Saturday, June 20, 2009

difficult and invisible

Today it is difficult to assess the enormous extent of Nietzsche's solitude at the time. Having become a shadow for most of his old friends, a difficult and invisible man, by now accustomed to publishing his books at his own expense, accustomed too to counting his loyal readers on his fingers and having to reduce their number as each new book comes out, Nietzsche seems to have circled as far from the world as possible, to a point of insurmountable alienation, which his old friend Erwin Rohde had felt at their last meeting, in the spring of 1886: "as though he came from a region inhabited by no one else."

Calasso - Fatal Monologue

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

...that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been,
is half owning to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life,
and rest
in unvisited tombs.

- George Eliot

two and a half

Man has here two and a half minutes -- one to smile, one to sigh,
and a half for love: for in the midst of this minute he dies.

- Jean Paul

Monday, June 8, 2009

accomplished gestures

Crown prince Rudolf and Marie Vetsera

In Vienna the world was often coming to an end;
usually to winegarden songs.

He must be saved by some midnight beyond reason:
the logic of daytime was sinking so fast.

How beautiful the leaves aged on ten thousand twigs!
No politics could produce such glory in a forest.
Only so natural and simple a thing as death.

Rudolf had conjured the glistening anticipation of greatness, only to dissolve into black bafflement.

By then the word Mayerling had already begun to phosphoresce throughout the world.
Abroad it tingled and thrilled. In Vienna it was like some hidden hell machine of which nothing was known except that it was made of gold.

- Frederic Morton, A Nervous Splendor. Vienna 1888/1889