Friedrich Nietzsche


Field: Ethics

October 15, 1844 - August 25, 1900

Nietzsche In Love

In an 1874 letter to his friend Malwida von Meysenbug, the 30 year old Nietzsche writes:

...Now, confidentially, I'd like to find myself a good wife quite soon, and then I can look on my life's desires as fulfilled.

At this point in his life, Nietzsche had already published Birth of Tragedy and parts of his Untimely Meditations (also known as Thoughts Out of Season). He had been teaching classical philology at the University of Basel, although in 1871 he had lost a bid to Basel's philosophy "chair". He had also already suffered several bouts of illness that forced him to take leaves of absence from his teaching and lecturing work. It seems as if Nietzsche's own life had taken on the duality he contrived in his explanation of the origin of Attic tragedy. His "Apollonian" mind and his "Dionysian" body were frequently in conflict.

In the Spring of 1876, Nietzsche was introduced to Mathilde Trampedach, described as a young woman of "exceptional beauty and grace." Nietzsche became infatuated with Mathilde, perhaps after he heard her recite Longfellow's poem "Excelsior." Shortly after their introduction, the 32 year old Nietzsche wrote the 21 year old Mathilde a letter, dated April 11, 1876:

Gather all the strength that is in your heart so that you will not be frightened by the question I now put to you: Will you be my wife? I love you, and I feel as though you were already mine. Not a word about how quickly I've fallen!...What I want to know is whether you feel as I do-- that we were never strangers, not even for a moment! Don't you share my faith that together each of us could become free and better than we could separately?

Mathilde's reply to Nietzsche's proposal does not exist, but apparently he misinterpreted her friendliness. In any case, Mathilde went on to become the second wife of the musician Hugo von Sanger, the man who had introduced Nietzsche to the young Russo-German woman in the first place.

A few months later, Nietzsche fell in love again. This time it was with Louise Ott, described as a "well-to-do member of Protestant Parisian society." He might have proposed marriage to the Alsatian woman if she had not already recently become married. Nevertheless, Nietzsche wrote her some six letters and two poems between 1876 and 1882. On September 22, 1876 from Basel he wrote to Louise:

...I've read your two letters again and again, no doubt too often, but this friendship is like new wine: delightful but perhaps a bit dangerous...We all have to suffer before we learn to bite properly-- physically and morally. --To bite in order to nourish ourselves, of course, not for the sake of biting!..."

By 1877 he writes to Malwida von Meysenbug:

I still have the pleasant task of finding me a wife before Fall.

Five years later, in a letter dated March 21, 1882 to his friend Paul Rée, Nietzsche has changed his view on marriage. No longer was it to be the fulfillment of his life's desires.:

Do greet that Russian girl for me, if you see any sense in it: I have a passion for this kind of soul. So much so, that I shall very soon go on the prowl for one. Considering what I intend to do in the next ten years, it's essential. Marriage is an entirely different story; I could agree to two years of it at most, and even this much only in view of what I have to do in the next ten years.

The "Russian girl" Nietzsche was referring to was Louise Salomé. Described as a "blue-eyed blonde with the classic Roman features" Salome had a great effect on Nietzsche's emotional life. He may have had some difficulty with her attempt to keep her relationship with him in the intellectual sphere.

Nietzsche never did find a woman to marry. Instead he wrote philosophy books and in January 1889 he had a mental and physical collapse from which he never fully recovered. Under the principal care of his sister, Elizabeth, Nietzsche's condition steadily deteriorated until he passed away in the Summer of 1900.

Salome, Rée, Nietzsche

Friederich Nietzsche Official Cosmic Record
1997 Ionians c .231 337 78 1 16
Total 1 Season Batting
POS-Position; BA-Batting Average;AB-At Bats; H-Hits; HR-Homeruns; RBI- Runs Batted In
1983 Ionians 4.33 235 113 49 65 11 13
1984 Ionians 4.22 145 68 31 97 7 13
1985 Ionians 2.83 127 40 37 70 6 5
1986 Ionians 2.90 220 71 60 108 11 13
1987 Ionians 2.16 96 23 35 48 5 2
1988 Ionians 3.86 196 84 73 109 10 15
1989 Ionians 3.86 191 81 71 81 9 10
Total 7 Seasons Pitching 3.57 1210 480 356 578 59 71
ERA-Earned Run Average; IP-Innings Pitched; ER-Earned Runs; BB-Walks; K-Strikeouts; W-Won; L-Lost

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Published: November 15, 1997