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Lou Andreas-Salomé (née Louise von Salomé or Luíza Gustavovna Salomé, Луиза Густавовна Саломе) (12 February 1861 in St. Petersburgmarker – 5 January 1937 in Göttingenmarker) was a Russianmarker-born psychoanalyst and author. Her diverse intellectual interests led to friendships with a broad array of distinguished western luminaries, including Nietzsche, Wagner, Freud, and Rilke.

Life

Early years

Lou Salomé was born in St. Petersburgmarker to an army general and his wife. Salomé was their only daughter; she had five brothers. Although she would later be attacked by the Nazis as a "Finnish Jewess," her parents were actually of French Huguenot and Northern German descent.

Seeking an education beyond a typical woman's station of that time and place, when she was seventeen Salomé persuaded the Dutch preacher Hendrik Gillot, twenty-five years her senior, to teach her theology, philosophy, world religions, and French and German literature. Gillot became so smitten with Salomé that he planned to divorce his wife and marry her. Salomé and her mother fled to Zurich, so she could acquire a university education. The journey was also intended to be beneficial for Salomé's physical health; she was coughing up blood at this time.



Rée, Nietzsche and later life

Salomé's mother took her to Romemarker, Italymarker when she was 21. At a literary salon in the city, Salomé became acquainted with Paul Rée, an author and compulsive gambler with whom she proposed living in an academic commune. After two months, the two became partners. On 13 May 1882, Rée's friend Friedrich Nietzsche joined the duo. Salomé would later (1894) write a study, Friedrich Nietzsche in seinen Werken, of Nietzsche's personality and philosophy. The three travelled with Salomé's mother through Italy and considered where they would set up their "Winterplan" commune. Arriving in Leipzigmarker, Germanymarker in October, Salomé and Rée separated from Nietzsche after a falling-out between Nietzsche and Salomé, in which Salomé believed that Nietzsche was desperately in love with her. In 1884 Salomé became acquainted with Helene von Druskowitz, the second woman to receive a philosophy doctorate in Zurich.

A fictional account of Salomé's relationship with Nietzsche is described in Irvin Yalom's novel, When Nietzsche Wept.

Marriage and relationships

Salomé and Rée moved to Berlinmarker and lived together until a few years before her celibate marriage to linguistics scholar Carl Friedrich Andreas. Despite her opposition to marriage and her open relationships with other men, Salomé and Andreas remained married from 1887 until his death in 1930. The distress caused by Salomé's co-habitation with Andreas caused the morose Rée to fade from Salomé's life despite her assurances. Throughout her married life, she engaged in affairs or/and correspondence with the German journalist Georg Lebedour, the German poet Rainer Maria Rilke, on whom she wrote an analytical memoir, the psychoanalysts Sigmund Freud, and Viktor Tausk, among others. Accounts of many of these are given in her volume Lebensrückblick.

Her relationship with Rilke was particularly close. Salomé was fifteen years his senior. They met when he was 21, were lovers for several years and correspondents until Rilke's death; it was Salome who began calling him Rainer rather than René. She taught him Russian, in order to read Tolstoy (whom he would later meet) and Pushkin. She also introduced him to patrons and other people in the arts, remaining his advisor, confidante and muse throughout his adult life.

Death

Lou and Andreas' Grave in Göttingen


At the age of 74, Lou Andreas-Salomé ceased to work as a psychoanalyst. She had developed heart trouble, and in her weakened condition had to be treated many times in hospital. Her husband visited her daily; it was a difficult situation for the old man, who was himself quite ill. After a forty-year marriage marked by illness on both sides and long periods of mutual non-communication, the two grew closer. Sigmund Freud himself recognized this from afar, writing: "this only proves the permanence of the truth [of their relationship]." Friedrich Carl Andreas died of cancer in 1930. Lou Andreas-Salomé had to undergo a difficult cancer-related operation herself in 1935. On the evening of the 5th of February, 1937 she died of uremia (kidney failure) in her sleep. Her urn was laid to rest in her husband's grave in the Friedhof an der Groner Landstraße (Cemetery on Groner Landstrasse) in Göttingen. A memorial plaque on the newly-renovated ground floor of her home, a street named "Lou-Andreas-Salomé-Weg" (Lou-Andreas-Salomé-Way), and the name of the institute for psychoanalysis and psychotherapy "(Lou-Andreas-Salomé Institut") commemorate the contributions of this former resident of Göttingen.

A few days before her death the Gestapo confiscated her library (according to other sources it was an SA group who destroyed the library, and shortly after her death). The pretense for this confiscation: she had been a colleague of Sigmund Freud's, had practiced "Jewish science," and had many books by Jewish authors in her library.

Work

Salomé was a prolific writer, and wrote several little-known novels, plays, and essays. She authored a "Hymn to Life" that so deeply impressed Nietzsche that he was moved to set it to music. Salomé's literary and analytical studies became such a vogue in Göttingenmarker, the German town in which she lived her last years, that the Gestapomarker waited until shortly after her death by uremia in 1937 to "clean" her library from works by Jews (she was a pupil of Sigmund Freud and his associate in his creation of psychoanalysis).

She wrote more than a dozen novels, such as ("Im Kampf um Gott", "Ruth", "Rodinka", "Ma", "Fenitschka - eine Ausschweifung") and also non-fiction studies such as "Henrik Ibsens Frauengestalten" (1892), a study of Ibsen's woman characters and a famous book on her friend Friedrich Nietzsche, "Friedrich Nietzsche in seinen Werke", 1894, one of the most informative books of the 19th century on Nietzsche's work .

She also edited a memory-book on her lifelong close friend and onetime lover, the poet Rainer Maria Rilke, after his death in 1926. Among her works is also her famous "Lebensrückblick", a book she wrote during her last years based on memories of her life as a free woman.

In her memoirs, which were first published in their original German in 1951, she goes into depth about matters of her faith and her relationships.
"Whoever reaches into a rosebush may seize a handful of flowers; but no matter how many one holds, it's only a small portion of the whole.
Nevertheless, a handful is enough to experience the nature of the flowers.
Only if we refuse to reach into the bush, because we can't possibly seize all the flowers at once, or if we spread out our handful of roses as if it were the whole of the bush itself -- only then does it bloom apart from us, unknown to us, and we are left alone."


Salomé is said to have remarked in her last days, "I have really done nothing but work all my life, work ... why?" And in her last hours, as if talking to herself, she is reported to have said, "If I let my thoughts roam I find no one. The best, after all, is death."

Notes

  1. Salomé, 2001
  2. Yalom I (1992) When Nietzsche Wept [1]. Basic Books
  3. Mark M. Anderson, "The Poet and the Muse", The Nation, July 3, 2006, p. 40-41.
  4. Andreas-Salomé, 2003
  5. Looking Back:The Memoirs of Lou Andreas-Salome Illustrated.
  6. Peters, 'My Sister, My Spouse', p. 300


References

  • Salomé, Lou: Friedrich Nietzsche in seinen Werke, 1894; Eng., Nietzsche, tr. and ed. Siegfried Mandel, Champagin IL: University of Illinois Press Univ. of Illinois Press, 2001
  • "You Alone Are Real to Me: Remembering Rainer Maria Rilke", tr. Angela von der Lippe, Rochester NY: BOA Editions, 2003
  • "Sigmund Freud and Lou Andreas-Salome: Letters", New York: Norton, 1985
  • "The Freud Journal", Texas Bookman, 1996
  • Peters, H. F., "My Sister, My Spouse: A Biography of Lou Andreas-Salome", New York: Norton, 1962
  • Binion, R., Frau Lou: Nietzsche's Wayward Disciple, foreword by Walter Kaufmann, Princeton NJ: Princeton University Press, 1968
  • Vollmann, William T., Friedrich Nietzsche': The Constructive Nihilist, The New York Times, August 14, 2005.
  • Le diable et sa grand-mère [1922], tr. and annotated by Pascale Hummel, 2005
  • L'heure sans Dieu et autres histoires pour enfants [1922], tr. and annotated by Pascale Hummel, 2006
  • Foerster-Nietzsche, Elisabeth, Friedrich Nietzsche et les femmes de son temps [1935], tr. and annotated by Pascale Hummel, Paris: Michel de Maule, 2007
  • Dorian Astor, Lou Andreas-Salomé, Gallimard, folio biographies, 2008. ISBN 9782070339181


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