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Friedrich Nietzsche's Big Love; Lou Andreas Salomé

Lou Andreas-Salomé.

On February 12th 1861, a future woman psycoanalyst, traveller, author and last but not least, one of the most known female philospher was born in St. Petersburg, Russia. She was the youngest one and only daughter in her 5 brothers. Her mom was a self-indulgent aristocrat and her dad was a Russian general in the army.

Being the only daughter in 5 sons, her father followed a strict policy on her while growing up. Lou was born into a strictly Protestant family, so she spent most of her early life in church with Hermann Dalton, the Orthodox Protestant pastor. But as she grew up, she started to have her own opinions about the God, religion and her spirituality. After a while she realised that her desicions and thoughts were crossing with dogma's; she saw God as a companion and someone to discuss about, while church was telling God as a creator to be scared of. That made her leave the church at the age of 16 and find her own answers by herself.


Education and Relationships

Once she left the church, she became more interested in philosophy and decided to study university. But because of the conditions of society in Russia, women were not allowed to have higher education, so she did what every Russian women intellectuals did; she went to Zurich. All though her parents didn't approve that, she studied philosophy, history of art and teology in university and after graduating from university, she published her first book; "Im Kopf Um Gott" (1885).

In 1882, her mom took her to Rome, where she met Friedrich Nietzsche and Paul Rée. First time she came to Rome, she got to know Paul Rée, the German philosopher and author. Paul fell in love with Lou and proposed her, but Lou wasn't interested in marriage; in fact she always believed that marriage was an obstacle for love. She had lots of radical opinions about love and relationships. All she wanted was intellectual friendships and solving the mystery of life. So, she rejected Paul and suggested him to live together as "brothers-sisters" and study about philosophy.

Paul wasn't the only one who attended to propose Lou, the master mind of nihilism, Friedrich Nietzsche was also in love Salomé. They met in a sunny day of May in 1882. Just like Paul Rée, Nietzsche was impressed by Lou's intelligence and beauty. They were talking about cultures, ethnicities and all the other things, Nietzsche thought that he found the love of his life. But his feelings were one-sided, Lou didn't feel the same and rejected him as well. Little didn't she know, Nietzsche wasn't going to react the same as Rée. After being rejected, his point of view for women completely changed, he was feeling an intense hate for her. He started to hate women and kept his distance from them for forever.

Lou Andreas-Salomé, Paul Rée and Friedrich Nietzsche (1882)

Lou Andreas-Salomé, Paul Rée and Friedrich Nietzsche (1882)

Her Love Life

Even though Lou was defending the idea of marriage killing love, she met her husband when she moved to Berlin with Paul Rée. A scholar, Friedrich Carl Andreas was also deeply in love with Lou, but that love was one-sided too. When Carl asked her to marry him, Lou couldn't reject him, because he told that if she rejects him, he would end his life. So it was an imperative marriage that was really opposite to Lou's ideas. After marrying to Carl, she kept her virginity until the age of 34. According to her, there had to be a union of minds in order to have a physical interaction.

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Lou with Friedrich Carl Andreas

Lou with Friedrich Carl Andreas

Just like not believing love in marriage, Lou wasn't claiming any loyalty. She believed that the combination of marriage and faithfullness was destroying the conception of love. I had mentioned before that she had lots of men proposing and falling for her; but had she ever fall for someone? She did, actually. And that lucky guy was German poet Rainer Marie Rilke. Lou was in her late 30's and Rilke was in his early 20's when they first met with each other. Salomé was his muse and inspiration; he wrote his best love poems for her while he was one and only guy who Lou was truly in love with.

Rainer Maria Rilke

Rainer Maria Rilke

How She Met Narcisism

Lou also did researches about psychoanalaysis, she reached up to Sigmund Freud and moved to Vienna. She did several studies with him about several topics, but one topic attracted her the most; "Narcisism". Digging into subject suddenly became her biggest passion, she was so interested in it that she published a few books about it. In 1911, she published her works in one book; "Die Erotik", which was also the first book to mention about psychology of female sexuality. In the book, she also made a claim like "love doesn't belong to one man or woman", supporting her arguments about unfaithfulness.

Her Death

At the age of 76, her heart conditions and diabetes started to make life hard for her. Meanwhile her health was becoming worse, her husband, Friedrich Carl Andreas, died in 1930 due to cancer. She had several treatments in hospital and in 1935, 2 year before her death, she went through a difficult cancer operation. Her old and ill body couldn't take the pills and treatments any more and Lou-Andreas Salomé died in her sleep on February 5th, 1937.

She left hundreds of articles about love, religion and philosophy and published 19 books in total. Although she is mainly commemorated with philosophers like Nietzsche and Paul Rée, she was actually more than that. Throughout her life, she struggled with the oppressive behaviours of society, but never gave up on her freedom-seeking nature. Lou's thoughts was always ahead of of her time. She never accepted the societal norms and created her own moral system. Not only she's a revolutionist author but she's also the first female psychoanalyst and one of the narcisists in history. She continues to impress people not only with her beauty, but also with her works even 85 years later her death.


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