Nietzsche's writing is not some game of 'freeplay' and terms like 'intertextuality' are useless in discussing its influence. This study takes Nietzsche, then Kafka's
Trial, Thomas Mann's
Death in Venice, Heinrich Mann's
Man of Straw, Rilke's
Malte Laurids Brigge and Musil's
Törless. It argues that Nietzsche mediates and modernises the dilemmas of Romanticism and that a properly differentiated account of his literary reception can illuminate the dynamics of German culture on the eve of the Great War.