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STEVEN MICHELS
Nietzsches Frames:
Esotericism and the Art of the Preface
Much has been made of Nietzsches esotericism, or the extent to which he tried to hide his true
teaching. Nietzsche himself is unclear on the subject. As he writes in The Gay Science, one does
not onl wish to be understood when one writes! one wishes just as surel not to be
understood."
#
$here are countless such %uotations. &et inscribed at the outset of Ecce Homo, his
intellectual autobiogra'h, is this rather startling statement( )ere me* +or , am such and such a
'erson. Abo-e all, do not mista.e me for someone else."
/
Nietzsche is anthing but clear on the
extent to which he wants to be understood.
0efore examining the nature of Nietzsches esotericism, it is necessar to consider what
is meant b the term, irres'ecti-e of his 'hiloso'h. +irst, it is im'ortant to note that , do not
mean esoteric in the historical sense of 1estern esotericism2that is, 3osicrucianism,
+reemasonr, 4abbalah, etc. Nietzsche does not s'ea. of them in an of his writings, and would
'robabl be hostile to these mstical traditions. Ne-ertheless, esotericism has another strain, one
related to a 'articular stle of writing, and it is from this 'ers'ecti-e that we should consider
him. As a trained 'hilologist, he was a close reader of texts, and conse%uentl, he became a
careful writer.
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5trauss, the writer res'onsible for most of the current discourse on esotericism, has done
much to detail what it means and the circumstances under which it is 'ractised. 6sotericism, or
writing between the lines," occurs in times that are less free, 5trauss 'ro'oses.
3
,t is his
contention that an esoteric boo. contains two se'arate and distinct teachings( one ob-ious,
'o'ular, and more traditional teaching and the true one, which is hidden to all but the most
careful readers.
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5ince the true teaching is often contro-ersial or e-en incendiar, it is not
t'icall found in ob-ious 'laces, such as introductions or conclusions.
8
According to )eidegger, Nietzsches grand stle" em'hasises the will to 'ower, artistr,
and the necessit of creation. )eideggers conclusion that Nietzsche is an esoteric writer,
howe-er, is less 'ersuasi-e. +or e-er great thin.er alwas thinks one jum' more originall
than he directl speaks," )eidegger writes. 9ur inter'retation must therefore tr to sa what is
unsaid b him."
6
)eideggers reading is fairl sim'le( great writers are esoteric! Nietzsche is a
great writer! therefore, Nietzsche is an esoteric writer.
5ince )eidegger, Nietzsches esotericism has mostl been ta.en for granted, to the extent
that Nietzsche might call it a scholarl, if not 'hiloso'hic, 'rejudice.
:
Nehemas, who wrote one
of the onl boo.;length treatments of Nietzsches manner of 'hiloso'hising, refers to
Nietzsches self;aggrandizing, aristocratic, esoteric manner," without gi-ing an ade%uate
ex'lanation as to wh he sees him as an esoteric writer.
<
$he best Nehemas can do is suggest that
his use of a'horisms is 'roof of his esotericism. 0ut bre-it is not, necessaril, ambiguit or
obfuscation.
Note, howe-er, that although =errida mostl agrees with )eidegger on Nietzsches
manner of 'hiloso'hizing he, at least 'ro-isionall, comes to a -er different conclusion on what
is to be done with Nietzsche. )eidegger assumes that his stle obscures his true intention,
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whereas =errida is sce'tical about whether an intention exists. )eidegger ex'ects
inter'retations that s'ea. for Nietzsche! =errida suggests that inter'reters s'ea. in 'lace of him,
because we would be silent or confounded otherwise. 6-en those who agree on Nietzsches
esotericism disagree as to what it means for readers and would;be inter'reters.
>am'ert, a careful reader of Nietzsche ?and 5trauss@, a''roaches the %uestion more
directl. >am'ert agrees with 5trausss definition of esotericism,
A
but claims that the tradition of
esotericism ends with Nietzsche. A Nietzschean histor of 'hiloso'h," >am'ert submits,
brings the old esoteric 'ractices into the o'en2it ends them b bringing them into o'en and it
ends them for 'recisel the same reason that 'hiloso'h first too. u' esoteric 'ractices( to
defend the 'lace of reason in the world."
#B
>am'ert notes that esotericism and the more recent
turn from esotericism are ex'lained b the need to sa-e 'hiloso'h. 6sotericism was beneficial
when 'hiloso'hers were not free, as 5trauss suggested, but now 'hiloso'h is threatened again,
this time b its reluctance or inabilit to show itself to the world.
##
$he first, and most im'ortant,
'art of Nietzsches 'roject is to em'hasise the solitude, honest, courage, and sm'ath2what
Nietzsche calls -irtue2that are needed to restore 'hiloso'hs -italit and rele-ance.
>am'ert is certainl correct in insisting that, according to Nietzsche, democrac ga-e rise
to a new .ind of esotericism in 'hiloso'h. ,t did not end sim'l because freedom of s'eech has
become the norm. &et >am'ert goes on to claim, as Nehemas im'lied, that esotericism sur-i-es
in Nietzsche through the a'horism2an art of writing whose bre-it, whose thriftiness, does as
little as 'ossible for the reader."
#/
,t also sur-i-es in enthusiasm," which Nietzsche describes as
successfull a''earing more stu'id than ou are,"
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or what >am'ert calls courtes" and
relates to the 'athos of distance."
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+inall, esotericism sur-i-es in Nietzsche in a third and
most fundamental wa," >am'ert contends. Nature lo-es to hideCD.E 5uch esotericism is
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neither chosen nor surmountable. ,t is not a lie for our su''osed good! it is the ineluctable
hiddenness in the heart of things."
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Although >am'erts ta.e on Nietzsches esotericism is more so'histicated than what we
find in )eidegger, Nehemas, and =errida, >am'ert is wrong to call it esotericism. Nowhere does
Nietzsche sa that he uses a'horisms to limit his audience. >am'ert also misconstrues the
'athos of distance" and Nietzsches -iew of courtes. Nietzsche -alued solitude, to be sure, but
onl as a tem'orar mode of existence. 3ecall that e-en his Farathustra had to emerge from his
mountainto' retreat. 1hat is more, that nature lo-es to hide" is not esoteric in an sense of the
term. >am'erts inter'retation of Nietzsches -iew of nature is su'erior to most others2with the
'ossible exce'tion of 5chacht
#6
2but to sa that nature is ambiguous in Nietzsches writing is not
to sa that Nietzsche is an esoteric writer. Nietzsche does his utmost to re-eal the illusi-e
%ualities of nature, but the conclusions he draws cannot be more s'ecific than his -iew of nature
will allow.
Glearl, the treatment of Nietzsches esotericism lea-es something to be desired. $he
'ur'ose of this article, therefore, is to ma.e a case against Nietzsches esotericism. $o write of
esotericism and to allude to ones own 'enchant for it is not the same as writing in an esoteric
manner. +or e-idence of Nietzsches esotericism, we will loo. first, as 5trauss recommends, to
his 'refaces and e'ilogues2that is, the most ex'osed 'arts of his boo.s. ,f Nietzsche is an
esoteric writer, his 'refaces will show him as a cautious writer who does little for his readers.
After careful examination, howe-er, we find that these 'arts are where Nietzsche is clearest. )is
use of the extremities of his boo.s to frame the content within is hardl the mode of an esoteric
writer in the 5traussian sense. Although Nietzsche often alludes to his esoteric mas.," he does
as much as 'ossible to aid his readers.
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The Birth of the Preface
$he 'reface to The Birth of Tragedy is a dedication of sorts, in that it names 1agner as its
reci'ient. Nietzsches excitement at the wor. is related, at least in 'art, to 1agner recei-ing it.
The Birth of Tragedy is more than just an ode, howe-er, for a seriousl Herman 'roblem is
faced here."
#:
,t is not directed at e-erone, but to serious readers. The Birth of Tragedy was
written with 1agner in mind. 1agner is Nietzsches 'rinci'al audience, for he is 'erha's the
onl one able to understand the boo., Nietzsche suggests! but this does not mean that Nietzsche
intends to exclude all others. $he 'reface also contains a brief statement on the boo.s thesis, that
art re'resents the highest tas. and the trul meta'hsical acti-it of this life, in the sense of that
man to whom, as m sublime 'redecessor on this 'ath, , wish to dedicate this essa."
#<
)ere,
Nietzsche introduces the theme of the text and his debt to 1agner in the same sentence.
$he stri.ingl traditional nature of the original 'reface is matched b the 'eculiarit with
which Nietzsche amended The Birth of Tragedy. )e added to it An Attem't at a 5elf;Griticism"
when it was re'ublished in #<<6, the same ear in which Beyond Good and Evil first a''eared.
$he addition ser-es, in effect, as a second 'reface, or, as Nietzsche calls it, a belated 'reface ?or
'ostscri't@."
#A
1alter 4aufmann writes that new 'reface is among the finest things DNietzscheE
e-er wrote. Ierha's no other great writer has written a com'arable 'reface to one of his own
wor.s. Gertainl this self;criticism is far su'erior to most of the criticisms others ha-e directed
against The Birth of Tragedy."
/B
Nietzsche uses the first 'art of An Attem't at 5elf;Griticism" to 'erform two general
functions. +irst, it allows him to ex'lain his dissatisfaction with the original text. 1hate-er ma
be at the bottom of this %uestionable boo.," he writes, it must ha-e been an exceedingl
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significant and fascinating %uestion, and dee'l 'ersonal at that."
/#
)e goes on to describe The
Birth of Tragedy as a strange and almost inaccessible" boo..
//
Nietzsche admits that his first
boo. confuses e-en him.
$he second, and 'erha's more interesting, 'oint concerns the reason wh The Birth of
Tragedy is found so wanting b its author. ,t a''ears, Nietzsche confesses, that he was too far
remo-ed from world e-ents while he was writing it. )e calls the +ranco;Irussian 1ar ?#<:B;:#@
an exciting time," but laments that while it was going on, he had been sitting somewhere in an
Al'ine noo.."
/3
The Birth of Tragedy was, he confesses, written in spite of" its time. Moreo-er,
he ex'lains that he finished The Birth of Tragedy onl after ha-ing reco-ered from an illness that
had 'lagued him throughout the course of the 'roject. $he thesis of The Birth of Tragedy and the
remed it 'ro'oses2namel, 1agner2cannot reflect a concern for the health of a culture, for
the emerged from a sic. and solitar man. Moreo-er, Nietzsche laments, 'hiloso'h is a tas.
best left to those with greater ex'erience and a greater 'ers'ecti-e from which to wor.. ,n sum,
'hiloso'h is not a 'ro'er -ocation for the oung.
Nietzsche also uses this occasion to note the relati-e success of his first boo.. )owe-er
much he would later find The Birth of Tragedy wanting, the best minds of the time" found it
agreeable when it was 'ublished.
/7
,f his first boo. is -aluable at all, he suggests, it is its glim'se
into the minds that find it agreeable2again, 1agner. ,t is not, howe-er, of much use in
understanding how Nietzsche thin.s, unless we are charting his intellectual de-elo'ment. )e has
sur'assed the teaching found in his first boo. and, with it, the greatest minds of his time.
Nietzsche ends this section b referring to this change in his 'hiloso'h. 1here The Birth
of Tragedy was an attem't to examine science through art, his later 'hiloso'h, he suggests,
treats art with the same sus'icion and judges it accordingl.
/8
0ecause the 'roblem of science
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cannot be recognized in the context of science," Nietzsche had originall used art to examine it.
)a-ing disco-ered, through his familiarit with 1agner, that artists too can be corru'ted,
Nietzsche turned to life as the standard b which science and art2and 'hiloso'h, too, for that
matter2ought to be judged.
,n addition to its message and its stle, Nietzsche also dis'arages The Birth of Tragedy
for its intended audience. )e sought to exclude right from the beginning," he admits, the
D'rofane crowdE of Jthe educated e-en more than Jthe mass or Jfol.."
/6
3ather than tring to
court intellectuals or to see them as 'otential followers, he treated almost e-erone, with the
ob-ious exce'tion of 1agner, with e%ual disdain. $his strateg, corrected in his later wor.s and
dramatised in the Irologue to Zarathustra, meant that Nietzsche was able to s'ea. in an ele-ated
tone, hone his message, and treat the greatest subjects without fear of being misunderstood. +or
Nietzsche, 'hiloso'h means attending to his 'hiloso'h, .nowing full well that, if done
'ro'erl, an audience would find him.
Although Nietzsche admits to 'aing too much attention to his audience, this is one of the
areas where The Birth of Tragedy succeeded. ,t had, he claims, a .nac. for see.ing out fellow;
rha'sodizers and for luring them on to new secret 'aths and dancing 'laces."
/:
1hat interested
readers, he determined, was the fact that there la underneath the text some un.nown Hod"2
his =ionsus. ,t was to this theme that he would return in his later writings. The Birth of Tragedy
a''ealed to readers who, li.e Nietzsche himself, were in search of a new Hod, one that would
re'lace the dead Ghristian deit.
$o answer the %uestion 1hat is =ionsianK" Nietzsche intimates, is to answer the
%uestion 1hat, seen in the 'ers'ecti-e of life, is the significance of moralitK"
/<
$his is a
'ers'ecti-e absent from The Birth of Tragedy. Alread in the 'reface addressed to 3ichard
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1agner," Nietzsche laments, art, and not moralit, is 'resented as the true metaphysical acti-it
of man."
/A
1e need not read The Birth of Tragedy in its entiret to see where it falls short. ,f The
Birth of Tragedy hints at elements of his later 'hiloso'h, in An Attem't at 5elf;Griticism"
Nietzsche directs the reader to Beyond Good and Evil, the 'lace where this sentiment is
ex'ressed most full.
3B
$hat Nietzsches 'hiloso'h changed is most a''arent in the careful and hostile silence
with which Ghristianit is treated throughout the whole boo.."
3#
Ghristianit, Nietzsche adds in
the new 'reface, forces moralit to become absolute and relegates art, every art, to the realm of
lies! with its absolute standards, beginning with the truthfulness of Hod, it negates, judges, and
damns art."
3/
,t was Ghristianit that taught Nietzsche the -alue of life as a standard for truth and
art. ,f Nietzsche is silent about Ghristianit in The Birth of Tragedy, he o-ercom'ensates in An
Attem't at 5elf;Griticism." $he greatest failure of The Birth of Tragedy is not that it failed to 'ut
forth the highest elements of his teaching, Nietzsche tells us! rather, it fails to ta.e seriousl the
threat to life 'osed b Ghristianit. 1hen committing The Birth of Tragedy to 'a'er, the
Antichrist" had et to find his anti'odes. ,f The Birth of Tragedy succeeded at all, it was that it
made Nietzsche realise that the 'roblem of science is more rightfull a 'roblem of moralit. ,t
was onl after the 'rocess, or the ex'erience, of writing his first boo. that Nietzsche was able to
a''reciate the origin and the extent of the threat that Ghristian moralit 'osed to 1estern culture.
,n short, The Birth of Tragedy should be read for the %uestions it 'oses, not for the answers it
'ro-ides.
,n the final section of An Attem't at a 5elf;Griticism" Nietzsche res'onds to those who
-iew him as a nihilist and brand his 'hiloso'h as dangerous. Nietzsche recommends that such
objectors ought to learn the art of this-worldly comfort first! ou ought to learn to laugh, m
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oung friends, if ou are hell;bent on remaining 'essimists. $hen 'erha's, as laughers, ou ma
someda dis'atch all meta'hsical comforts to the de-il2meta'hsics in front."
33
Ghristianit is
the 'roblem, Nietzsche reminds us. A 'hiloso'h of the future must reject Ghristian moralit and
its -iew of the afterworld.
Nietzsche concludes b in-o.ing that =ionsian monster" Farathustra to teach the same
lesson in a different, and slightl more 'ositi-e, wa. )e %uotes from 9n the )igher Man," a
s'eech from the +ourth Iart of Zarathustra, where Farathustra 'raises the -irtues of laughter and
of not ta.ing oneself, or ones teaching, too seriousl. $his crown of the laughter, the rose;
wreath crown( to ou, m brothers, , throw this crown. >aughter , ha-e 'ronounced hol( ou
higher men, learn2to laugh*"
37
,t is telling that the 'art Nietzsche %uotes begins a stor of
failure. ,t is here that Farathustra recalls his first attem't at teaching and how 'oorl it turned
out. $he same is true of the 1agnerian Birth of Tragedy. An Attem't at a 5elf;Griticism"
artfull and tactfull directs the reader from 1agner and The Birth of Tragedy to =ionsus and
Thus Spoke Zarathustra.
Beond !a"ner
,f The Birth of Tragedy 'oints directl to Nietzsches friend and teacher, 3ichard 1agner, so too
does The ase of !agner. 1hile The Birth of Tragedy 'raises him in the dedication, The ase of
!agner 'laces him in the title and, indeed, as the reci'ient of -icious attac.s. ,n this sense, the
are o''osite boo.s.
38
The Birth of Tragedy begins Nietzsches career with a gracious nod to
1agner! The ase of !agner closes a cha'ter in Nietzsches intellectual de-elo'ment with an
unmista.able brea. with him.
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9n the main title 'age, which a''ears before the 'reface, Nietzsche includes, as he does
so often, an e'igram. ,t is a -ariation of )orace that a''ears in >atin( $hrough what is
laughable sa what is somber." Nietzsche is warning the reader that the themes of the boo. are to
be ta.en seriousl. Gertainl that is what Nietzsche means b somber." 1hat he means b
laughable is less clear. )e ma mean that his treatment of the themes therein ma be treated
humorousl. $his inter'retation would be consistent with his em'hasis on golden laughter" and
a crown of laughter." As he writes in the Ireface, ,nters'ersed with man jo.es, , bring u' a
matter that is no jo.e."
36
Nietzsche might also mean that 1agner himself, as the subject of the
essa and the -ehicle for his 'hiloso'h, is subject to derision.
$he Ireface itself is exce'tional in its clarit. 1agner, Nietzsche ex'lains, is merel one
of DhisE sic.nesses."
3:
$he 'roblem with 1agner, he sas, is his affinit with modernit, in
'articular modern moralit. Nietzsche mo-es %uic.l from discussing his brea. with 1agner to
the 'roblem of moralit. +or Nietzsche, no transition is necessar, for the two are interchangeable
in his ees. )is charge that moralit negates life" is directed at 1agner. +or Nietzsche,
modernit means 1agner. $o be 'ost;modern, in the most general sense of the term, is to be
'ost;1agner.
Nietzsche also uses the Ireface to reiterate one of the most 'rominent themes in his
writings( being a 'hiloso'her means s'ea.ing to, if not mo-ing beond, the s'irit of the times.
3<

$his is es'eciall true in times of decadence, as Nietzsche labels modernit. $his is not to sa
that 'hiloso'h is a wholl internal 'rocess! e-en when done in solitude, 'hiloso'h demands
action, be it creation or destruction. ,n The ase of !agner, it is the latter. $he 'roblem of
modernit is sol-ed b first attac.ing 1agner.
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)owe-er much 1agner is Nietzsches intended target, Nietzsche is b no means angr
with his friend and former teacher. 1hen in this essa , assert the 'ro'osition that 1agner is
harmful," Nietzsche writes, , wish no less to assert for whom he is ne-ertheless indis'ensable2
for the 'hiloso'her."
3A
,f 1agner is modernit, then a 'hiloso'her needs to o-ercome him.
Nietzsche is grateful, for 1agner is 'ure in his decadence and his re'resentation of all that is
modern. ,f 1agner is a sic.ness, then Nietzsche .nows the cure, for Nietzsche heals, as he did
with himself. And Nietzsche could heal us, too, if we let him. 1agner is a 'laceholder for
modernit, but Nietzsche is irre'laceable. 1e should be grateful to Nietzsche, he himself
suggests, for he has shown us the 'ath from 1agner, from the decadence of modernit, a means
to esca'e our own decadence. 1e must first become a 1agnerian!" onl then can we become
Nietzschean.
7B
$he difficult of Nietzsches brea. with his former teacher is indicated b the
manner in which he concludes The ase of !agner( he ends it with two 'ostscri'ts and an
e'ilogue. ,t is a short boo., and these 'ages are nearl half of it.
Nietzsche ends the main text of The ase of !agner with a defense of art and, with it, a
defence of what he calls 'hiloso'h. 0ut Nietzsche does not end here. $he Iostscri't begins with
him referring to the seriousness" of how he ended the wor.. +or some reason it is this
seriousness that 'ermits" Nietzsche to add the Iostscri't, or at least a 'ostscri't of this sort. ,t is
not immediatel clear whether Nietzsche intends to continue in this tone, or if, bothered b the
seriousness of his final words on 1agner, he wishes to end on a note more consistent with his
fondness for laughter and a ga science." 5oon it becomes clear that the former is the case.
$he subtitle of the Iostscri't ought to be 9ne 'as hea-il for being one of 1agners
disci'les," for Nietzsche uses this 'hrase fi-e times in as man 'ages. ,t is a rare instance
2$hus s'o.e Farathustra" is the most notable exce'tion2of Nietzsches stle being 'redicated
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on a re'etition of words. ,n its first and second usage, it is the Hermans who ha-e 'aid for their
disci'leshi'. Although the had initiall resisted 1agner, the Hermans, the delayers par
excellence in histor, are toda the most retarded ci-ilized nation in 6uro'e."
7#
,f the are to be
admired at all, it is for their outh, not their o-erall health or character.
1hat of 1agners influence on cultureK ,t too has suffered. 1agner brought forth the
'resum'tion of the laman, the art;idiot."
7/
5imilarl, 1agner made others -iew education and
training as su'erfluous or e-en harmful. ,t was re'laced with a faith in genius or, to s'ea.
'lainl, b im'udent dilettantism."
73
1orse et, 1agnerianism meant theatrocracy2the
nonsense of a faith in the precedence of the theater, in the right of the theater to lord it o-er the
arts, o-er art."
77
+or Nietzsche, the theatre is to ser-e art, for theatre is alwas a sla-e to the
mass. ,n sum, 1agner brought egalitarianism into art and le-elled high culture with his
moralism. ,f god is dead, 1agner dragged his cor'se into the orchestra 'it.
$he sentiment of the Iostscri't is curious gi-en what Nietzsche sas of 1agner in the
Ireface. ,n the Ireface, Nietzsche is grateful! in the Iostscri't, Nietzsche s'ea.s as a lo-er
scorned. &et Nietzsche does not claim that he has 'aid for his disci'leshi'. $he Hermans, culture,
the s'irit, the oung, and women ha-e 'aid for following 1agner, but Nietzsche is grateful.
Nietzsche is not a disci'le who 'aid a great 'rice! rather, 1agner was, for Nietzsche, a means to
greatness and health. $his should not sto' others2the Hermans, 'ro'onents of culture, the
oung, and women2from des'ising 1agner. And if the do turn from 1agner, there is an
alternati-e 'ath. $his 'ath, Nietzsche claims, leads them not from 1agner to Nietzsche, but from
1agner bac. to themsel-es.
Absent from this account are 'hiloso'hers2most notabl, Nietzsche himself. 1hen he
does comment on the effect that 1agner had on him, he returns to the grateful 'osture of the
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Ireface. 1hen writing of 1agners "arsifal, Nietzsche remar.s that he wishes that he had
written it.
78
Nietzsche can be grateful, but e-erone else should be angr. $hat is something that
should not be forgotten2to the extent that Nietzsche tac.s it on to the end of the main text.
Nietzsche recognizes that the tone of the Iostscri't is subject to confusion, so much so
that he adds another one. M letter, it seems, it o'en to a misunderstanding," he writes.
76
,t is
not clear whether he is referring to the entire text or merel to the Iostscri't. ,n either case, The
ase of !agner is incom'lete. Nietzsche is concerned that his gratitude will be misconstrued.
7:

9f course nothing would ha-e sto''ed Nietzsche from editing the text to ma.e this 'oint clear.
)owe-er, he chose to elucidate this fact in 'ages added to the main text2'ages left out in the
o'en for the reader to disco-er. )ence the 'roblem is not with Nietzsche or the boo. he had just
finished! the 'roblem is with his audience, and it demands a uni%ue solution. Nietzsche is a
careful writer who demands attenti-e readers. Nietzsche will do his utmost to ensure that the
understand him, e-en if that means that he must lea-e them with two 'ostscri'ts and an e'ilogue.
Nietzsche also uses this o''ortunit to clarif his attac. on 1agner and his -iew of music
in general. 1agner ma exem'lif the decadence of the times, Nietzsche argues, but he is
certainl not its cause. )is genius was in accelerating the decline. 9thers hesitated, but 1agner
did not.
7<
$he 5econd Iostscri't is a curious addition to the text, if Nietzsches intent was to
clarif his gratitude toward 1agner. 1hile he did ele-ate 1agner, he did it indirectl b
attac.ing others2most notabl 0rahms. 0 'resenting 1agner in this relati-el 'ositi-e light,
he 'ushes readers toward him. At the same time, Nietzsche reiterates his claim that 1agner was
courage, the will, conviction in corru'tion."
7A
)e wants e-erone to .now 1agners decadence!
onl then can the .now Nietzsche. Ne-ertheless, he concludes the 5econd Iostscri't
o'timisticall, with an a''eal to what is left of cultural greatness.
8B

5te-en Michels( Nietzsches +rames /<
EnterText 6.3
,f two 'ostscri'ts were not enough, Nietzsche adds an e'ilogue. Glearl, The ase of
!agner finds Nietzsche not .nowing how to sa farewell. ,t is an o''ortunit, he notes, for us to
reco-er our breath" and for him to wash his hands," after ha-ing dealt with someone such as
1agner.
8#
+or Nietzsche, ta.ing a ste' bac. from 1agner means first summarising what he
means b the term modern. 6-er age embraces the -irtues of ascent or decline, he ex'lains! and
modernit is an age of wea.ness and decline. Nowhere is this more e-ident than when examining
Ghristianit and its o''osite. 1agners fault is his inabilit to a''reciate the difference between
Ghristianit and master moralit. Noble moralit, master moralit, con-ersel, is rooted in a
trium'hant &es said to oneself2it is self;affirmation, self;glorification of life," Nietzsche
writes.
8/
All of #eautiful, all of great art belongs here( the essence of both is gratitude."
83
,t is
the same gratitude that mar.s his own 'hiloso'h, he suggests. )is is beautiful and great art! its
essence is gratitude toward 1agner.
1hile 'resenting his -iew on moralit, Nietzsche ma.es a reference to $n the Genealogy
of %orals in a rare footnote to the main text. ,t is in the Genealogy, Nietzsche claims, that the
'roblem of moralit was first detailed( 'erha's there is no more decisi-e turning 'oint in the
histor of our understanding of religion and moralit."
87
At the same time, he declares, $his
boo., m touchstone of what belongs to me, has the good fortune of being accessible onl to the
most high;minded and se-ere s'irits( the rest lac. ears for it."
88
)e -irtuall dares readers to see.
it out.
The ase of !agner is not Nietzsches final sa on 3ichard 1agner, howe-er. )e thought
enough of 1agner, and indeed of his brea. with him, to 'ut together &iet'sche ontra !agner,
which was com'osed of 'arts collected from his earlier wor.s. Nietzsche wanted there to be no
5te-en Michels( Nietzsches +rames /A
EnterText 6.3
doubt that, howe-er much The Birth of Tragedy stood as a testament to 1agners influence, his
own later wor.s brea. from 1agner in a clear, decisi-e manner.
Moreo-er, Nietzsche illustrates that his brea. with 1agner was anthing but recent,
noting that it began shortl after the initial 'ublication of The Birth of Tragedy. As 3. L.
)ollingdale 'oints out, this would ha-e mar.ed #<:< as the ear of the brea., fi-e ears before
1agner died, instead of fi-e ears after his death.
86
,n the Ireface to &iet'sche ontra !agner,
Nietzsche writes( All of the following cha'ters ha-e been selected, not without caution, from
m older writings2some go bac. all the wa to #<::2'erha's clarified here and there, abo-e
all shortened. 3ead one after another, the will lea-e no doubt either about 3ichard 1agner or
about mself( we are anti'odes."
8:
$he 6'ilogue to &iet'sche ontra !agner is also rather re-ealing. ,n the first 'art, he
details that his 'hiloso'h is the result of amor fati, his inmost nature."
8<
,t is this nature,
Nietzsche lauds, that has taught him. )e suggests that, although he has heralded 1agner as his
teacher, he alone is res'onsible for his higher health" and indeed his 'hiloso'h.
8A
1agner was
his teacher onl insofar as he brought with him sic.ness and 'ain. $he second 'art of the
6'ilogue begins as a reflection on the first. +or Nietzsche, 1agner is the abss out of which he
must emerge.
6B
,n the next 'art, Nietzsche attac.s modernit and its reliance on reason. )ere we
find 1agner as modernit incarnate. ,n contrast, it concludes in 'raise of the Hree.s. ,f 1agner
is modernit, then the Hree.s are the cure.
6#
&iet'sche ontra !agner is as much a brea. with
1agner as it is a turn to the Hree.s, a lesson not to be lost on Nietzsches audience.
Zarathustras Frame
5te-en Michels( Nietzsches +rames 3B
EnterText 6.3
As Nietzsche ma.es clear, all of his boo.s are mere footnotes to Zarathustra. $his is es'eciall
true of The Gay Science, for it was the boo. Nietzsche com'leted before beginning his magnum
o'us. ,t was rewor.ed and re'ublished following Beyond Good and Evil( Gonse%uentl, The Gay
Science has the distinction of being the 'relude and 'ostlude to Zarathustra, and it ser-es as an
indis'ensable frame to understanding Nietzsches most im'ortant, and most difficult, wor..
$he original 'ublication of The Gay Science included an e'igram on its title 'age, which
Nietzsche had ado'ted from 6merson( $o the 'oet, the sage, all things are friendl and
hallowed, all ex'eriences 'rofitable, all das hol, all men di-ine."
6/
Nietzsche had elsewhere
remar.ed of his fondness for 6merson, so this 'assage hardl seems out of 'lace, 'articularl
since it is %uite Nietzschean.
63
1hat is noteworth, howe-er, is that 6merson himself had used
the term joful science" in his writings and lectures2a fact that Nietzsche ne-er ac.nowledged.
,t is %uite 'ossible that Nietzsche did .now of 6mersons use of this 'hrase. $he $omb 5ong"
from Zarathustra contains a 'aragra'h with reference to ga wisdom" and another 'ara'hrase
of 6merson2All das shall be hol to me." ,t is not 'roof that Nietzsche too. the ga science"
from 6merson, but it would be a great coincidence. ,f Nietzsche had lifted 6mersons conce't for
his own boo., it is fitting that 6merson should be 'laced at the outset. Ierha's more interesting
is that the e'igram is remo-ed for the second 'ublication of The Gay Science and re'laced with
something from Nietzsche, also in Herman(
, li-e in m own 'lace,
ha-e ne-er co'ied nobod e-en half,
and at an master who lac.s the grace
to laugh at himself2, laugh.
$ver the door to my house(
)*
5te-en Michels( Nietzsches +rames 3#
EnterText 6.3
>ines 3 and 7 reiterate the theme of the boo., but that can be said onl incidentall of the first
two. 3egardless of whether Nietzsche borrowed joful science" from 6merson, he defiantl
claims ownershi' of it on the title 'age when the boo. is re-ised. $he last half of the new
e'igram ma be 'hiloso'hical, but the first half is territorial.
$he original -ersion of The Gay Science did not include a 'reface. ,n addition to the nod
to 6merson, it included a Irelude in Herman 3hmes," which Nietzsche called Lo.e, Gunning,
and 3e-enge." ,t is a collection of sixt;three 'oetic a'horisms. ,t is assuredl the onl boo.
with science" in its title to begin li.e this. $his is es'eciall true because none of the -erses
seem to ta.e science or .nowledge as their theme. 1hate-er his intention, Nietzsches fr+hliche
!issenschaft does not begin with science.
1hen The Gay Science was re'ublished in #<<:, Nietzsche added a new frame. $he
boo., he admitted, ma need more than one 'reface."
68
And in the end," Nietzsche continues,
there would still remain room for doubt whether anone who had ne-er li-ed through similar
ex'eriences could be brought closer to the experience of the boo. b means of 'refaces."
66
$he
language, and 'erha's the theme, of The Gay Science is such that it will ha-e to be li-ed if it is to
be understood. ,n effect, the new 'reface ser-es as a guide to those not needing one.
$he remainder of the first section of the new 'reface is remar.abl o'en and direct. ,n
Zarathustra Nietzsche writes of Farathustras con-alescence! in the Ireface to The Gay Science,
he writes of his own. Hratitude 'ours forth continuall, as if the unex'ected had just ha''ened
2the gratitude of a con-alescent2for convalescence was unex'ected."
6:
+or Nietzsche, The
Gay Science signifies the saturnalia of a s'irit who has 'atientl resisted a terrible, long
'ressure2'atientl, se-erel, coldl, without submitting, but also without ho'e2and who is now
all at once attac.ed b ho'e, the ho'e for health, and the intoxication of con-alescence."
6<

5te-en Michels( Nietzsches +rames 3/
EnterText 6.3
Nietzsche not onl tells that he con-alesced, but also tells of his ho'e. 5chacht is right to argue
that all of the 'refaces of #<<6 ha-e reco-er as their common theme.
6A
Astonishingl,
Nietzsches own con-alescence is absent from Ecce Homo. )e re-eals more of himself in this
new 'reface than in his intellectual biogra'h.
$he second 'art of the new 'reface ste's bac. from Nietzsches confession. Nietzsche
mentions the trium'hant gratitude" of certain health 'hiloso'hers2himself included,
undoubtedl2and contrasts those who need their 'hiloso'h" as a sort of medication.
Ne-ertheless, he does continue on the theme of con-alescence, albeit it in a more im'ersonal
and, indeed, negati-e manner. 1e 'hiloso'hers, if we should become sic., surrender for a while
to sic.ness, bod and soul2and, as it were, shut our ees to oursel-es."
:B
5ic. 'hiloso'hers
ma.e for sic. 'hiloso'hies2a theme 'resented in Zarathustra. Ihiloso'h is not a cure for the
sic. but a luxur" for the health. A ga science" is 'redicated on a notion of health.
$his is not to sa that sic.ness does not ha-e a 'lace. Nietzsche admits that, for him, his
chronic illness has been an in-aluable 'ers'ecti-e from which he has come to .now what health
trul is. , am -er conscious of the ad-antages that m fic.le health gi-es me o-er all robust
s%uaresC. 9nl great 'ain is the ultimate liberator of the s'irit."
:#
,t is this sense of health that
reminds Nietzsche of the 'rimac of the bod and the -alue of -iewing life as a guide for science
and the standard for judgments concerning truth.
$he theme of health continues in the final section, and Nietzsche uses it as an o''ortunit
to em'hasise the main theme.
:/
Nietzsche is a changed man since Zarathustra, and he has a
changed 'hiloso'h. )e is at once more innocent and dangerous, brazen and subtle. 1hat he
ma.es clear is that he, li.e his Farathustra, has been redeemed. )is is a 'hiloso'h that .nows
health, and he is unafraid to sing its 'raises, e-en to those on their deathbed.
5te-en Michels( Nietzsches +rames 33
EnterText 6.3
,t is onl in the concluding 'art of the new 'reface that Nietzsche introduces the subject
of the boo.. No, this bad taste, this will to truth, to Jtruth at an 'rice, this outhful madness in
the lo-e of truth, ha-e lost their charm for us( for that we are too ex'erienced, too serious, too
merr, too burned, too profound," he writes. $oda we consider it a matter of decenc not to
wish to see e-erthing na.ed, or to be 'resent at e-erthing, or to understand and J.now
e-erthing."
:3
Nietzsche ends the 'reface b offering the Hree.s as an exam'le of his teaching.
Nietzsche did more than twea. The Gay Science for its second 'ublication! he returned to
it in a substanti-e wa, adding an entire cha'ter. ,t is certainl the longest of his re-isions,
dwarfing e-en the weight An Attem't at a 5elf;Griticism." $he original ending of The Gay
Science, section 37/ of 0oo. ,M, entitled ,nci'it tragoedia," 'arallels the beginning of
Zarathustra. ,t is, with one minor change, the first section of what would become Farathustras
Irologue." Nietzsche clearl intended The Gay Science to frame Zarathustra.
)is re-ision onl em'hasises this fact. Added to it was 0oo. M, entitled 1e +earless
9nes."
:7
$he e'igram for the addition is a %uotation from $urenne, a great +rench general( &ou
tremble, carcassK &ou would tremble a lot more if ou .new where , am ta.ing ou." $he
e'igram introduces the major theme of 0oo. M( courage. Nietzsche returns to this theme often in
the boo., most notabl in section 388. ,s it not the instinct of fear that bids us to .nowK"
Nietzsche as.s.
:8
)is ga science demands, abo-e all, fearless 'ractitioners2that is,
'hiloso'hers or free s'irits"2with courage enough to li-e in an uncertain world. $o follow
Nietzsche re%uires bra-er of a militar sort.

$he first a'horism of 0oo. M details Nietzsches cheerfulness" at the fact that the
belief in the Ghristian god has become unbelie-able."
:6
$he greatest recent e-ent,"
::
the reason
that Farathustra fled into solitude,
:<
is now a great o''ortunit, 'erha's the greatest there has
5te-en Michels( Nietzsches +rames 37
EnterText 6.3
e-er been. ,t is a freedom from Ghristianit, freedom for creation, that gi-es we 'hiloso'hers
and Jfree s'irits" the courage to -enture out into the o'en sea."
:A
,t seems fitting that Nietzsche
returns to The Gay Science to celebrate this fact, gi-en that the death of god was first announced
in its 'ages.
<B
Nietzsche has come full circle, as it were, to rejoice in the death of god. $he
addition of the new boo. ma.es Nietzsches ga science e-en more joous.
$he 'enultimate a'horism of 0oo. M mirrors the original end of The Gay Science.
6ntitled $he great health," it ends with a nod to Zarathustra( it is 'erha's onl with him that
great seriousness reall begins, that the real %uestion mar. is 'osed for the first time, that the
destin of the soul changes, the hand mo-es forward, the traged #egins("
<#
The Gay Science was
intended to frame Zarathustra and was ex'anded with that in mind.
$he 6'ilogue returns to the theme that o'ens the Ireface( Nietzsches audience and their
abilit to com'rehend his message. $he -irtues of the right reader," Nietzsche lectures, are
forgotten and un.nown."
</
$hat is the curse of the artist, Nietzsche 'ro'oses. Ne-ertheless, that
should not sto' him from singing. $hose who cannot sing a song of their own, or e-en
understand the music of others, can at least sing along.
A'art from a new 'reface and 0oo. M, Nietzsche also added an a''endix of songs to The
Gay Science. 9f the new ending, he writes, songs in which a 'oet ma.es fun of all 'oets in a
wa that ma be hard to forgi-e."
<3
$he final song is set to dance. $he original -ersion of The
Gay Science began in -erse! Nietzsche now realizes that his ga science must end there.
Nietzsche structured The Gay Science, the original and the re-ision, ex'ecting that
careful readers will follow his own intellectual de-elo'ment. ,t is %uite fitting that one of his last,
and most 'owerful, boo.s is an intellectual biogra'h.
5te-en Michels( Nietzsches +rames 38
EnterText 6.3
Ecce Homo
$he 'refaces of #<<6;<: are not the final word that Nietzsche had on his boo.s! the all rea''ear
in Ecce Homo, where Nietzsche re-iews, and indeed criti%ues, his 're-ious boo.s. )e uses his
biogra'h as an o''ortunit to 'resent his wor.s anew, to fit them with new 'refaces. +or all of
his tal. of esotericism and 'referring a selecti-e audience,
<7
Nietzsche feared being
misunderstood, and he used Ecce Homo to frame his entire cor'us.
$o reach the section where he examines his boo.s, 1h , 1rite 5uch Hood 0oo.s," a
reader must first go through sections with e%uall immodest titles, such as 1h , Am 5o 1ise"
and 1h , Am 5o Gle-er." ?No one could e-er accuse him of being humble.@ ,n a rare embrace
of con-ention, Nietzsche 'resents his boo.s in chronological order.
$he first section finds him returning once again to his first boo.. $o be fair to The Birth
of Tragedy," writes Nietzsche, one has to forget a few things."
<8
)e re'eats its connection to
1agner, which he had detailed in An Attem't at a 5elf;Griticism!" ma.es note again of how the
boo. is indifferent toward 'olitics!" and remar.s its 'rofound, hostile silence about
Ghristianit."
<6
)e does, howe-er, gi-e the boo. credit for its understanding of the =ionsian
'henomenon among the Hree.s" and its recognition of 5ocrates as a t'ical decadent."
<:
All in
all, this beginning is exceedingl strange,"
<<
Nietzsche admits, and the essa 'oints awa from
it. ,n the concluding section, Nietzsche refers to his essa 1agner in 0areuth" and admits, in
all 'schologicall decisi-e 'laces , alone am discussed2and one need not hesitate to 'ut down
m name or the word JFarathustra where the text has the word J1agner."
<A
Nietzsche wants his
readers to .now that his brea. with 1agner has had an im'act on his boo.s. The Birth of
Tragedy is an accidental and crude 'reface to Zarathustra.
5te-en Michels( Nietzsches +rames 36
EnterText 6.3
$he reference to 1agner in 0areuth" foreshadows what comes next( Nietzsches
treatment of ,ntimely %editations, of which the 1agner essa was a 'art. $he first section of
this cha'ter merel summarises the arguments contained in the four warli.e" essas. ,n the
middle section Nietzsche remar.s that onl the essa on =a-id 5trauss had an success.
AB
+or
Nietzsche, success meant strong sales and de-elo'ing a re'utation as an intellectual force. ,n
sum, it ga-e Nietzsche the freedom to de-elo' as a thin.er.
,n the concluding section, howe-er, Nietzsche returns to the theme he initiated in the
essa on The Birth of Tragedy( the new relationshi' he had with his teachers. Now that , am
loo.ing bac. from a certain distance u'on the conditions of which these essas bear witness, , do
not wish to den at bottom the s'ea. onl of me. $he essa !agner in Bayreuth is a -ision of
m future, while in Schopenhauer as Educator m innermost histor, m #ecoming, is inscribed.
Abo-e all, m 'romise*"
A#
,f the title of the latter essa is better said Nietzsche as 6ducator,"
Nietzsche was educating himself.
$he real 'roblem is not their subject! it is the treatment that the subjects recei-e. $hese
essas are not the wor.s of a 'hiloso'her, Nietzsche admits. , had to be a scholar, too, for some
time."
A/
$his echoes what he had said on the subject in an earlier text( ,t ma be necessar for
the education of a genuine 'hiloso'her that he himself has also once stood on all these ste's on
which his ser-ants, the scientific laborers of 'hiloso'h, remain standing."
A3
,t a''ears that these
essas are untimel" not because we are not read to recei-e them, but because Nietzsche was
not read to write them. Not sur'risingl, this boo. was his onl one not to be fitted with a new
'reface and reissued. Gonse%uentl, when Nietzsche writes of these essas in Ecce Homo, it is
not as a new 'reface or 'ostlude, but an e'ita'h b Nietzsche the 'hiloso'her for Nietzsche the
scholar.
5te-en Michels( Nietzsches +rames 3:
EnterText 6.3
Nietzsches earlier, %uasi;academic wor.s should be contrasted with his later boo.s,
'articularl Thus Spoke Zarathustra. Nietzsche re-eals here that The Gay Science was written in
the time between his disco-er of eternal recurrence and com'osing Zarathustra. Nietzsche then
%uotes at length from an a'horism entitled $he great health," from 0oo. M of The Gay Science,
the cha'ter added after Zarathustra had been com'leted. Nietzsche 'resents Zarathustra as the
'innacle of human accom'lishment( $his wor. stands altogether a'art. >ea-ing aside the 'oets(
'erha's nothing has e-er been done from an e%ual excess of strength. M conce't of the
J=ionsian here became a supreme deed! measured against that, all the rest of human acti-it
seems 'oor and relati-e."
A7
Nietzsche is unambiguous that the eternal recurrence is the teaching
and the highest element of Zarathustra. 1hat is more, this essa is one of the few 'laces in
Nietzsches writings where he draws a 'arallel between himself and the main character.
Farathustra once defines, %uite strictl, his tas.2it is mine, too2and there is no mista.ing its
meaning( he sas &es to the 'oint of justifing, of redeeming e-en all of the 'ast."
A8
Nietzsche
uses Farathustra as a mouth'iece for his own 'hiloso'h. +rom Zarathustra onward, all of
Nietzsches writings were onl fish hoo.s."
A6
As >am'ert notes concisel, Zarathustra begins
where the later wor.s end."
A:
6lsewhere Nietzsche is not so clear. +or exam'le, he ends the central essa in $n the
Genealogy of %orals b sto''ing short in describing this element of his teaching.
A<
Beyond
Good and Evil, the boo. he wrote immediatel after com'leting his master'iece, contains a
-eiled allusion to the eternal recurrence, and Zarathustra a''ears onl at the boo.s conclusion,
in the final stanza of +rom )igh Mountains( Aftersong."
AA
Ecce Homo ma not 'resent all of Nietzsche the man, but it does 'resent his 'hiloso'h
in its entiret, or at least without hesitation. Nietzsche here re-eals the things that are otherwise
5te-en Michels( Nietzsches +rames 3<
EnterText 6.3
absent from his other boo.s. $he doctrine of eternal recurrence, for exam'le, is stated here more
clearl than it is in Zarathustra( $he doctrine of the Jeternal recurrence,2that is, of the
unconditional and infinitel re'eated circular course of all things."
#BB
,t is with good reason that
5tauth and $urner -iew Ecce Homo as a last testament and the definite 'roclamation of the
'roject of re-aluation."
#B#
5imilarl, 5teinbuch writes( all of DNietzschesE writings occur as an
outcome of his self;transformation. 0ecause of this his autobiogra'h DEcce HomoE stands in a
uni%ue relationshi' to the rest of his writings, in that it identifies what were the beginning and
end 'oints of that self;transformation. Ecce Homo is central in Nietzsches cor'us."
#B/
Nietzsche
sto's himself not because he doesnt want to be understood, but because he wants the readers to
ex'erience his teaching. Ihiloso'h is not a lo-e of truth! it is a lo-e of 'rocess, for truth is not a
destination.
Nietzsche sas as much in the Ireface to Ecce Homo. Although the title2literall,
behold the man"2'oints to himself, the Ireface ends with the first of man references to or
lines from Zarathustra.
#B3
,t is from the final s'eech in Iart 9ne, where Farathustra instructs his
disci'les to lea-e him. 9ne re'as a teacher badl if one alwas remains nothing but a 'u'il,"
he sas.
#B7
1e should ex'ect Nietzsches biogra'h to be a testament to himself, but instead, it is
another sign'ost directing readers to his belo-ed Zarathustra. , am one thing, m writings are
another matter," he writes.
#B8
Nietzsches ad hominem a''roach to 'hiloso'h ma.es an authors
biogra'h essential. Ecce Homo is about Nietzsche onl incidentall! it is 'rimaril about his
boo.s. Ecce Homo is not a retros'ecti-e or farewell( it is a roadma' to what had come before it.
$he fact that Nietzsche too. the title of his autobiogra'h from the famous words of Iontius
Iilate sas as much about his contem't for Ghristianit as it does about his sense of self;worth.
5te-en Michels( Nietzsches +rames 3A
EnterText 6.3
Conc#$sion: Nietzsches Esotericism
Nietzsche does not a''ear to be esoteric, at least in the wa 5trauss means. )e does not ha-e two
distinct teachings( one for the few and one for the man. ,nstead, Nietzsche is full ali-e to the
fact that his untimel" 'hiloso'h will not ha-e a mass audience among all;too;modern men.
)is is a stle, as the subtitle of Zarathustra indicates, for all and none."
Although he does not intentionall limit his audience, certainl not e-erone is ca'able of
com'rehending his message. 0ut there is a big difference between writing intentionall to
exclude the masses and Nietzsches brand of esotericism, which results solel from the difficult
and radical nature of his 'hiloso'h. As he writes(
$he difference between the exoteric and the esoteric, formerl .nown to 'hiloso'hers2
among the ,ndians as among the Hree.s, Iersians, and Muslims, in short where-er one
belie-ed in an order of ran. and not in e%ualit and e%ual rights2does not so much
consist in this, that the exoteric a''roach comes from outside and sees, estimates,
measures, and judges from the outside, not the inside( what is much more essential is
that the exoteric a''roach sees things from below, the esoteric loo.s down from a#ove.
#B6
,n sum, Nietzsches esotericism stems from the perspective that no;one else shares. )is teaching
ma re%uire a'horisms, songs, riddles, and other ambiguous stles, but Nietzsche uses just as
man tools to assist his readers, clarifing his intent to whoe-er is able to understand him. )e
.new that, des'ite his best efforts, he will still be understood b onl a few. )is 'hiloso'h is a
'ers'ecti-e that must be ex'erienced to be a''reciated. Nietzsche is a brilliant writer, but he was
aware of his limitations! he can onl ta.e his readers so far.
Nietzsches use of 'refaces, e'ilogues, and other addenda to frame his writings are all
attem'ts to assist the reader. $he 'reface is, for exam'le, in man was, the .e a'horism. &et
the 'reface is not merel the first a'horism! it does more than bat lead;off. $he 'reface
introduces the reader to the main e-ent, gi-ing the reader a -aluable 'ers'ecti-e2the 'ers'ecti-e
Nietzsche wishes the reader to ha-e in order to -iew 'ro'erl the remainder of the wor.. ,t is
5te-en Michels( Nietzsches +rames 7B
EnterText 6.3
here that he ma.es clearest his intention to the reader. ,f Nietzsche uses his 'refaces to gi-e the
reader a certain 'ers'ecti-e, then he uses afterwords, e'ilogues, and 'ostscri'ts in the same wa.
)is stle re%uires him to frame his 'hiloso'h to ma.e his intent as clear as 'ossible to the
reader.
#B:
,n star. contrast to what 5trauss sas of esotericism, Nietzsche is rather trans'arent in
his 'hiloso'hising.
1h would a reader want to read The Birth of Tragedy after reading An Attem't at a
5elf;Griticism"K we might as.. 1hat -alue is there in a wor. that has been abandoned b its
authorK According to Magnus, 5tewart, and Mileur, Nietzsche im'licitlC indicates that, since
the world alread has Thus Spoke Zarathustra, it does not need a re-ised -ersion of The Birth of
Tragedy."
#B<
$his -iew is not entirel accurate, for Nietzsche ne-er com'letel abandoned his
first boo.. ,nstead, he returned to it a number of times, the two most 'rominent being An
Attem't at a 5elf;Griticism" and the essa on it in Ecce Homo. +or Nietzsche, no wor. is e-er
de-oid of -alue! e-en the New $estament and "arsifal ha-e a 'ur'ose.
3ather than constantl changing and editing his texts, howe-er, Nietzsche reframed his
wor.s b adding 'refaces, e'ilogues, and inter'retations of them in his later boo.s. )e tended to
his wor.s li.e a garden2watering, 'runing, and 'ulling u' weeds. As he wrote in the 'reface
added to -ay#reak, $his 'reface is late but not too late2what, after all, do fi-e or six ears
matterK A boo. li.e this, a 'roblem li.e this, is in no hurr."
#BA
Nietzsche considered his boo.s
im'ortant enough to .ee' returning to them. As 3obert G. 5olomon notes, Nietzsches own
writing is a lifelong and totall absorbing exercise in self;creation and self;-alidation."
##B
0
adding to them without changing a word, Nietzsche was able to de-elo' a sort of text;
o-ercoming, while 'reser-ing the 'ath that he ho'ed others would follow. )is boo.s return
eternall the same, howe-er much their author might change. ,n this sense, his aim was ne-er to
5te-en Michels( Nietzsches +rames 7#
EnterText 6.3
ma.e them 'erfect, for that is an im'ossible and undesirable goal. ,nstead, Nietzsche reframed
them to reflect the new 'ers'ecti-e he had ac%uired b ha-ing gone 'ast them.
5te-en Michels( Nietzsches +rames 7/
EnterText 6.3
Notes
5te-en Michels( Nietzsches +rames 73
1
+riedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science, trans. 1alter 4aufmann ?New &or., N&( Mintage 0oo.s, #A:7@, N3<#.
2
+riedrich Nietzsche, Ecce Homo, trans. 1alter 4aufmann ?New &or., N&( Mintage, #A<A@, Ireface N#! em'hasis remo-ed.
Gf. ,bid., 0oo.s N#, where Nietzsche alludes to the fact that his time has not come et2that is, that he is not read to be
understood..
3
>eo 5trauss, "ersecution and the .rt of !riting ?Ghicago( Oni-ersit of Ghicago Iress, #A<<@, /7, //.
4
5trauss, "ersecution, 36.
5
5trauss, "ersecution, 3/. Nowhere in his essa on Nietzsche does 5trauss mar. him as an esoteric writer. Note on the
Ilan of Nietzsches Beyond Good and Evil" in Studies in "latonic "olitical "hilosophy ?Ghicago( Oni-ersit of Ghicago
Iress, #A<3@, #:7;A#.
6
Martin )eidegger, &iet'sche/ 0ol( 10 ?5an +rancisco( )ar'er, #AA#@, #38.
7
9n other as'ects of Nietzsches stle, see 3obert Lohn Ac.ermann, &iet'sche/ . 2ren'ied 3ook ?Amherst, MA( Oni-ersit
of Massachusetts Iress, #AAB@, es'eciall /:;7/! and 3obert G. 5olomon, Nietzsche ad hominem( Iers'ecti-ism,
'ersonalit, and ressentiment re-isited" in 0ernd Magnus and 4athleen M. )iggins, eds., The am#ridge ompanion to
&iet'sche ?New &or.( Gambridge Oni-ersit Iress, #AA6@, #<B;///.
8
Alexander Nehamas, &iet'sche/ 3ife as 3iterature ?Gambridge, MA( )ar-ard Oni-ersit Iress, #A<8@, 3#.
9
>aurence >am'ert, Nietzsche, the )istor of Ihiloso'h, and 6sotericism" in =aniel Gonwa, ed., &iet'sche/ ritical
.ssessments ?New &or.( 3outledge, #AA<@, #3:. 9riginall 'ublished in 4ournal of &iet'sche Studies AP#B ?#AA8@, 36;7A.
10
>am'ert, #3A.
11
,bid., #7#.
12
,bid., #7:.
13
+riedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, trans. 1alter 4aufmann ?New &or.( Mintage 0oo.s, #A66@, N/<<.
14
>am'ert, #7:.
15
,bid.
16
5ee 3ichard 5chacht, &iet'sche ?New &or.( 3outledge, #A<3@.
17
+riedrich Nietzsche, The Birth of Tragedy, trans. 1alter 4aufmann ?New &or.( 3andom )ouse, #A6:@, Ireface.
18
,bid.
19
,bid., Attem't N#.
20
1alter 4aufmann, ,ntroduction," The Birth of Tragedy, 3.
21
Nietzsche, Birth of Tragedy, Attem't N#.
22
,bid.
23
,bid.
24
,bid., Attem't N/.
25
,bid.
26
,bid., Attem't N3.
27
,bid.
28
,bid., Attem't N7.
29
,bid., Attem't N8.
30
,bid.
31
,bid.
32
,bid.
33
,bid., Attem't N:.
34
+riedrich Nietzsche, $hus 5'o.e Farathustra," The "orta#le &iet'sche, trans. 1alter 4aufmann ?New &or.( Ienguin
0oo.s, #A</@, )igher Man N/B.
35
,t is %uite fitting that 1alter 4aufmann 'aired The Birth of Tragedy with The ase of !agner in his #A6: 3andom )ouse
translation.
36
Nietzsche, Birth of Tragedy, Ireface.
37
+riedrich Nietzsche, The ase of !agner, trans. 1alter 4aufmann ?New &or.( 3andom )ouse, #A6:@, Ireface.
38
,bid.
39
,bid.
40
,bid.
41
,bid., Iostscri't.
42
,bid.
43
,bid.
44
,bid.
45
,bid.
46
,bid., 5econd Iostscri't.
47
,bid.
48
,bid.
49
,bid.
50
,bid.
51
,bid., 6'ilogue.
52
,bid.
53
,bid.
54
,bid.
55
,bid.
56
3. L. )ollingdale, &iet'sche/ The %an and His "hilosophy ?New &or.( Gambridge Oni-ersit Iress, #AAA@, /#B.
57
+riedrich Nietzsche, Nietzsche Gontra 1agner" in The "orta#le &iet'sche, trans. 1alter 4aufmann ?New &or.( Ienguin
0oo.s, #A</@, Ireface.
58
,bid., 6'ilogue N#.
59
,bid.
60
,bid., 6'ilogue N/.
61
+riedrich Nietzsche, $wilight of the ,dols" in The "orta#le &iet'sche, trans. 1alter 4aufmann ?New &or.( Ienguin
0oo.s, #A</@, Ancients.
62
$he actual %uotation is( $o the 'oet, to the 'hiloso'her, to the saint, all things are friendl and sacred, all e-ents
'rofitable, all das hol, all men di-ine." Nietzsche uses sage in the 'lace of philosopher and saint. 3al'h 1aldo 6merson,
)istor" in Emerson5s "rose and "oetry, ed. Loel Iorte and 5aundra Morris ?New &or.( 1. 1. Norton and Go., /BB#@, #BA.
63
+or an excellent treatment on this connection, see Heorge L. 5tac., &iet'sche and Emerson/ an elected affinity ?Athens,
9)( 9hio Oni-ersit Iress, #AA/@. +or an o''osite -iew, see 4aufmann! he claims their differences are far more stri.ing"
?Gay Science, ##n@.
64
$he original reads( ,ch wohne in meinem eignen )aus, )ab Niemandem nie nichts nachgemacht P Ond2lachte noch
jeden Meister aus, =er nicht sich selber ausgelacht. P Oeber meinem )austQr.
65
Nietzsche, Gay Science, Ireface N#.
66
,bid.
67
,bid.
68
,bid.
69
3ichard 5chacht, %aking Sense of &iet'sche/ 6eflections Timely and ,ntimely ?Orbana, ,>( Oni-ersit of ,llinois Iress,
#AA8@, /8B.
70
Nietzsche, Gay Science, Ireface N/.
71
,bid., Ireface N3! cf. Nietzsche, Gontra 1agner," 6'ilogue N#.
72
Nietzsche, Gay Science, Ireface N7.
73
,bid.
74
, sa Jwe for 'oliteness sa.e," Nietzsche wrote elsewhere! the same could be said of this 'assage. $wilight of the
,dols," J3eason N8.
75
Nietzsche, Gay Science, N388.
76
,bid., N373.
77
,bid.
78
Nietzsche, Farathustra," Afterworldl.
79
Nietzsche, Gay Science, N373.
80
,bid., N#/8.
81
,bid., N3</.
82
,bid., N3<3.
83
,bid., Ireface N#.
84
+or exam'le, Nietzsche, Gay Science, N3<#.
85
Nietzsche, Ecce Homo, J0irth N#.
86
,bid.
87
,bid.
88
,bid., N/.
89
,bid., N7.
90
,bid., JOntimel N/.
91
,bid., N3.
92
,bid.
93
Nietzsche, Good and Evil, N/##.
94
Nietzsche, Ecce Homo, JFarathustra N6.
95
,bid., N<.
96
,bid., JHood and 6-il N#.
97
>aurence >am'ert, &iet'sche5s Teaching/ .n 1nterpretation of $hus 5'o.e Farathustra ?New )a-en, G$( &ale Oni-ersit
Iress, #A<6@, /8<.
98
+riedrich Nietzsche, $n the Genealogy of %orals, trans. 1alter 4aufmann and 3. L. )ollingdale ?New &or.( Mintage,
#A<A@, N/./8.
99
Nietzsche, Good and Evil, N86.
100
Nietzsche, Ecce Homo, J0irth N3! cf Farathustra" Mision and 3iddle.
101
Heorg 5tauth and 0ran 5. $urner, &iet'sche5s -ance/ 6esentment7 6eciprocity and 6esistance in Social 3ife ?New &or.(
0asil 0lac.well, #A<<@, /8.
102
$homas 5teinbuch, . ommentary on &iet'sche5s 6cce )omo ?>anham, MA( Oni-ersit Iress of America, #AA7@, 3.
103
4aufmann sas Ecce Homo contains all too man references to Zarathustra2most of them embarrassing." 6ditors
,ntroduction," Ecce Homo, /B8.
104
Nietzsche, Ecce Homo, Ireface N7.
105
,bid., 0oo.s N#.
106
Nietzsche, Good and Evil, N3B.
107
Attention to Nietzsches 'refaces has recentl extended to un'ublished manuscri'ts. +riedrich Nietzsche, "refaces to
,npu#lished !orks, ed. Michael 1. Hren.e, Matthew 4. =a-is, and >ise Man 0oxel ?5outh 0end, ,N( 5t. Augustines Iress,
/BB8@.
108
0ernd Magnus, 5tanle 5tewart, and Lean;Iierre Mileur, &iet'sche5s ase/ "hilosophy .s8and 3iterature ?0oca 3aton,
+>( 3outledge, #AA/@, AB.
109
+riedrich Nietzsche, -ay#reak/ Thoughts on the "re9udices of %orality, trans. 3. L. )ollingdale ?New &or.( Gambridge
Oni-ersit Iress, #AA:@.
110
3obert G. 5olomon, ,ntroduction," 6eading &iet'sche, ed. 3obert G. 5olomon and 4athleen M. )iggins ?New &or.(
9xford Oni-ersit Iress, #AAB@, #B.