Ecce Homo

Re-reading Ecce Homo after reading Gros on Nietzsche has given me a new perspective. In my mind, Nietzsche was urban or housebound or almost an invalid. A cantankerous, mustachioed German. But Gros opened me up to Nietzsche the walker, the nature lover. And now, I can see his relationship with and affection for the natural world and he seems more like Thoreau than the Underground Man.

Also, as per Gros, rejects bookishness here, claiming he would travel with just a few books (this weekend, I refused to travel a mile to Eastern Market without three books). Later, when commenting on his earlier book, Human, All Too Human, he writes:

I was redeemed from the ‘book,’ for years at a time, I read nothing – the greatest favour I have ever done myself! – That deepest self, as it were buried and grown silent under a constant compulsion to listen to other selves (- and that is what reading means!) awoke slowly, timidly, doubtfully – but at length it spoke again.

Don’t know how I didn’t remember this, but he consistently rejects all things German and proclaims himself Polish and Poland his fatherland. He also constantly returns to Zarathustra, clearly rating it as his greatest work. While Birth of Tragedy does not get so much attention, Dionysos does, with the dionysian aspect being referenced again and again.

I’d been wanting to pick up the companion of my teens and twenties again, but Ecce Homo was probably not the best choice, especially since much of it is a commentary on earlier books by Nietzsche – books that I hadn’t read in a while (else a revisiting to him would be unnecessary).

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