Because the beauty of the overman came to him as a shadow Nietzsche asked no longer for the gods. Instead he felt creatively impelled toward man. This he confesses in Ecce Homo. Creation, now, is definitely man's concern. Whoever creates must also be harsh; he cannot show pity toward whatever feels the keen edge of the chisel. And Nietzsche did put the chisel and hammer to human flesh and spirit in his books, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Beyond Good and Evil, The Twilight of the Idols, Ecce Homo, and the others.
While thus in his volumes he addressed himself to man in general, in his letters he spoke to individuals, living persons known to him. And how different do these letters strike us from the books even on first reading. It is as if Zarathustra had become human, nearly all-too-human. In the letters Nietzsche is the typical University student, the devoted son, the shy and distant lover, the sensitive friend. So fragile is the delicacy of his tenderly reared friendships that he handles them like the choicest of Meissen China, never inelegantly in the manner of idol-smashers.
The Nietzsche of the letters is the man who abandoned the ruggedness of his mountain cave to seek, yes, frantically crave, the least stirrings of kindness, who may even be content with decency and plain . . .