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Unzeitgemässe Betrachtungen. Viertes Stück: Richard Wagner in Bayreuth
Leipzig: E. W. Fritzsch [Strauss]; Schloss-Chemnitz: Ernst Schmeitzner [Schopenhauer & Wagner],, 1873-74-76. [bound after] … Erstes Stück: David Strauss der Bekenner und der Schriftsteller; … Drittes Stück: Schopenhauer als Erzieher. 3 pamphlets bound in one volume, octavo (217 × 138 mm). Contemporary brown sand-grain cloth, spine lettered and decorated in gilt, covers decoratively blocked in blind, marbled edges, bookbinder's ticket of Hermann Rzebrziezek Jun, Graz. Bookplate of the Austrian composer and conductor Siegmund von Hausegger (1872-1948) dated 1906. Extremities lightly rubbed, endpapers a little browned, inner hinges cracked, Richard Wagner in Bayreuth printed in inferior paper stock and a little tanned as a result as always, still very good copies. First edition of Richard Wagner in Bayreuth, one of 700 first edition copies (the whole edition was 1,500, with 800 falsely marked "Zweite Auflage"), bound with two earlier pamphlets from Nietzsche's Unzeitgemässe Betrachtungen (Unconventional Observations), each separately published, the others with print-runs of 1,000 copies. Nietzsche originally conceived a series of thirteen essays. The first published was an attack on David Strauss, author of Des Leben Jesu (1835-6), and his latest book Der alte und der neue Glaube (The Old and the New Faith), to which Wagner had taken an immediate dislike. Wagner suggested Nietzsche publish the work with his own music publisher Fritzsch. Finding payment slow, Nietzsche switched publishers after the second work in the series, Vom Nutzen und Nachteil der Historie für das Leben (1874), the only one of these essays not centred on a specific person. His essay on Schopenhauer describes how the latter's genius, despite his admitted pessimism, might bring about a resurgence of German culture. It was the fourth work in the series, Richard Wagner in Bayreuth, that represented in some respects "the apex of Nietzsche's publishing career" (Schaberg). Nietzsche worked on it from August to October 1875, but at first decided that it should never be published. In April 1876 the composer Peter Gast (1854-1918; real name Heinrich Köselitz) read the piece and argued that it deserved publication. Nietzsche first agreed that Gast could make a fair copy to present to Wagner for his sixtieth-third birthday on 22 May, but then decided not to send it to Wagner, but instead to publish it to coincide with the upcoming premiere of the complete Ring cycle at Bayreuth. The book was published on 10 July 1876, about 90 copies being sold at the opening of the Bayreuth festival. Although well-received by Wagner and ostensibly strongly pro-Wagner in tone, the essay appeared at a pivotal point in Nietzsche's development and foreshadowed his eventual rejection of Wagner and all that he and Bayreuth stood for. The planning and publication of the Unzeitgemässe Betrachtungen series was quite haphazard, and affected by Fritzsch's financial difficulties, slow sales, and Nietzsche's loss of enthusiasm for the project. No more of the planned thirteen works appeared after the Wagner essay, though an uncompleted fifth essay was published posthumously. Schmeitzner negotiated to buy the remainders of the first two works from Fritzsch, but was disappointed to find them "very battered" and generally in poor condition, so that complete sets of all four essays, which were all originally issued in wrappers, are very rarely found bound together. This volume has excellent provenance, from the renowned contemporary Wagnerian Siegmund von Hausegger, who was born in Graz, where the volume was bound.
      [Bookseller: Peter Harrington]
Last Found On: 2014-10-01           Check availability:      Biblio    


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