The Nietzsche Haus At Sils-Maria, Switzerland
“The summer was extraordinary hot.
Even up there so close to the boundary of the eternal snows,
one preferably stayed in the house at noon.
The wild flora were more luxuriant than ever:
the large, white chrysanthemums lined the meadow path
on the peninsula; between Isola and Sils the underbrush shone
with alpine roses; further up on the swampy mountain meadows
the aromatic brown nigritellas gleamed between
the silver-haired and wool-grasses and dryads
and saxifrages mocked the life-hostile stones.
The two hotels were full of guests and almost every family
in the village had rented rooms.
We were housed in a stately house in the Engadine
this side of the bridge over the Fex Brook
and right next to the Fex Valley road.
The front stairs and windows were full of flowerpots,
cared for by the landladies with undaunted diligence
through the harsh winter.
Here too the splendid sun brought super-abundant rewards,
every pot was filled with blossoms.
A rosebush especially bore two roses of a perfection in form,
color and aroma, such as is not found among its
more favored brothers in the valley.
Nietzsche sometimes stopped to look at these super-roses,
these children of the heights,
of the pure air and proximity to the sun.
Nietzsche lived in the same house as before,
across the bridge and came over to see us
almost every morning and sometimes also in the afternoons,
when the weather was beautiful and the heat moderate,
to take us for a walk; otherwise,
for an intimate conversation in our room.”
zie: “Here my muses live”
zie: The ice is near
Am Weg nach Sils…
(from: Nietzsche. Ivo Frenzel – Rowohlt Monographien)
Nietzsche loved to “recreate” himself with me as a reprieve from his loneliness, from his work and sometimes from demanding visitors. We sat for hours in my flower-decorated room, I with some work in hand, he speaking about what he was thinking, reading, experiencing.
He liked a good listener.
Nietzsche knew how to “share joy” as few people do, and how to show it tactfully. Right after my arrival he had congratulated me on receiving my degree and expressed interest in reading the published dissertation, which, when it came out, seemed to please him, although the paper and type did not seem to meet his expectations in quality and clarity.
Nietzsche had read it (The Insulted and the Injured by Dostojevski), as he told me on an evening walk along Lake Silvaplana, with tears in his eyes. He – that is the salient poin – had condemned a whole series of intense feelings not because he did NOT have them, but on the contrary because he HAD them and KNEW their danger.
In the summer of 1887 Nietzsche was at times very cheerful and disposed to harmless jokes. He enjoyed accompanying me and my girlfriend onto the lake, allowing himself to be initiated into the skills of rowing and enjoying the slight shimmer of danger which the journey took on.
The mostly comical memories finally ended in a melancholy mood, which was expressed on the little footway down from Laret, as he recited softly to himself from the familiar song “Auf den Bergen die Burgen – Im Thale die Saale” the words “Verdorben, gestorben – Ach alle zerstreut” (Ruined, dead – alas, all dispersed). His greatest art of living was the compulsion to be joyful; it kept him, “the man of deep sadness,” alive, and it matured him for his task.
I will never forget our parting in September. The last days before my departure was a Sunday. We were walking along on the shore of Lake Silvaplana, at the foot of Corvatsch. The air had silvery autumnal tone which Nietzsche liked to call “otherworldly”. The lake was slightly agitated and the little waves, in which the rosy evening clouds were painted, ran murmuring onto the sandy shore and back again. “As if they too wanted to shake your hand in farewell,” said our companion in his melodious voice. Then, as we were walking home across a desolate stretch of field between the lake and the slope of Sils facing it, he remarked with a small sigh: “Now I am widowed and orphaned again.”
Meta von Salis-Marschlins, May 1887
(From: Conversations with Nietzsche.
A Life in the Words of His Contemporaries. by Sander L. Gilman)
“1887. Sixth summer in Sils-Maria.
Long visit by Meta von Salis, who was the first
female Swiss citizen to receive a docorate
(in history from the University in Zürich).
Von Salis and FN engage often in deep intellectual discussions.”
Dr. Meta von Salis-Marschlins in 1890
She was a feminist and a history-, Sanskrit-,
philosophy- and lawstudent
in Zürich, Berlin and München
As a tribute to Nietzsche Meta von Salis-Marschlins bought
the “Villa Silberblick” in Weimar in May 1897.
“Nietzsche’s sister Elisabeth moved with her brother
to Villa Silberblick in Weimar,
where he continued to live till August 25, 1900,
in the house of the Nietzsche Archive, surrounded by witnesses
and documents of his budding fame,
without himself having an inkling of it”