Criticism about FPG & FrL

Greve/Grove & Else von Freytag-Loringhoven

Grove's First Canadian Publication
"Rousseau als Erzieher" (1914):
FPG's Model Nietzsche in Munich & on the Manitoba Prairies
PowerPoint Presentation
[see a List of 44 Text and Image Slide]
Gaby Divay
UM Archives & Special Collections
Originally published in LCMND e-JOURNAL
Linguistic Circle of Manitoba & North Dakota
v. 2008/2

FPG's very first Canadian publication was the Nietzsche-like essay "Rousseau als Erzieher" which appeared in four parts from November to December 1914 in the German-Canadian newspaper Der Nordwesten. "Fred Grove", a teacher in Winkler, signed for the rambling account discovered by Margaret Stobie in preparation for her 1973 Twayne's World Authors book on Frederick Philip Grove. Also in 1973, D. O. Spettigue published his seminal FPG: The European Years, where he documented his discovery of Grove's identity with Felix Paul Greve. His findings included young Greve's first known publication in 1901, a review about Nietzsche's posthumous works in a Munich newspaper. Neither Grove scholar was aware of the other's FPG-Nietzsche connection, nor did they draw pertinent conclusions from their respective interesting finds.

Although flagged in several unpublished papers and presentations since 1986, and in at least two publications since 1992, the obvious, but sly reference to Nietzsche's Third Untimely Meditation "Schopenhauer als Erzieher" (1874) in Grove's 1914 title had largely gone unnoticed. Then, on occasion of the 1995 exhibition about German-Canadian culture in Manitoba in the Winnipeg Legislative Building's "Pool of the Black Star", welcome public attention was drawn to it. The FPG panel had referred to Greve/Grove's keen reception of the German philosopher. When The Right Honorable Ed Schreyer, in his Opening Address, questioned the presence of Nietzsche's portrait on the FPG display, he could be duly enlightened about Greve's 1901 Nietzsche review, and the multi-layered Nietzsche reference in Grove's 1914 publication "Rousseau als Erzieher".

Combining his early admiration for Nietzsche, who had been a student at Bonn University where Greve also studied classical philology since 1898, with a real-life "back to nature" experience after leaving Europe in 1909, Grove's first essay sets a life-long trend manifest in all his subsequent English works. Key concepts like CHANGE being the nature of all things, LIFE, the TRAGIC, DECADENCE, etc. find expression from his earliest landscape sketches of 1922 & 1923, his novels since 1925, his poetry and essays around 1930 to his late autobiography in 1946.

Of particular interest is a fragment of sixty-one manuscript aphorisms entitled The Life of Saint Nishivara, a transparent imitation of Nietzsche's Thus spoke Zarathustra (1888ff). It has confessional character and can be internally dated to 1939, when Grove turned sixty and started composing his autobiography.

Grove's essays, with their pronounced cultural criticism and titles like Rebels All, Of the Interpretation of History, Of the Interpretation of Science, and Civilization, bear a strong resemblance to Nietzsche's Unzeitgemäßen Betrachtungen (1873ff), the second of which, for instance, dealt with "Vom Nutzen und Nachteil der Historie für das Leben" (Of the Advantage or Disadvantage of History for Life) . Greve's essays about Oscar Wilde, art and life, and decadence, drew heavily on Nietzsche's Birth of Tragedy (1872), and in his 1902 poetry collection called Wanderungen, Nietzsche is hailed as one of four "Meister" [next to the painter Böcklin, Beethoven, and the poet Stefan George)

With the UM Archives' recent acquisition of a remarkable collection of early bound manuscript poems by Greve, the importance of Nietzsche in FPG's intellectual development has come into sharp focus: completed in November 1901, Das Jahr der Wende starts out with no less than four poems devoted explicitly to the late philosopher, including the one printed some three months later in Wanderungen. While the published collection adheres to the "George-Mache" both in form and in content throughout, the manuscript shows the marked influence of Nietzsche's often unrhymed "Dionysos Dithyramben", which Nietzsche added to his Zarathustra in late 1888, shortly before the psychotic break-down that ended his career. As late as in his In Search of Myself in 1946, two years before his death, Grove acknowledged a great admiration for Nietzsche when he says namely of the Unzeitgemäßen Betrachtungen, the Morgenröte and the Fröhlichen Wissenschaft: "Even today I consider (them) as of the greatest importance". Obscuring his debt with regard to the Zarathustra, though, he claims to have disliked this most literary late work of Nietzsche's because of its violence and German focus (ISM, 146). And yet, it is precisely on the Zarathustra that FPG drew on the most.


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