempted to let their own brightness shine.' 'The benches in the Obersekunda were painted recently and manifest an undesirable attachment to those who sit on them.'" See: Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche, Das Leben Friedrich Nietzsche's. Leipzig: Naumann, 1895, 1:170-71.
3. Celebrated on the evening of November 10 and on November 11.
4. Celebrated on December 6.
5. His uncle Edmund Oehler (1832-1891) and his sister Elisabeth Nietzsche.

Nietzsche's Letters | 1862© The Nietzsche Channel

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