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In a loud voice: that is to say, with all the crescendos, inflections, variations of tone and changes of cadence in which the ancient public took pleasure. In those days the rules of writing style were the same as those of oratory ; and these rules depended in part on the astonishing training and the refined needs of ear and larynx, in part on the strength, endurance and power of ancient lungs. A periodic sentence , in the sense of the ancients, is above all a physiological whole, inasmuch as it is condensed in One single breath.

These ancients were indeed all of them lovers of rhetoric , consequently connoisseurs, and thus critics, — and so they drove their orators to extremes; in the same manner as in the last century all Italians, male and female, knew how to sing, and vocal virtuosity and with it also the art of melody reached its pinnacle with them.

In Germany, however, up until very recently, when a kind of grandstand eloquence began shyly and clumsily enough to flap its young wings there was really only one form of public and more-or-less artistic oratory: that is, the one delivered from the pulpit. In Germany only the preacher knew the weight of a syllable or of a word, to what extent a sentence suggests, leaps, falls, runs, runs to an end, he alone had a conscience in his ears, often enough a bad conscience: for there is no lack of reasons why it is precisely the German who achieves proficiency in rhetoric only rarely, or almost always achieves it too late.

That is why the masterpiece of German prose is, as is to be expected, the masterpiece of its greatest preacher: the Bible has been so far the best German book. Compared with Luther's Bible , almost everything else is mere "literature" — something that did not grow in Germany and therefore has not taken and does not take root in German hearts: as the Bible has done. There are two kinds of genius: one, that above all begets and wants to beget, and another, that likes to be fructified and to give birth. And likewise there are among peoples of genius those upon whom has fallen the woman's problem of pregnancy and the secret task of forming, maturing, perfecting — the Greeks, for example, were a people of this kind, and so the French —; and others who have to fructify and become the cause of new orders of life, — like the Jews, the Romans and, asked in all modesty, the Germans?

Every people has its own Tartuffery and calls it its virtues. What Europe owes to the Jews? For this, we artists among the spectators and philosophers are — grateful to the Jews. If a people suffers, wants to suffer from nationalistic nervous fever and political ambition, it must be expected that, in the process, all sorts of clouds and disturbances — in short, small attacks of stupidity — will pass over its spirit: with present-day Germans, for example, now it is the anti-French stupidity, now the anti-Semitic, now anti-Polish, now the Christian-romantic, now the Wagnerian, now the Teutonic, now the Prussian just look at these poor historians, the Sybels and Treitschkes , and their thickly bandaged heads — , and whatever else these little obfuscations of the German spirit and conscience may be called.

May I be forgiven for the fact that I, too, during a daring brief sojourn in a highly infected area, did not remain entirely spared of the disease and began, like the rest of the world, to entertain ideas about things that were none of my business: the first symptom of political infection. About the Jews, for example: just listen. That Germany has abundantly enough Jews, that the German stomach, the German blood has difficulty and will continue to have difficulty for a long time to come absorbing even this quantum [quantity] of "Jew" — as the Italian, the French, and the English have done by means of a stronger digestion —: this is the clear statement and language of a general instinct to which one must pay heed, in accordance with which one must act.

And shut the doors, especially towards the East also towards Austria! The Jews, however, are without any doubt the strongest, most tenacious, and purest race now living in Europe; they know how to prevail even under the worst conditions better even than under favorable ones , by means of certain virtues, which today one would like to label as vices, — thanks above all to a resolute faith which does not need to be ashamed before "modem ideas"; they change, if they change, always only in the way in which the Russian Empire makes its conquests, — as an empire that has time and was not born yesterday —: namely, according to the tenet, "as slowly as possible"!

It is certain that the Jews, if they wanted to — or if they were forced to it, as the anti-Semites seem to want —, could even now predominate, nay, quite literally, rule over Europe; just as it is equally certain that they are not planning and working towards that end. For the time being, what they want and wish for, even with some intrusiveness , is rather to be absorbed and assimilated by and into Europe, they long to be finally settled, allowed, and respected somewhere, and wish to put an end to the nomadic life, to the "Wandering Jew" —; and we should pay full attention and heed to this tendency and impulse which in itself may already express a mitigation of the Jewish instincts and welcome it: for which purpose it would perhaps be useful and fair to banish the anti-Semitic loudmouths out of the country.

We should welcome them with great caution, with selectivity, more or less as the English nobility does. They are not a philosophical race — these Englishmen: Bacon represents an attack on the philosophical spirit in general, Hobbes , Hume , and Locke a century-long degradation and devaluation of the concept "philosopher". Kant rose and raised [elevated] himself up to rebel against Hume; it was Locke of whom Schelling had the right to say: " I despise Locke"; in the struggle against the English mechanistic stultification of the world, Hegel and Schopenhauer along with Goethe were of the same mind, those two inimical fraternal geniuses in philosophy, who strove apart towards the opposite poles of the German spirit and in doing so wronged one another as only brothers can do wrong to each other.

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The Englishman is more gloomy, more sensual, more headstrong and more brutal than the German — for that very reason, as the more vulgar of the two, he is also more pious than the German: he is simply in greater need of Christianity. For finer nostrils, this English Christianity itself has still a genuine lingering English after-smell of spleen and alcoholic excess, against which Christianity is with good reason employed as an antidote, — that is, the finer poison to neutralize the coarser: a subtler form of poisoning is in fact already a progress with crude peoples, a step towards spiritualization.


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The English coarseness and peasant solemnity is still most tolerably disguised, more correctly: it is best construed and reinterpreted by Christian body gestures and in praying and psalm-singing; and as for that cattle of drunkards and dissolute who formerly learned to make moral grunts under the influence of Methodism and again recently as the "Salvation Army," a penitential fit may really be relatively the highest achievement of "humanity" to which they can be elevated: that much may fairly be admitted.

There are truths best perceived by mediocre minds, because they are most suited to them; there are truths that possess charm and seduction only for mediocre spirits: — right now one is pushed towards this perhaps unpleasant proposition ever since the spirit of respectable, but mediocre Englishmen — I name Darwin , John Stuart Mill and Herbert Spencer — is starting to gain ascendancy in the middle regions of European taste. In fact, who would doubt that it is useful for this kinds of spirits to dominate for a while? It would be a mistake to expect highly developed and offsidely soaring minds to be as particularly adept at identifying, collect and reach conclusions from a host of little common facts: — from the start, as exceptional men, they are, rather, in no favorable position in relation to "rules.

The gulf between knowledge and ability is perhaps greater, and also more sinister, than one thinks: the man of ability in the grand style, the creating man, may possibly have to be a person lacking in knowledge, — whereas, on the other hand, for scientific discoveries like those of Darwin, a certain narrowness, aridity and diligent solicitude, in short, something English, may not be an unfavorable disposition.

The French were just the apes and actors of these ideas, also their best soldiers, and at the same time, unfortunately, their first and most profound victims : because, due to the damnable Anglo-mania of "modem ideas" the French soul has become in the end so thin and emaciated that today one recalls almost with disbelief its sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, its deep passionate strength, its inventive gentility.

One must, however, cling on with one's teeth to this proposition of historical fairness and defend it against the moment and appearances: — the European aristocratic nobility — of feeling, of taste, of customs, in short, in every great sense of the word — is the work and invention of France ; European vulgarity, the plebeianism of modern ideas, is that — of England. France is still, even now, the seat of Europe's most spiritual and refined culture and the leading school of taste: but one has to know how to find this "France of [good] taste.

One thing they all have in common: they shut their ears to the raving stupidity and the noisy chatter of the democratic bourgeois. Something else is also common to them: a great will to resist spiritual germanization — and an even greater inability to do so! Schopenhauer may already have become more at home, more indigenous in this France of the spirit, which is also a France of pessimism, than he ever was in Germany; not to mention Heinrich Heine , who has long since entered into the flesh and blood of the more refined and discriminating lyric poets of Paris, or of Hegel , who today exercises an almost tyrannical influence in the figure of Taine — that is to say, in that of the greatest living historian.

As for Richard Wagner, however, the more French music learns to shape itself to the true needs of the modern soul , the more it will "wagnerize," that one can safely predict, — it is doing enough of that already!

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The Germans lack the couple of centuries of moralistic labor needed for this, a labor which, as mentioned, France did not spare itself; he who calls the Germans "naive" on that account, give them praise for a shortcoming. As the opposite of the German inexperience and innocence in psychological voluptuousness , which is not too distantly related to the boringness of German company, — and as the most successful expression of a genuine French curiosity and inventiveness in this domain of delicate thrills, one should observe Henri Beyle , that remarkably prescient and pioneering man, who ran at a Napoleonic tempo through his Europe, through several centuries of the European soul, as a tracker and discoverer of this soul: — It took two generations to catch up with him somehow, to guess once more some of the riddles which tormented and delighted him, this strange Epicurean and question mark who was France's last great psychologist —.

Even now there is still in France a spontaneous understanding of and ready accommodation for those rarer and rarely satisfied men, who are too all-embracing to find satisfaction in any kind of fatherland-ism, and know how to love the South when in the North and the North when in the South — the born people of the middle [mediocre] , the "good Europeans. I feel that all sorts of precautions should be taken towards German music.

Suppose a person loves the South as I love it, as a great school of convalescence, in the spiritual and sensual sense, as a boundless solar profusion and sunny transfiguration spreading itself over a self-aggrandizing, in-self believing existence: now, such a person will learn to be somewhat cautious in respect to German music because, by spoiling his taste again, it will also spoil his health again.

With all the more profound and more amply-minded men of this century, the real overall direction in the mysterious work of their souls has been to prepare the way for that new synthesis and to anticipate experimentally the European of the future: only in their simulations [outward appearances] , or in their weaker moments, in old age perhaps, were they among the "men of the fatherland," — they were only taking a rest from themselves when they became "patriots.

Still less, of course, by the unseemly noise with which people in France these days cut themselves off from and oppose Richard Wagner: — the fact remains, nonetheless, that Richard Wagner and the late French Romanticism of the forties, belong most closely and intimately together. They are related, fundamentally related in all the heights and depths of their desires: it is Europe, the One single Europe, whose soul presses urgently and longingly upwards, outwards in their multifaceted and impetuous art — whereto? But who would try to express accurately what all these masters of new linguistic forms themselves did not know how express distinctly?

What is certain is that they were all tormented by the same Storm and Stress , that they all went about seeking in the same way, these last great seekers!


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  8. He may even have been a sin against Romanticism, this anti-Romantic Siegfried: well, Wagner amply atoned for this sin in his old gloomy days, when — anticipating a taste which has since become political — he began, with the religious vehemence peculiar to him, if not to walk, at least to preach the way to Rome. And is from a German body this self-defleshing?

    Charles de Gaulle by Wilfried Loth

    Aber was liegt heute daran! Es ist das Zeitalter der Massen: die liegen vor allem Massenhaften auf dem Bauche. Und so auch in politicis. Es war toll vielleicht, so etwas zu wollen? Ein Deutscher, der sich erdreisten wollte, zu behaupten "zwei Seelen wohnen, ach! Wie steht da das Edelste und Gemeinste neben einander! Wie unordentlich und reich ist dieser ganze Seelen-Haushalt! Der Deutsche schleppt an seiner Seele; er schleppt an Allem, was er erlebt. Ach, irgend wann wird es einmal damit vorbei sein!

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    Oder Marschner's Hans Heiling und Vampyr! Das ist verklungene, wenn auch noch nicht vergessene Musik. Wie faul, wie widerwillig, wie schlecht liest er! Was Europa den Juden verdankt? Den Deutschen fehlen dazu ein paar Jahrhunderte moralistischer Art, welche, wie gesagt, Frankreich sich nicht erspart hat; wer die Deutschen darum "naiv" nennt, macht ihnen aus einem Mangel ein Lob zurecht. Und deutschen Leibs ist dies Sich-selbst-Entfleischen? View access options below. You previously purchased this article through ReadCube. Institutional Login. Log in to Wiley Online Library.

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