Nietzsche a cultural ill (Calendar Letters, Sept. 16)?
At his worst, yes he was callous, conceited, puerile and resentful. But at his best, he was sensitive, witty, unmatched intellectually, and a keen observer of human folly. And what about his actual 20th-Century legacy? One could mention Thomas Mann, James Joyce and George Bernard Shaw to vindicate him adequately. Then for good measure one could mention Hesse, Picasso, Freud, Camus, Heller. . . .
Are they all signs of cultural illness also? Nietzsche was a decadent in the sense that he was the product of a decadent civilization which has sunk even lower into the depths of depravity. Few have recognized and attempted to correct their own decadence as well as Nietzsche.
He deserves better representation in Calendar than an insane portrait (his sister groomed and posed him for it) and a misleading caption.