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Homer and Classical Philology.

1869.

Excerpt from:
Nietzsche's Writings as a Professor.
Translation Copyright 2012, The Nietzsche Channel.


Homer and Classical Philology.1
1869.

To my dear and only
sister Elisabeth
as the
diligent assistant
on the stubble-field of
philology.2
Christmas 1869.
 

In Basel, I stood undaunted
Yet solitary thereóGod have pity,
And I cried out: Homer! Homer!
Thus annoying everyone.
They go to church and then go home
And laugh at the loud crier.

Now I no longer mind it;
The finest audience
Hears my Homeric cries
And is quietly patient withal.
As a reward for this exuberance
Of kindness here is my printed thanks.3

In our time there is no clear and consistent public opinion about classical philology. One senses this in learned circles in general as well as among the disciples of that science itself. The cause lies in its multi-fragmented character, in the lack of a conceptual unity, in the inorganic condition of an aggregate of various scientific activities that are connected only by the name "philology." Of course one has to admit honestly that, to a certain extent, philology has borrowed from several sciences and like a magic potion is concocted from the strangest saps, metals and bones, so that indeed it contains more of an artistic element, one that on aesthetic and ethical grounds is imperative, but is in questionable conflict with its purely scientific behavior. It is just as much part history as part science, as part aesthetics: history, insofar as it seeks to comprehend the manifestations of certain national individualities in ever new images, or the prevailing law in the flight of phenomena; natural science, as far as it tries to fathom the deepest instinct of man, the instinct of language; aesthetics, finally, because from among the antiquities it emphasizes the so-called "classical" antiquity, with the claim and the intention to excavate a buried ideal world and to hold up to the present the mirror of the classical and the ever-exemplary. That these altogether different [....]

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Published Works | Homer and Classical Philology | Preview© The Nietzsche Channel