Langbehns Lieder (German Edition)
Langbehn spends two weeks, seeing and walking with Nietzsche daily.
Langbehn, who had a paranoid fear of doctors, professors, and other professionals, attempts to poison Nietzsche and Franziska against the Binswanger institution. Langbehn speaks of "Anstaltstyrannei" [institutional tyranny], characterizes Nietzsche as a prisoner, and so forth. Langbehn apparently also writes to Elisabeth in Paraguay in the same vein. The New Germany in Paraguay was conceived as having no need for "medicine men. Langbehn's stay in Jena ends when one day Nietzsche becomes enraged, throwing over a table and leaving the room screaming for one of the assistants. Langbehn creeps from the room and never returns.
Despite this debacle, Langbehn writes to Franziska, demanding that Nietzsche be given over to his care and that he come to live with him in Dresden. This demand finally gives Franziska pause.
The Langbehn Episode
At first he thinks highly of it. Yet, attached as he is to a romantic notion of Nietzsche as a misunderstood, overworked genius, he soon has doubts. He is now a proponent of Langbehn's plan to transfer guardianship to him for a full two years and to move Nietzsche to Dresden. This causes Franziska to feel even more uncertain about what to do. What if Langbehn could indeed help her son? In letters she begins to find fault with the Jena institution, overlooking the remission that Nietzsche has enjoyed since first being brought to institutional care.
All this makes Overbeck in Basel nervous. He advises caution and deliberation. Because of this, Langbehn, in characteristically paranoid fashion, begins to see in Overbeck somebody working in calculated fashion against Nietzsche's Befreiung [liberation].
The case of Langbehn
On to February, and Langbehn now dictates to Franziska his terms for taking on Nietzsche's recovery. Full transfer of guardianship to him, without condition, for two years. Langbehn Folge zu leisten; insbesondere ihn von der Zeit ihrer eventuellen Ankunft und Abreise bei ihrem Sohn im voraus zu benachrightigen.
She pledges further by oath, in reference to possible visits by her to her son Langbehn; most especially to notify him in advance of the times of her arrival and departure. Overbeck felt that Langbehn would surely cause his own downfall by making such absurd demands. This is too much for Overbeck. As Podach points out, just as Overbeck had, a year earlier, rushed to his friend's rescue, so he does again toward the end of February Langbehn, encouraged by the success of his first book, tried a few years later to publish a collection of poems, 40 Lieder von einem Deutschen [40 Songs by a German].
Because of the erotic nature of a few of the poems, he found himself in trouble with the authorities. He had to flee several times to avoid a subpoena.
Later he converted to Catholicism and thoroughly condemned Nietzsche's books. Poorly educated and highly opinionated, Langbehn anonymously published a book in attacking modern art on racial grounds, a book which took the German art history world by storm. Rembrandt als Erzieher Rembrandt as Educator , deplored the state of contemporary art production, suggesting that, Rembrandt, an example of the southern German "race," was part of a pure Volk least defiled by racial intermixing.
It criticized museums as dead places of art, too bound by history to reflect art. Racial tracts were not uncommon in lateth century European social and cultural though. Nevertheless, Langbehn's book attracted praise not only from the conservative right but, for various reasons, from a variety of important art historians of the period.
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Even Karl Ernst Osthaus q. Rembrandt als Erzieher when through some 66, in thirty-nine editions. Learning Nietzsche was in a mental institution in Jena, Germany, Langbehn traveled to the asylum to talk to him and his mother who was caring for him. Langbehn, who cultivated a mistrust of medical doctors, argued strenuously with both the philosopher and his mother to leave the facility until Nietzsche himself threw Langbehn out. Langbehn had been able to convince family friends that releasing the philosopher to him would lead to his cure citing among other reason's the Jewishness of the institution's doctor.
Had Langbehn not insisted on sole control of Nietzsche and his royalties fortune, he might have received permission. His attempt to free the master foiled, Langbehn now purported a hatred of Neitzsche's philosophy and converted to Roman Catholicism.