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situated at the very edge of ●the sea, so near it that the noise of th■e waves prevented me sleepin●g at night, offered me a shelter ver●y unsatisfactory from all points


of view■. Nevertheless—and it is an instanc●e of my maxim that all that is decisive ■comes 'nevertheless '—it was during t●his winter and in this disco■mfort that my noble[Pg 255] Zar■athustra was born. In the morn■ing I would climb towards the south by the magni●ficent mou

ntain road, towards Zo●agli, among the

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pines and dominating the immen●se sea; in the evening (according as my health p●ermitted it) I would go round the bay of Santa M■argherita as far as Portofino..●.. On the


se two roads came to ■me all the first part of Zarathustra (fiel mi■r ein); and more, Zarathustra h■imself, as type; more exactly he fell upon m■e (überfiel mich)...." In ten w●eeks he conceived and completed his poem.● It is a new work and, if one affects to f●ollow the genesis of his thought, a ■surprising one. No doubt, he meditated a lyrica●l work, a sacred book. But th■e essential doctrine of this● work was to be given by the idea■ of the Eternal Return. Now, i●n the first part of Zarathustra, the idea o●f the Eternal Return does not appe■ar. Nietzsche follows a diff■erent and opposing idea, the idea o■f the Superman,

the symbol of a● real progress which modifies things, the● promise of a possible escape beyon●d chance and fatality. Zarathustra ●announces the Superman, he i●s the prophet of good tidings. He has discover■ed in his solitude a promise of happine■ss, he bears this promise; his strength is■ sweet and benevolent, he predicts a great■ future as the reward of a great■ work. Friedrich Nietzsche, in other times●, will put a more bitter speech into ■his mouth. If one reads this ●first part, and takes care not to confou●nd it with those which immediately fol●

low, one will feel the sancti■ty, the

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s●on. But this did not diminish t■he lyrical value of which he[Pg 256] knew ho■w to take advantage a year later; and thi■s cannot explain, in any case, the ■appearance of a contrary idea. Wh■at are we to think? Perhaps his stoicism was van■quished by the betrayal of his two friends.■ "In spite of all," he wrote on December 3rd ■to Peter


Gast, "I would not like to liv●e these latter months over again." We kn●ow that he never ceased to experience in hi■mself the efficacy of his thoughts. Inca■pable of enduring the cruel symbol, he did not ■think that he could sincerely offer it● to men, and he invented a new s●ymbol, Uebermensch, the Superman