Nietzsche's Letters | 1875© The Nietzsche Channel

Nietzsche's Letters


Previous | Next

COPYRIGHT NOTICE: The content of this website, including text and images, is the property of The Nietzsche Channel. Reproduction in any form is strictly prohibited. © The Nietzsche Channel.


Paul Rée.
Ca. 1876-77.
Colorized and enhanced image ©The Nietzsche Channel.

Basel, October 22, 1875:
Letter to Paul Rée.

Dear Doctor, I had too much pleasure from your psychological observations for me to take quite seriously your Dead Man-Incognito ("posthumous writings").1 I recently found your work while rummaging through all sorts of new books, and immediately recognized some of the thoughts as your property, and the same experience was had by Gersdorff,2 who just recently quoted to me this thought from former times: "To be able to be comfortable in silence with one another may indeed be a greater sign of friendship than to be able to comfortably talk with one another, as Ree said."3 You are, therefore, living on in me and my friends, and when I had your so highly esteemed manuscript in my hands, nothing was more regretable than to be forced by a serious eye condition to swear off writing letters completely.

Far be it from me to presume praising you, nor do I wish to vex you with any "hopes" that I place in you. No! If you never publish anything other than these spirit-forming maxims, if this work is and remains your actual legacy, then all is well and good: whoever lives and walks so independently has the right to request that one spare him from praise and hopes. In the event that you intend to publish anything else, I would just like to draw your attention to the fact that you can always count with certainty on my publisher, Mr. E. Schmeitzner4 in Schloss-Chemnitz. I say this especially because the only thing about your work I am not happy with is the last page, upon which the writings of Mr. E. von Hartmann5 parade back and forth; the work of a thinker, however, should not even on its posterior part remind one of the writings of a pseudo-thinker.

With very good wishes for your well-being and the request to kindly accept my gratitude for having given your maxims at all to the public — with which you demonstrate that you have the spiritual welfare of your fellow man at heart,

I am and remain
Friedrich Nietzsche.

1. Nietzsche refers to the title of Paul Rée's anonymously published work, Psychologische Beobachtungen. Aus dem Nachlaß von * * *. [Psychological Observations. From the Postumous Writings of * * *.] Berlin: Duncker, 1875.
2. Carl von Gersdorff (1844-1904).
3. The actual Rée quote is: "Behaglich mit einander sprechen können ist ein geringeres Zeichen von Sympathie, als behaglich mit einander schweigen können." (To be able to be comfortable talking with one another is a lesser sign of sympathy than to be able to be comfortable in silence with one another.) Psychologische Beobachtungen, p. 105.
4. Ernst Schmeitzner (1851-1895).
5. Eduard Von Hartmann (1842-1906), whom Nietzsche despised.

Nietzsche's Letters | 1875© The Nietzsche Channel

Not to be reproduced without permission. All content © The Nietzsche Channel.