Letters of Insanity 1889.
Turin, January 1, 1889: Dedication (Draft) of Dionysus-Dithyrambs to Catulle Mendès
Turin on January 1, 1889
Turin, ca. January 1, 1889: Dedication (Draft) of Dionysus-Dithyrambs to Catulle Mendès
Inasmuch as I want to do mankind a boundless
Turin, ca. January 1, 1889: Dedication of Dionysus-Dithyrambs to Catulle Mendès
Inasmuch as I want to do mankind a boundless favor, I give them my dithyrambs.
I place them in the hands of the poet of Isoline, the first and greatest satyr alive today — and not only today ...
Turin, Early January, 1889: Letter to August Strindberg
Eheu? [Alas?] ... not divorced after all? ...
Turin, January 3, 1889: Letter to Meta von Salis-Marschlins
Fräulein von Salis
God is on the earth. Don't you see how all the heavens are rejoicing? I have just seized possession of my kingdom, I've thrown the Pope in prison, and I'm having Wilhelm, Bismarck, and [anti-Semitic politician Adolf] Stöcker shot.
Turin, January 3, 1889: Letter to Cosima Wagner
They tell me that in the past few days a certain divine buffoon [Hanswurst] has finished the Dionysus-Dithyrambs ...
Turin, January 3, 1889: Letter to Cosima Wagner
To Princess Ariadne, My Beloved.
It is a mere prejudice that I am a human being. Yet I have often enough dwelled among human beings and I know the things human beings experience, from the lowest to the highest. Among the Hindus I was Buddha, in Greece Dionysus — Alexander and Caesar were incarnations of me, as well as the poet of Shakespeare, Lord Bacon. Most recently I was Voltaire and Napoleon, perhaps also Richard Wagner ... However, I now come as Dionysus victorious, who will prepare a great festival on Earth ... Not as though I had much time ... The heavens rejoice to see me here ... I also hung on the cross ...
Turin, January 3, 1889: Letter to Cosima Wagner
Turin, ca. January 3, 1889: Letter to Cosima Wagner
Ariadne, I love you!
Turin, January 4, 1889: Letter to Georg Brandes
To my dear friend Georg! After you discovered me, it was no great feat to find me. The problem now is how to lose me ...
Turin, January 4, 1889: Letter to Hans von Bülow
Herrn Hanns von Bülow ..
Considering that you started out as and have been the first Hanseat, I, in all modesty, merely the third Veuve-Cliquot of Ariadne [an allusion to Madame Cliquot's attempts to ship a secret cargo of her champagne to Russia in 1814, in defiance of the Napoleonic Blockade; Ariadne referring to Cosima Wagner, who left von Bülow for Richard Wagner], I may not have already ruined the match for you: rather I condemn you to the "Lion of Venice" [the title of Heinrich Köselitz's opera, which Nietzsche asked von Bülow to support] — who may devour you ...
Turin, January 4, 1889: Letter to Jacob Burckhardt
My highly honored Jacob Burckhardt
That was the little joke on whose behalf I bear the tedium of having created a world. Now you are — thou art — our great greatest teacher: I, together with Ariadne, need only be the golden mean in all things, having in every respect such superiors ...
Turin, January 4, 1889: Letter to Paul Deussen
After you have irrevocably risen to the position that I have really created the world, it appears that friend Paul will also be provided for in the world plan: he shall be, together with Monsieur Catulle Mendès, one of my greatest satyrs and festival animals.
Turin, January 4, 1889: Letter to Heinrich Köselitz (Peter Gast)
To my maestro Pietro
Sing me a new song: the world is transfigured and all the heavens are joyous.
Turin, ca. January 4, 1889: Letter to Umberto I, King of Italy
To my beloved son Umberto
My peace be with you! Tuesday I shall be in Rome. I should like to see you, along with His Holiness the Pope.
Turin, ca. January 4, 1889: Letter to Cardinal Mariani, Vatican Secretary of State
My beloved son Mariani .. [Mariano Rampolla.]
My peace be with you! Tuesday I shall be in Rome, in order to pay my respects to His Holiness ...
Turin, Early January, 1889: Letter to the House of Baden
The House of Baden
Children, it is not good for you to get involved with the crazy Hohenzollern [the rulers of imperial Germany], although you, through Stéphanie [Stephanie de Beauharnals, Grand Duchess of Baden and Napoleon Bonaparte's "niece."], are of my race ... Withdraw yourselves modestly return to private life, I give Bavaria the same advice ...
Turin, ca. January 4, 1889: Letter to Malwida von Meysenbug
Addendum to the "Memoirs of an Idealist."
Although Malvida is known as Kundry, who laughed at a moment when the world shook, she is forgiven a lot because she loved me a lot: see the first volume of "Memoirs" ... I revere all those select souls around Malvida in Natalie her father lives and whom I was too. [Natalie Herzen was the older sister of Olga Herzen, and was considered as a possible wife for Nietzsche. He thought she was too old.]
Turin, ca. January 4, 1889: Letter to Franz and Ida Overbeck
To friend Overbeck and wife.
Although you have so far demonstrated little faith in my ability to pay, I yet hope to demonstrate that I am somebody who pays his debts — for example, to you. I am just having all anti-Semites shot.
Turin, ca. January 4, 1889: Letter to the Illustrious Pole
To the Illustrious Pole
I belong to you, I am more a Pole than I am God, I shall bestow honors on you such as only I am able to bestow ... I live among you as Matejko [Jan Matejko (1838-1893): Polish artist] ...
Turin, January 4, 1889: Letter to Erwin Rohde
To my growly bear Erwin
At the risk of enraging you once again by my blindness as regards Monsieur Taine [Hippolyte Adolphe Taine (1828-1893): French historian and critic.], who formerly composed the Vedas, I hereby deign to transpose you to the gods, with the most beloved of goddesses at your side ...
[The gap in the middle was probably caused when the note was slit open. See Hedwig Däuble, "Friedrich Nietzsche und Erwin Rohde. Mit bisher ungedruckten Briefen." In: Nietzsche-Studien. Bd. 5. Berlin; New York: De Gruyter, 1976, 321-354 (352h-352i).]
Turin, January 4, 1889: Fragment of a Note to Carl Spitteler
[+ + +] belongs to my godliness: I will have the honor of taking revenge on myself for that ..
Turin, ca. January 4, 1889: Letter to Heinrich Wiener
Herrn Supreme Court Justice Dr. Wiener
Although you have done me the honor to find the "Case of Wagner" fatal for Wagner, said Wagner still dares to bring to light his décadence through a world-historical irresponsibility — in lucent aeternam [eternal light] ...
[Postmark: Turin, January 5, 1889] January 6, 1889: Letter to Jacob Burckhardt
Dear Herr Professor, When it comes right down to it I'd much rather have been a Basel professor than God; but I didn't dare be selfish enough to forgo the creation of the world. You see, one must make sacrifices, no matter how and where one lives. — But I did secure a small room, fit for a student, opposite the Palazzo Carignano (— in which I was born as Victor Emmanuel), from whose desk I am able to hear that splendid music coming from below me, in the Galleria Subalpina. I pay 25 frs. including service, make my own tea and do all my own shopping, suffer from torn boots, and constantly thank heaven for the old world, whose inhabitants were not simple and quiet enough. — Since I am doomed to entertain the next eternity with bad jokes, I am busy writing, which leaves nothing to be desired, is very nice and not at all taxing. The post office is five steps away, I take the letters in myself, handling the great feuilletoniste of the grande monde. Naturally I am on terms with Figaro, and so that you will have an idea of how harmless I can be, here are my first two bad jokes:
Do not take the case of Prado too seriously. I am Prado, I'm also Prado's father, and I venture to say I'm Lesseps too [Ferdinand-Marie de Lesseps, French diplomat and promoter of the Suez Canal] ... I wanted to give my Parisians, whom I love, a new concept — that of a decent criminal. I'm Chambige too — also a decent criminal. [Prado was a criminal tried for murder in Paris. Nietzsche allegedly read about the trial and execution of Prado in the Journal des Débats, Sept. 2, Nov. 6-16, 1888. But since we know that he definitely read the Gazzetta Piemontese, he could have read about it in that paper as well (see 1888 issues, Nov. 14-15, 17; Dec. 8, 11, 14, 22-23, 28-29). The Chambige trial was also publicized in the same paper (see 1888 issues, Nov. 12-13, Dec. 5). In addition, read about the 1886 Chambige affair from Ann-Louise Shapiro's Breaking the Codes: Female Criminality in Fin-de-Siècle Paris.]
Second joke. I salute the Immortals. Monsieur Daudet belongs to the quarante. [The Forty Immortals were the members of the French Academy. In 1888, Alphonse Daudet had just published his satire of the Academy, L'Immortel. Its hero's name was Astier, which might explain Nietzsche's signature "Astu."]
What is unpleasant and a strain on my modesty is that in fact I am every historical personage; and as for the children I have brought into the world, I ponder with some misgiving the possibility that not everyone who enters the "kingdom of God" also comes from God. This fall, blinded as little as possible, I twice witnessed my funeral, the first time as Count Robilant (— no, he's my son, insofar as I'm Carlo Alberto, unfaithful to my nature) [In a November 13, 1888 Letter to Franz Overbeck, Nietzsche described the state funeral of "Count Robilant, the most admirable example of Piedmontese nobility (the natural son, by the way, of King Carlo Alberto...)"], but I was Antonelli myself [Papal Secretary of State under Pius IX]. Dear Professor, you really ought to see this edifice; since I am quite inexperienced in the things I'm creating, you have a right to make any criticism, I will be grateful, but can't promise that I'll profit from it. We artists are incorrigible. — Today I looked at an operetta — ingeniously Moorish — and took the occasion to ascertain, with joy, that now both Moscow and Rome are grandiose affairs. You see, my talent for landscape is undeniable as well. — Think it over; we'll have a really fine chat, Turin isn't far, no serious professional obligations tie us down, a glass of Veltliner could easily be procured. Négligé of dress is de rigeur.
[Four marginal postscripts:]
Tomorrow my son Umberto is coming here with lovely Margherita, but I'll receive her as well only in shirtsleeves. The rest is for Frau Cosima ... Ariadne ... From time to time we practice magic ...
I go everywhere in my student coat, now and then slap someone on the back, and say: siamo contenti? son dio, ho fatto questa caricatura ... ["Is everything OK? I am God, this farce is my creation."]
I've had Caiphas put in chains; I too was crucified last year in a long, drawn-out way by German doctors. Wilhelm, Bismarck and all anti-Semites done away with!
You may make any use of this letter which will not lower me in the esteem of the people of Basel. —
Arnold Genthe, As I Remember. In: Friedrich Nietzsche in Words and Pictures. Part 5. Illness: 1889-96. Preview.
"What Was the Cause of Nietzsche's Dementia?"
Summary: Many scholars have argued that Nietzsche's dementia was caused by syphilis. A careful review of the evidence suggests that this consensus is probably incorrect. The syphilis hypothesis is not compatible with most of the evidence available. Other hypotheses—such as slowly growing right-sided retro-orbital meningioma—provide a more plausible fit to the evidence.
"The madness of Dionysus: a neurological perspective on Friedrich Nietzsche."
Summary: A close examination of Nietzsche’s symptomatic progression and neurological signs reveals a clinical course consistent with a large, slow growing, right-sided cranial base lesion, such as a medial sphenoid wing meningioma. Aspects of his presentation seem to directly contradict the diagnosis of syphilis, which has been the standard explanation of Nietzsche’s madness. The meningioma hypothesis is difficult, though not impossible, to prove; imaging studies of Nietzsche’s remains could reveal the bony sequelae of such a lesion.
"The neurological illness of Friedrich Nietzsche."
Summary: Friedrich Nietzsche's disease consisted of migraine, psychiatric disturbances, cognitive decline with dementia, and stroke. Despite the prevalent opinion that neurosyphilis caused Nietzsche’s illness, there is lack of evidence to support this diagnosis.
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