Nietzsche’s Nice

La terrasse Frédéric Nietzsche, Mont Boron, Nice, France.
(foto’s: Marjolijn, 2009)

On 3 april (1884) the twenty-nine-year-old Resa von Schirnhofer (1855-1948) found the thirty-nine-year-old cave-dwelling “hermit’ (as he has described himself in his welcoming letter) waiting for her as she stepped down from the Genoa-expres on to the platform of Nice’s railway station. Overawed at first by the intimidating presence of such a formidable thinker, the young student of philosophy was relieved to find that Nietzsche was a man of “exquisite sensibility, tactful and of a disarming politeness in his way of thinking and manners” towards persons of the fair sex.*

One radiant morning he took her on a tram-ride to the suburbs and then on foot up the nearby Mont Boron. Near the top they were buffeted by the cold, cloud-chasing Mistral wind, which stimulated Nietzsche’s “dithyrambic” joviality- each gust seeming to lift him up and to release him from the ponderous “gravity” he had mocked in his Zarathustra. After being prevented by French sentries from reaching the fortified summit, they sat down by a plain wooden table beneath the pergola of a humble “osteria”, from where they could enjoy a splendid panoramic view of the littoral, with its beautifully sculpted bays and creeks. Stimulated by the Vermouth di Torino he ordered for them both, Nietzsche began improvising comic verses, making fun of the “bewachte Berg” (well-garded mountain), from which they had been “routed” by humourless soldiers.*

By no means as “half-blind” a he claimed to be, Nietzsche took Resa one day for a long walk along the beach, as far as the promontory and its parapet, from which, he explained, one could sometimes see a tiny black point rising from the blurred surface of the sea- Corsica’s highest mountain top. He spoke at great length of Napoleon, for whom he felt a boundless admiration because of his exemplary “strength of will”, as well as a sense of kinship because of his unusually slow pulse rate: sixty throbs per minute- the same as his own heartbeat.*

* from: Friedrich Nietzsche by Curtis Cate. page 446/447

zie: zielsklimaat

zie: il faut méditerraniser

zie: nagelaten fragmenten

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