Untimely meditations

We know something about Wittgenstein’s architectural designs, and about Schoenberg’s paintings. Perhaps there’s a book to be written on philosophers who composed music: Rousseau, Nietzsche, Adorno.

More on Nietzsche: in this month’s Atlantic Monthly, Terry Castle’s brief omnibus review of “astonishing memoirs by (and about) deeply repellent people” recommends Forgotten Fatherland: The Search for Elisabeth Nietzsche. Its author, Ben McIntyre, “took a boat trip into the Paraguayan jungle in 1991 in search of the surviving inhabitants of Nueva Germania — an abortive ‘Aryan’ colony founded in the late nineteenth century by the ghastly Elisabeth Nietzsche, racist sister of the philosopher. He found a weird village of unreconstructed white supremacists — inbred, half mad, many of them still speaking a kind of zombie German — and heard some curious and frightening stories Josef Mengele. A true-life Heart of Darkness.” As Friedrich’s posthumous PR, the book argues, Elisabeth retrofitted his ideas for an unambiguously anti-semitic agenda and secured for him a place in the Nazi canon Nietzsche himself (in his later years, at least) would have denounced. For no good reason, imagining this village in the jungle brings to mind Fitzcarraldo; if anyone were to make a film about all this, Herzog should.

Comments are closed.