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of a dramatic, not historical work. He further considered that the emphasis on clarity came only at the expense of truth. During one of his most caustic anti-Hegelian tirades, Nietzsche wrote:

Consider the historical virtuoso of the present time. . . . I think he hears only overtones of the original historical note; its rough, powerful quality can no longer be guessed at from these thin and shrill vibrations. The original note sang of action, need, and terror; the overtone lulls us into a soft dilettante sleep. It is as though the heroic symphony has been arranged for two flutes for the use of dreaming opium smokers.22

On this point Burckhardt and Nietzsche agreed most clearly. Burckhardt argued:

We are not . . . privy to the purposes of eternal wisdom: they are beyond our ken. This assumption of a world plan leads to fallacies because it starts out from false premises. . . . We, however, shall start out from the one point accessible to us, the one eternal center of all things- man suffering, striving, doing, as he is and was and ever shall be.23

The intellectual field of history, for Burckhardt and Nietzsche, held little meaning if it consisted only of an ongoing analysis of the fundamental order of the universe. They both agreed that historical study must consider the aspects of daily life that all humans confront in all ages.

While Burckhardt agreed with certain themes of Nietzsche's work, he distanced himself from the purely speculative aspects of Thoughts Out of Season, in response to which he wrote to Nietzsche:

My head has never been capably of reflecting . . . upon the final causes, the aims and desirability of history. As a teacher and professor I can, however, maintain that I have never taught history for the sake of what goes under the high-falutin' name of "world history."24

Burckhardt's ambivalent comments corresponded to his dislike of philosophies of history, whether Nietzsche's or Hegel's. He further reminded Nietzsche, "I have never . . . been philosophically minded, and even the past history of philosophy is more or less a closed book to me."25

While eschewing the philosophy of history, Burckhardt expounded his efforts in demonstrating the educational role of the historian. He succeeded in this far more than in any other aspect. Arguing to Nietzsche that he viewed teaching history "essentially as a propaedeutic study," Burckhardt said:

I never dreamt of training scholars . . . but only wanted to make every member of my audience feel and know that everyone may and must appropriate those aspects of the past which appeal to him personally and, that there might be happiness in so doing. I know . . . that such an aim may be criticized as fostering amateurism, but that does not trouble me overmuch.26


22. Ibid., 36.
23. Jacob Burckhardt, Force and Freedom: Reflections on History, trans. James Nichols (New York: Meridian Books, 1955), 3.
24. Burckhardt, Letters, 158.
25. Ibid., 212.
26. Ibid, 158.
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