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“The School of Educators” at the Villa Rubinacci

“The School of Educators” at the Villa Rubinacci

(p.24) Chapter Two “The School of Educators” at the Villa Rubinacci
Nietzsche's Journey to Sorrento
Paolo D’Iorio
University of Chicago Press

Chapter 2 describes the geography of Sorrento and gives an overview, drawn from letters and notes, of the daily life led by Nietzsche, Meysenbug, Rée, and Nietzsche's young student Albert Brenner, at the villa they lived in, the Villa Rubinacci. We follow several accounts of this carefree and idyllic lifestyle, so suited to Nietzsche's thinking process. We learn about the complex relationship between this small group and the Wagners, who were staying nearby—just as Nietzsche was distancing himself from them, Meysenbug, a self-proclaimed "Idealist," was growing ever fonder of them. We also hear Cosima Wagner's side of things; as she and her husband, depressed and disheartened by the failure of Bayreuth, were turning to Christianity for consolation, a measure which would result in Wagner's Parsifal, and Nietzsche's contemporaneous break with him. The chapter provides a multilayered exposure and analysis of Nietzsche's desire, during this time, to found a "School of Educators" on the model of his Sorrentino life in perfect harmony with his friends. This school, he proclaimed, would be a place where the educators would educate themselves, rather than instilling dead knowledge into their pupils, the tenet of the project being that the educators themselves needed to be educated.

Keywords:   Parsifal, education, Villa Rubinacci, Richard Wagner, idealism, history

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