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Goethe and Hebbel, Stendhal and Heinrich Heine, Alfred de Vigny and Friedrich Nietzsche, all made their ten steps towards the sun and are now sleeping peacefully beneath the dry sands of Christian democracy. Their works are read, to be sure; but alas! how few understand their meaning! I see this and I shudder. And I remember another moment in my life—a moment of perturbation too—a moment in which an idea overcame me, which has been haunting me ever since. I was on a visit to Mrs. Frster-Nietzsche, in her villa high up amongst the hills of Weimar, waiting in the drawing-room for my hostess to enter. It was the first time that I had stood upon the holy ground where Friedrich Nietzsche gave up his heroic soul, and I was naturally impressed; my eyes wandered reverently around the scene, and I suddenly noticed some handwriting on the wall. The handwriting consisted of a powerful letter N which the ingenious builder had engraved profusely upon the oak panels of the room. The N, of course, reminded me of another big N, connected with another big name,—the N which used to be engraved together with the imperial crown and eagle upon the plate and regalia of Napoleon Bonaparte. There was another victim of democracy: the man who, elevated by its revolutionary wave, tried to stifle and subdue the anarchical flood, was swallowed up as ignominiously as its other implacable opponent, the plucky parson's son of the vicarage of Rcken.

The mighty sword in the beginning and the mighty pen at the end of the last century were alike impotent against—Fate. No doubt, I saw in that moment, as though lit up by a flashlight, the fate of Europe clearly before my eyes. A fate—an iron fate. A fate unavoidable for a continent that will have no more guides, no more great men. A fate unavoidable for an age that spills its best blood with the carelessness of ignorance. A fate unavoidable for a people that is driven by its very religion to disobedience and anarchy. And I thought of my own race, which has seen so many fates, so many ages, so many empires decline—and there was I, the eternal Jew, witnessing another catastrophe. And I shuddered, and when my hostess entered I had not yet recovered my breath.

Gruesome, isn't it? But what if it should not come true? "There are no more prophets to-day," says the Talmud scornfully. Well, unlike my ancestor Jonah, who became melancholic when his announcement of the downfall of Nineveh was not fulfilled, I beg to say that I on the contrary shall be extremely delighted to have proved a false prophet. But I shall keep my umbrella all the same.

54 Russell Square,
London, W.C.

[1] 'I have loved justice and I have hated iniquity, therefore I die in exile.'



Chapter I
Nietzsche's Life
Chapter II
Nietzsche the Amoralist
Chapter III
Nietzsche the Moralist
Chapter IV
Nietzsche the Evolutionist
Chapter V
Nietzsche the Sociologist
Summary and Conclusion
Books Useful to the Student of Nietzsche

Abbreviations Used in Referring to Nietzsche's Works

D. D.=Dawn of Day.
Z.=Thus Spake Zarathustra.
G. E.=Beyond Good and Evil.
G. M.=The Genealogy of Morals.

Chapter I

Life and Works

"Holy be thy name to all coming generations! In the name of all thy friends, I, thy pupil, cry out our warmest thanks to thee for thy great life.

"Thou wast one of the noblest and purest men that ever trod this earth.

"And although this is known to both friend and foe, I do not deem it superfluous to utter this testimony aloud at thy tomb. For we know the world; we know the fate of Spinoza! Around Nietzsche's memory, too, posterity may cast shadows! And therefore I close with the words: Peace to thy ashes!"[1]

This view, expressed by Peter Gast, Nietzsche's staunchest friend and disciple, at his master's graveside, in August 1900, may be regarded as typical of the Nietzsche enthusiast's attitude towards his master. On the other hand we have the assurance of Nietzsche's opponents and enemies that nothing could have been more utterly disastrous to modern society, more pernicious, dangerous, and ridiculous than Nietzsche's life-work.

At the present day Nietzsche is so potent a force and his influence is increasing with such rapidity that, whatever our calling in life may be, it behoves us to know precisely what he stands for, and to which of the opinions above given we should subscribe. As a matter of fact, the inquirer into the life and works of this interesting man will find that he has well-nigh as many by-names as he has readers, and not the least of our difficulties in speaking about him will be to give him a fitting title, descriptive of his mission and the way in which he understood it.

Some deny his right to the title "philosopher"; others declare him to be a mere anarchist; and a large number regard all his later works as no more than a shallow though brilliant reversal of every accepted doctrine on earth.

In order to be able to provoke so much diversity of opinion, a man must be not only versatile but forcible. Nietzsche was both. There is scarcely a subject in the whole range of philosophical thought which he does not attack and blow up; and he hurls forth his hard, polished missiles in a manner so destructive, and at the same time with such accuracy of aim, that it is no wonder a chorus of ill-used strongholds of traditional thought now cry out against him as a disturber and annihilator of their peace. Yet, through all the dust, smoke, and noise of his implacable warfare, there are both a method and a mission to be discerned—a method and a mission in the pursuit of which Nietzsche is really as unswerving as he seems capricious.

Throughout his life and all his many recantations and revulsions of feeling, he remained faithful to one purpose and to one aim—the elevation of the type man. However bewildered we may become beneath the hail of his epigrams, treating of every momentous question that has ever agitated the human mind, we still can trace this broad principle running through all his works: his desire to elevate man and to make him more worthy of humanity's great past.

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