Friedrich Nietzsche, Ecce Homo:   How One Becomes What One Is.  Ecce homo: Wie man wird, was man ist.  

Written in 1888 and not published until 1908

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This work—which covers scarcely one hundred and fifty pages with its cheerful and fateful tone as of a laughing demon, the production of which occupied so few days that I hesitate to give their number—is altogether an exception among books: there is no work more rich in substance, more independent, more upsetting—more wicked.  If anyone wants to quickly understand how everything before my time was standing on its head he should begin with this book.  That which is called "Idols” on the title page is simply that which to date has been called truth.  Plainly speaking, The Twilight of the Idols means that the old truth is coming to an end.  


There is no reality no "ideality” which has not been touched in this book ("touched”—what a cautious euphemism)!  Not only the eternal idols but also the youngest—that is to say, the ones weakest with age.  A strong wind blows between the trees and in all directions fall the fruit—the truths.  There is the prodigal waste of an all too rich autumn in this book: you trip over truths.  You even crush some to death — there are too many of them.  Those things that you can grasp however are quite unquestionable; they are irrevocable decisions.  I alone have the criterion of "truths” in my hands.  I alone can decide.  It would seem as if a second consciousness had grown up in me, as if the "the will” in me had thrown a light upon the obscure path along which it has been running.  The oblique path—hitherto this had been called the road to "Truth”.  The way of the "obscure impulse” is now at an end and the "good man” is revealed as being the least aware of the proper way.  And speaking in all seriousness, no one before me knew the proper way, the way upwards: only after my time could men once more find hope, life tasks and roads mapped out that lead to culture—of which I am the joyful herald.  On this account alone I am also a destiny.  


Immediately upon completion of the above-named work and without letting even one day go by I tackled the formidable task of the Revaluation with a supreme feeling of pride which nothing could equal; and certain at each moment of my immortality I cut sign after sign upon tablets of brass with the sureness of Fate.  The Preface came into being on 3rd September 1888.  When after having written it down I went out into the open air that morning, I was greeted by the most beautiful day I had ever seen in the Upper Engadine—clear, glowing with colour and presenting all the contrasts and all the intermediary gradations between ice and the south.  I left Sils Maria only on the 20th of September.  I had been forced to delay my departure owing to floods and I was for some days the only visitor in this wonderful spot on which my gratitude bestows the gift of an immortal name.  After a journey that was full of incidents and not without danger to life—as for instance at Como which was flooded when I reached it in the dead of night— I got to Turin on the afternoon of the 21st.  Turin is the only suitable place for me and it shall be my home from now on.  I took the same lodgings as I had occupied in the spring, Via Carlo Alberto 6, opposite the mighty Palazzo Carignano in which Vittorio Emanuele was born; and I had a view of the Piazza Carlo Alberto and above it across to the hills.  Without hesitating or allowing myself to be disturbed for a single moment I returned to my work, only the last quarter of which had still to be written.  On the 30th September a tremendous triumph; the seventh day; a god takes his leisure on the banks of the Po.  On the same day I wrote the Preface to The Twilight of the Idols, the correction of the proofs of which provided me with recreation during the month of September.  Never in my life had I experienced such an autumn; nor had I ever imagined that such things were possible on earth—a Claude Lorrain extended to infinity, each day equal to the last in its excessive perfection.  

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