Leipzig Avenue Mural

CORRESPONDENCE

 To Gust                                                                                   Sils-Maria, 14 August 1881

 

The August sun is overhead, the year is slipping away, the mountains and forests are becoming more quiet and peaceful. On my horizon, thoughts have arisen such as I have never seen before - I will not speak of them, but will maintain my unshakeable calm. I suppose now I’ll have to live a few years longer! Ah, my friend, sometimes the idea runs through my head that I am living an extremely dangerous life, for I am one of those machines which can EXPLODE. The intensity of my feelings makes me shudder and laugh. Several times I have been unable to leave my room, for the ridiculous reason that my eyes were inflamed - from what? On each occasion I had wept too much on my wanderings the day before - not sentimental tears, mind you, but tears of joy. I sang and talked nonsense, filled with a glimpse of things which put me in advance of fall other men.

After all, if I were unable to derive my strength from myself, if I had to wait for encouragement, comfort, and good cheer from the outside, where would I be! What would I be! There have indeed’ been moments, and even whole periods in my life (for example, the year 1878) when I would have felt a word of encouragement, a friendly handshake, to be the last word in restoratives - and precisely then everyone left me in the lurch, everyone on whom I thought I could rely and who could have done me the favor. Now I no longer expect it, and feel only a certain dim and dreary astonishment when, for example, I think of the letters that reach me nowadays - they are all so insignificant. Nobody has come to experience anything because of me, nobody has had a thought about me - what people say is very decent and well-intentioned, but it is remote, remote, remote. Even our dear Jacob Burckhardt wrote such a meek and timid little letter.

Nietzsche’s Letter to Peter Gast, 14 August 1881. Schlechta, Vol. 3, pp. 1172-4 
= Middleton, Letter 90, p. 178, translation modified.

In Pierre Klossowski Nietzsche and the Vicious Circle. Trans.
Daniel W. Smith. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Pp. 55-56


Maybe it just sags like a heavy load. 


Or does it explode?”
 

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