Friedrich Nietzsche (10/15/1844 - 8/25/1900), Prophet of Dionysus and Postmodern Philosophy
"Rational Thought is interpretation according to a scheme which we cannot escape." —Nietzsche
"[Philosophy] wants ... a Dionysian affirmation of the world as it is, without subtraction, exception, or selection--it wants the eternal circulation:--the same things, the same logic and illogic of entanglements. The highest state a philosopher can attain: to stand in a Dionysian relationship to existence.”
Nietzsche playing piano
Nietzsche was a philiosopher-poet and a musician (playing and composing music); the most "musical" of all nineteenth-century philosohers. Music was a key art form for Nietzsche, because you can lose yourself in music and become something else.
“Nietzsche does not belong entirely to philosophers. He was a philosopher-poet concerned not simply with describing and explaining the world as he found it, but with identifying and employing the electrifying arts that make the world appear uncanny and ineffably deep. The current Anglophone literature on his work for the most part maintains an embarrassed silence about this poetic power. But Richard Strauss and Gustav Mahler would not have been moved to set to music a novel critique, say, of the neo-Kantian form of epistemic skepticism.” —Tamsin Shaw
from "An Attempt at Self-Criticism" (1886)
Sils Lake, Switzerland
Nietzsche, Lou Salome, Paul Ree
Nietzsche was wildly in love with the famous poet, novelist, critic, and first female psychologist Lou Andreas-Salomé. But the relationship was not to last as she also attracted philosopher Paul Rée and poet Ranier Maria Rilke. The emotionally intense Nietzsche became infatuated with Salomé, proposed marriage, and, when she declined, broke off their relationship. For her part, Salomé so valued these friendships she made a proposal of her own: that she, Nietzsche, and Rée “live together in a celibate household where they might discuss philosophy, literature and art.”
“And we gazed at one another and looked out at the green meadow, over which the cool evening was spreading, and wept together. But then Life was dearer to me than all my Wisdom had ever been.” —Nietzsche
Nietzsche, the 19th-century "Wandering Scholar" (or "Gypsy Scholar")
Photos of the "Little Village" of Sils-Maria and Lake Sils of the Maloja Region, Upper Engadine valley in the Swiss canton of the Grisons. This is where Nietzsche, the wandering scholar, spent his time after resigning his university position.
In 1872, Nietzsche published his first edition of The Birth of Tragedy Out of the Spirit of Music. A second edition was printed in 1874 and appeared in 1878. In 1886, the book was reissued with a slightly altered title page ("The Birth of Tragedy Or: Hellenism and Pessimism"), but it now followed a new section entitled "Attempt at a Self-Criticism" (from which I have taken many of the the Nietzsche quotations). What is significant here is that Nietzsche signed off this now famous section as follows:
"Sils-Maria, Oberengadin, August 1886—"
Nietzsche stayed in the little village of Sils-Maria during the summers of 1881 and 1883-1888. In Sils itself is Lake Sils, where the Chasté peninsula was a favorite site of Nietzsche’s. (The wooded Chastè peninsula extends into the lake at its north-eastern end.) At the end of the peninsula there’s a plaque to Friedrich Nietzsche with a passage from Thus Spoke Zarathustra. Nietzsche fantasized about building a hermit’s hut there. In the mountains above Sils there is Val Fex, or the Fex Valley, through which Nietzsche enjoyed hiking. In the little town next to Sils is Lake Silvaplana, on the shores of which stand the so-called “Zarathustra Stone,” the site of Nietzsche’s initial insight into the “Eternal Return.”
At the beginning of 1881, Friedrich Nietzsche first came to Sils-Maria, where he lived in the Durisch family house (now the "Nietzsche Haus"), sub-letting a room on the first floor. From 1883 to 1888 he spent all summers there, a place that allowed him to find tranquility and concentration. (Since 1994, the Nietzsche-Haus has been open to the public as a museum.)
"The House of Nietzsche"
This portrait by Curt Stoeving (1894) shows Nietzsche on the veranda of his parents’ house in Naumburg. The inscription is from Thus Spoke Zarathustra: “My suffering and my pity / What do I care! / Am I striving for happiness? / I am striving for my work.”
Nietzsche (Munch portrait 1906)
Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog (C.D. Friedrich, 1818) This famous Romatic painting reminds of Nietzsche the lone wanderer