Culture Magazine

In Nietzsche’s Footsteps, Part 2

By Emcybulska
Music to accompany article: The Seasons: June, Barcarolle by Tchaikovsky
I recently revisited Venice and was once again struck by its beauty and by its decadence. Each time, though, it seems to have stirred different emotions in me. On this occasion, I was overwhelmed by a sense of loss and loneliness. Was I resonating Nietzsches feelings?
   After Wagner had died here in February of 1883, Nietzsche obsessively returned to this city, time after time. In the end, by his own admission, Wagner had been the only man in his life whom he had truly loved. Although Nietzsche had eradicated his one-time idol from his life, he never managed to free his mind and heart of him. His self-deluding dream would not go away. Perhaps every idolatry contains the seed of its own destruction?
   Nietzsche frequently visited the Rialto Bridge, which was apparently Wagner’s favorite site in Venice. Whilst he listened to the wistful songs of the gondoliers, the long buried memories of happier times returned to him, rendering his grief even deeper:
When I seek another word for music, I never find any other word than Venice. I do not know how to distinguish between tears and music —
Lately I stood at the bridge      in the brown light.      From afar there came a song:golden drops swelled      across the trembling surface.      Gondolas, lights, music ―      drunken it swam out into the gloom…
My soul, a stringed instrument,sang to itself, invisibly touched,a secret gondola song,trembling with multicoloured bliss.―Was anyone listening?
   “Gondola Song” from Nietzsche contra Wagner
In Nietzsche’s Footsteps, Part 2  

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog