10 JULY 1936, Page 21


[To the Editor of THE SPECTATOR.] Sia,—The Head of the Police of the German Town of Hanover has given notice to the inhabitants, that the " Spinozastrasse has been renamed and should in future be called " Nietzsche. strasse." In this connexion it may interest your readers to hear of the following letter, written by Nietzsche ,to.,his friend Overbeck, then Professor at Bide University, under the date of July 30th, .1881 :

" I am astonished, I am delighted. I have a predecessor, and one of what standing ! I hardly knew Spinoza. It was perhaps a sort of Instinct, that I just now wished to know more about him. Not only his general tendency is like mine, for he declares Understanding as the Sovereign Principle : but also in five main points of -his Teaching I recognize myself again. This most abnormal and solitary of thinkers comes nearest to me in the following particulars He denies Freedom of Will, the Doctrine of Final causes, the moral order of the Universe, Unegotistical Action and finally : Evil.

" To sum up, my solitude, which on very high mountains often causes me shortness of breath, is not more : it has become a dialogue with another man. (The untranslatable German runs as follows : Mein Einsandreit jet jetzt wenigegens eine Zweiectnikeit !)"

It is to be hoped, in the interest of the good town of Hanover, that der Herr Polizeipriisident is better up in the elimination of criminals than in the classification of thinkers, so that " Aryan " pickpockets may be as easily removed from its streets as the name of a Semitic Philosopher.—I am, Sir, &c., OSCAR LEVY.