Notes on Burckhardt


布克哈特(Jacob Burckhardt)致尼采,1874

"I have done everything I possibly could to lead them on to acquire personal possession of the past---in whatever form---and at least not to sicken them of it; I wanted them to be capable of plucking the fruits for themselves; I never dreamed of training scholars and disciples in the narrower sense, 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 doing so."


The Civilisation of Renaissance in Italy, trans. S.G.C. Middlemore, pp. 204-5, part III:

"The career of the humanist was, as a rule, of such a kind that only the strongest characters could pass through it unscathed.  The first danger came, in some cases, from the parents, who sought to turn a precocious child into a miracle of learning, with an eye to his future position in that class which then was supreme.  Youthful prodigies, however, seldom rise above a certain level; or, if they do, are forced to achieve their further progress and development at the cost of the bitterest trials.  For an ambitious youth, the fame and brilliant position of the humanists were a perilous temptation; it seemed to him that he, too, 'through inborn pride, could no longer regard the low and common things of life.'  And so he plunged into a life of excitement and vicissitude, in which exhausting studies, tutorships, secretaryships, professorships, office in princely households, mortal enmities and perils, luxury and beggary, boundless admiration and boundless contempt, followed confusedly one upon the other, and in which the most solid worth and learning were often pushed aside by superficial impudence.  But the greatest evil was that the position of the humanist was almost incompatible with a fixed home, since it either made frequent changes of dwelling necessary for a livelihood, or so affected the mind of the individual that he could never be happy for long in one place. ...
"(t) The scholar of the Renaissance was forced to combine great learning with the power of resisting the influence of ever-changing pursuits and situations. ... Such men cannot exist without an inordinate pride.  They needed it, if only to keep their heads above water, and were confirmed in it by the deification mixed with hatred that was their lot. They are the most striking examples and victims of an unbridled subjectivity."

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