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"Peter Gast"

"Peter Gast" OBIN SMALL he name Peter Gast is a familiar one in the literature on Friedrich TNietzsche’s life and thought. As everyone knows, it is the pseudonym used by his younger friend and assistant, Heinrich Köselitz. It is often noted that the suggestion came from Nietzsche. Yet, surprisingly, generations of scholars have failed to read the name. What that involves is just recalling the Latin or Greek origin of the name Peter and the meaning of the German word Gast and putting these together. Then one sees the point: “Peter Gast” means “stone guest.” In other words, the name is a joke and, what is more, a musical joke. Though the “stone guest” figures in other works, Nietzsche can only be thinking of Mozart’s opera Don Giovanni, which he knew well. This insight opens up several inter- esting questions. Why was a pseudonym needed for Köselitz in the first place? And why did Nietzsche propose this one, with its particular associations? I will offer solutions to both of these puzzles. The pseudonym arose from the time that Nietzsche and Köselitz spent together in Recoaro, in northern Italy, in spring 1881, as letters sent afterward show. It has much to do http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Journal of Nietzsche Studies Penn State University Press

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Publisher
Penn State University Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2006 The Pennsylvania State University.
ISSN
1538-4594

Abstract

OBIN SMALL he name Peter Gast is a familiar one in the literature on Friedrich TNietzsche’s life and thought. As everyone knows, it is the pseudonym used by his younger friend and assistant, Heinrich Köselitz. It is often noted that the suggestion came from Nietzsche. Yet, surprisingly, generations of scholars have failed to read the name. What that involves is just recalling the Latin or Greek origin of the name Peter and the meaning of the German word Gast and putting these together. Then one sees the point: “Peter Gast” means “stone guest.” In other words, the name is a joke and, what is more, a musical joke. Though the “stone guest” figures in other works, Nietzsche can only be thinking of Mozart’s opera Don Giovanni, which he knew well. This insight opens up several inter- esting questions. Why was a pseudonym needed for Köselitz in the first place? And why did Nietzsche propose this one, with its particular associations? I will offer solutions to both of these puzzles. The pseudonym arose from the time that Nietzsche and Köselitz spent together in Recoaro, in northern Italy, in spring 1881, as letters sent afterward show. It has much to do

Journal

The Journal of Nietzsche StudiesPenn State University Press

Published: Nov 6, 2006

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