The war also dulled Kessler’s taste for imperial ambition, turning him into a pacifist. The doctor who carried out the study claims that the universally accepted story of Nietzsche having caught syphilis from prostitutes was concocted after World War II by Wilhelm Lange-Eichbaum, an academic who was one of Nietzsche's most vociferous critics. When he regained consciousness, the philosopher declared himself to be the reincarnation of Dionysus. From there he was posted to the German embassy in Bern, Switzerland, where he served out the war acting as a diplomat and a spy. “The ‘forthright indignation’ of this ‘Nietzsche worshipper’ has affected her deeply, and ‘she herself cannot do anything now other than to oppose it.’” The project wasn’t so easily abandoned. Literary and Philosophical Work of the 1880s. Kessler arrived home from reserve duty to find a telegram waiting. She objected to Salomé’s plan for a “philosophical convent,” in which Salomé, Fritz, and philosopher Paul Rée would create a platonic household. Painter Pierre Bonnard refused to support the project. Despite an age difference of three decades, the two men forged an intellectual connection through their love of music and an appreciation of the philosophy of Arthur Schopenhauer. After attending the Bayreuth Festival, inaugurated in 1876 to celebrate Wagner’s music, Fritz experienced a conversion: Wagner’s operas were not the reawakening of Greek culture as he first thought, but spectacles pandering to the basest impulses of the newly unified Germany. “This morning my deeply loved brother passed away unexpectedly,” wrote Förster-Nietzsche. The book upset Elisabeth, who was distraught that Fritz may have made her persona non grata to the Wagners and their social circle. Nestled among its many stories is Kessler’s encounter with the life and legacy of Nietzsche. His dear friend, Belgian architect Henry van de Velde, had become director of Weimar’s arts and crafts school in 1902. Nijinsky agreed, but Maillol objected. “Rather,” writes Scotty Hendricks at Big Think, “that our idea of one had” been rendered a relic of a pre-scientific age. When Kessler ventured to Paris in the spring, he talked up plans for the memorial among his social circle, which included poet Rainer Maria Rilke, the writer Jean Cocteau, theater promoter Gabriel Astruc, composer Reynaldo Hahn, and Ballet Russes founder Sergei Diaghilev. Uncertain of what career path to take, Kessler found solace in Nietzsche’s dictum that “the world is only justifiable as an aesthetic phenomenon.” As he embarked on a trip around the world in 1892, he packed Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Nietzsche’s meditation on how to achieve a “superhuman” state. It was then adopted as fact by intellectuals who were keen to demolish the reputation of Nietzsche, whose idea of a "superman" was used to underpin Nazism. While Nietzsche in fact died at the age of 55 in 1900, it is the sad circumstances surrounding his illness and death which bring to mind Thus Spoke Zarathustra’s admonitions to those who “hang on… too long” and as a result, fail to master “the difficult art of going at the right time.” As is well known, Nietzsche … Quick Facts Name Friedrich Nietzsche Birth Date October 15, 1844 Death Date August 25, 1900 Education University of Bonn, Schulpforta, Domgymnasium, University of Leipzig W. H. Auden, who considered Kessler a friend, called him “probably the most cosmopolitan man who ever lived.”. “The whole, especially the relation of the temple to the stadium, was surprisingly beautiful, beautiful and grandiose.” But things would once again stall when it came to the temple. Kessler seemed to meet or know everyone of importance—more than forty thousand names appear in fifteen thousand pages written over fifty-seven years. Not long after the Nietzsches took up residence in Villa Silberblick, Kessler stopped in. Unable to maintain his own household, Nietzsche resigned his post at Basel and became an itinerant philosopher. Laird M. Easton, Kessler’s biographer, has edited and translated selections from the count’s early years to create Journey to the Abyss: The Diaries of Count Harry Kessler, 1880–1918 (Knopf).