Ecce Homo Complete Works, Volume Seventeen

By Friedrich Nietzsche

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shoulder, without
hesitation, without fear of consequences, and, above all, without
concealment. Only in one place does he appear to conceal something, and
then he actually leads one to understand that he is doing so. It is in
regard to Wagner, the greatest friend of his life. "Who doubts," he
says, "that I, old artillery-man that I am, would be able if I liked to
point my heavy guns at Wagner?"--But he adds: "Everything decisive in
this question I kept to myself--I have loved Wagner" (p. 122).

To point, as many have done, to the proximity of all Nietzsche's autumn
work of the year 1888 to his breakdown at the beginning of 1889, and
to argue that in all its main features it foretells the catastrophe
that is imminent, seems a little too plausible, a little too obvious
and simple to require refutation. That Nietzsche really was in a state
which in medicine is known as _euphoria_--that is to say, that state
of highest well-being and capacity which often precedes a complete
breakdown, cannot, I suppose, be questioned; for his style, his
penetrating vision, and his vigour, reach their zenith in the works
written in this autumn of 1888; but the contention that the matter, the
substance, of these works reveals any signs whatsoever of waning mental
health, or, as a certain French biographer has it, of an inability to
"hold himself and his judgments in check," is best contradicted by
the internal evidence itself. To take just a few examples at random,
examine the cold and calculating tone of self-analysis in Chapter I. of
the present work; consider the reserve and the restraint with which the
idea in Aphorism 7 of that chapter is worked out,--not to speak of the
restraint and self-mastery in the idea itself, namely:--

"To be one's enemy's equal--this is the first condition of an
honourable duel. Where one despises one cannot wage war. Where one
commands, where one sees something beneath one, one ought not to wage
war. My war tactics can be reduced to four principles: First, I attack
only things that are triumphant--if necessary I wait until they become
triumphant. Secondly, I attack only those things against which I find
no allies, against which I stand alone--against which I compromise
nobody but myself.... Thirdly, I never make personal attacks--I use a
personality merely as a magnifying-glass, by means of which I render a
general, but elusive and scarcely noticeable evil, more apparent....
Fourthly, I attack only those things from which all personal
differences are excluded, in which any such thing as a background of
disagreeable experiences is lacking."

And now notice

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Text Comparison with The Case Of Wagner, Nietzsche Contra Wagner, and Selected Aphorisms.

Page 0
Nietzsche wrote the rough draft of "The Case of Wagner" in Turin, during the month of May 1888; he completed it in Sils Maria towards the end of June of the same year, and it was published in the following autumn.
Page 2
In his love he had transfigured the friend, and the composer of "Parsifal" and the man of his imagination were not one.
Page 3
Nietzsche was a musician of no mean attainments.
Page 6
" A good deal of instinctive choice, instinctive aversion, and instinctive suspicion are necessary here.
Page 7
As such he is bound to be worshipped and adored in spite of all egotistical and theatrical autobiographies.
Page 8
"human-all-too-human," but they still maintain that there are divine qualities in his music.
Page 9
It was this that caused him to suffer.
Page 10
To turn my back on Wagner was for me a piece of fate, to get to like anything else whatever afterwards was for me a triumph.
Page 12
I tremble before the dangers which this daring music runs, I am enraptured over those happy accidents for which even Bizet himself may not be responsible.
Page 13
Everything that is good makes me productive.
Page 14
For, as a rule, artists are no better than the rest of the world, they are even worse--they _misunderstand_ love.
Page 19
The problems he sets on the stage are all concerned with hysteria; the convulsiveness of his emotions, his over-excited sensitiveness, his taste which demands ever sharper condimentation, his erraticness which he togged out to look like principles, and, last but not least, his choice of heroes and heroines, considered as physiological types (--a hospital ward!--): the whole represents a morbid picture; of this there can be no doubt.
Page 20
Beauty has its drawbacks: we know that.
Page 21
The "heaving breast" shall be our argument, "beautiful feelings" our advocates.
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--Who else has this persuasive power in his attitudes, who else sees attitudes so clearly before anything else! This holding-of-its-breath in Wagnerian pathos, this disinclination to have done with an intense feeling, this terrifying habit of dwelling on a situation in which every instant almost chokes one.
Page 25
Wagner's music, _not_ in the tender care of theatrical taste, which is very tolerant, is simply bad music, perhaps the worst that has ever been composed.
Page 32
An instinct is weakened when it becomes conscious: for by becoming conscious it makes itself feeble.
Page 34
{~HORIZONTAL ELLIPSIS~} One pays dearly for having been a follower of Wagner.
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{~HORIZONTAL ELLIPSIS~} And then I ask myself, what is it that my whole body must have from music in general? for there is no such thing as a soul.
Page 64
Nobody had less pride than he.