File spoon-archives/nietzsche.archive/nietzsche_1995/nietzsche_Oct.95, message 91

Date: Sat, 7 Oct 95 07:17:29 -0700
Subject: Re: Nietzsche-women-rape-affirmation of----

On Fri Oct 6, 1995, John Morgan wrote: 

>The idea of Nietzsche deliberately infecting himself with syphilis from a
prosititute >was advanced by Thomas Mann as pure speculation and somehow has
become established >fact....

John --

I wonder how much Mann thought Nietzsche might have returned to the
prostitute in Cologne, year wait or no? The idea came from "Dr. Faustus"
which uses some biographical facts about Nietzsche as a starting point, but
clearly fictionalizes from there -- that is, this is Mann as novelist, which
does not necessary mean he was trying at each step to fill in the blanks in
biography. Perhaps Nietzsche and Leverkuhn are not always the same, are
perhaps opposites at times?  Mann uses the Cologne brothel scene as related
to Deussen as a starting point, but he adds a detail -- that the man at the
piano was touched by the Esmerelda. Nietzsche's story shows him high-tailing
it (excuse the pun) out of there as fast as he could recover from his shock:
no Esmerelda-touch. Mann rewrites Nietzsche's stated aversion as obsessional
attraction, based on this touch. That Leverkuhn seeks out the prostitute a
year later and knowingly infects himself with the "exhilarating yet wasting
disease" is pure invention on Mann's part, though perhaps speculation in
that Mann visited Jena and patched together a few options from the records
there. How fiction is turned to assumption (not fact, I wouldn't say) in the
literature is another story....  

Have you read Hayman's new Mann biography?

>I always thought it strange that no one has made the connection wit the
fact that N's >father died of a brain disease."

Pastor Nietzsche's autopsy showed "softening of the brain" which is a
medical condition that can result from numerous causes, including tumor or
stroke -- but not necessarily "brain disease." Isn't it more to the point
that Nietzsche, in 19th century fashion,  feared hereditary insanity? And
then there is the odd detail written up by Hayman (though I don't think he
gives a source) that Franziska had unequal pupils, leading to speculation
that Nietzsche might have inherited syphilis from her....


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