Against the wishes of his mother and his sister (KGB II.6.1, 501), and against the advice of his friend Erwin Rohde (KGB II.6.1, 595) — which may, ever since Rohde's marriage in August 1877, have counted for much less (cf. KSB 5, 277) — Nietzsche decided to give up his professorship at Basel, and he applied to be released from the post on grounds of ill-health on 2 May 1879 (KSB 5, 411–12). He had developed, as he told Franz Overbeck on 3 April 1879, “a phobia about Basel, a veritable anxiety and inhibition about the bad water, the bad air, the entire depressed essence of this unholy breeding-ground of my sufferings!” (die Basileophobie, eine wahre Angst und Scheu vor dem schlechten Wasser, der schlechten Luft, dem ganzen gedrückten Wesen dieser unseligen Brütestätte meiner Leiden!; KSB 5, 402).
Yet, as we have seen, this dissatisfaction with his life in Basel had deep roots, and it constantly emerged during his time as professor there, sometimes in ways that must have been unsettling for those who met him. Clara Thurneysen, for example, recalled how he told her at a dinner party:
“I recently dreamed that my hand, which was resting in front of me on the table, suddenly acquired a glassy, transparent skin; I saw clearly into its bone structure, into its tissue, into its muscles. Suddenly I saw a fat toad sitting on my hand and at the same time I felt the irresistible urge to swallow the animal. I overcame my terrible revulsion and gulped it down.”
[“Mir hat kürzlich geträumt, meine Hand, die vor mir auf dem Tische lag, bekam plötzlich eine gläserne, durchsichtige Haut; ich sah deutlich in ihr Gebein, in ihr Gewerbe, in ihr Muskelspiel hinein. Mit einen Male sah ich eine dicke Kröte auf meiner Hand sitzen und verspürte zugleich den unwiderstehlichen Zwang, das Tier zu verschlucken. Ich überwand meinen entsetzlichen Widerwillen und würgte sie herunter.”]