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Hermann Mushacke.
From b/w photo.
Bonn, July 16, 1865.
Colorized and enhanced image ©The Nietzsche Channel.

Naumburg, January 4, 1867:
Letter to Hermann Mushacke.1

Dear friend,

I know quite well that there is a finished letter2 to you in one of my small chests in Leipzig: yet today I feel such a need to converse with one of my friends and to cheer myself up with writing letters that I would prefer to write another letter. And therefore this is indeed also an opportunity for the richest variety. First of all, there are the usual New Year's wishes that should be dealt with. But truly, it is more than a matter of habit when I offer you my heartfelt wishes today. For you have an important step3 ahead of you this year, to which a friend's heart can never remain indifferent. I ask that you also express my congratulations to your esteemed father,4 your dear Frau mother and grandmother.

Secondly, I am finally sending back the programs5 to you and unfortunately I have nothing else to send as [Greek: antidotes] other than the already mentioned essay written by Lachmann,6 which is certainly more valuable to a Lachmann fanatic than to you; since, to say the least, it is not worth much if you count the subjective and (at most) the cultural-historical value. I will tell you another time how it came into my hands "by various tortuous paths," how it came from within Russia and from the estate of a suicide victim.

Thirdly, I have something pleasant to tell you in case you are now studying in Leipzig. Ritschl in a most pleasant way specifically offered me 2 themes7 in order to find a few friends to work on them; unfortunately only under the conditions already stated. Of course I thought of you first, but at the same time I realized that it was futile. So I have possibly done you a small favor, "but destiny will not allow it."8 Each of these subjects is sufficient for a doctoral dissertation, and warrant publication thereon. There is no point in telling you the themes.

Fourthly, I still owe you more about a subject that interests you, about a systematic treatment of the interpolations with which the Greek tragedians are laced. It was originally my intention to give my next presentation at the [philological] society9 about it. But I changed my mind during these holidays and wrote an essay on the of Aristotelian writings,10 pt. 2 of which is a supplement to my last lecture on the biographical sources of the Suidas.11 But if you do not mind, I will briefly write down the outline of that interpolation theory here, which, by the way, will seem very commonplace and rough to you.

Introduction. Three periods and three types of interpolation:
1. the actors
2. the scholars
3. the writers (i.e. by mistake)

1. Chapter 1. 3 tendencies of theatrical interpolation.
a) anything disparaging about the poet,
  1) aesthetically } disparaging
  2 ethically
    should be removed. Or stage setting changes require a change in the play.
b) contemporary references should be introduced
c) the actor wants to strengthen his role and wants to create brilliant parts and impactful passages for himself.

2. Tendency of scholarly interpolation
a) they want to explain something vaguely
b) complete something incompletely

3. Tendency of interpolation of a scribe.
does not [interpolate], but rather excerpts errors [Greek: glosses] in the text.

Method to identify the different interpolations.

for 1. a and b) There must be evidence of [Greek: anachronisms].

for 1. c.) Everything redundant (for instance, in Euripides) must be compiled according to different generibus. The conclusion here is always rather uncertain.

for 2.) and 3) Heimsoeth12 is instructive but hyperbolic.

Resource for the recognition of interpolations
1) e.g. scholia. The value of the Athenian state example that was brought to Alexandria is explained very nicely in Korn, de publico Aeschyli Sophoclis Euripidis fabularum exemplari, Bonnae 1863,13 that I ask you to read. When reading it, many points of view come to mind, e.g. are the remarks of the scholia related to the theater based on real tradition, or do we owe them only to the ratio [reasoning] of a few grammarians? (Probably both: it will be possible to distinguish individual genera among the examples.)
2) Observation of modern actors and directors.14

Don't be angry with me for this boring outline that anyone can do better.

During these holidays I also wrote down the outline of my work on Laert.[ii] Diog.[enis],15 which still lacks doctrina [principles] and sometimes ratio [arguments]. But it is very useful to be able to clarify the shortcomings in this way, and therefore I am satisfied with it.

I also had the tiresome pleasure of making the last revisions to the proofsheets.16 It is 40 pages, so precious little. If someone were to disagree quite thoroughly and disdainfully, it would not be too welcomed by me, but it would still be tolerable. There are even worse possibilities, but also even better ones.

I no longer hear from my other friends. Gersdorff is fervently busy and is about to, or has, passed his officer's examination. Certainly he has sufficient reasons why he does not write.

Since my last letter17 in September or August, Deussen has wrapped himself up in deep silence, even in night and darkness, so that his whereabouts, his studies, even his existence have become uncertain to me. But I will write to his parents in the coming days.18

Finally, I have no reason to hide from you the fact that I am very sad today. For at about this time yesterday I was standing at the deathbed of my Aunt Rosalie,19 who, to put it briefly, was by far — besides my mother and sister — the most intimate and closest relative of mine and with whom a large part of my past, especially my childhood, has left me, indeed, one in which our entire family history, our family relationships were so alive and present that in this regard the loss is irreplaceable.

In addition to an extremely painful confinement to bed, a few hours before her death another violent hemorrhage. It was at dusk, snowflakes were swirling outside, she just sat up straight in bed, and gradually death came with all its tragic signs: to have watched something once with full consciousness is a peculiar experience that does not leave one's mind so quickly.

So if my letter today is a bit morose and sad, forgive the circumstances under which it was written.

Your friend
Friedrich Nietzsche.

1. Hermann Mushacke (1845-1906): friend and classmate at the University of Bonn. Nietzsche and Mushacke visited Naumburg together on October 26, 1865, and visited Berlin and Mushacke's family in the autumn of 1866. For their exploits in Leipzig, see Nietzsche's autobiographical "Rückblick auf meine zwei Leipziger Jahre" (Retrospect on My Two Years at Leipzig). English translation in: Nietzsche's Writings as a Student. The Nietzsche Channel, 2012, 119-43 (121-29).
2. Leipzig, December 1866: Letter to Hermann Mushacke in Berlin.
3. Mushacke was about to take the state teaching examination for philology.
4. Hermann Mushacke's father, Eduard Mushacke (1812-1873), was a gymnasium teacher in Berlin, and openly Judeophobic: "Auch unsre Unterhaltungen nährten meine verbitterte Laune; da waren es die Sarkasmen des vortrefflichen Mushacke, seine Einblicke in die höhere Schulverwaltung, sein Zorn über das jüdische Berlin, seine Erinnerungen aus der Zeit der Junghegelianer, kurz die ganze pessimistische Athmosphaere eines Mannes, der viel hinter die Coulissen geschaut hat, die meiner Stimmung neue Zufuhr gaben." (Even our conversation fostered my bitter mood; for there was the sarcasm of the admirable [Eduard] Mushacke, his insights into secondary school administration, his anger about the Jewish Berlin, his memories from the time of the Young Hegelians, in short the entire pessimistic atmosphere of a man who is much behind the scenes, to which my mood gave new supplies.) See "Rückblick auf meine zwei Leipziger Jahre" (Retrospect on My Two Years at Leipzig). English translation in: Nietzsche's Writings as a Student. The Nietzsche Channel, 2012, 119-43 (123). Mushacke was also a friend of Max Stirner (born Johann Kaspar Schmidt, 1806-1856): German philosopher and author of Der Einzige und sein Eigentum [The Ego and Its Own]. Leipzig: Wigand, 1845 edition.
5. In a 10-10-1866 letter to Hermann Mushacke, Nietzsche had asked him to send some philological pamplets on Aeschylus in preparation for a new index on Aeschylus that Nietzsche was working on for Wilhelm Dindorf. See "Rückblick auf meine zwei Leipziger Jahre" (Retrospect on My Two Years at Leipzig). English translation in: Nietzsche's Writings as a Student. The Nietzsche Channel, 2012, 119-43 (131).
6. Identified by Nietzsche in his November 1866 letter to Hermann Mushacke as: Karl Lachmann, "Euphrons Gedanken über das Institut der Philhellenen."
7. Friedrich Ritschl's recommendations for a dissertation outlined in Nietzsche's December 1866 letter to Hermann Mushacke.
8. Cf. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Sämmtliche Werke in vierzig Bänden. Bd. 17. Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre. Theil 2. Stuttgart und Ausburg: Cotta, 93: "Allein das Schicksal will es nicht." (Only destiny will not allow it.)
9. Identified by Nietzsche in his November 1866 letter to Hermann Mushacke as: "Theorie der Interpolationen in den Tragikern."
10. The lecture "Die Pinakes der aristotelischen Schriften" held on 02-01-1867. In: Friedrich Nietzsche, Hans Joachim Mette; Carl Koch; Karl Schlechta (hrsg.), Historisch-kritische Gesamtausgabe (BAW), Bd. 3. Munich: Beck, 1935, 212 ff.
11. The lecture "Ueber die litterarhistorischen Quellen des Suidas" held on 06-01-1866. In: Friedrich Nietzsche, Hans Joachim Mette; Carl Koch; Karl Schlechta (hrsg.), Historisch-kritische Gesamtausgabe (BAW), Bd. 3. Munich: Beck, 1935, 137 ff.
12. Friedrich Heimsoeth, Die Wiederherstellung der Dramen des Aeschylus. Bonn: Henry & Cohen, 1861. Die indirekte Ueberlieferung des aeschyleischen Textes. Nachtrag zu der Schrift über die Wiederherstellung der Dramen des Aeschylus. Bonn: Max Cohen und Sohn, 1862. Kritische Studien zu den griechischen Tragikern. Abt. 1. Eine nothwendige Ergänzung der kritischen Methode. Bonn: Max Cohen und Sohn, 1865. Commentatio critica de diversa diversorum mendorum emendatione. Bonn: Georgi, 1866.
13. Otto Korn's dissertation, De publico Aeschyli Sophoclis Euripidis fabularum exemplari Lycurgo auctore confecto. Bonn: Georgi, 1863.
14. Cf. "Zur Interpolationen in den Tragikern." In: Friedrich Nietzsche, Hans Joachim Mette; Carl Koch; Karl Schlechta (hrsg.), Historisch-kritische Gesamtausgabe (BAW), Bd. 3. Munich: Beck, 1935, 209 ff.
15. Eventually published as "De Laertii Diogenis fontibus, 1-2." In: Rheinisches Museum für Philologie (1868) 23: 632-653; "De Laertii Diogenis fontibus, 3-6." In: Rheinisches Museum für Philologie (1869) 24: 181-228.
16. "Zur Geschichte der Theognideischen Spruchsammlung." In: Rheinisches Museum für Philologie (1867) 22: 161-200.
17. Naumburg, September 1866: Letter to Paul Deussen in Tübingen.
18. Unknown letter.
19. Rosalie Nietzsche (1811-1867) died on 01-03-1867.


Paul Deussen.
From b/w photo, 1864.
Colorized and enhanced image ©The Nietzsche Channel.

Oberdreis, January 6, 1867:
Letter from Paul Deussen

My dear Fritz,

I really cannot wait any longer to let a sign of life get to you from me, for every day and even through nightly dreams your dear image involuntarily haunts me, over your friend who is now lost in his idleness. In the meantime, I hope that I have all sorts of things to tell you that will appease your indignation.

First of all, in accordance with the nature of the matter, you will receive a copy of a translation1 I have prepared, with the friendly request that you also read it. Perhaps you will also find the book suitable for reading in your small family circle, for there is certainly no shortage of books that, like this one, destroy delusion and superstition without really damaging our innate and certainly justified religious feelings. Very soon you will also recognize certain half-measures from which every such attempt at communication suffers and you will remember that we live in an age of transition in this field. — I just remembered that Schenkel's Life of Jesus2 and a characterization of Alexander von Humboldt3 from you are still in my possession. Unfortunately I forgot to bring them with me, but I will certainly send them to you next time.

Fortunately, my dream trip to the Levant has now ended. Last autumn, after a long and exhausting inner struggle, I fortunately made my way through to the only right one and am now back in Bonn as a philologist.4 I can hardly tell you how good I feel, how strengthening the awareness of having ground under my feet again is for me. Naturally I have not said goodbye to Semitism, which I have come to love, but rather I intend to take it up again vigorously as soon as possible, but of course not as a theologian. First, of course, I turned back to the brighter, clearer Indo-Germanic world, and the time from autumn to now has been spent trying to reconnect the individual threads5 that my foolish hesitation had torn. Oh, if I had gone to Leipzig6 back then! Rarely has anything avenged itself more painfully. For then I would be in the swing and now it is going to be so difficult for me to get into it. The past year has now flown away again in amateurish amusements, with this it should certainly not go the same way. The real cure now lies in nothing but productive serious research, and I am determined to force myself to do it from now on. So I have decided to do two more jobs by the summer, and then, after Easter, I will start my dissertation. —

The first work is a work for the history seminar of which I am a member. For this I have chosen the most attractive personality of the Cyprian king 7 whose philological interest is the well-known eulogy10 of Isocrates on Euagorasis, that with the help of the few remaining notes from antiquity (in Diod.8 Phot.9 etc.) can be critically utilized. And this business is as difficult as it is interesting, although of a somewhat problematic nature in the case of a panegyrist who himself openly admits in a private letter (at the beginning of the Busiris speech11) that the eulogist must aggrandize and diminish.

I hope that this work, to which my time should be devoted as exclusively as possible as soon as I return to Bonn, will turn out well; and then I intend to do a work of textual-criticism for the seminar before the summer semester, for which collections already exist. Such a purpose will seem petty to you, but my nature requires such a pedagogical institute. —

As much as I would like to go to Berlin again, as much as I long to be with you again — and that is really not a compliment, but a profound need — I will still have to take circumstances into account and stay in Bonn, where I am very well paid for the opportunity to give Englishmen tutoring lessons,12 relieving my parents13 of some of the burden of my amusements. But soon there will be a number of them. I want to finish this letter, written in the midst of the commotion of family and visitors.

I have not seen your Theognis work yet, although I have looked around for it quite a bit. Please tell me the numbers of Rh. M. in which it is found, I would like to read it.14 I hope to hear more about your studies of Aeschylus,15 which you wrote about last time,16 since I really want to receive a letter from you.

Michael,17 Töpelmann18 are in the d[octo]r[ate] exams. Mich[ael] has provided an excellent study on the sources of Liv[y]'s third decade.19 Jahn and Schäfer want their publishing by Weidmann approved.20 I am sufficiently curious — between us — to see how Töpelmann passes the exam. His dissert[ation]21 is said to be quite good, which I can well believe. Forgive this hasty letter, in any case it is better than none. The next one should be all the richer. Think fondly of [me] and do not make us wait too long for a le[tter] from you.

Paul Deußen
ph[ilology] st[udent].

Please send my best regards to your mother and sister. You could also get my good reputation back on its feet in Pforta, which may have faded a bit as a result of the theological excursion.

I am residing at
Bonn, Belderberg 967 (beautiful, fairly cheap and extremely satisfied with everything).

1. Albert Réville (1826-1906), Paul Deussen (Übers.), Theodor Parker, sein Leben und Wirken. Ein Kapitel aus der Geschichte der Aufhebung der Sclaverei in den Vereinigten Staaten. Paris: Reinwald, 1867. See Deussen's entry in Nietzsche's Library.
2. Daniel Schenkel (1813-1885), Das Charakterbild Jesu. Ein biblischer Versuch. Wiesbaden: Kreidel, 1864. See Schenkel's entry in Nietzsche's Library.
3. Hermann Klencke (1813-1881), Alexander von Humboldt. Ein biographisches Denkmal. 2. Auflage. Leipzig: Spamer, 1852. See Klencke's entry in Nietzsche's Library. The book was a birthday present from Nietzsche's paternal aunt, Rosalie Nietzsche (1811-1867). See Pforta, second-half of October 1859: Letter to Rosalie Nietzsche. "Dir besonders, liebe, Tante, bin ich so vielen Dank schuldig für alle die schönen Gaben, mit denen du mich beschenkt hast. Der Kuchen und die Nüsse haben trefflich den Magen, Humbolds Biographie dem Geiste gemundet und mundet noch immer. —" (To you especially, dear, aunt, I owe so many thanks for all the beautiful gifts you have given me. The cake and the nuts were, and still are, excellent for the stomach, [the] Humboldt biography for the mind. —)
4. Paul Deussen had previously studied theology in Tübingen, which Nietzsche severely disapproved of and tried to cajole him into studying philology. Cf. Naumburg, September 1866: Fragment of a letter to Paul Deussen in Tübingen: "... ich Dich auf das angelegentlichste bat, Dein theologisches Bärenfell abzustreifen und Dich als jungen philologischen Löwen zu gebärden. [...] Ich bitte mir dies nicht übel zu deuten. Gewiß wirst Du tüchtig gearbeitet haben, aber ich bin nicht mehr im Stande, diese Arbeit zu schätzen, wenn ich an eine Bedingung dabei nicht glaube: nämlich daß diese Art Arbeit Dein Beruf sei. Ich glaube daran nicht, weil Du nach Deinem eignen Zeugnisse nicht daran glaubst. [....] ich fürwahr für meinen Theil werde mich nie überzeugen lassen, daß Du in Deinem Berufe arbeitest, so lange Du Dich für ein theologisches Examen vorbereitest. [....] Je mehr ich und je heller ich, in den Vorhöfen der Philologie stehend, in ihre Heiligthümer einblicke, um so mehr suche ich für sie Jünger zu gewinnen." (... I asked you most earnestly to shed your theological bearskin and to behave like a young philological lion. [...] Please don't take this badly. You will certainly have worked hard, but I am no longer able to appreciate this work if I do not believe in one condition: namely that this type of work is your profession. I do not believe in it, because according to your own testimonies you do not believe in it. [....] I for my part will never let myself be convinced that you are working in your profession as long as you are preparing for a theological examination. [....] Standing in the courtyards of philology, the more I look, and the clearer I look into its sanctuaries, the more I seek to win disciples for it.) On Deussen's decision to return to Bonn see Paul Deussen, Mein Leben. Leipzig: Brockhaus, 1922, 91 f.: "... ging das kurze Sommersemester in Tübingen zu Ende, sein Resultat war, daß ich von allen theologischen Gelüsten fürs erste gründlich kuriert war. Dazu hatten Becks orthodoxer Mystizismus, die engherzige Haltung der Kameraden wie auch die Mahnbriefe Nietzsches gleichmäßig das ihrige beigetragen . Nach Tübingen zurückkehren wollte ich nicht. Nach Leipzig zu grammatischen und textkritischen Studien zog es mich auch nicht, und so beschloß ich, noch für ein Semester nach Bonn zurückzukehren." (... the short summer semester in Tubingen came to an end, the result was that for the time being I had been thoroughly cured of all theological cravings. Beck's orthodox mysticism, the narrow-minded attitude of his comrades, and Nietzsche's letters of warning all contributed equally to this. I did not want to return to Tübingen. I was not drawn to Leipzig to study grammatical or textual criticism either, so I decided to return to Bonn for another semester.)
5. See Paul Deussen, Mein Leben. Leipzig: Brockhaus, 1922, 92: "Bei Gildemeister, der gar nicht wußte, welches Gesicht er aufsetzen sollte, als ich ihm von meiner Tübinger Irrfahrt erzählte, nahm ich das Sanskrit wieder auf, und wir haben in diesem Semester die ganze Anthologie bis zu Ende durchpräpariert." (With Gildemeister [Johann Gildemeister (1812-1890): German Orientalist], who did not quite know which face he should put on when I told him about my Tübingen odyssey, I picked up Sanskrit again, and this semester we have thoroughly dissected the entire anthology to the very end.)
6. Paul Deussen originally wanted to study philology in Leipzig from the summer semester of 1866. Cf. Leipzig, 04-22-1866: Letter to Franziska and Elisabeth Nietzsche in Naumburg.
7. Euagoras/Evagoras (411-374 BC): King of Salamis in Cyprus.
8. Diodorus Siculus, or Diodorus of Sicily (fl. 1st cent. BC): Greek historian. Bibliotheca historica. XIII, 106; XIV, 39, 98, 110; XV, 1-4, 8-10, 47. See entry for Diodorus in Nietzsche's Library.
9. Photius (ca. 810/820-893): patriarch of Constantinople and author of Bibliotheca. Cf. Bibliotheca, 39, 100, 118.
10. Isocrates, Orations, IX. E.g., in Greek with English notes. In: Isocrates, Edward Seymour Forster (ed.), Isocrates. Cyprian Orations. Evagoras, Ad Nicoclem, Nicocles Aut Cyprii. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1912, 73ff.
11. See, e.g., Isocrates, George Norlin (ed.), Busiris.
12. See Paul Deussen, Mein Leben. Leipzig: Brockhaus, 1922, 88: "Im Sommersemester wurde der mit mir von Pforta her bekannte Machenhauer mein Stubennachbar, der, arm wie er war, seinen Unterhalt mit Stundengeben in dem Institut erwarb, welches Mr. Perry in der Poppelsdorfer Allee [in Bonn] unterhielt. Auch mich führte er dort ein, und auf die Empfehlung Schaarschmidts hin wurde ich im Sommer 1865 mit der Aufgabe betraut, einem vornehmen, etwa 25jährigen jungen Engländer, der seine Examina für Indien gemacht hatte und im Lateinischen durchgefallen war, lateinische Nachhilfestunden zu geben, für welche ich, da er sehr weit weg bei Poppelsdorf wohnte, fünfzehn Groschen berechnete und erhielt." (In the summer semester, Machenhauer, whom I knew from Pforta, became my roommate, who, poor as he was, earned his living by giving lessons in the institute run by Mr. Perry on Poppelsdorfer Allee [in Bonn]. He also introduced me there, and on Schaarschmidt's recommendation I was entrusted in the summer of 1865 with the task of giving tutoring lessons in Latin to a distinguished young Englishman of about 25 who had passed his exams for India and had failed in Latin which, since he lived very far away near Poppelsdorf, I charged and received fifteen groschen.)
13. Adam Deussen (1801-1887), a pastor, first in Dierdorf, then in Oberdreis since 1843, and Jakobine Deussen (born, Ingelbach 1813-1893). They were married on 06-19-1840.
14. Nietzsche's work on the Greek poet, Theognis of Megara (6th century BC), was eventually published as "Zur Geschichte der Theognideischen Spruchsammlung." In: Rheinisches Museum für Philologie. 22 (1867): 161-200.
15. A lexicon on Aeschylus for the Leipzig philologist, Wilhelm Dindorf (1802-1883), which was eventually abandoned. For Nietzsche's dealings with Dindorf, see his autobiographical "Rückblick auf meine zwei Leipziger Jahre" (Retrospect on My Two Years at Leipzig). English translation in: Nietzsche's Writings as a Student. The Nietzsche Channel, 2012, 119-43 (131).
16. The letter is lost.
17. Wilhelm Michael (1843-1886).
18. Paul Töpelmann (1843-1895).
19. Wilhelm Michael, De ratione qua Livius in tertia decade. Bonn: Georg, 1867.
20. Otto Jahn (1813-1869): German philologist at Bonn since 1854; Arnold Schäfer (1819-1883): German historian at Bonn since 1861; the famous Berlin publishing house, Weidmann, founded in 1680.
21. Paul Töpelmann, De Posidoni Rhodio rerum scriptore. 1867.


Carl von Gersdorff.
From b/w photo, 1864.
Colorized and enhanced image ©The Nietzsche Channel.

Spandau, January 12, 1867:
Letter from Carl von Gersdorff.

"How peacefully the dead rest."1
Quis desiderio sit pudor aut modus
Tam cari capitis?2

My dear friend,

Work and grief are the two excuses I offer you to seek your forgiveness for my three months of silence. The former has ended by passing my officer examination; the grief over my dear eldest brother Ernst, who passed away on January 5th, will not go away anytime soon; well on the exterior, but never in the heart; for even if the bitter pain disappears over time, the hole left by his passing will always remain unfilled and his last, almost dying parting words will resonate with me throughout my life, whether it lasts for a long or short time, for they contain a dear request, by which a sacred duty is imposed upon me, which I shall only too gladly fulfill to the best of my ability.3

My brother had come to Berlin in October of the previous year, completely healed from his severe wound, in order to seek help there, admitted to an excellent hospital established by the Women's Association, and to entrust his completely stiff, completely unusable arm to the skill of the physicians. An attempt by Langenbeck4 to bend the joint forcibly, a joint which had become completely ossified by the blow, was practically unsuccessful, since it was not even possible to write. Only the thorny path of a serious operation invented by Langenbeck remained now, the statistics of which, however, surprisingly show quite favorable results. This, the resection of the elbow joint, was so successful 21 times out of 24 cases that the person operated on regained the entire strength and flexibility of the resected arm. This hope of experiencing the same thing for oneself, based on the conviction that one possesses an unusual vitality and health of the humors, the desire to wield the saber again in a new war, and the need to undergo the operation quickly before the muscles of the stiff arm became atrophied, determined my always resolute brother to take the decisive step, of which even I could not help but vote in favor.

The matter itself went well. Langenbeck's principal assistant doctor, a highly eminent surgeon, carried out the resection with the help of chloroform, naturally in a skillful manner. My daily visits showed me a regular course of healing, with only an abnormal redness exuding from the wound, which is only possible with the benefit of such unusual vitality. After 10 days so much new bone had settled in the bed formed by the remaining periosteum that synovial fluid flowed from the still open wound and the patient felt so well that he could be allowed to stand up. But just standing up, not going out. Inexplicably, feeling strong and attracted by the beautiful weather and the need for fresh air, my brother did not let himself be prevented from leaving the house and going for a walk, despite all the warnings. So he took a walk for three hours. The very sensitive area of the wound was exposed to the air, so that my brother had to lie down again the next day, complaining about the pain, but still alert and refreshed. My parents5 came to Berlin around this time and were delighted to find him so lively and cheerful after this dangerous operation, even though he was still lying down. Only on the last day before my mother's departure did an unpleasant worsening appear, in which the pus took on an unfavorable color and fever set in, although there seemed to be no cause for serious concern. On the day of my departure for Görlitz, where I was happy to be able to celebrate a pleasant Christmas after having survived the anxiety of exams, I spent several hours at my brother's bedside, whose appearance I did not like at all; high fever and fatigue, especially in the otherwise strong voice, bad-looking pus and an aversion to any rich food were alarming symptoms. Although a very painful dilatation of the wound, performed without chloroform, gave him relief by allowing the pus to drain, so that there was a visible improvement, the doctor could not conceal from me that he was dealing with a seriously ill patient. With this not very pleasant news I had to spoil the joy of Christmas for my parents, but who were soon able to find room again for it with the arrival of better news; then suddenly, on December 29th, I received a serious letter from one of my brother's fellow-sufferers with the shocking news that he had had the chills twice, a very alarming symptom of wounds under any circumstances. Experienced physicians call this the messenger of death, which precedes its master by three days. I left immediately with my parents. My poor brother looked horrible, his complexion pale, his throat swollen from diphtheria, allowed only liquid food, his eyes hollow, his cheeks sunken, his tongue incredibly thick, his voice weak. At this sight I could not hold back hot tears, I saw death on his dear face. Langenbeck appeared, examined the wound and felt compelled to make another deep incision in the seriously ill patient in order to form a new pus-filled duct. Without complaint, Ernst heroically endured the terribly painful operation, which was repeated twice over the next few days on adjacent parts of the arm. I will never forget the persistently pleading look in his faithful eyes, so fiery in life, now so dull, with which he looked at the doctors when they were causing him unspeakable torment with well-meant intentions to help. On the 31st of December on New Year's Eve, the situation became so alarming that my parents braced themselves for the worst. Returning to my regiment in Spandau, I spent that night on watch, partly in the company of more merry officers, partly surrounded by sleeping criminals who were in custody, awaiting judgment, entrusted to my supervision. Rarely in my short life have my thoughts wandered in such sharp contrasts as that night; they always returned from watching the card game while drinking punch, from the clever conversations, and from the snoring criminals sound asleep, to my suffering brother's bed, where they clung in anxious fear and to faint hope until weariness closed my eyes. On New Year's Day my brother-in-law6 prepared me for a dear life that we would see taken from us. I immediately went to Berlin and found out that there a faint trace of improvement was seen. That same evening I stayed in the hospital until 12 o'clock, saw the patient sleeping fairly peacefully after an injection of morphine, and returned with some hope to my father's hotel. But early the next day my sister,7 who had kept watch through the night, anxiously called us, believing it would soon be over; and again my brother recovered for a few hours. On January 2nd, preparing for his end, he asked for communion. Müllensiefen8 came and gave it to him and us. We all said goodbye with heavy hearts. When I went to his bed, he wrapped his good arm around my neck and held me for a long time, saying in a low voice: "Carl, as I am about to die, you must always be good to my dear old papa." I will never forget that. Throughout his serious illness, he only ever thought of others, rarely of himself, and only when his pain and physical needs made it necessary. This modesty combined with heroic patience, the gratitude for every little act of love expressed with words or inexpressible looks are fond lasting memories for all of us, which wonderfully adorn his noble image. Symptoms of improvement were also apparent on January 3rd; but the ever dwindling strength, which could not be restored by food, robbed us more and more of all hope, which even the doctors lost. During the night from the 3rd to the 4th I stood by my mother while she was awake, as the patient's face showed significant changes, harbingers of death; it was complete facies Hippocratica,9 plus a noticeable weakness, the left hand getting cold and the smell increasing, but all with complete lucid consciousness. A suspicious burbling and gurgling in the lungs, which was brought to my attention by the doctor, prompted me to have my father and older brother10 called. They came at 1 a.m. thinking they would find a corpse, but again this titanic nature overcame death, and breathing became more regular, and the gurgling in the lungs stopped. Another anxiously long day; repeated painful cleaning of the 4 wounds and bandaging them; also doctor's assurance of improvement of pus and sore throat; but Langenbeck's serious, sympathetic face expressed a hopelessness that could not be misunderstood. The day passed; from 5 to 7 o'clock in the evening I sat by my dear brother's bed and held his cold hand tightly in mine, he was still conscious, said a few things and asked for this and that; but he was getting weaker and weaker. I fell asleep beside him and forgot everything that was distressing so that when I woke up I could not believe I was holding my dying brother's hand in mine. And yet it was the awful truth; relieved by my brother, my father and I went to bed while my mother stayed by her son's sickbed. Again I fell soundly asleep, weary from physical exertion and days of prolonged excitement. Then suddenly around 5-6:30 in the morning my mother came into our bedroom and said in her pain-filled voice: We have a child in heaven.

At three-thirty Ernst had died, having been struggling with death from twelve o'clock onwards while losing consciousness. We had not been summoned because the doctor did not want it. A dying person must remain undisturbed, one must not make the transition difficult for him. The fight is said to have been terrible; his face unrecognizable, eyes rolling, contortions in every muscle, then a scream, gasping from the lungs, then another, then all quiet. The face was the same as before, the expression noble and solemn as in life, up to the hour of agony. Half an hour before he gave the name of his youngest sister11 who was not present, then he turned up the light to see his mother and brother once more, and thereby asked them both to go away; for he felt it approaching. I saw the corpse on the afternoon of the day of death and found the expression so beautiful that I could have sat there for hours; I always felt as if my eyes had to open again and yet it could not be; and today, eight days later, I still have this foolish thought, I still cannot understand that I have lost this brother forever. Not yet 27 years old, in the prime of strength of body and mind, a rock solid character, a hero in every meaning of the word, in battles against the enemies of the fatherland, in the fight against everything that is untrue, dishonest, wrong, in enduring the greatest pains; a genuinely loving brother, a fine, faithful son, and equally faithful friend. He never sought the judgment of the world, never sought its praise nor heeded its censure, his will was his kingdom, and his duty was his will. Harder on himself than on others, he found well-deserved recognition in wide circles, and even attracted attention at the highest level. His queen12 visited him, she sat at his bedside and knelt at his coffin and decorated it with laurels, his king13 sent him a laurel wreath with the Königsgratz medal for his grave, and the loyal, amiable crown prince14 squeezed his hand sympathetically the day before he died. And after all the greetings and inquiries he had heard, he said to his mother: "Mama, it does not make me proud that people are asking about me like that; I do not deserve it at all." But it makes me proud to have had such a brother, such a noble original of a brother. Truly I do not stand here as his eulogist, but simply speaking the plain truth, as I said it when he was alive, without the silly de mortuis nil nisi bene.15 All distant acquaintances will tell me the same opinion, without having to look through the lenses of brotherly heartfelt love and great respect.

In Görlitz, where I took the corpse, there was a very nice service for his numerous friends and admirers there, including his legal superiors; then four horses pulled him to Seidenberg, where he was solemnly led into the cool grave by a friend's hand and friend's mouth (Mende).16 A quiet corner in the beautifully secluded churchyard, from which one can see our two estates, encloses the bones of this noble knightly youth. My Antonio, to whom I could cling like a rock,17 his transfigured image a beacon in the sea of life.

But you will say quo usque tandem abutere patientiam nostram.18 Forgive these details; but when the heart is full, the mouth speaks,19 and to whom else can I pour out my full heart; this is the best consolation. Oh, if you had known him! —

By thanking you much too late for your lovely letter,20 which I received 3 months ago after I had already taken a longer vacation to Berlin to prepare for the officer exam, I would like to inform you briefly that I have passed the exam, but can only become an officer in a few weeks, which I am waiting for here in Spandau. I wish you strength, perseverance and happiness for the work you have begun.21 Another time about something else. This was my brother's Ecce quomodo moritur justus!22 Farewell.

Your faithful friend
Carl von Gersdorff.

1. Cf. August Cornelius Stockmann (1751-1821), "Der Gottesacker" (God's Acre). In: Ludwig Erk (Hrsg.), Neue Sammlung deutscher Volkslieder mit ihren eigenthümlichen Melodien. Berlin: Logier, 1844, 95-97. Stockmann's song was based on one by Friedrich Burchard Beneken (1760-1818), a German Protestant clergyman and composer. Gersdorff changed the end of the opening verse from "die Seligen" (the blessed) to "die Toten" (the dead).
2. Horace, Odes, I, 24, Ad Virgilium. 1f.: "Quis desiderio sit pudor aut modus / tam cari capitis? .... (To Vergil [on the death of Quintilius]. What modesty or limits should exist in longing for someone so dear? [Gersdorff's emphasis.])
3. Ernst von Gersdorff (1840-1867) was wounded in the Battle of Königgrätz (07-03-1866), and died during treatment of his wound on January 5, 1867.
4. Bernhard Rudolf Conrad von Langenbeck (1810-1887): German surgeon in Kiel (1842-1847) and Berlin (1848-1882).
5. Karl Ernst August von Gersdorff (1811-1878) and his wife Augusta Theodora von Gersdorff, (born Waldner von Freundstein, 1818-1883).
6. Heinrich Karl Frhr. von Ledebur (1832-1912).
7. Frieda Augusta Caroline von Ledebur (geb. von Gersdorff, 1838-1931).
8. Julius Müllensiefen (1811-1893): German preacher at the St. Marien Church in Berlin.
9. Hippocratic facies: facial features as a prognosis of death.
10. Theodor von Gersdorff (1842-1872).
11. Amélie Luise Thecla Cecilie Marianne Frieda von Gersdorff (1854-1933).
12. Augusta Maria Luise Katharina von Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach (1811-1890; Queen of Prussia from 01-02-1861 and German Empress from 01-18-1871 to 03-09-1888).
13. Wilhelm I of Prussia (1797-1888; King of Prussia from 01-02-1861 and German Emperor from 01-18-1871 to 03-09-1888).
14. Friedrich III (1831-1888; Crown Prince of Prussia from 01-02-1861 to 03-09-1888 and German Emperor from 03-09-1888 to 06-15-1888).
15. "de mortuis nihil nisi bonum." Latin: "never speak ill of the dead." From Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers. 1.3.70.
16. Friedrich Wilhelm Ernst Mende (1805-1886): Chief Pastor in Seidenberg starting in 1838.
17. An allusion to Tasso's closing words in Goethe's play of the same name. See Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832), Torquato Tasso. In: Goethe's sämmtliche Werke in vierzig Bänden. Bd. 13. Stuttgart; Tübingen: Cotta, 1854, 91-226 (226).
18. The opening line of Cicero's speech, Against Catiline. In Latin. In English. "Quo usque tandem abutere, Catilina, patientia nostra?" (When, O Catiline, do you mean to cease abusing our patience?)
19. Matthew 12:34: ".... For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks."
20. Kösen, 11. Oktober 1866: Letter to Carl von Gersdorff in Berlin. In German. In English.
21. The work on an Aeschylus lexicon for Wilhelm Dindorf (1802-1883), which was eventually abandoned. For Nietzsche's dealings with Dindorf, see his autobiographical "Rückblick auf meine zwei Leipziger Jahre" (Retrospect on My Two Years at Leipzig). English translation in: Nietzsche's Writings as a Student. The Nietzsche Channel, 2012, 119-43 (131).
22. "Ecce quomodo moritur justus" (Behold how the righteous one dies [Gersdorff's emphasis]): the 24th Christian responsory sung on Holy Saturday. Cf. Isaiah 57:1. "The righteous perisheth, and no man layeth it to heart: and merciful men are taken away, none considering that the righteous is taken away from the evil to come."


Carl von Gersdorff.
From b/w photo, 1864.
Colorized and enhanced image ©The Nietzsche Channel.

Leipzig, January 16, 1867:
Letter to Carl von Gersdorff.

My dear friend,

It was also in the first days of January in Naumburg when I too stood at the deathbed1 of a close relative who, next to my mother and sister, had the most right to my love and esteem, who had faithfully taken an interest in my life's journey, and with whom a great part of my past and especially my childhood has departed from us. And yet, when I received your letter, my dear, poor, hard-stricken friend, I was seized by a much more intense grief: after all, the difference between the two deaths was so great. Here, a life had been completed, used up with good deeds, borne through old age in a frail body: we all felt that the powers of body and mind had been consumed, and that death came too soon only for our love. But what departed with your brother, whom I also always admired and esteemed?

One of those rare, noble Roman natures left us, of which Rome in its best times would have been proud, of whom you as a brother have much more right to be proud. For how seldom does our pitiable time produce such heroic figures. But you indeed know how the ancients think about it: "Whom the gods love die young."2

What else might such a power have done? How it might have strengthened and comforted thousands in the turmoil of life, as a model of personal, praiseworthy aspiration, as an example of a resolute character, inherently lucid, unconcerned about the world and world opinions. Well do I know that this vir bonus3 in the most beautiful sense was even more to you, that he was the ideal to which you aspired, as you often told me in the past, your reliable lodestar for the eventful and by no means comfortable paths of life. Perhaps this death was the greatest pain that could ever hurt you.

Well, dear friend, you have now — I notice this from the tone of your letter — now experienced for yourself why our Schopenhauer praises suffering and tribulations as a glorious fate, as the 4 to the negation of the will.5 You have also experienced and felt the purifying, inwardly tranquilizing and strengthening power of grief. This is a time when you can test for yourself what truth there is in Schopenhauer's doctrine. If the fourth book of his main work now makes an ugly, gloomy, burdensome impression on you, if it does not have the power to raise you up and lead you through and out of the outward violent grief to that melancholy but happy mood which we are also seized by when listening to noble music, to that mood in which one sees one's earthly veils fall away from oneself: then I, too, want to have nothing more to do with this philosophy. Only he alone who is filled with grief can and may say a decisive word about such things: we others standing in the midst of the stream of things and of life, merely longing for that negation of the will as an isle of the blessed, we cannot judge whether the consolation of such philosophy is also enough for times of deep mourning.

It is difficult for me to move on to something else: for I do not know if, in this mood, you will be annoyed by accounts of my fate and condition. But you will be pleased to hear that Einsiedel6 and I have got together more often as a result of the grief we share, and are thinking of ways and means of bringing you a little joy and relaxation. In general you have a very attentive and sympathetic friend in Einsiedel; I have just read him your beautiful, detailed letter, written with heartfelt love. We both want nothing more than to be able to see and speak with you again.

I am well. The work is massive, but fruitful, therefore exhilarating. I value steady and concentrated work more and more every day. At the moment I am testing my powers on a prize essay of the local university "de fontibus Diogenis Laertii";7 In the process, I have the pleasant feeling that I did not first come to this theme through the lure of honor and money, but set it for myself. Ritschl knew this and was kind enough to suggest this later on as a prize-essay subject. I have a few competitors, if I am rightly informed: but in this case I have no little self-confidence, since until now I have had nothing but very fine results. In the end, it just comes down to advancing scholarship: if someone else has found even more, then this shall not hurt my feelings much.

At the New Year I got news from Deussen:8 he is a philologist again, bravo: and feels, as he himself writes, that he is on solid ground again. He is studying in Bonn and seems to be gradually getting on track. He sent me his translation of a French book "Theodor Parker's Biography"9 with which he has made money.

Finally, dear friend, I ask of you one thing: do not burden yourself with writing letters. In a short time you will get news from me again in a quite detailed letter, which is impossible for me to write today. Einsiedel also told me to tell you the same.

I conclude with a warm farewell and a saying from Aristotle:


Your loyal, equally
Friedrich Nietzsche.

1. Rosalie Nietzsche (1811-1867) died on 01-03-1867. For Nietzsche's deathbed vigil, see Naumburg, 01-04-1867 letter to Hermann Mushacke in Berlin. Gersdorff's brother, Ernst (1840-1867) also died in early January.
2. See Menander (342-292): Greek dramatist. Dis Exapaton (The Double Deception), Fragment 4: . (Those whom the gods love die young.)
3. Latin: good man.
4. "deuteros plous" (second sailing). See Plato, Phaedo, 96a-100b.
5. Arthur Schopenhauer, Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung, Bd. 1, Buch 4, §68, 446 f. (Arthur Schopenhauer, Eric F. J. Payne (trans), The World as Will and Representation. New York: Dover, 1958, Vol. 1, Bk. 4, §68, 378.) "Nach dieser Abschweifung über die Identität der reinen Liebe mit dem Mitleid, welches letzteren Zurückwendung auf das eigene Individuum das Phänomen des Weinens zum Symptom hat, nehme ich den Faden unserer Auslegung der ethischen Bedeutung des Handelns wieder auf, um nunmehr zu zeigen, wie aus der selben Quelle, aus welcher alle Güte, Liebe, Tugend und Edelmuth entspringt, zuletzt auch dasjenigen hervorgeht, was ich die Verneinung des Willens zum Leben nenne." (After this digression on the identity of pure love with sympathy, the turning back of sympathy on to our own individuality having as its symptom the phenomenon of weeping, I take up again the thread of our discussion of the ethical significance of conduct, to show how, from the same source from which all goodness, affection, virtue, and nobility of character spring, there ultimately arises also what I call denial of the will-to-live.)
6. Graf Haubold Einsiedel-Milkel (?-1868): fellow student of Nietzsche at Leipzig.
7. Friedrich Ritschl's recommendations for a dissertation outlined in Nietzsche's December 1866 letter to Hermann Mushacke. Nietzsche's essay was eventually published as "De Laertii Diogenis fontibus, 1-2." In: Rheinisches Museum für Philologie (1868) 23: 632-653; "De Laertii Diogenis fontibus, 3-6." In: Rheinisches Museum für Philologie (1869) 24: 181-228.
8. See Oberdreis, 01-06-1867: Letter from Paul Deussen to Nietzsche in Naumburg.
9. Albert Réville (1826-1906), Paul Deussen (trans.), Theodor Parker, sein Leben und Wirken: ein Kapitel aus der Geschichte der Aufhebung der Sclaverei in den Vereinigten Staaten. Paris: Reinwald, 1867.
10. See Aristoteles pseudepigraphus, ed. Valentini Rose, Lipsiae: 1863, 610. [Collection of the fragments of Aristotle extant, all of which were considered by the editor to be spurious. Published in 1886 under a different title: Aristotelis qui ferebantur librorum fragmenta collegit Valentinus Rose. Lipsiae, Teubner, 1886. Series: Bibliotheca scriptorum graecorum et romanorum Teubneriana.] The passage: "What is man? Exemplum of weakness, booty of the moment, plaything of fortune, image of mutability, balance weighing the gods' displeasure and disaster." (Trans. Christopher Middleton.)


Front Page.
Leipziger Tageblatt und Anzeiger.
No. 42. Monday, February 11, 1867.
Enhanced image The Nietzsche Channel.

Leipzig, February 20, 1867:
Letter to Carl von Gersdorff.

My dear friend,

If you are not in the mood to hear a number of strange things, put the letter aside and save it for another time.

For today was the great Leipzig election battle,1 the decision of a party struggle waged by all means, today the final word in the matter of Stephani vs. v[on] Wächter2 has been spoken. I do not want to reveal how it turned out yet.

You know the result of the first election:3 our representative, the excellent, impeccable vir strenuus4 Stephani (recently called St. Stephan in the advertisements in the Tageblatt5) won 1,000 votes over the bastion of Saxon particularism, Herr von Wächter:6 however, this victory was not enough, lacking c. 200 votes for an absolute majority. So a run-off had to take place, in which the champions of a third and a fourth party, Würkert and Wuttke,7 were no longer considered. So these two failed miserably, most of all Wuttke, called "the imperial weasel," who was chosen by a so-called people's party, basically by the wildest Prussian eaters,8 and with c. 300 ballots he failed once more. The organ of this black and yellow coloring9 is the "Sächsische Zeitung," formerly the "Abendpost."

Würkert, great, as the Tageblatt says, as a saloon-keeper, human being, prisoner, poet, orator,10 was nominated by the Lassalleans11 in the 12th hour and flooded with such a flurry of advertising that he himself had no doubts about his election. In his honor, an open-air gathering was held at 11 a.m. one Sunday,12 which, according to conservative estimates, was attended by 12,000-15,000 people. He made an election speech accompanied by an excellent organ heard far and wide, with the old flourish of his coachman's coat, with powerful words about extremely unpowerful and unreal things, e.g., about a European workers' state, then put his election to a vote and declared that he had been elected by the whole assembly with 4 votes against. This was an optical illusion: for on the day of the election he had c. 900 votes for himself.

Everything now depended on the losing parties and their new positions. The agitation was really great, wherever you went or stood a retainer handed you a program, a pamphlet, a reminder, the leaflets were even carried into the house: the Tageblatt and the Nachrichten13 were brimming with advertisements.

I do not think there is one point of view left from which the leaden agitation could be melted away. There was no lack of exaggeration, e.g. Wächter was called an old man whose brain, according to Bock,14 had suffered a metabolism and who was therefore no longer politically competent. Or they used a speech by Stephani, in which he promised to fulfill his obligations as Vice-Mayor, but would accept an election if it came to him without his doing, and left out the 2nd sentence so that it might appear as if Stephani were declining an election. In short, moral and immoral means, stamps, retainers, aspersions, huge wall posters, flags with the relevant names, everything was set in motion — for the relevant day.

It was cloudy and foggy. At the voting sites, idle masses of the populace were encamped, the flags fluttered, the stamp presses creaked, the brightly colored posters gleamed. In the afternoon the three of us went to the Rosenthal15 and hit upon the idea of asking the oracle about the outcome. After all conceivable attempts there was always one result: if a raven flew squawking, if we asked whether man or woman would meet us first, if a tossed coin turned up heads, etc. "Chance" always answered us .. "Wächter"; which put us in a good mood, so that we tried to beguile a young philologist, whom we met, with our oracular wisdom and told him that Wächter had been chosen.

"I know, said the unhappy child, with a 1000 vote majority."

And so it is. In the meantime Wächter's party has gained 2,000 votes. We are defeated. My cousin16 triumphs, particularism waves the flag of victory.

Now some personal things. For I do not like to touch upon political affairs — for understandable reasons. So for the time being I am staying here, and I am thinking about the next semester as well as the one that follows. Basically I am seldom embarrassed — if only the state of the war17 never embarrasses me! — living a comfortable existence, as far as that is possible in such a world, have good friends and loyal neighbors and good teachers, sit at Kintschy18 every day together with Kohl19 and Rohde, who are now my closest associates, I do all I can for our philological society,20 I buy a lot of philological books, every now and then I find a bearable thought and work somewhat uneasily. Topics that concern me are

"on the sources of Diogenes Laertius"21
"on book titles in the works of the ancients,"22

in the background floats a plan for a critical history of Greek literature.23 If I may recommend reading that will both fascinate you with antiquity and remind you of Schopenhauer, consider Seneca's epistulae morales.24

Finally, what should have been the beginning of my letter, comes my thanks for your dear letter,25 which I particularly appreciate for a number of reasons. Firstly, because neither I nor anyone expects letters from you now, since we are rather pleased and grateful if you only feel like and are in the mood for reading our letters. Secondly, however, your confession to our philosopher was particularly dear and valuable to me,26 since it was said at a time of serious and difficult experiences, of decisive blows of fate.

Pious people believe that all the sufferings and mishaps that befall them are intended for them with the most precise intentionality,27 so that this and that thought, this good intention,28 this understanding29 could be awakened in them. We lack the prerequisites for such a belief. That may well be, but it is in our power to use and, as it were, suck dry every event, every trivial and major mishap for our improvement and discipline.30 The intentionality of the individual's fate31 is no fable, if we understand it. We have to exploit fate on purpose:32 for in and of themselves events are hollow shells. It depends on our constitution: the value we attach to an event is what it constitutes for us. Thoughtless and immoral people know nothing of such an intentionality of fate. Events do not determine them.33 We, however, wish to learn from them: and the more our knowledge of moral affairs increases and becomes complete, the more the events that have affected us will form, or rather seem to form, a tightly closed circle. You know, dear friend, what this reflection is about.

Today I bid you farewell by noting sympathetic greetings from Einsiedel,34 my cousin,35 and also from my mother.

Your faithful friend Friedrich N.

1. The 1867 Leipzig election was for a member of the constituent Reichstag of the North German Confederation.
2. On the right, the liberal nationalists put forward the lawyer and deputy mayor of Leipzig, Eduard Stephani (1817-1885), while the Conservative candidate was the famous Leipzig jurist, Carl von Wächter (1797-1880), supported by "particularists" (those partial to parochial Saxon interests and customs). Three parties on the Saxon left, the Progressives, the Lassalleans, and the socialist party led by August Bebel (1840-1913) each put forward a candidate. On the first ballot, Stephani beat Wächter by 1,000 votes, which was just short of an absolute majority. In the run-off second ballot, Stephani was trounced when Carl von Wächter won the support of all the other parties.
3. See Note 2.
4. "vir strenuus." Latin: "a man of action."
5. The Leipziger Tageblatt und Anzeiger. See, e.g., No. 42. Monday, February 11, 1867.
6. Carl von Wächter had been a favorite of the deposed King John of Saxony (1801-1873), who had appointed him a member of the State Council in 1855.
7. Ludwig Würkert (1800-1876): German pastor, writer, reactionary, and politician. Heinrich Wuttke (1818-1876): German historian and politician.
8. Preußenfressern: Prussian eaters, i.e., people who hate Prussians.
9. Black and gold were the colors of Saxony.
10. See the election ad trumpeting Würkert in Leipziger Tageblatt und Anzeiger. No. 42. Monday, February 11, 1867, 1005: "Nochmals die Frage: Welchen von den Candidaten hat das unparteiische Weltblatt, die 'Gartenlaube,' durch ganz Europa getragen? // Antwort: unsern Würkert! hier steht er glanzvoll als Mensch, als Dichter, als Volksmann, als Gefangener, als Volksredner, als Wirth und Arbeiter!" (Again the question: Which of the candidates did the impartial world newspaper, the "Gartenlaube," support throughout the whole of Europe? // Answer: our Würkert! here he stands splendidly as human being, as poet, as man of the people, as prisoner, as popular speaker, as innkeeper and worker!)
11. Followers of Ferdinand Lassalle (1825-1864) and his socialist-political-electoral activism.
12. 02-10-1867.
13. The Leipziger Nachrichten.
14. Karl Ernst Bock (1809-1874): German physician and professor of anatomy at Leipzig.
15. A large park in Leipzig.
16. Rudolf Schenkel (1844-1889): brother-in-law of Franziska Nietzsche's sister, Ida Oehler-Schenkel (1833-?).
17. Nietzsche had yet to serve his obligatory one-year military service (October 1867-October 1868).
18. A popular café in Leipzig.
19. Otto Kohl (1844-ca. 1915): a fellow philology student at Leipzig.
20. At the University of Leipzig, Nietzsche belonged to The Classical Philology Society (which he co-founded). According to the diary of Wilhelm Wisser: on 02-01-1867 Nietzsche lectured "On the Pinakes of Aristotelian Writings"; on 02-08-1867, Wisser lectured on Albius Tibullus; and on 02-15-1867, Otto Kohl lectured on Sallust.
21. Eventually published as "De Laertii Diogenis fontibus, 1-2." In: Rheinisches Museum für Philologie (1868) 23: 632-653; "De Laertii Diogenis fontibus, 3-6." In: Rheinisches Museum für Philologie (1869) 24: 181-228.
22. Alluded to in Naumburg, End April/Early May 1868: Letter to Paul Deussen in Berlin.
23. Nietzsche began studying the topic in the autumn of 1867.
24. Seneca (4 BC-65 AD), Ad Lucilium Epistulae Morales, written in the last years (62-65 AD) of his life. See the entry for Seneca in Nietzsche's Library.
25. Spandau, 01-25-1867: Letter from Carl von Gersdorff to Nietzsche in Leipzig.
26. "unserm Philosophen" (our philosopher): Arthur Schopenhauer. Cf. Leipzig, 01-16-1867: Letter to Carl von Gersdorff in Spandau; Spandau, 01-25-1867: Letter from Carl von Gersdorff to Nietzsche in Leipzig.
27. Absichtlichkeit: intentionality, deliberateness, purposiveness.
28. Vorsatz.
29. Erkenntniß.
30. Tüchtigung.
31. Cf. Arthur Schopenhauer, "Transcendente Spekulation über die anscheinende Absichtlichkeit im Schicksale des Einzelnen" (Transcendent Speculation on the Apparent Deliberateness in the Fate of the Individual). In: Parerga und Paralopomena. Bd. 1. Leipzig: Brockhaus, 1874, 215-238.
32. absichtlich.
33. An ihnen haften eben Ereignisse nicht. Literally: "Events do not cling to them."
34. Graf Haubold Einsiedel-Milkel (?-1868): fellow student of Nietzsche at Leipzig.
35. Rudolf Schenkel (1844-1889): brother-in-law of Franziska Nietzsche's sister, Ida Oehler-Schenkel (1833-?).


Paul Deussen.
From b/w photo, 1864.
Colorized and enhanced image ©The Nietzsche Channel.

Naumburg, April 4, 1867:
Letter to Paul Deussen

My dear friend,

When your penultimate letter1 was forwarded to me from Naumburg, I had very pleasant feelings. That same morning I had already received other letters and experienced other things (I no longer remember what) that made me very happy. I had a happy day, but the main event for me was your letter, or rather the news, the tone, the hopes, the decisions in your letter. Mind you, I silently laughed at myself that just a few days ago I had sent a long epistle2 full of requests and demands to the very same person who was writing to me so confidently, assuredly, and situated upon solid ground. This letter was addressed to a phantom: my current one is finally going then to the man, my dear friend and philologist, who has found himself and his studies again, who has returned from the maze of theological scruples in order to celebrate his marriage with philology.3 This dear friend has informed me in his last letter4 of his wife's happy delivery of a child, so that there can be no doubt about the happiness of that marriage.

Actually, dear Paul, even if your letters did not contain so many temptations and enticements for my vanity, if their entire contents were summed up with the sentence — "I am a philologist, I am working on this and that and I am happier than ever" — they would then also be for me favorite treats and the most impressive delights that I know. The thought of no longer having Hebraic fog5 between us that would prevent us from going through life together in a real community of thoughts is all too agreeable to me.

So today I shall first of all fulfill your wish and write a philological billet. The lexicon by W. Bötticher6 is indispensable for you because it features 1 article on the ablative with very valuable and rich compilations; even if one always has to check the citations first, since the collations that Böttiger accepted were worthless. But there must also be special work on the Tacitean ablative, though God knows where. Unfortunately I do not have any bibliographic compendia. A certain Zernial7 did well with the genitive. A work by Dräger,8 "The Tacitean Syntax," is said to be very useful. Also from Dr. Schmidt9 in Jena, Lucian Müller's10 squire, a work on the syntactic peculiarities of Tacitus was recently published,11 which has been highly praised. Incidentally, the authority on such questions seems to be E. Wölflin12 in Winterthur, who recently gave an annual report on such questions in Philologus.13 I particularly liked the proof that such collections must be created strictly according to the chronological order of the Tacitean writings, because the usage of Tacitus has changed in many small ways. In any case, dear friend, you are on dangerous ground with such investigations, because after a great deal of effort you can suddenly make the discovery that your labor was useless, at least for scholarship. But if I may mention a writer to you where such estimable individual investigations have not even begun, I believe it's Ammian Marcellin.14 Equally fruitful, I think, will be ablative studies in Apuleius.15 What additions of the use of the ablative did African Latinity create? I do not know anything about that and I do not know anyone who occupies this province in any way.

Since you also used Photius16 for your other studies, you must have retained some interest in his .17 Here we really have a neglected province. I do not know if textual criticism still has much to do here, but I think so (perhaps even in that same cod. 176 instead of scil[icet] written 18 It is probably a 19 of 4 lost books[.]) But that's not what I think. A great deal, however, can be concluded and learned from Photius' bibliographical information. The erudition which he sometimes displays comes either from the prologues of the books themselves, or is demonstrably drawn from a previously described book. So I draw your attention to a passage from the description of the 20 of Sopater cod. 161 p. 177 H.21 Herein seems to be the source for his knowledge of the orator's personal circumstances, mostly verbatim from Pseudo-Plutarch.22 Acknowledged in [Schaefer's] work de decem orat. vit. The only thing to learn from this is that Sopater no longer knew the author of that writing which Schäfer23 certainly denies to that Plutarch.

But we have more important things to do than talk about Photius. First of all, understand that I am not leaving Leipzig, so that for the time being a stay in Berlin together is unlikely.

You will not believe how personally I am linked to Ritschl, so that I cannot tear myself away and would not like to. In addition, I always have the sad feeling that his life will not be spinning out for too long; I fear it will end soon. You cannot imagine how this man thinks, cares and works for everyone he loves, how he knows how to fulfill my wishes, which I often hardly dare to express, and how, in turn, his dealings are so free from that old-fashioned haughtiness and that cautious reserve which so many scholars possess. Yes, he behaves very freely and uninhibitedly, and I know that such natures often have to clash. He is the only man whose reproach I like to hear, because all his judgments are so sound and forceful, with such tact for the truth, that he is a kind of scholarly conscience for me.

Therefore: I wll stay a bit close to him. My prospects for the future are uncertain, thus pretty favorable. Because only certainty is terrible. My aim is to earn a few hundred th[alers] every year in an honorable and time-consuming manner, while preserving the freedom of my existence for a number of years. E.g., I would like to go to Paris24 early next year and work in the library there for a year. But that will not interest you, perhaps anymore than what I am working on now. For it is not only permissible, but also desirable, to speak of oneself and one's experiences in letters to friends. Letters are just subjective atmospheric moods.

My work on Laertius25 will be written down in these weeks. My aim this time is not to let the logical framework shine through so visibly as is the case in my upcoming Theognis study.26 By the way, this is very difficult. At least for me. I would like to give such things a somewhat artistic dress. You will find my zeal for rubbing in colors ridiculous, and in general trying to write in a bearable style.27 But it is necessary after neglecting it for so long. Furthermore, I avoid as strictly as possible erudition that is not necessary. That also takes some self-overcoming. Because some superfluum28 that we really like at the moment has to be cut away. A rigorous exposition of the proofs, in a light and pleasing presentation, if possible without any morose seriousness and that citation-rich erudition that is so cheap: these are my wishes. The hardest thing is always to find the overall connection of reasons, in short the design of the building. This is work that is often better done in bed and on walks than at a desk. Putting together the rough material is pleasant work, though often there is some craftsmanship about it. But the anticipation of finally unveiling the magic picture keeps us awake. The most awkward thing for me is the elaboration, and this is where I very often lose my patience.

Every major work, you will have felt this too, has an ethical influence. The effort to concentrate a subject and shape it harmoniously is a stone that falls into our spiritual life: out of our narrow interests there are many more.

Can't you write to me quite frankly, dear friend, how much you need for your yearly existence? Do you really want to jump into the school office as quickly as possible and with both feet at the same time? I have the opposite desire: to be free from such external shackles for as long as possible. In general, I am very averse to overloading myself with knowledge like a machine. Perhaps you study a bit too much. My favorite thing is to find a new point of view and to collect more material for it. My cerebral stomach gets upset when it is surfeited. Too much reading dulls the mind horribly. Most of our scholars would also be worth more as scholars if they were not too scholarly. Do not eat too much at mealtime.

The Berlin seminar is of little use. I have detailed information about the same from one of our former members29 who is now a member of this seminar. The treatment of the students is very rude.

Dear friend, just consider the following. You want to go to Berlin and thus come via Naumburg. Here you would visit me and tell me your thoughts on the following proposal. I can assign you a job that can be done on the side, about 2 hours a day, that will earn you a few hundred thalers. The condition is that it will be done in Leipzig. It will keep you busy for six months. You will learn a lot by doing so. You know what else awaits you in Leipzig. Spending a year in Berlin30 for the exam is quite unnecessary. If you agree, you will thank me one day. Just think of Ritschl. Do not tell anyone, even your dear parents and siblings,31 about this proposal. Just let everyone believe that you are going to Berlin. In Naumburg we will discuss everything in detail. I am leaving here on the 31st of this mon[th]. So dear friend be silent, but come to me. Greet everyone who remembers me and please me with your visit[.]

Your faithful friend
F. W. N.

My mother was very happy about your kind and cheerful letter32 and thanks you very much.

Gersdorff, who is always very close to me, is now an officer in Spandau. You know about the death of his eldest brother,33 whom you also extolled. I always have only good news from Mushacke.34 Our philological society in Leipzig is flourishing.35

1. Oberdreis, 01-06-1867: Letter from Paul Deussen to Nietzsche in Naumburg.
2. The letter is lost.
3. Due to Nietzsche's influence, Deussen gave up on his theology studies at Tübingen, and began to study philology in the WS1866-67, first at Bonn, and then in Berlin.
4. The letter is lost.
5. That is, the "revelation" of God.
6. Wilhelm Bötticher (1798-1850), Lexicon Taciteum sive de stilo C. Cornelii Taciti: praemisses de Taciti vita, scriptis ac scribendi genere prolegomenis. Berlin: Nauck, 1830.
7. Unico Zernial (1842-?), Selecta quaedam capita ex genetivi uso Taciteo. Göttigen: Huth, 1864.
8. Anton August Dräger (1820-1895), Die Syntax des Tacitus. Putbus: Knaak, 1866.
9. Bernhard Schmidt (1837-1917): German philologist in Berlin.
10. Lucian Müller (1836-1898): German philologist in St. Petersburg.
11. An unknown work.
12. Eduard Wölfflin (1831-1908): Swiss philologist.
13. Eduard Wölfflin, "Tacitus (Jahresbericht)." In: Philologus 25 (1867):92-134.
14. Ammianus Marcellinus (c. 330-c. 391-400): Roman historian.
15. Apuleius (c. 124-after 170): Roman philosopher and scholar.
16. Photius (ca. 810/820-893): patriarch of Constantinople and author of Bibliotheca.
17. Bibliotheke.
18. "the sixth and the seventh and indeed the ninth, that is, some say compiled and written seventh and eighth, etc."
19. "Part."
20. "Eclogues."
21. Sopater (fl. late 4th cent. BC): Greek writer. "H.": abbreviation for David Hoeschel's 1601 edition of Photius, which was used in Immanuel Bekker's 2-volume 1824-25 edition.
22. Pseudo-Plutarch: authors of works falsely attributed to the Greek biographer and philosopher Plutarch (c. 46-after 119).
23. Arnold Dietrich Schaefer (1819-1883), Praemissa est commentatio de vitis decem oratorum. Dresden: Blochmann, 1844.
24. A planned trip to Paris with Erwin Rohde that never came to fruition.
25. Nietzsche's work on the sources of Diogenes Laertius, eventually published in 1868 and 1869.
26. Nietzsche's work on the Greek poet, Theognis of Megara (6th century BC), was eventually published as "Zur Geschichte der Theognideischen Spruchsammlung." In: Rheinisches Museum für Philologie. 22 (1867): 161-200.
27. Cf. Naumburg, 04-06-1867: Letter to Carl von Gersdorff.
28. "superfluum." Latin: "surplus."
29. It might have been Sigismund Heynemann (1841-1903); cf. Naumburg, 05-09-1868: Letter to Sigismund Heynemann in Berlin.
30. On Deussen's decision to study in Berlin (SS1867-WS1867-68) see Paul Deussen, Mein Leben. Leipzig: Brockhaus, 1922, 93 ff.
31. Adam Deussen (1801-1887), a pastor, first in Dierdorf, then in Oberdreis since 1843, and Jakobine Deussen (born, Ingelbach 1813-1893). They were married on 06-19-1840. Children: Johannes Deussen (1841-1904); Werner Deussen (1842-1915); Paul Jakob Deussen (1845-1919); Georg Friedrich Deussen (1847-1917); Marie Deussen (1848-?); Immanuel Deussen (1850-1872); Reinhard Deussen (1852-1922); and Elisabeth Deussen (1855-?).
32. See 01-06-1867 letter (GSA 100/510) from Paul Deussen to Franziska Nietzsche.
33. Ernst von Gersdorff (1840-1867) was wounded in the Battle of Königgrätz (07-03-1866), and died during treatment of his wound on January 5, 1867.
34. Hermann Mushacke (1845-1906): friend and classmate at the University of Bonn. Nietzsche and Mushacke visited Naumburg together on October 26, 1865, and visited Berlin and Mushacke's family in the autumn of 1866. For their exploits in Leipzig, see Nietzsche's autobiographical "Rückblick auf meine zwei Leipziger Jahre" (Retrospect on My Two Years at Leipzig). English translation in: Nietzsche's Writings as a Student. The Nietzsche Channel, 2012, 119-43 (121-29).
35. At the University of Leipzig, Nietzsche belonged to The Classical Philology Society (which he co-founded). According to the diary of Wilhelm Wisser: on 03-01-1867 Wisser lectured on Tacitus' "Annals" and Georg Andresen lectured on Tacitus' "Annals" and Tacitus' "Dialogus de oratoribus"; on 03-08-1867 and 03-15-1867, Heinrich Romundt lectured on Juvenal's sixth satire.


Carl von Gersdorff.
From b/w photo, 1864.
Colorized and enhanced image ©The Nietzsche Channel.

Naumburg, April 6, 1867:
Letter to Carl von Gersdorff.

My dear friend,

God alone knows the cause of my long silence. For never have I been so grateful and happy than when your letters arrive, revealing your experiences and moods. There is very often an opportunity to talk about you, and I never pass it up. Even more often my thoughts run to you just when I am amidst books and should be thinking of all sorts of learned things, which would rightly be a bit daunting to you. And yet I do not write. Sometimes I wonder about this myself. It just occurred to me what the reason might be. The hand that writes all day long, the eye that sees white paper turning black from dawn to dusk, longs for diversion or rest. But today Suidas and Laertius1 had to wait the entire afternoon because I had a visitor: that's why they will have to wait this evening too. Why are they giving up their control? If they may now be at a disadvantage, I, therefore, at least have the advantage: I can converse with my dear friend by letter and do not have to supervise the two old boys, whose follies usually keep me busy.

During these holidays in particular, I want to put my work on the sources of Laertius2 on paper and I am still sort of in the early stages. For your amusement, I want to confess what gives me the most trouble and worry: my German style (not to mention Latin: once I have come to grips with the mother tongue, foreign language[s] shall also follow suit). The scales are falling from my eyes: I have lived all too long in stylistic innocence. The categorical imperative, "Thou shalt and must write," has aroused me. I tried something that I had never tried except at school: to write well, and suddenly the pen in my hand faltered. I could not do it and got angry. In addition, the stylistic precepts of Lessing, Lichtenberg, and Schopenhauer were ringing in my ears.3 It has always been a comfort to me that these three authorities unanimously affirm that it is difficult to write well, that no man has a good style by nature, that one must work hard and persist to acquire one. I really do not want to write again so woodenly and dryly, in a logical corset, as I did, e.g., in my Theognis essay,4 at whose cradle no Graces sat (on the contrary, it rumbled from afar as if from Königsgrätz).5 It would be a very unfortunate thing not to be able to write better and yet ardently wish to do so. Above all, a few lively spirits must again be unleashed in my style; I must learn to play on them like on a keyboard, but not just pieces I have learned, but free fantasias, as free as possible, yet always logical and beautiful.

Secondly, another wish concerned me. One of my oldest friends, Wilhelm Pinder6 from Naumburg, is about to take his first law examination; we are also familiar with the well-known anxieties of such times. But what appeals to me, what even goads me to imitate it, is not in the examination, but in the preparation for it. How useful, indeed, how uplifting it must be to let all the disciplines of one's science march past one in about one semester and thus for once really get an overall view of them. Is it not just as if an officer, always accustomed only to drilling his company, suddenly in a battle comes to realize what great fruits his small efforts can produce? For we would not deny that most philologists lack that elevating general view of antiquity, because they stand too close to the picture and examine a patch of paint, instead of admiring the great and bold features of the entire painting and — what is more — enjoying it. When, I ask, will we ever have that pure enjoyment of our studies of antiquity, about which unfortunately we speak often enough.

Thirdly, our whole way of working is really horrible. The 100 books on the table in front of me are now so many tongs that burn out the nerve of independent thinking. I believe, dear friend, that you have chosen, with a bold grasp, the best lot of all.7 Namely, an effective contrast, a reversed way of looking at things, an opposite attitude to life, to people, to work, to duty. I am not really praising your current profession as such, but only insofar as it is a negation of your previous life, aspiration, thinking. With such contrasts, soul and body remain healthy and do not engender those inevitable types of illnesses which both the predominance of scholarly activity and the excessive predominance of physical activity produce, which the scholar just as much as the country bumpkin possesses. Except that these diseases manifest themselves differently in the former than in the latter. The Greeks were no scholars, but they were not mindless athletes either. Must we then so necessarily make a choice between one side or the other? Has perhaps "Christianity" here caused a split in human nature, of which the people of harmony did not know? Should not the image of Sophocles, who knew how to dance so elegantly and throw the ball about, and yet at the same time also showed some intellectual dexterity, put to shame every "scholar"?

But it is the same for us in these matters as it is for us in life as a whole: we are readily able to recognize a bad situation, but still do not lift a finger to eliminate it. And here I could really begin a fourth Lamento [Latin: complaint]: which I will refrain from doing in the presence of my military friend. For such complaints must be much more abhorrent to a warrior than to a homebody like I am now.

This reminds me of a story I recently heard, which in fact is an illustration of the scholarly forms of illness, and should be hushed up, but which will amuse you because it just seems to be the translation into real life of Schopenhauer's essay "On the Professors of Philosophy."8

There is a town9 in which a young man,10 endowed with special intellectual faculties and particularly competent in philosophical speculation, conceives the plan of earning a doctorate. To this end he puts together his system "On the Basic Patterns of Representation," which he had painstakingly thought over for several years, and is happy and proud to have done so. With such feelings he presents it to the philosophical faculty of the place in which a university happens to be located. Two philosophy professors have to submit their evaluations: one comments that the work shows intellect but advocates views that are not taught here at all, while the other states that the views do not correspond to common sense and are paradoxical. Thus, the work is rejected and the doctoral hat is not donned by the man in question. Fortunately, the man concerned is not humble enough to hear the voice of wisdom in this judgment, indeed is so cocky to maintain that a certain philosophical faculty lacks the philosophical facultas [the faculty for philosophy].

In short, dear friend, one cannot take one's course independently enough. Truth seldom dwells where temples have been built and priests ordained. We have to suffer the consequences for what we do well or foolishly, not those who give us good or foolish advice. Let us at least have the pleasure of committing a blunder of our own free will. There is no general recipe for how to help every human being. One must be one's own physician, but at the same time gather medical experience for its own sake. We really think too little about our own well-being, our egoism is not clever enough, our intellect not egotistical enough.

With that, dear friend, it is enough for today. Unfortunately I do not have anything "solid" or "real" to tell you, or whatever the slogans of the young merchants are called, but you will not be asking for that either. The fact that I rejoice with you when you discover one of our kindred spirits, and on top of that such a capable and loveable person like Krüger11 — that goes without saying. Our freemasonry multiplies and spreads, although without badges, mysteries and credal statements.

It is late at night and the wind is howling outside. You know that I will be staying in Leipzig for the next semester as well. My wishes are taking me, the philologist, to the Imperial Library in Paris,12 where I will go perhaps next year if the volcano has not erupted by then. But my thoughts carry me, the human being, often enough and thus also tonight to you, to whom I now warmly say "goodnight."

Friedrich Nietzsche.
In loyal friendship.

Naumburg April 6th:
which place I will leave on April 30. My new residence in Leipzig: Weststrasse 59, 2d floor.

1. The "Suda" refers to a Greek lexicon from the tenth century, which Nietzsche researched in connection with his work on Theognis. Laertius refers to Nietzsche's work on the sources of Diogenes Laertius, eventually published in 1868 and 1869.
2. See above.
3. Gotthold Ephraim Lessing (1729-1781): German writer, dramatist, and critic. See Lessing's critical works, including: his essay on aesthetics (Laokoon oder über die Grenzen der Malerei und Poesie, 1766); his treatises on the fable (Abhandlungen über die Fabel, 1759); and his notes on the epigram (Zerstreute Anmerkungen über das Epigramm und einige der vornehmsten Epigrammatisten, 1771). Georg Christoph Lichtenberg (1742-1799): German physicist, critic and aphorist. See his Vermischte Schriften in Nietzsche's Library. Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860): German philosopher. See his Parerga und Paralipomena in Nietzsche's Library, e.g., Bd. 2, §282.
4. See 1. above.
5. The decisive battle (on July 3, 1866) of the Austro-Prussian War (June 13-August 23, 1866); Gersdorff served in the war, but his regiment did not see action.
6. Wilhelm Pinder (1844-1928).
7. Gersdorff's service in the Prussian army.
8. Cf. Arthur Schopenhauer, "Ueber die Universitäts-Philosophie." In Parerga und Paralipomena, Bd. 1: 151-212.
9. Leipzig.
10. Rudolf Kleinpaul (1845-1918).
11. Paul Krüger (1842-1914), a friend of Gersdorff's brother.
12. His planned trip to Paris never came to fruition.


Hermann Mushacke.
From b/w photo.
Bonn, July 16, 1865.
Colorized and enhanced image ©The Nietzsche Channel.

Naumburg, April 20, 1867:
Letter to Hermann Mushacke.1

My dear friend,

I have always believed that friendship can exist without regular correspondence: provided it is true and genuine. For as long as one firmly feels that one has not forgotten one's friend and will not forget him, it is really unnecessary to write to him. So friends do not write letters to each other to pour fresh water on the vine of their heart connection, but initially for a much more external purpose: they tell of their fates, their jobs, their prospects, so they only change the scenery while they know that their friendship endures even with the change of external surroundings. Anyone who happens to live for a stretch of their lifetime without any major changes is also under no obligation and no demand to write to their friends about it.

I am sincerely sorry that, for a moment, you formed such an unfavorable opinion of my friendship, as if it would have expired within two or three months without a letter from you.2 I was guilty of negligence of a completely different kind: in letter after letter, I had promised you Lachmann's treatise3 and because of an incomprehensible absent-mindedness when sending the letter I always forgot what I had promised, so that I seriously blamed myself and repeatedly told myself, "Your friend Mushacke's failure to write is just and sane punishment for this absent-mindedness." So if either of us has reason to apologize, it's me: as I do now with all my heart.

So I hope then, that with this, dear friend, every trace of an uncomfortable feeling towards me has been obliterated in you and I turn to the enumeration of my "fate, work, and prospects" with which I have, perhaps unduly, communicated to you in many a letter for want of better and finer material.

I am sitting here in the cozy Naumburg nest and I am not idle. But my desire to work has been greater than my capability in recent weeks, in short I am dissatisfied with the results of the last few weeks. What I intend to write down in my work de fontibus Laertii4 is still a long way off; everything that is finished is not yet three sheets. Because most of all I stumble over an obstacle that I have scarcely noticed before; I have absolutely no style5 in German, although I have a keen desire to get one. Since I have now resolved first of all to work out my Laert[ii] studies in German with the utmost care before I make the Latin excerpt from it, I am also obliged to go into these questions of style. As everyone knows, gymnasium students do not write with style; as a student one cannot practice anywhere; what one writes are letters, thus subjective outpourings that make no claim to artistic form. So there comes a time when the tabula rasa of our stylistic arts rises in our conscience. That's what is happening to me now and that's why I have to work very slowly.

I shall spend the next summer in Leipzig again, since I can now hardly tear myself away from Ritschl. You will be able to understand this to some extent. In addition, I am always tormented by the thought that it may soon be over; lately he has been ill more often and more seriously. I cannot express to you what losing him would mean to me.

In the autumn I would like to acquire the title of doctor;6 I think with a treatise de Homero Hesiodoque coaetaneis.7 If you smile at that title, you have every right to do so.8 I ask you to keep quiet about all my personal circumstances from any acquaintances you meet; there is nothing more tiresome than raising hopes and finally giving the lie to them. But who guarantees his immediate future? I still have so many adventurous plans that a whole part of them has to fall through.

Now there is something you will be happy about. I have the best news from friend Deussen,9 who has been successfully pursuing his philological studies in Bonn since last autumn and who feels he is on solid ground. Everything he writes about his work gives a healthy and fresh impression: you will be able to judge best how different he has become when he visits you in Berlin10 in a few weeks. For he intends to spend a year there.

If you ever write a letter to me in Leipzig, where I am going again on the 30th of this month, please note the address "Weststrasse" No. 59, 2nd floor. You lived in the same house, just a little higher up. So you can get a pretty good idea of where I am going to spend this summer. I will be living in the room once occupied by the "Baron"11 God knows what's his name.

Otherwise everything is going splendidly in Leipzig. Above all, I like our philological society,12 which incidentally loses a few members from semester to semester, who then go to Berlin. The number of participants has grown steadily, our debates have taken on a more rigorous character, our demands on those who are to be included have always grown. We now also have two comparative linguists13 and are happy to have received two good specimens from this species for our menagerie. If you have friends who one day would risk coming to Leipzig for a semester as a philologist, give them my address; for I have gradually become established enough in Leipzig to be able to give good information to newcomers.

As far as I know, you want to take your state exam in the near future. Couldn't you even briefly write down the requirements that you make of yourself for this purpose, so that I have a standard if I ever thought of allowing myself a similar "enjoyment"? Farewell today and send the heartiest greetings to your esteemed relatives

from your old friend
F. N.

1. Hermann Mushacke (1845-1906): friend and classmate at the University of Bonn. Nietzsche and Mushacke visited Naumburg together on October 26, 1865, and visited Berlin and Mushacke's family in the autumn of 1866. For their exploits in Leipzig, see Nietzsche's autobiographical "Rückblick auf meine zwei Leipziger Jahre" (Retrospect on My Two Years at Leipzig). English translation in: Nietzsche's Writings as a Student. The Nietzsche Channel, 2012, 119-43 (121-29).
2. After forgetting to forward material from Nietzsche to Mushacke, Franziska Nietzsche wrote Mushacke a letter of apology on 03-23-1867, and asked him to write to her son soon. See KGB I/4, 457. Its GSA reference is no longer valid.
3. Identified by Nietzsche in his November 1866 letter to Hermann Mushacke as: Karl Lachmann, "Euphrons Gedanken über das Institut der Philhellenen."
4. Eventually published as "De Laertii Diogenis fontibus, 1-2." In: Rheinisches Museum für Philologie (1868) 23: 632-653; "De Laertii Diogenis fontibus, 3-6." In: Rheinisches Museum für Philologie (1869) 24: 181-228.
5. Cf. Naumburg, 04-06-1867: Letter to Carl von Gersdorff
6. The dispensation of a doctorate would eventually be granted to Nietzsche without a dissertation, due to his published writings and subsequent appointment to Basel.
7. "On the contemporaries Homer and Hesiod." Nietzsche's studies on Homer and Hesiod began with his lecture held in July 1867 for the Philological Society in Leipzig under the title "Der Sängerkrieg auf Euböa" (The Singers' Contest at Euboea); see BAW 3, 230-244. Further studies led to his "Der Florentinische Tractat über Homer und Hesiod, ihr Geschlecht und ihren Wettkampf, 1-2." In: Rheinisches Museum für Philologie (1870) 25: 528-540. Followed by his "Certamen quod dicitur Homeri et Hesiodi." E codice florentino post Henricum Stephanum denuo edidit Fridericus Nietzsche Numburgensis. In: Acta societatis philologae Lipsiensis, ed. Fr. Ritschl (1871) Vol. 1:1-23. Nietzsche's theory that Alkidamus was the main source of the "Certamen" was verified in 1891/1925 with 2 papyrus discoveries. See Joachim Latacz, "On Nietzsche's Philological Beginnings." In: Anthony K. Jensen and Helmut Heit (eds.), Nietzsche as a Scholar of Antiquity. London; New York: Bloomsbury, 2014, 17-18.
8. Nietzsche later abandoned his thesis on Homer and Hesiod as contemporaries. Cf. Naumburg, 02-17-1868: Letter to Friedrich Ritschl in Leipzig.
9. Cf. Oberdreis, 04-27-1867: Letter from Paul Deussen to Nietzsche in Naumburg.
10. On Deussen's decision to study in Berlin (SS1867-WS1867-68) see Paul Deussen, Mein Leben. Leipzig: Brockhaus, 1922, 93 ff.
11. Unknown reference.
12. At the University of Leipzig, Nietzsche belonged to The Classical Philology Society (which he co-founded). As of July 29, 1866, it's members included: Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900), Heinrich Wilhelm Wisser (1843-1935), Constantin Angermann (1844-1911), Erwin Rohde (1845-1898), Sigismund Heynemann (1841-1903), Wilhelm Heinrich Roscher (1845-1923), Ernst Windisch (1844-1918), Heinrich Cron (1844-1874), Heinrich Romundt (1845-1919), and Otto Kohlschütter (1844-1899).
13. Probably a reference to Constantin Angermann (1844-1911) and Ernst Windisch (1844-1918).


Franziska Nietzsche.
By: Jakob Höflinger, Basel.
From b/w photo, ca. 1869.
Colorized and enhanced image ©The Nietzsche Channel.

Leipzig, End June 1867:
Letter to Franziska and Elisabeth Nietzsche.

Dear mama und Lisbeth,

You can imagine that it was not very easy for me to visit Halle1 and that my desire to do so was quite low afterwards as well. Also, I do not know of any of my acquaintances who had longed for this festival. It is all the better that you enjoyed yourself by doing so, you who can still be attracted by the romantic shimmer that lies around student and professorial comedies, because you do not need to look behind the curtains of this world.

The reason my cousin2 did not come on Sunday is a quirk of my cousin, which I do not understand. In short, he would not go to Naumburg alone and did not give in to my urgent requests. Whether the pleasure of traveling to Naumburg with me is so indispensable to him, I do not know. He wants to come later, but with me. Little Saxon, always aligned with the North German Confederation!3 That was really not what you wanted anyway.

Our riders all fell off, that is, before they sat on their horses. Only Rohde held on. So, from 4-5 in the afternoon, we both exercise our horses vigorously and feel very comfortable both during it and afterwards. The agitation is very beneficial for the abdomen. One is thirstier and hungrier and sleeps more soundly than other people. Wearing my thick pants in 30-degree heat did not become difficult for me.

As far as the next semester is concerned, I intend to spend it in Berlin:4 in that regard a letter5 is going to Mushacke,6 who will get me lodgings. And I will be sailing away to there at the end of August. I am sending all my luggage as freight from here. In case I want to do military service, Berlin is the best place to do it. Before I leave there, I will come to Naumburg for another week. I will also bring you the picture of our philological society, which turned out better than the last one and which Ritschl also liked very much.7

I will give notice to my landlord and landlady today or tomorrow. I am uncomfortable with the bills.8 This, and my other expenses, gets me in financial trouble. In Berlin I have to make a modest attempt to earn money.

Today I have nothing more to write other than to thank you very much for the clean clothes and letters, and also remembering the Pentecost holidays with pleasure. So fare quite well!

Your Fritz.

1. On 06-21-1867, the fiftieth anniversary of the unification of the universities of Halle and Wittenberg was celebrated. The letter from his mother to which Nietzsche was replying is lost.
2. Rudolf Schenkel (1844-1889): brother-in-law of Franziska Nietzsche's sister, Ida Oehler-Schenkel (1833-?).
3. In 1867, the Reichstag was promulgating laws regarding the free movement of citizens within the territory of the North German Confederation.
4. Nietzsche believed that he had to take his exams at a Prussian university in accordance with the applicable laws.
5. Leipzig, shortly before 07-15-1867: Letter to Hermann Mushacke in Berlin.
6. Hermann Mushacke (1845-1906): friend and classmate at the University of Bonn. Nietzsche and Mushacke visited Naumburg together on October 26, 1865, and visited Berlin and Mushacke's family in the autumn of 1866. For their exploits in Leipzig, see Nietzsche's autobiographical "Rückblick auf meine zwei Leipziger Jahre" (Retrospect on My Two Years at Leipzig). English translation in: Nietzsche's Writings as a Student. The Nietzsche Channel, 2012, 119-43 (121-29).
7. See the two photographs (colorized and enhanced © The Nietzsche Channel) taken in July and August 1866.
8. Cf. Leipzig, 05-27-1867 and 06-03-1867: Letter to Franziska and Elisabeth Nietzsche in Naumburg. "Meine Behausung gefällt mir, doch habe ich das beneidenswerthe Bewußtsein, von meinen Wirthsleuten als Citrone behandelt zu werden, aus der möglichst viel Saft dh. Geld herauszupressen ist." (I like my dwelling [Weststrasse 59], yet I have the enviable awareness of being treated like a lemon by my landlord and landlady [Carl and Adelheid Kühn], to squeeze as much juice, i.e. money, as possible out of [me]."


Friedrich Ritschl.
As an older man.
From b/w photo.
Colorized and enhanced image ©The Nietzsche Channel.

Naumburg, September 26, 1867:
Letter to Friedrich Ritschl.

Esteemed Herr Privy Councilor,

Your excellent efforts have again pushed through everything that can be of some use to my work.1 Director Förtsch2 was immediately willing, with great courtesy, to hand over to me the almost complete copy of the Rheinish Museum: and I gather from your last dear letter that Sauerländer3 also accepted the suggestion that was so favorable to me. If it is not a problem for you, I would be delighted to see that copy in Naumburg. But this is absolutely in your hands, since at the moment I am really being taken care of in the best way and can quite easily wait until the end of October; when I would then take the liberty of asking you personally in Leipzig.

Incidentally, I cannot definitely say that I have already advanced further in the preparation of the index, since I am currently held captive by another active investigation ("On the Spurious Writings of Democritus").4 But I know no reason for me to be particularly encouraged to hurry with this work.

In conclusion, I am pleased to have finally guessed the origin of that mysterious address "Lindenstr. 57."5 When I was living in Kosen last autumn,6 you inquired about my residence so that you could send the Theognis papers7 to me. I then wrote to you the designated address. Incidentally, it is even a wrong address for the Naumburg postman, an .8

So all I have left to express is the wish that these beautiful autumn days will be very beneficial to your health, and to add the assurance that I will personally inquire about your health at the end of October.

Your faithful pupil
Friedrich Nietzsche.

1. Nietzsche's preparation of the index (assisted by his sister) to the new series of Rheinisches Museum für Philologie. Registerheft zu Band I-XXIV. Frankfurt am Main: Sauerländer, 1871. Nietzsche did not receive any credit for the work (which was published in 1871). See the reproduction in Nietzsche's Library.
2. Carl Friedrich Gottlob Förtsch (1805-1878): German philologist and rector of the Domgymnasium in Naumburg.
3. Johann David Sauerländer (1789-1866): deceased publisher of the Rheinisches Museum für Philologie.
4. The work was intended for a collection of writings by students of Friedrich Ritschl, and dedicated to him. It was never published.
5. Nietzsche's residence at the time.
6. Nietzsche and his mother stayed in Bad Kösen (about 4 miles east of Naumburg) from 09-15-1866 to 10-13-1866 due to the 1866 cholera pandemic.
7. The manuscript for Nietzsche's "Zur Geschichte der Theognideischen Spruchsammlung." In: Rheinisches Museum für Philologie (1867) 22: 161-200.
8. Greek: "something not different, an indistinguishable thing."


Hermann Mushacke.
From b/w photo.
Bonn, July 16, 1865.
Colorized and enhanced image ©The Nietzsche Channel.

Naumburg, October 4, 1867:
Letter to Hermann Mushacke.1

My dear friend,

We are seldom masters of fate, but we think we are when it has favored us for a long time. This is not intended to be an introduction to a tragedy, but only a preliminary remark to a musical intermezzo, which I had hoped never again to hear in this life. Drums and fifes, warlike clangor!2 The sword hovers not over my head but at my side, this pen in my hand will shortly be a killing weapon, these papers covered with notes and drafts will probably take on a bit of a musty stench. The god of war has sought me out, i.e., I was found fit for voluntary service just as I left for the philologists' conference in Halle,3 still believing that this chalice had passed me by. It was with great difficulty that I pressed home that I could at least try to see if there were a place other than Naumburg that would accept me in an artillery unit for another branch of the army. If the attempt fails, next Wednesday4 I shall begin to embrace the local cannons — with more wrath than tenderness. But now it is time to try.

Perhaps I can join the 2nd Infantry Guards Regiment in Berlin. For this purpose I will therefore leave Naumburg tomorrow, i.e., on Saturday at 12:45, and arrive in Berlin in the evening.5 I now dare to say that I would be very grateful if I could meet you at the station. For you are familiar with my awkwardness in a strange and big city.6 In this unexpected way our meeting each other has come much closer than I could have imagined yesterday; and it is about the only pleasure that the ma[j]or's7 sudden intervention in my agenda affords me. On the other hand, my requirements for the near future have been completely thwarted.

To what extent, I will tell you in person.

So, dear friend, I have announced my arrival in Berlin and have asked you for a great favor. If you cannot come, I will still take the liberty of asking you just once. In the meantime, give my warmest greetings to your esteemed relatives!

— And how many good things the last few weeks have brought! What a pleasure at this gathering of philologists, where I met countless old acquaintances. When on the first evening the guests who had arrived in the wide halls of the Schießgraben — c. 500 — were flooding all over the place, I stood there, like Elisabeth in Tannhauser,8 when the pilgrims return from Rome and she hopes to find the well-known features of Heinrich in every face. She was misinformed and I was misinforned too. Friend Mushacke was not among the philological pilgrims.

Addio a rivederla
Fritz Nietzsche.

1. Hermann Mushacke (1845-1906): friend and classmate at the University of Bonn. Nietzsche and Mushacke visited Naumburg together on October 26, 1865, and visited Berlin and Mushacke's family in the autumn of 1866. For their exploits in Leipzig, see Nietzsche's autobiographical "Rückblick auf meine zwei Leipziger Jahre" (Retrospect on My Two Years at Leipzig). English translation in: Nietzsche's Writings as a Student. The Nietzsche Channel, 2012, 119-43 (121-29).
2. Contrary to expectations, Nietzsche was conscripted for a year's military service despite his extreme short-sightedness. Cf. Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche, Das Leben Friedrich Nietzsche's. Bd. 1. Leipzig: Naumann, 1895, 259f. "Mein Bruder hatte sich schon mehrfach zum Militärdienst gemeldet, war auch kräftig, gesund und tauglich gefunden und nur seiner großen Kurzsichtigkeit wegen zurückgewiesen worden. So glaubte er sich eigentlich von militärischen Verpflichtungen frei. Als er sich nun am 30. September 1867 wohlgemuth zur Philologenversammlung nach Halle an der Saale begeben wollte, traf er am Bahnhofe den Oberstlieutenant von J[ageman]n, Commandeur der in Naumburg garnisonirenden Abtheilung des Feld Artillerie-Regiments Nr. 4. Dieser theilte ihm mit, daß eine neue Verordnung gekommen sei, wonach junge Leute, welche die Brille Nr. 8 trügen und sonst gesund und kräftig wären, doch dienen müßten. Nun hatte Fritz bei der letzten Stellung in Naumburg am 26. September Nr. 8 getragen; diese N[umme]r war viel zu schwach für seine Augen: aber man hatte gar nicht die Augen selbst untersucht, sondern nur nach der Brille geurtheilt! So kam das Verhängniß: er war plötzlich militärpflichtig und mußte an ein schleuniges Eintreten denken; natürlich wollte er in einer Universitätsstadt dienen. Herr von J[ageman]n rieth ihm nun, ruhig nach Halle zu reisen, er wolle ihm inzwischen eine Bescheinigung ausstellen, daß Fritz seiner Studien wegen in Berlin zu dienen wünsche und dem nichts im Wege stehe. Mit dieser Bescheinigung reiste Fritz am 4. Oktober nach Berlin, um sich bei einem der Garderegimenter anzumelden. Leider waren diese schon mit Freiwilligen überfüllt, so daß beschlossen war, keinen mehr anzunehmen. So kehrte er nach Naumburg zurück, um hier zu dienen, obgleich der Dienst bei der reitenden Feld-Artillerie recht mühselig ist. Das Einzige, was ihn dazu verlockte, war das Reiten, das er schon in Leipzig geübt und sehr geliebt hatte." (My brother had already reported for military service several times, was also found to be strong, healthy and fit and was only rejected because of his great short-sightedness. So he actually believed himself free from military obligations. On September 30, 1867, when he was about to go in good spirits to the philology conference in Halle an der Saale, he met Lieutenant Colonel von J[ageman]n at the station, commander of the detachment of the 4th Field-Artillery Regiment garrisoned in Naumburg. He informed him that a new regulation had come out according to which young people who wore Nr. 8 glasses and were otherwise healthy and strong had to serve. Now Fritz had worn Nr. 8s at his last physical exam in Naumburg on September 26; this n[umbe]r was much too weak for his eyes: but they had not examined the eyes themselves, but only made a ruling based on the glasses! And so came his fate: he was suddenly conscripted and had to think of entering the army quickly; of course he wanted to serve in a university town. Herr von J[ageman]n now advised him to travel to Halle without delay; meanwhile he wanted to issue him a certificate stating that Fritz wished to serve in Berlin due to his studies and that nothing stood in the way of that. With this certificate, Fritz traveled to Berlin on October 4 to register with one of the Guard regiments. Unfortunately, these were already overcrowded with volunteers, so it was decided not to accept any more. So he returned to Naumburg to serve here, although service in the mounted field-artillery is quite arduous. The only thing that attracted him to it was the horseback riding, which he had already practiced in Leipzig and loved very much.)
3. The 25th "Versammlung deutschen Philologen, Schulmänner und Orientalisten" (Conference of German Philogists, Schoolmen and Orientalists) held in Halle on October 1-3, 1867.
4. 10-09-1867.
5. Nietzsche was in Berlin from October 5-6, 1867.
6. Nietzsche stayed in Berlin with Mushacke's family from October 1-17, 1865. See Nietzsche's autobiographical "Rückblick auf meine zwei Leipziger Jahre" (Retrospect on My Two Years at Leipzig). English translation in: Nietzsche's Writings as a Student. The Nietzsche Channel, 2012, 119-43 (122-23).
7. The person who informed him of his conscription in the army was Lieutenant Colonel von Jagemann. See Note 2 above.
8. In Richard Wagner's 1845 opera, Tannhäuser, Act 3, Scene 1.


Paul Deussen.
From b/w photo, 1864.
Colorized and enhanced image ©The Nietzsche Channel.

Naumburg, October/November 1867:
Fragment1 of a letter to Paul Deussen.

My dear friend,

A flood of reasons caused me to write to you, duties of gratitude for the hospitable reception2 and for a warmly felt and content-rich letter, but above all my own desire to no longer leave you in the dark about my situation, one which is alien enough to my usual thoughts and activities.

You will have indeed heard, courtesy of Mushacke, that after a feeble attempt3 to climb up and down the walls of fate, I surrendered and was henceforth an artilleryman.4 At the same time it will be clear to you that service in the mounted artillery is deemed the hardest soldier's service and that this is actually the case. We must be trained on foot, on horseback, and with artillery; and to bring quite easily to your mind what kind of time this requires, know that every day, on average, from 7 in the morning to around 6 in the evening I am officially on duty, except for half an hour for lunchtime. I use the other time, i.e. in the morning from 5:30 to 7 and in the evening, to acquire the military knowledge that an officer's examination requires to such a great extent and to continue that philological work,5 the completion of which I have promised by a deadline that is near.

Thus working under full sail, physically and mentally, in the riding arena and in the tournament of ideas, at the cannon and with the missiles of logic, in the exercise yard and in the school of thought of the ancients.

My dear friend, in order to write an apology for Schopenhauer, which you challenge with your letter, I have only to convey the fact that I face this life freely and courageously, after my feet have found some ground. To speak metaphorically, "the waters of tribulation"6 do not divert me from my path, for they no longer go over my head.

This is, of course, nothing but an entirely individual apology. But that's how things are to us now. I murmur in the ear of anyone who wants to refute Schopenhauer to me with reasons: “But, dear man, worldviews are neither created nor destroyed by logic. I feel at home in that atmosphere, you in the other. Let me have my own nose, and I will not take yours from you."

It is true that I get angry at times when I hear or read contemporary philosophers and notice their reputation and ask urgently, as that well-known Hamlet asked his mother, "Have you eyes? Have you eyes?"7 I think they do not have any, but I may be wrong, and mine may be too short-sighted to mistake a donkey for a horse. But that's the way it is: if a slave in prison dreams that he is free and released from his bondage, who will have such a hard heart to wake him up and tell him that it is a dream? Who will it be? Just a henchman, and neither I nor you will want to play that role.

The best that we have, to feel one with a great intellect, to be able to respond sympathetically to his ideas, to have found a home for thinking, a place of refuge for dreary hours — we would not want to rob this from others, let us not rob it from ourselves. Be it a mistake, be it a lie [— — —]8

1. Nietzsche was replying to an unknown letter from Paul Deussen.
2. Nietzsche was in Berlin from October 5-6, 1867, hoping to fulfill his obligatory one-year military service by enlisting with one of the Guard regiments there. Cf. Naumburg, 10-04-1867: Letter to Hermann Mushacke in Berlin.
3. See Naumburg, 10-04-1867: Letter to Hermann Mushacke in Berlin.
4. On 10-09-1867, Nietzsche enlisted with the mounted field-artillery unit in Naumburg.
5. Nietzsche's planned work, "On the Spurious Writings of Democritus," intended for a collection of writings by students of Friedrich Ritschl, and dedicated to him. It was never published. Cf. Naumburg, 09-26-1867: Letter to Friedrich Ritschl in Leipzig.
6. 1. Kings 22:27. "'And say,' thus saith the king, 'Put this fellow in the prison, and feed him with bread of affliction and with water of affliction, until I come in peace.'"
7. William Shakespeare, Hamlet. Act 3, Scene 4.
8. End of fragment.


Erwin Rohde.
As a student.
From b/w photo, ca. 1860s.
Colorized and enhanced image ©The Nietzsche Channel.

Naumburg, November 3, 1867:
Letter to Erwin Rohde.

My dear friend,

Yesterday I received a letter from our Wilhelm Roscher1 in Leipzig, with news which should, with your permission, form the opening of this letter. First of all, the good news that Father Ritschl is in good health and jovialness; which I learned with astonishment, since the behavior of the Berliners has certainly torn open some of his wounds.2 Then the society,3 which has also adopted a solemn stamp, seems to be heading for a bright future. The reading circle4 has 28 members so far: According to Roscher's intentions, Zaspel's café5 shall be set up as a kind of philological stock exchange. A cabinet has also been purchased in which the [philological] journals are kept. Friday meetings6 have probably not yet taken place; at least Wilhelm hasn't written anything about them. In addition, various members have not yet arrived, e.g. Koch,7 who is unfortunately prevented by a serious illness. Likewise the excellent Kohl,8 who oddly enough wants to stay with a friend in the country for several weeks and has thus postponed for a bit the hazardous scenery of the examination. Finally, I do not want to conceal the fact that Roscher's letter brought me the pleasant news that on October 31st my Laertius work9 won the competition in the aula against Herr ;10 which I am telling you above all because I am thinking of your friendly efforts, under which the said opusculum was launched. It may be a long time before anything is printed about these matters:11 I have withdrawn all previous plans and have only retained the one of dealing with this field in a larger context, together with friend Volkmann.12 But since we are both very busy with other things, the pretty fables about the learnedness of Laertius and Suidas may enjoy their existence for a while longer. The only person who needs to be informed a bit more quickly about the probable state of affairs is Curt Wachsmuth:13 who wants to hear about it in person and by word of mouth, and will do so now that I got to know him at the philologist conference in Halle.14 He really has an artistic streak, above all a powerful banditlike ugliness that he carries with panache and pride.

For the time being, those days in Halle are the merry finale, or shall we say the coda, of my philological overture. Such troops of teachers present themselves really better than I would ever have expected. It may be that the old spiders were staying in their webs: briefly, the clothes were quite tasteful and fashionable, and mustaches are very popular. Although old Bernhardy15 presided as badly as possible, and Bergk16 bored us with an unintelligible three-hour lecture. But most of it went well, especially the dinner (at which someone stole old Steinhart's17 gold watch: figure out the mood that prevailed after that) and an evening meeting in the Schützengraben. Here I also got to know the clever-looking Magister Sauppe18 from Göttingen, who is of interest to me as protagonist of the Naumburg philologists. His lecture on some new Attic inscriptions was the most piquant thing we heard; that is, if I except Tischendorf's speech on palaeography,19 which let loose the entire arsenal, i.e. with the maiden of Homer, the Simonides forgeries,20 the Menander and Euripides fragments, etc.; he also acted generously on his part and finally announced his paleogr[aphic] oeuvre,21 with a naive indication of the price, namely valuing it at about 5000 thalers. The attendees were extraordinarily numerous, and there were plenty of acquaintances. At the dinner22 we formed a Leipzig corner, consisting of Windisch,23 Angermann,24 Clemm,25 Fleischer,26 etc. I was very happy to have found in Clemm an especially amiable person: whereas in Leipzig I hardly got to know him, in fact as a result of my damned Bonn habits even felt a kind of dislike for him and used to look askance at him the way in which fraternity members like to size up the "gentlemen of the choir."27 Of course he wholeheartedly declared his willingness to participate in the Leipzig symbolis.28 But he found the date fixed too early: and I am inclined to endorse his judgment. Every day, even every hour, we waited in Halle for Father Ritschl to arrive,29 who had announced he was coming and unfortunately had to comply with the bad weather. We longed for his presence, I especially, who owed him a debt of gratitude in every respect. It is thanks to him that I am now in possession of the complete Rhein[isches] Museum,30 without having done anything for it up to now, indeed with the certain prospect of not being able to do anything with that index31 for a long time. I did not waste the next couple of weeks after our trip32 on this drudgery, but put together my Democritea in the most merry way; they are intended in honorem Ritscheli.33 So at least the main die has been cast: although for a careful justification of my follies and a thorough combinatorics, there is still too much left to do, far too much for a person who is "heavily occupied elsewhere."

Well, you will ask, if he does not smoke and gamble, if he is not manufacturing indicem, or piecing together Democritea, disparaging Laertium et Suidam, what then is he doing?

He is doing military training.34

Yes, my dear friend, if a demon were to lead you to Naumburg early in the morning, let us say, between five and six o'clock, and were with kind intentions to guide your steps to my vicinity: do not freeze [in your tracks] over the spectacle that offers itself to your senses. Suddenly you breathe the atmosphere of a stable. In the lanterns' half-light, figure[s] come into view. Around you there are sounds of scraping, whinnying, brushing, knocking. And in the midst of it, in the garb of a groom, violently tring to carry away unspeakable, unsightly things with his hands or to belabor the horse with the currycomb — I shudder when I see his face — it is, by the Dog, my very own likeness.35

A few hours later you see two steeds charging about the arena, not without riders, one of whom closely resembles your friend. He is riding his fiery, spirited Balduin36 and hopes to learn to ride well one day, although or rather because he still rides on the blanket now, with spurs and thighs, but without a riding crop. He also had to hasten to forget everything he had heard at the Leipzig riding school37 and, above all, with great effort, to acquire a safe seat that conformed to the regulations.

At other times of the day he stands, industrious and attentive, at the [horse-]drawn artillery and pulls shells out of the limber or cleans the bore with the rod or aims according to inches and degrees etc. But above all he has a lot to learn.

I assure you by the aforementioned Dog, my philosophy now has an opportunity to be of practical use to me. Until now, I have never felt a moment's indignity, but I have often smiled as if at something out of a fairy tale. Sometimes hidden under the horse's belly I murmur "Schopenhauer, help"; and when I come home, exhausted and covered in sweat, a glance at the picture38 on my desk soothes me: or I open the Parerga,39 which now, together with Byron,40 is more congenial than ever.

Now the point has finally been reached where I can say how you expected the letter to begin. My dear friend, you now know the reason why my letter was so unduly delayed for such a long time.41 I had no time in the strictest sense. But [was] often no[t in the] mood too. One simply does not write letters to friends whom one loves, as I love you, in any arbitrary mood. Just as little does one write a line today and another tomorrow in stolen moments, but one longs for a full and expansive hour and mood. Today the friendliest autumn day is peeking in through the window. Today I have the afternoon off, at least until 6:30 p.m.; being the time at which I am summoned to the stables for the evening feeding and watering. Today I am celebrating Sunday in my own way by remembering my distant friend and our common past in Leipzig42 and in the Bohemian Forest43 and in Nirvana.44 Fate has with a sudden yank torn out the Leipzig page of my life, and now the next thing I see in this sibylline book is covered from top to bottom with an inkblot. At that time was a life of free self-determination, in the epicurean enjoyment of scholarship and the arts, in the circle of fellow aspiring people, close to a lovable teacher45 and — greatest of all that remains for me to say of those days in Leipzig — in constant company with a friend, who is not only a comrade in studies or is linked to me through mutual experiences, but whose seriousness about life really shows the same degree as in my own mind, whose estimation of things and people obeys approximately the same laws as my own, whose whole being ultimately has upon me a strengthening and steeling influence. So even now I miss nothing more than just that company; and I venture even to believe that, if we were condemned to pull under this yoke together, we would bear our burden serenely and with dignity: whereas at the moment I am only reminded of the solace of remembrance. At first I was almost surprised not to find you as my companion in fate: and sometimes while riding when I look around at the other volunteers, I then think I see you sitting on a horse.

I am pretty lonely in Naumburg; I have neither a philologist nor a friend of Schopenhauer among my acquaintances; and even these seldom get together with me, for the service claims much of my time. Thus I often feel the need to chew over the past and make the present digestible by blending in that spice. As I walked through the black, cold, wet night in my raincoat this morning, and the wind blew restlessly around the dark masses of houses, I sang to myself, "Ein Biedermann muss lustig, guter Dinge sein,"46 and thought of our terrific farewell party,47 of Kleinpaul48 hopping around — whose existence is currently unknown in Naumburg and Leipzig, but is therefore not in doubt — of Koch's Dionysian face, of our memorial49 on the banks of that Leipzig river which we christened Nirvana and which, for my part, bears the solemn words that have proved victorious 50

If I finally apply these words to you, dear friend, they should include the best that I bear in my heart for you. Who knows when ever-changing fate will bring our paths together again: may it be very soon; but, whenever it happens, I will look back with joy and pride on a time when I gained a friend 51

Friedrich Nietzsche.
Artillery private in the 21st batt[alion] of the mount[ed] artillery section of the 4th Field Artillery Reg[iment].

NB. The letter has been delayed again for a few days because I wanted to follow it with a box of grapes: finally the wretched post office declared that it did not want to accept the same because upon arrival the grapes would be nothing but juice.


1. The letter is lost. Wilhelm Heinrich Roscher (1845-1923): fellow philology student at Leipzig.
2. The Königlichen Preußischen Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Berlin (Royal Prussian Academy of Sciences in Berlin) had refused Friedrich Ritschl admission.
3. At the University of Leipzig, Nietzsche belonged to The Classical Philology Society (which he co-founded). As of July 29, 1866, it's members included: Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900), Heinrich Wilhelm Wisser (1843-1935), Constantin Angermann (1844-1911), Erwin Rohde (1845-1898), Sigismund Heynemann (1841-1903), Wilhelm Heinrich Roscher (1845-1923), Ernst Windisch (1844-1918), Heinrich Cron (1844-1874), Heinrich Romundt (1845-1919), and Otto Kohlschütter (1844-1899).
4. In a rare history of The Classical Philology Society, it states: "Roscher continued to be a zealous force in the society. He earned special merit by organizing a scholarly reading circle in which philological journals such as the Rheinisches Museum, Philologus, and Fleckeisen's Jahrbücher were held and circulated among the members. Then the society also had a permanent venue, which was discovered through Roscher's shrewdness, the Café Zaspel on Brühl, where a cabinet contained the society's library treasures." See Robert Weber, Geschichte des Klassisch-Philologischen Vereines zu Leipzig von 1865-1890. Leipzig: Kreysing, n.d., 6. Trans. TNC.
5. Ibid.
6. The weekly meeting of The Classical Philology Society took place every Friday.
7. Otto or Richard Koch, first name uncertain.
8. Otto Kohl (1844-after 1915).
9. Nietzsche's work, "On the Sources of Diogenes Laertius," eventually published in 1868 and 1869.
10. Mr. "Nobody." "Outis" (nobody) was a pseudonym used by Odysseus to trick the Cyclops Polyphemus. Nietzsche was the only contestant for the prize-essay.
11. See Note 9.
12. The plan for a collaborative work on Diogenes Laertius with Diederich Volkmann (1838-1903) never happened. Cf. Naumburg, 12-01-1867: Letter to Friedrich Ritschl in Leipzig.
13. Curt Wachsmuth (1837-1905): German philologist, and the son-in-law of Friedrich Ritschl. Cf. Marburg, Spring 1868: Letter from Curt Wachsmuth to Nietzsche in Leipzig.
14. The 25th "Versammlung deutschen Philologen, Schulmänner und Orientalisten" (Conference of German Philogists, Schoolmen and Orientalists) held in Halle on October 1-3, 1867.
15. Gottfried Bernhardy (1800-1875).
16. Theodor Bergk (1812-1881).
17. Karl Steinhart (1801-1872).
18. Hermann Sauppe (1809-1893).
19. Constantine Tischendorf (1815-1874).
20. The notorious forger Constantin Simonides (1820-1867) sold a manuscript written in Greek to the University of Leipzig that purported to be The Shepherd of Hermas. Wilhelm Dindorf (1802-1883) edited the manuscript but failed to release a planned commentary due to the subsequent exposure and arrest of Simonides. See "Rückblick auf meine zwei Leipziger Jahre" (Retrospect on My Two Years at Leipzig). English translation in: Nietzsche's Writings as a Student. The Nietzsche Channel, 2012, 119-43 (131, 140).
21. Constantine Tischendorf, Monumenta sacra inedita. Novo collectio. Bd. V-VI. Leipzig: Hinrichs, 1869-1870. For further information on Tischendorf, see Stanley E. Porter, Constantine Tischendorf. The Life and Work of a 19th Century Bible Hunter. London: Bloomsbury, 2015.
22. For the menu, see GSA 71/362,2.
23. Ernst Windisch (1844-1918).
24. Constantin Angermann (1844-1911).
25. Wilhelm Clemm (1843-1883)
26. Curt Fleischer (1847-1905).
27. Nietzsche was a member of the "Frankonia" fraternity in Bonn from 1864-1865. The choir members were drawn from rival fraternities.
28. A collection of writings by students of Friedrich Ritschl, and dedicated to him. It was never published. Cf. Naumburg, 09-26-1867: Letter to Friedrich Ritschl in Leipzig.
29. Cf. Otto Ribbeck, Friedrich Wilhelm Ritschl. Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der Philologie. Bd. 1. Leipzig: Teubner, 1879, 390. "Im October 1867 traten von Halle aus ganze Schaaren der dort versammelten Philologen eine Wallfahrt zu dem vergeblich erwarteten Grossmeister in Leipzig an." (In October 1867 the entire crowd of philologists who had gathered there set out from Halle on a pilgrimage to the great master in Leipzig, who had been awaited in vain.)
30. Cf. Naumburg, 09-26-1867: Letter to Friedrich Ritschl in Leipzig.
31. An allusion to Nietzsche's preparation of the index (assisted by his sister) to the new series of Rheinisches Museum für Philologie. Registerheft zu Band I-XXIV. Frankfurt am Main: Sauerländer, 1871. Nietzsche did not receive any credit for the work (which was published in 1871). See the reproduction in Nietzsche's Library.
32. Their trip together into the Bavarian Forest from August 8th to August 25th 1867.
33. Nietzsche's planned work, "On the Spurious Writings of Democritus," intended for a collection of writings by students of Friedrich Ritschl, and dedicated to him. It was never published. Cf. Naumburg, 09-26-1867: Letter to Friedrich Ritschl in Leipzig.
34. On 10-09-1867, Nietzsche enlisted with the mounted field-artillery unit in Naumburg.
35. Cf. excerpt from Heinrich Heine, "Die Heimkehr" (The Homecoming).

Still ist die Nacht, es ruhen die Gassen, / In diesem Hause wohnt mein Schatz; / Sie hat schon längst die Stadt verlassen, / Doch steht noch das Haus auf demselben Platz. // (The night is still, the streets are quiet, / My darling dwelt in this house; / She left the town long ago, / But the house still stands in the same place. //)
Da steht auch ein Mensch und starrt in die Höhe / Und ringt die Hände, vor Schmerzensgewalt; / Mir graust es, wenn ich sein Antlitz sehe, — / Der Mond zeigt mir meine eigne Gestalt. / (A man is standing there too and stares up / And wrings his hands in the violence of pain; / I shudder when I see his face — / The moon shows me my own form. //)
Du Doppelgänger, du bleicher Geselle! / Was äffst du nach meinem Liebesleid, / Das mich gequält auf dieser Stelle, / So manche Nacht in alter Zeit? (You doppelganger, you pale fellow! / Why do you imitate my sorrow of love, / That tormented me at this very spot, / So many a night in times gone by?)
36. The name of Nietzsche's horse.
37. Nietzsche and Rohde took horseback riding lessons together while at Leipzig.
38. See Hamburg, 09-10-1867, Letter from Erwin Rohde to Nietzsche in Naumburg, with which Rohde sent him a photograph of Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860). See GSA 100/427.
39. Arthur Schopenhauer, Parerga und Paralopomena. Leipzig: Brockhaus, 1874. Bd. 1; Bd. 2.
40. See the entry for Byron in Nietzsche's Library. He also owned three volumes of Byron in German by Ernst Ortlepp not listed in the entry.
41. Cf. Hamburg, 09-10-1867, Letter from Erwin Rohde to Nietzsche in Naumburg.
42. For Nietzsche's friendship with Erwin Rohde at the University of Leipzig, see his autobiographical "Rückblick auf meine zwei Leipziger Jahre" (Retrospect on My Two Years at Leipzig). English translation in: Nietzsche's Writings as a Student. The Nietzsche Channel, 2012, 119-43 (134-135).
43. See Note 32.
44. See Naumburg, 02-01/03: Letter to Erwin Rohde in Kiel. In German. In English. "Denkst Du noch an unser Nirwanaplätzchen im Rosenthal?" (Do you still think of our nirvana-spot in the Rosenthal?)
45. Friedrich Ritschl.
46. Cf. Jacques Offenbach, Henri Meilhac, Ludovic Halévy, Ernst Dohm (trans.), Die schöne Helena. Opera-Buffa in 3 Abtheilungen von Meilhac und Halévy. Deutsch von E. Dohm. Musik von Jacques Offenbach. Berlin: Bote und Bock, 1865, 71. Act 3, Scene 7: "Ein Ehemann soll lustig, guter Dinge sein." (A husband should be cheerful and in good spirits.) The opera was performed in Berlin in 1865. Nietzsche substitutes "Biedermann" (honest man) for "Ehemann" in the translation by Dohm.
47. In a later draft of a 02-22/28-1869 letter to Erwin Rohde in Hamburg (see KGB 1-4:473, 563), Nietzsche wrote: "erinnerst Du noch, wie wir in Leipzig unser Abschiedsfest feierten, im italienischen Garten, wie wir von unserer Studentenzeit Abschied nahmen. Es ist für uns jetzt die Zeit der Übergänge." (Do you still remember how we celebrated our farewell party in Leipzig, in the Italian garden, how we said goodbye to our student days. It is now a time of transition for us.) Nietzsche also mentions "the Italian garden" in his autobiographical "Rückblick auf meine zwei Leipziger Jahre" (Retrospect on My Two Years at Leipzig). English translation in: Nietzsche's Writings as a Student. The Nietzsche Channel, 2012, 119-43 (137). "Final days living in the Italian garden, one floor above Rohde."
48. Rudolf Kleinpaul (1845-1918).
49. See Note 44.
50. Cf. Pindar, Pythian Odes, 2:73, "genoi hoios essi [mathon]" (Become the sort of person you are through understanding.) Nietzsche drops the ending, which leaves the translation "Become who you are.")
See Pindar: the Olympian and Pythian Odes, 2:73. Cambridge: University Press, 1893:167.
51. "such as you." See Note 50.
52. Latin: "Forgive me."


Carl von Gersdorff.
From b/w photo, 1864.
Colorized and enhanced image ©The Nietzsche Channel.

Naumburg, Nov. 24 and Dec. 1, 1867:
Letter to Carl von Gersdorff.

My dear friend,

Curious! One handles letters on business matters, and to people to whom we are indifferent, far more punctually than to one's intimate friends. How many lines have I written in the course of this summer, each one with the knowledge that there is someone who has been expecting a detailed letter from me for a long time and suo [j]ure. How many fragments of letters do I find among my papers, some comprising whole pages, others only headings; but nothing was completed, because the abundance of work and events crossed out the unfinished page again, and I lacked the desire to describe obsolete things and moods to you. Let me now quickly summarize that summer so that I can dwell on the present, a present with which you will empathize, since you have experienced something very similar to what I am experiencing now.

This summer, the last I spent in Leipzig — that is, the second — kept me heavily occupied. You know that I was trying to work on the prize-essay subject1 de fontibus Laerti[i] Diogenis. It also worked out as I wished; a lot of nice results, some of them more important — i. e. more important by our standards — came out, and finally the hoped-for decision of the faculty came too.2 May I share with you a few lines from Ritschl's iudicium;3 about which I am very glad, because they encourage me and drive me along a path from which I am sometimes tempted to deviate out of skepticism.4 So after specifying my name and my epigraph ()5 it says: 'ita rem egit ut Ordinis expectationi non tantum satis fecerit, verum eam superaverit. Tanta enim in hac commentatione cum doctrinae e fontibus haustae copia tum sani maturique iudicii subtilitas enitet, coniuncta ea cum probabili et disserendi perspicuitate et dicendi genuina simplicitate, ut non modo insigniore laude scriptoris indoles et industria dignae videantur, sed plurimum emolumenti in ipsas litteras, philosophorum potissimum Graecorum historiam et plenius et rectius cognoscendam, ex illius opera redundare existimandum sit —';6 which judgment was announced in front of a very crowded aula.7 Unfortunately I could not be present; which hurt me all the more because the philological society8 wanted to organize for me, its founder and ex-president, a 9 at Simmer's10 to which Father Ritschl had also promised to come. — That work occupied me until the beginning of August; as soon as I was free and rid of it, I flew to the Bohemian forest with my friend Rohde11 in order to bathe my weary soul in nature, mountains, and forest. At this point I must say something about Rohde,12 whom you also know from an earlier time. We spent almost all of this summer together and felt a rare affinity between us. It goes without saying that over this bond of friendship also hovered the genius of the man whose picture Rohde sent me from Hamburg just a few weeks ago: Schopenhauer.13 I think you will feel great joy over the fact that precisely such robust and good natures as Rohde has, in the best sense, are gripped by that philosophy[.]

Another week has passed, it is Sunday again, the only day now left for me to fulfill my letter-duties. But in order to continue roughly in the circle of thoughts in which I found myself eight days ago, I will tell you about another influence of Schopenhauer. For there are two literary achievements, one scientific and one a novel, that were born under this star. Perhaps you have already heard of the book that is now called Bahnsen's Contributions to Characterology.14 This is an attempt to reform characterology into a science; since this is done on a Schopenhauerian basis and with a lot of love for the "master," this two-volume work actually contains a lot of good thoughts and observations too: I recommend it to you and all initiates of that revealed and yet hidden wisdom. I am satisfied least of all with the form: the author hurries his thoughts and thereby spoils the line of beauty. — The novel, of which I now want to speak, is the first product of a literature in that tragic, almost ascetic sense of Schopenhauer's, a book whose heroes are driven through the red flame of Sansara15 to that reversal of the will, at the same time a literature full of the highest artistic value, a magnificent wealth of ideas and written in the most beautiful, most amiable style. It is Spielhagen's16 latest novel entitled "In Reih und Glied";17 about which little is read, because its author is too proud to join a clique, such as e.g. the one Freitag18 has. My teacher Ritschl concludes that this last novel is ten times as valuable than the whole of Freitag.

Thirdly, I will tell you about an event with which Schopenhauer is also remotely connected, even if he is not the cause of it, as well-paid school councilors claim. It is the unfortunate suicide of Kretzschmer19 in Schulpforta. The reasons are actually not known or are being well hushed up. There is something puzzling about the excellent, conscientious man who got engaged three months earlier and so has made a young girl unhappy too. You know that he was a follower of Schopenhauer: and the last time we were both in Almrich together, we spoke to one another about Schopenhauer's opinion of suicide.20

But now I return to the narrative of my experiences: the news of that death overtook me in Meiningen, where I spent the last days of my trip to the Bohemian Forest. A big four-day music festival was organized there by the futurists, who celebrated their strange musical orgies there.21 Abbé Liszt22 presided. This school has now thrown itself passionately at Schopenhauer. A symphonic poem by Hans von Bülow, "Nirvana"23 contained a compilation of Schopenhauer sentences in the program; but the music was dreadful. On the other hand, Liszt himself has captured the character of that Indian Nirvana splendidly in some of his sacred works, especially in his "Seligkeiten" "beati sunt qui etc."24

After these weeks of relaxation and the purest enjoyment of nature, a well-meaning demon drove me to tackle with zeal a new philological theme in Naumburg: "On the Spurious Writings of Democritus."25 This work is intended for a series of essays,26 which together shall be dedicated to Ritschl in the next year. In Leipzig, during the last days of my stay there, I suggested the idea that his special Leipzig students — carefully selected, of course — express their admiration for their teacher in this way. This required getting Rohde, Roscher, Windisch, Clemm and 4 others27 whom you do not know. Then I joined the celebration at that philologist conference in Halle28 — and fate intervened.

For I am now an artilleryman, namely in the 2d mounted section of the 4th Field-Artill[ery] Reg[iment].29

You will easily empathize with how surprising this turnaround was, how violently I was alienated from my usual activities and comfortable existence. Nevertheless I endure this change unfazed and feel a certain contentment even in this trick of destiny. Only now have I become quite grateful to our Schopenhauer, now that I have the opportunity to do some .30 In the first 5 weeks I also had to do the stable work: I was in the horse stable at 5:30 in the morning to clean out the manure and groom my horse with a currycomb and brush. Now my duties are such that on average I am busy from 7-10:30 in the morning and from 11:30-6 in the evening, most of this time with military exercises on foot. Four times a week both of us serving for one-year have a lecture by a lieutenant in preparation for the territorial officers' examination. You will know that there is an incredible amount to learn as a mounted artilleryman. I get the most enjoyment from the riding lessons. I have a very good-looking horse and am said to have a talent for riding. When I breeze around the vast exercise yard on my Balduin,31 I am very satisfied with my lot. The treatment I am receiving is, on the whole, excellent. Above all, we have a pleasant captain.

I have told you about my life as a soldier: this is the reason why I am so extraordinarily late in sending you news and in replying to your last letter.32 In the meantime, I think, you will probably have got rid of the military shackles. Which is why I consider it questionable to address my letter to Spandau.

But my time is up already; a business letter to Volkmann33 and another34 to Ritschl have already stolen our time. Now I have to close, in order to get ready for roll call with all my gear.

So, dear friend, forgive me my long neglect and ascribe most of the guilt to the god of war.

In faithfulness
Your friend
Friedrich Nietzsche

1. Cf. Leipzig, 11-26-1867: Letter from Rudolf Schenkel to Nietzsche in Naumburg. "Wäre ich nicht Jurist, so würde ich heute über die vielen Förmlichkeiten, die jedes Gericht mehr oder minder bei den kleinsten Dingen verlangt, eine gewaltige Klage anheben. So erlaubst Du mir wohl zu schweigen; vielleicht wird's besser, wenn wir einmal in diesen Sachen mitzureden haben. Für jetzt muß ich Dich bitten, den Wünschen des Universitätsgerichts sobald wie möglich Folge zu leisten. Die Vollmacht, die Du mir ausgestellt hattest, ist verworfen worden. "Du hast Dich — dies die Worte des Dr. Böttcher — in einem Schreiben an den academischen Senat zunächst darüber zu erklären, ob Du die Preismedaille oder Geld vorziehst, und zugleich darin mich als den zur Entgegennahme des Geldes Bevollmächtigten zu benennen." Nach Eingang dieses Schreibens wird an das Ministerium berichtet, welches sodann das Universitätsrentamt zur Auszahlung des Geldes anweist. Darüber werden etwa 14 Tage vergehen, und darum bitte ich Dich, möglichst bald jenes Schreiben aufzusetzen und einzusenden." (If I were not a lawyer, I would be making a strong objection today about the many formalities that every court more or less requires for the most trivial things. So you will allow me to remain silent; maybe it will be better once we have a say in these matters. For now I must ask you to comply with the wishes of the university tribunal as soon as possible. The power of attorney you gave me has been revoked. "First you have — these are the words of Dr. Böttcher — to explain in a letter to the academic senate whether you prefer the prize medal or money, and at the same time to name me as the person authorized to receive the money." After receipt of this letter, a report is sent to the ministry, which then instructs the university accounting office to disburse the money. About 14 days will pass, and I therefore ask you to write and send in that letter as soon as possible.)
2. Cf. Naumburg, shortly before 11-26-1867: Letter to the Leipzig University Senate. "Da nach S. 22 des Universitätsprogramms vom 31 Okt. 1867 dem Unterzeichneten der Preis zuerkannt ist, so erklärt derselbe, daß er diesen Preis in Geld ausgezahlt wünscht, sowie daß er den Hr St. j. Rud. Schenkel zur Entgegennahme des betreffenden Geldes autorisirt habe." (Since, according to p. 22 of the University Program of Oct. 31, 1867, the undersigned has been awarded the prize, the same declares that he wants this prize to be paid in money, and that he wants Hr. St. j. Rud. Schenkel authorized to accept the money in question.)
3. Ritschl had sent his judgment, which was not included in the official program, to Nietzsche on 11-07-1867.
4. Cf. Naumburg, 02-01/03-1868: Letter to Erwin Rohde in Kiel. In German. In English. Also see Naumburg, 02-16-1868: Letter to Carl von Gersdorff in Berlin. "Es lag mir vornehmlich eine Arbeit am Herzen, zu der ich eine Menge schönes Material gesammelt hatte und täglich sammelte, eine Arbeit, an die mich philologisches und philosophisches Interesse knüpfte: über Demokrits [unechten] Schriftstellerei. Die ungeheuren Angaben über dieselbe hatten mir Mißtrauen eingeflößt; ich gieng dem Begriff einer großartigen litterarischen Falschmünzerei nach und fand auf den verschlungenen Wegen der Kombination eine Fülle interessanter Punkte. Am Schlüsse aber, als meine skeptische Betrachtung alle Folgerungen übersehn konnte, drehte sich mir allmählich unter den Händen das Bild herum; ich gewann ein neues Gesammtbild der bedeutenden Persönlichkeit Demokrits und von dieser höchsten Warte der Beobachtung gewann die Tradition ihr Recht wieder. Diesen ganzen Prozeß, die Rettung der Negation durch die Negation, habe ich mir nun zu schildern vorgenommen, so daß ich bei dem Leser dieselbe Folge von Gedanken zu erwecken suche, die mir sich ungesucht und kräftig aufdrangen." (I was particularly interested in one work, for which I had collected and was collecting on a daily basis a great deal of fine material, a work to which I had established a philological and philosophical interest: On the [Spurious] Writings of Democritus. The tremendous information about it had instilled suspicion in me; I pursued the notion of a magnificent literary counterfeiting and found a wealth of interesting points along the tortuous paths of conjecture. At the end, however, when my skeptical observation was able to disregard all the conclusions, the picture gradually turned around in my hands; I gained a new overall picture of the important personality of Democritus; and from this highest vantage point of observation, tradition regained its rights. I have now undertaken to describe this whole process, the salvation of negation by means of negation, so that I [can] try to awaken in the reader the same series of thoughts that imposed themselves upon me, unsought and forcefully.)
5. Cf. Pindar, Pythian Odes, 2:73, "genoi hoios essi [mathon]" (Become the sort of person you are [through understanding].) Nietzsche drops the ending, which leaves the translation "Become who you are.")
See Pindar: the Olympian and Pythian Odes, 2:73. Cambridge: University Press, 1893:167.
6. Trans. TNC: "He acted in such a way that he not only met the expectations of the order, but exceeded them. For in this commentary there is such a wealth of learning drawn from the sources, as well as a sound and mature precise judgment, combined with a plausible and clear argument and a genuine simplicity of speech, that not only the character and energy of the writer are seen to be worthy of the most remarkable praise, but to the greatest benefit to the letters themselves, to the philosophers especially to the history of the Greeks, and to know it more fully and correctly, is to be valued in his work —"
7. This was not exactly true. Cf. Leipzig, 11-07-1867: Letter from Friedrich Ritschl to Nietzsche in Naumburg. "Glauben Sie aber ja nicht, daß dieser Wortlaut von mir ist; ich hatte vielmehr die auf anliegendem Blatt verzeichnete Fassung vorgeschlagen. Aber fabelhafter Weise läßt man hier das iudicium nicht von dem abfassen, der die Aufgabe gestellt und censirt hat, — selbst wenn er, wie in diesem Falle, selbst lateinisch zu schreiben gelernt hat, — sondern von dem officiellen Programmatarius der Universität! Dieser würde nun zwar vorliegenden Falles, auf meinen speciellen Wunsch, wohl meine Fassung aufgenommen haben; als ich sie ihm aber mehrere Tage vor dem 31. Oct. zuschickte, ließ er mir zurücksagen, es sei nun zu spät , weil das ganze Programm schon im Voraus gedruckt sei!!!" (But indeed do not think that this wording is mine; rather, I had suggested the version on the attached sheet. But astonishingly, the iudicium here is not written by the person who set the task and redacted it — even if, as in this case, he has learned to write Latin himself — but by the official program writer of the university! At my special request, he would have included my version of the instant case; but when I sent it to him several days before Oct. 31st — he let me reply — it was then too late because the entire program had already been printed in advance!!!)
8. At the University of Leipzig, Nietzsche belonged to The Classical Philology Society (which he co-founded).
9. Greek: symposium.
10. An inn in Leipzig.
11. Today's "böhmischen Wald" (Bohemian forest) is around 300 kilometers south of Leipzig.
12. For Erwin Rohde's recollection of this time, see excerpt from Kiel, 11-29-1867: Letter from Erwin Rohde to Wilhelm Wisser. In: "Nachbericht." Friedrich Nietzsche, Wilhelm Hoppe (ed.), Werke und Briefe: Historisch-kritische Gesamtausgabe. Briefe. Bd. 2. Briefe der Leipziger und ersten Basler Zeit 1865-1869. Munich: Beck, 1938, 391f. "Ein großes Gut namentlich hat er [der letzte Sommer] mir bescheert in der Freundschaft Nietzsches. Du standest ihm wohl nie näher, aber den hohen Wert seiner Natur wirst Du sicher erkannt haben und so kann ich mich nicht genug preisen und wundern über das Glück, in diesem tief und zart angelegten Menschen einen Freund gewonnen zu haben: und ich bin mit diesem Namen immer sehr sparsam gewesen. Wir haben den ganzen Sommer eine wunderliche Existenz geführt, wie in einem mitwandelnden Zauberkreis, nicht unerfreulich abgeschlossen nach Außen und doch fast allein miteinander verkehrend. Halbe, fast ganze Tage haben wir mitsammen in eigentlicher Faulheit vollbracht, und ich wenigstens habe doch den reichsten Gewinn aus dieser zweistimmigen Nichtsthuerei gewonnen, weit reicher als alle philologische Plackerei ihn mir hätte gewähren können. Schopenhauer wohl namentlich führte uns zusammen, aber eine sympathische Ader traf sich doch vor allem in uns, die ein wirklich tiefgehendes Einverständnis möglich machte. Ich kenne meine tiefgehenden Fehler und noch mehr die, bessere Seiten verhüllenden Mängel meiner äußern Manifestation viel zu gut, um nicht über N's Freundschaft als etwas rein unverdientes und mir fast Unerklärliches innerlichst erstaunt und gerührt zu sein. Wir ritten den Sommer zusammen, faulenzten, wie gesagt, in ausgedehntem Maß und haben zum Schluß eine 4 wöchentliche Reise zusammen in das bayrische Gebirge, vulgo Böhmerwald, gemacht, die von nun an zu den Partien meiner Lebensgeschichte gehören wird, auf denen ewig der sanfte, tröstende und neu aufrichtende Schein goldenen Abendrotes liegt. // [...] Nietzsche dachte zuerst daran, im Novb. seine Preisarbeit über die Quellen des Laertius Diogenes als Doctorarbeit zu verwenden und dann nach Berlin zu gehen, aber ein königl. preußisches Generalcommando kriegte ihn zu fassen, fand daß er für einen Philologus noch scharf genug sähe, und so dient er jetzt in seiner Vaterstadt Naumburg sein Jahr ab als — reitender Artillerist! Was später geschehen wird, ist unbekannt wir hatten reizende Pläne von einer Pariser Reise gezimmert, die wohl auch jedenfalls noch warten müssen." (He bestowed a great good on me [last summer] with the friendship of Nietzsche. You were probably never as close to him, but you will certainly have recognized the high value of his nature and so I myself cannot praise and marvel at the luck of having won a friend in this deep and tender human being: and I have always been very sparing with that reputation. We led a strange existence all summer, as if in a magic circle of walking together, not unpleasantly isolated from the outside world and yet consorting with each other virtually alone. We spent half or almost an entire day together in actual indolence, and I at least gained the richest profit from this dual do-nothingness, far richer than all philological drudgery could have afforded me. Schopenhauer, of course, probably brought us together, but above all we were connected by a sympathetic vein, which made a really profound mutual understanding possible. I know far too well my profound flaws and even more the shortcomings of my outer manifestation that conceal the better side, so as not to be inwardly amazed and touched by N's friendship as something purely undeserved and almost inexplicable to me. We rode together in the summer, lazed around to a great extent, as I said, and finally made a 4-week trip together to the Bavarian mountains, commonly known as the Bohemian Forest, which from now on will rank as the part of the history of my life upon which the gentle, comforting and rejuvenating glow of a golden sunset forever lies. // [...] Nietzsche then first thought of using his prize work, On the Sources of Diogenes Laertius, as a doctoral thesis in Nov[em]b[er] and then of going to Berlin, but a royal Prussian general commando got hold of him, felt that his eyesight was still sharp enough for a philologist, and so he is now serving his year in his hometown of Naumburg as — a mounted artilleryman! What will happen later is unknown, we had made nice plans for a trip to Paris, which in any case will have to wait.)
13. See Hamburg, 09-10-1867: Letter from Erwin Rohde to Nietzsche in Naumburg.
14. Julius Friedrich August Bahnsen (1830-1881): German philosopher and "characterologist." Beiträge zur Charakterologie. Mit besonderer Berücksichtigung pädagogischer Fragen. Bd. 1-2. Leipzig: Brockhaus, 1867. Band 1. Band 2. See the entry for Bahnsen in Nietzsche's Library.
15. The cycle of reincarnation in Buddhism. Discussed by Schopenhauer in Parerga und Paralopomena. Bd. 2. Leipzig: Brockhaus, 1874, e.g., 233f.
16. Friedrich Spielhagen (1829-1911): German novelist. See the entry for Spielhagen in Nietzsche's Library.
17. Friedrich Spielhagen, In Reih' und Glied. Berlin: Janke, 1866.
18. Gustav Freytag (1816-1895): German novelist, dramatist, and journalist. Freytag was an editor of Der Grenzbote.
19. Julius Kretzschmer (1837-1867): a teacher at Schulpforta who tutored both Paul Deussen and Nietzsche. According to Deussen, Nietzsche discussed Kretzschmer's suicide in a letter which unfortunately is lost. Cf. Paul Deussen, Erinnerungen an Friedrich Nietzsche. Leipzig: Brockhaus, 1901, 37-38. "Er war es auch, der mir etwa um diese Zeit die erste Mitteilung von dem Tode Kretzschmers machte, der in Pforta mein Tutor und Prinzipal gewesen war, sich später mit einer reichen Erbtochter in Pforta verlobte und als Lehrer eine angesehene Stellung genoß, bis er auf der Höhe des Glückes, eines Abends von seiner Braut nach Hause kommend, sich in seiner Wohnung in Pforta eine Kugel durch den Kopf jagte. Nietzsche wollte in seinem Briefe nicht über dieser That richten und tadelte nur die pädagogische Taktlosigkeit, welche als Schauplatz derselben die Pforte wählen ließ." (It was also [Nietzsche] who, around this time, first informed me about the death of Kretzschmer, who had been my tutor and principal at Pforta, and later became engaged at Pforta to a rich heiress and enjoyed a respected position as a teacher until, at the height of happiness, one evening coming back from his bride's house, he shot a bullet through his head at his place in Pforta. In his letter, Nietzsche did not want to pass judgment on this deed and only criticized the pedagogical tactlessness which allowed Pforta to be chosen as the scene of it.)
20. For Schopenhauer on suicide, see Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung. Bd. 1. Leipzig: Brockhaus, 1873, 471-476; and "Ueber den Selbstmord." In: Parerga und Paralopomena. Bd. 2. Leipzig: Brockhaus, 1874, e.g., 328-333.
21. The 5th Allgemeinen Deutschen Musikverein's Tonkünstlerversammlung, held in Meiningen from August 22-25, 1867. Zukünftlern refers to musical artists composing "music of the future" à la Richard Wagner and Franz Liszt (1811-1886). In addition to the compositions that Nietzsche later mentions, the following were also performed: Franz Liszt's Psalm 23, Legende Nrs. 1-2, Ce qu'on entend sur la montagne, Die drei Zigeuner, Liebesszene, and Legende der heiligen Elisabeth; Robert Volkmann's Sappho; Hector Berlioz's Duet from Beatrice and Benedict, and the Grande fête chez Capulet from Romeo and Juliet; Peter Cornelius's Duette; and Robert Schumann's Spanish Liederspiel.
22. Franz Liszt (1811-1886): Hungarian composer, pianist, and the father of Cosima Wagner.
23. Hans von Bülow: "Nirvana: symphonisches Stimmungsbild, Op. 20."
24. Op. 25: Die Seligkeiten (Les béatitudes), from Jesus' Sermon on the Mount. See Matt. 5:3-11, "beati sunt qui" (blessed are those who).
25. See Note 4.
26. It was never published.
27. Wilhelm Heinrich Roscher (1845-1923), Ernst Windisch (1844-1918), Wilhelm Clemm (1843-1883), Sigismund Heynemann (1841-1903), Georg Andresen (1845-1929), Friedrich Reinhold Dressler (1845-after 1893), and Otto Kohl (1844-after 1915).
28. The 25th "Versammlung deutschen Philologen, Schulmänner und Orientalisten" (Conference of German Philogists, Schoolmen and Orientalists) held in Halle on October 1-3, 1867.
29. On 10-09-1867, Nietzsche enlisted with the mounted field-artillery unit in Naumburg.
30. "askesis." Greek: "exercise / training." Cf., e.g., Arthur Schopenhauer, Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung. Bd. 1. Leipzig: Brockhaus, 1873, 451.
31. The name of Nietzsche's horse.
32. Spandau, 05-23-1867: Letter from Carl von Gersdorff to Nietzsche in Leipzig.
33. The letter is lost.
34. Naumburg, 12-01-1867: Letter to Friedrich Ritschl in Leipzig.

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