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Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

96                    MODERN   GERMAN  LITERATURE

lexicon, a eunuch. History reduced to knowledge has lost its germs
like corn ground to flour. Thus contemporary culture is not cul-
ture, but a knowledge of culture; it produces scholars and philis-
tines, but not men who, fighting history or the reality round them,
make history. Thus, in these two books two new ideals are pro-
claimed: a new culture and new man. These two books were
negative; the two next, Schopenhauer als Er^ieher (i 874) and Richard
Wagner in Bajrettth (1876), are positive. New man can be imbued
with the new culture in the school of Schopenhauer, and in Wag-
ner's operas new man can be seen realized. The four works men-
tioned were collected under the title Un^eitgemdsse Retrachtungen
(1873-76): 'un^eitgemass* is what Schopenhauer and Wagner teach
us to be, that is, hostile to circumambient reality, to the time we
live in; they were men who, instead of bending their backs to the
golden calf - pseudo-culture, a scarecrow hung with rags - wan-
dered out into the wilderness and feared not to be alone. Real
culture is a life-force surging from the heart and transforming the
whole organism into a perfect unity.

The great crisis in Nietzsche's life was his loss of faith in Wag-
ner, when the latter, as it seemed to Nietzsche, 'collapsed before
the Christian cross'. He smashed his idol in DerFall Wagner (1888).
His MensMiches> All^umenschliches (1878), published as his health
broke for good, bears evidence of the mental storm and stress
through which he had passed. It is, like all Nietzsche's books
written after this crisis in his life, a collection of aphorisms.1
Nietzsche here shows a violent reaction against current literature,
both in its form and substance. The form was the natural outcome
of the mode of composition. Nietzsche, doomed to death but with
the will to live, lived in the open air and jotted down his ideas as
they came. He never rounded his philosophy into a system: it
remains in rudimentary form, aphorisms shot into shape, clear by
force of repetition and hammering in, but not logically fitted in
section by section. It has the freshness of mountain air and the
poetry of surprise, as of sudden vistas opening out from a scaled
height; it has a Biblical familiarity of style studded with Hebrew
parallelisms and variation. In Un^eitgemasse TSetrachtungen there had

1 Both style and spirit owe something to La Rochefoucauld; e.g. Das
Christentum gab dem Eros Gift%u trinken: - erstarb ywar nicht daran, aber entartete
^um Lasfer; or: Der Mann soll^um Kriege er^pgen rnrden unddas Weib %ur Erbolung
des Kriegers: alles andere ist Torheit.