In his autobiographical writing Ecce Homo of 1888, Nietzsche makes a statement about his success as an author that has baffled many of his readers ever since. After chiding the Germans for not understanding his notion of Ubermensch, for aligning him with Darwinism, and for absolutely misinterpreting his Beyond Good and Evil, Nietzsche continues:
This was said for the benefit of the Germans; for everywhere else I have readers - nothing but first-rate intellects and proven characters, trained in high positions and duties; I even have real geniuses among my readers. In Vienna, in St. Petersburg, in Stockholm, in Copenhagen, in Paris, in New York - everywhere I have been discovered; but not in the shallows of Europe, Germany.' (EH, 262)
Nietzsche's claim to such exquisite readers is usually dismissed as the tortured self-appraisal of an author painfully aware of the low success rate of his writings or even as a sign of megalomania foreshadowing his impending mental breakdown in January of 1889.
Only recently has one attempted to take this statement literally and come to amazing discoveries. If we simply look at the title page of one of Nietzsche's published texts, The Gay Science, for instance, we see the cities to which Nietzsche refers listed for branches of his publishing house Ernst Schmeitzner, namely, H. Schmitzdorff in St. Petersburg (5 Newsky Prospekt), C. Klincksieck in Paris (11 Rue de Lille), Loescher & Co. in Rome (307 Via del Corso), E. Steige in New York (22-24 Frankfort Street), and Williams & Norgate in London (14 Henrietta Street, Covent Garden). Yet Nietzsche's statement was meant not only to indicate that these firms affiliated with Schmeitzner were able to distribute his published writings in these cities, but to point to actual readers known to him either through direct contact or reference by others.