«QUI LA VISTA È SGOMBRA, LO SPIRITO SOLLEVATO»
NIETZSCHE LEGGE GOETHE
If “reading” means to get involved with an author, to take him serious in his uniqueness, to understand him from himself, to be ready to be transformed by him, even to learn from him, we find nothing of all that in Nietzsche’s dealings with Goethe. He rather used Goethe in order to present his own ideas to his reading public effectively or to polemicize against the common adoration of Goethe in the German Reich. Nietzsche knew the Faust very well, but rejected Faust I because of the Rousseauian influence and the message of emotional love. He also undermined the ending of Faust II, the “Chorus Mysticus”, with a parody – and indeed his relation to Goethe is most prolific when he comes to new own insights and formulations via parody. Only at the end of Götzen-Dämmerung, Nietzsche formulates impressions of Goethe in which it is apparent that they emerged from his own reading and that he wanted to figure them out. It is the most personal and differentiated text about Goethe that he ever has written (a text in which we can also find reminiscences of his earliest encounter with a text by Goethe, the Novelle) – and yet he subsequently pasted it over.