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Nietzsche's autobiography Ecce Homo is a strange book, in more ways than one. In its idiosyncratic tone it describes the many circumstances that influenced the course of his life, as well as the legacy the philosopher believed himself to have bequeathed to humankind. As such, the private and the philosophical, the past and the present, the thinker and the thoughts, become ingeniously intertwined. The most obvious example of this intertwining is the Greek deity Dionysus. In the section in Ecce Homo on The Birth of Tragedy, Nietzsche characterizes himself as the first person to have understood the Dionysian (EH BT §2), explaining it as a surplus of power, the eagerness and lust to destroy. Yet, whereas in the foreword he sees himself merely as the pupil of Dionysus (EH Preface §2), he tends gradually to emphasize his own “Dionysian nature” (EH Why I Write Such Good Books §5; I am a Destiny §2).
The meticulous investigations of such scholars as Mazzino Montinari have shown that, despite the discovery in the archives of Heinrich Köselitz in 1969, at least two pages of the text have been destroyed by Nietzsche's mother or his sister Elisabeth. From her Nietzschehagiography, however—in most cases, a dubious source—we may infer that Nietzsche also explicitly identified himself with the torn god.
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