Friedrich Nietzsche

Friedrich Nietzsche

Overview
Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (ˈfʁiːdʁɪç ˈvɪlhɛlm ˈniːtʃə; in English ˈniːtʃə) (October 15, 1844 – August 25, 1900) was a 19th-century German
Germans
The Germans are a Germanic ethnic group native to Central Europe. The English term Germans has referred to the German-speaking population of the Holy Roman Empire since the Late Middle Ages....

 philosopher
Philosophy
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...

, poet
Poetry
Poetry is a form of literary art in which language is used for its aesthetic and evocative qualities in addition to, or in lieu of, its apparent meaning...

, composer
Composer
A composer is a person who creates music, either by musical notation or oral tradition, for interpretation and performance, or through direct manipulation of sonic material through electronic media...

 and classical philologist
Classical philology
Classical philology is the study of ancient Greek and classical Latin. Classical philology has been defined as "the careful study of the literary and philosophical texts of the ancient Greek and Roman worlds." Greek and Latin literature and civilization have traditionally been considered...

. He wrote critic
Critic
A critic is anyone who expresses a value judgement. Informally, criticism is a common aspect of all human expression and need not necessarily imply skilled or accurate expressions of judgement. Critical judgements, good or bad, may be positive , negative , or balanced...

al texts on religion, morality, contemporary culture, philosophy and science, displaying a fondness for metaphor
Metaphor
A metaphor is a literary figure of speech that uses an image, story or tangible thing to represent a less tangible thing or some intangible quality or idea; e.g., "Her eyes were glistening jewels." Metaphor may also be used for any rhetorical figures of speech that achieve their effects via...

, irony
Irony
Irony is a rhetorical device, literary technique, or situation in which there is a sharp incongruity or discordance that goes beyond the simple and evident intention of words or actions...

 and aphorism
Aphorism
An aphorism is an original thought, spoken or written in a laconic and memorable form.The term was first used in the Aphorisms of Hippocrates...

.

Nietzsche's influence remains substantial within and beyond philosophy, notably in existentialism
Existentialism
Existentialism is a term applied to a school of 19th- and 20th-century philosophers who, despite profound doctrinal differences, shared the belief that philosophical thinking begins with the human subject—not merely the thinking subject, but the acting, feeling, living human individual...

, nihilism
Nihilism
Nihilism is the philosophical doctrine suggesting the negation of one or more putatively meaningful aspects of life. Most commonly, nihilism is presented in the form of existential nihilism which argues that life is without objective meaning, purpose, or intrinsic value...

 and postmodernism
Postmodern philosophy
Postmodern philosophy is a philosophical direction which is critical of the foundational assumptions and structures of philosophy. Beginning as a critique of Continental philosophy, it was heavily influenced by phenomenology, structuralism and existentialism, including writings of Georg Wilhelm...

. His style and radical questioning of the value and objectivity of truth have resulted in much commentary and interpretation, mostly in the continental
Continental philosophy
Continental philosophy, in contemporary usage, refers to a set of traditions of 19th and 20th century philosophy from mainland Europe. This sense of the term originated among English-speaking philosophers in the second half of the 20th century, who used it to refer to a range of thinkers and...

 tradition.
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Quotations

There are no facts, only interpretations.

Notebooks, (Summer 1886 – Fall 1887)

So far no one had had enough courage and intelligence to reveal me to my dear Germans. My problems are new, my psychological horizon frighteningly comprehensive, my language bold and clear; there may well be no books written in German which are richer in ideas and more independent than mine.

Letter to Carl Fuchs (14 December 1887)

Mathematics would certainly have not come into existence if one had known from the beginning that there was in nature no exactly straight line, no actual circle, no absolute magnitude.

As quoted in The Puzzle Instinct : The Meaning of Puzzles in Human Life‎ (2004) by Marcel Danesi, p. 71 from Human All-Too-Human

He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you.

"Beyond Good and Evil", Aphorism 146 (1886)
Encyclopedia
Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (ˈfʁiːdʁɪç ˈvɪlhɛlm ˈniːtʃə; in English ˈniːtʃə) (October 15, 1844 – August 25, 1900) was a 19th-century German
Germans
The Germans are a Germanic ethnic group native to Central Europe. The English term Germans has referred to the German-speaking population of the Holy Roman Empire since the Late Middle Ages....

 philosopher
Philosophy
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...

, poet
Poetry
Poetry is a form of literary art in which language is used for its aesthetic and evocative qualities in addition to, or in lieu of, its apparent meaning...

, composer
Composer
A composer is a person who creates music, either by musical notation or oral tradition, for interpretation and performance, or through direct manipulation of sonic material through electronic media...

 and classical philologist
Classical philology
Classical philology is the study of ancient Greek and classical Latin. Classical philology has been defined as "the careful study of the literary and philosophical texts of the ancient Greek and Roman worlds." Greek and Latin literature and civilization have traditionally been considered...

. He wrote critic
Critic
A critic is anyone who expresses a value judgement. Informally, criticism is a common aspect of all human expression and need not necessarily imply skilled or accurate expressions of judgement. Critical judgements, good or bad, may be positive , negative , or balanced...

al texts on religion, morality, contemporary culture, philosophy and science, displaying a fondness for metaphor
Metaphor
A metaphor is a literary figure of speech that uses an image, story or tangible thing to represent a less tangible thing or some intangible quality or idea; e.g., "Her eyes were glistening jewels." Metaphor may also be used for any rhetorical figures of speech that achieve their effects via...

, irony
Irony
Irony is a rhetorical device, literary technique, or situation in which there is a sharp incongruity or discordance that goes beyond the simple and evident intention of words or actions...

 and aphorism
Aphorism
An aphorism is an original thought, spoken or written in a laconic and memorable form.The term was first used in the Aphorisms of Hippocrates...

.

Nietzsche's influence remains substantial within and beyond philosophy, notably in existentialism
Existentialism
Existentialism is a term applied to a school of 19th- and 20th-century philosophers who, despite profound doctrinal differences, shared the belief that philosophical thinking begins with the human subject—not merely the thinking subject, but the acting, feeling, living human individual...

, nihilism
Nihilism
Nihilism is the philosophical doctrine suggesting the negation of one or more putatively meaningful aspects of life. Most commonly, nihilism is presented in the form of existential nihilism which argues that life is without objective meaning, purpose, or intrinsic value...

 and postmodernism
Postmodern philosophy
Postmodern philosophy is a philosophical direction which is critical of the foundational assumptions and structures of philosophy. Beginning as a critique of Continental philosophy, it was heavily influenced by phenomenology, structuralism and existentialism, including writings of Georg Wilhelm...

. His style and radical questioning of the value and objectivity of truth have resulted in much commentary and interpretation, mostly in the continental
Continental philosophy
Continental philosophy, in contemporary usage, refers to a set of traditions of 19th and 20th century philosophy from mainland Europe. This sense of the term originated among English-speaking philosophers in the second half of the 20th century, who used it to refer to a range of thinkers and...

 tradition. His key ideas include the death of God, perspectivism
Perspectivism
Perspectivism is the philosophical view developed by Friedrich Nietzsche that all ideations take place from particular perspectives. This means that there are many possible conceptual schemes, or perspectives in which judgment of truth or value can be made...

, the Übermensch
Übermensch
The Übermensch is a concept in the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. Nietzsche posited the Übermensch as a goal for humanity to set for itself in his 1883 book Thus Spoke Zarathustra ....

, the eternal recurrence, and the will to power. Central to his philosophy is the idea of "life-affirmation", which involves an honest questioning of all doctrines that drain life's expansive energies, however socially prevalent those views might be.

Nietzsche began his career as a classical philologist before turning to philosophy. At the age of 24 he was appointed to the Chair of Classical Philology at the University of Basel
University of Basel
The University of Basel is located in Basel, Switzerland, and is considered to be one of leading universities in the country...

 (the youngest individual to have held this position), but resigned in the summer of 1879 due to health problems that plagued him most of his life. In 1889 he became mentally ill with what was then characterized as atypical general paresis attributed to tertiary syphilis, a diagnosis that has since come into question. He lived his remaining years in the care of his mother until her death in 1897, then under the care of his sister until his death in 1900.

Youth (1844–1869)


Born on October 15, 1844, Nietzsche grew up in the small town of Röcken
Röcken
Röcken is a village and a former municipality in the Burgenlandkreis district, in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. Since 1 July 2009, it has been part of the town Lützen....

, near Leipzig
Leipzig
Leipzig Leipzig has always been a trade city, situated during the time of the Holy Roman Empire at the intersection of the Via Regia and Via Imperii, two important trade routes. At one time, Leipzig was one of the major European centres of learning and culture in fields such as music and publishing...

, in the Prussia
Prussia
Prussia was a German kingdom and historic state originating out of the Duchy of Prussia and the Margraviate of Brandenburg. For centuries, the House of Hohenzollern ruled Prussia, successfully expanding its size by way of an unusually well-organized and effective army. Prussia shaped the history...

n Province of Saxony
Province of Saxony
The Province of Saxony was a province of the Kingdom of Prussia and later the Free State of Prussia from 1816 until 1945. Its capital was Magdeburg.-History:The province was created in 1816 out of the following territories:...

. He was named after King Frederick William IV of Prussia
Frederick William IV of Prussia
|align=right|Upon his accession, he toned down the reactionary policies enacted by his father, easing press censorship and promising to enact a constitution at some point, but he refused to enact a popular legislative assembly, preferring to work with the aristocracy through "united committees" of...

, who turned 49 on the day of Nietzsche's birth. (Nietzsche later dropped his given middle name, "Wilhelm".) Nietzsche's parents, Carl Ludwig Nietzsche (1813–1849), a Lutheran
Lutheranism
Lutheranism is a major branch of Western Christianity that identifies with the theology of Martin Luther, a German reformer. Luther's efforts to reform the theology and practice of the church launched the Protestant Reformation...

 pastor
Pastor
The word pastor usually refers to an ordained leader of a Christian congregation. When used as an ecclesiastical styling or title, this role may be abbreviated to "Pr." or often "Ps"....

 and former teacher, and Franziska Oehler (1826–1897), married in 1843, the year before their son's birth, and had two other children: a daughter, Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche
Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche
Therese Elisabeth Alexandra Förster-Nietzsche , who went by her second name, was the sister of philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche and the creator of the Nietzsche Archive in 1894....

, born in 1846, and a second son, Ludwig Joseph, born in 1848. Nietzsche's father died from a brain ailment in 1849; his younger brother died in 1850. The family then moved to Naumburg
Naumburg
Naumburg is a town in Germany, on the Saale River. It is in the district Burgenlandkreis in the Bundesland of Saxony-Anhalt. It is approximately southwest of Leipzig, south-southwest of Halle, and north-northeast of Jena....

, where they lived with Nietzsche's paternal grandmother and his father's two unmarried sisters. After the death of Nietzsche's grandmother in 1856, the family moved into their own house.

Nietzsche attended a boys' school and then later a private school, where he became friends with Gustav Krug, Rudolf Wagner and Wilhelm Pinder, all of whom came from very respected families.

In 1854, he began to attend Pforta in Naumburg, but after he showed particular talents in music and language, the internationally recognised Schulpforta
Pforta
Pforta, or Schulpforta, is a former Cistercian monastery, Pforta Abbey , near Naumburg on the Saale River in the German state of Saxony-Anhalt. It is now a celebrated German public boarding school, called Landesschule Pforta...

 admitted him as a pupil, and there he continued his studies from 1858 to 1864. Here he became friends with Paul Deussen
Paul Deussen
Paul Jakob Deussen was a German Orientalist and Sanskrit scholar. He was influenced by Arthur Schopenhauer. He was also a friend of Friedrich Nietzsche and Swami Vivekananda.In 1911, he founded the Schopenhauer Society...

 and Carl von Gersdorff. He also found time to work on poems and musical compositions. At Schulpforta, Nietzsche received an important introduction to literature, particularly that of the ancient Greeks and Romans, and for the first time experienced a distance from his family life in a small-town Christian environment. His end of semester exams in March of 1864 showed a "straight I" in Religion and German, a 2a in Greek and Latin, 2b in French, History and Physics, and a "lackluster" 3 in Hebrew and Mathematics.

After graduation in 1864 Nietzsche commenced studies in theology
Theology
Theology is the systematic and rational study of religion and its influences and of the nature of religious truths, or the learned profession acquired by completing specialized training in religious studies, usually at a university or school of divinity or seminary.-Definition:Augustine of Hippo...

 and classical philology at the University of Bonn
University of Bonn
The University of Bonn is a public research university located in Bonn, Germany. Founded in its present form in 1818, as the linear successor of earlier academic institutions, the University of Bonn is today one of the leading universities in Germany. The University of Bonn offers a large number...

. For a short time he and Deussen became members of the Burschenschaft
Burschenschaft
German Burschenschaften are a special type of Studentenverbindungen . Burschenschaften were founded in the 19th century as associations of university students inspired by liberal and nationalistic ideas.-History:-Beginnings 1815–c...

 Frankonia. After one semester (and to the anger of his mother) he stopped his theological studies and lost his faith. This may have happened in part because of his reading around this time of David Strauss
David Strauss
David Friedrich Strauss was a German theologian and writer. He scandalized Christian Europe with his portrayal of the "historical Jesus," whose divine nature he denied...

's Life of Jesus, which had a profound effect on the young Nietzsche, though in an essay entitled Fate and History written in 1862, Nietzsche had already argued that historical research had discredited the central teachings of Christianity. Nietzsche then concentrated on studying philology under Professor Friedrich Wilhelm Ritschl
Friedrich Wilhelm Ritschl
Friedrich Wilhelm Ritschl was a German scholar best known as a student of Plautus.-Biography:He was born in Großvargula, Thuringia. His family, in which culture and poverty were hereditary, were Protestants who had migrated several generations earlier from Bohemia...

, whom he followed to the University of Leipzig
University of Leipzig
The University of Leipzig , located in Leipzig in the Free State of Saxony, Germany, is one of the oldest universities in the world and the second-oldest university in Germany...

 the next year. There he became close friends with fellow-student Erwin Rohde
Erwin Rohde
Erwin Rohde was one of the great German classical scholars of the 19th and early 20th centuries.Rohde was born in Hamburg and was the son of a doctor. Outside of antiquarian circles, Rohde is known today chiefly for his friendship and correspondence with fellow-philologist Friedrich Nietzsche...

. Nietzsche's first philological publications appeared soon after.

In 1865 Nietzsche thoroughly studied the works of Arthur Schopenhauer
Arthur Schopenhauer
Arthur Schopenhauer was a German philosopher known for his pessimism and philosophical clarity. At age 25, he published his doctoral dissertation, On the Fourfold Root of the Principle of Sufficient Reason, which examined the four separate manifestations of reason in the phenomenal...

. He owed the awakening of his philosophical interest to reading his Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung (The World as Will and Representation) and later admitted that he was one of the few thinkers that he respected, dedicating to him his essay Schopenhauer als Erzieher (Schopenhauer as Educator), one of his Untimely Meditations.

In 1866 he read Friedrich Albert Lange
Friedrich Albert Lange
Friedrich Albert Lange , was a German philosopher and sociologist.-Biography:Lange was born in Wald, near Solingen, the son of the theologian, Johann Peter Lange. He was educated at Duisburg, Zürich and Bonn, where he distinguished himself in gymnastics as much as academically...

's History of Materialism
Geschichte des Materialismus
Geschichte des Materialismus und Kritik seiner Bedeutung in der Gegenwart is a philosophical work by Friedrich Albert Lange, originally written in German and published in October 1865 . Lange vastly extended the second edition published in two volumes in 1873–75...

. Schopenhauer and Lange influenced him. Schopenhauer was especially significant in the development of Nietzsche's later thought. Lange's descriptions of Kant's anti-materialistic philosophy, the rise of European Materialism, Europe's increased concern with science, Darwin's
Charles Darwin
Charles Robert Darwin FRS was an English naturalist. He established that all species of life have descended over time from common ancestry, and proposed the scientific theory that this branching pattern of evolution resulted from a process that he called natural selection.He published his theory...

 theory, and the general rebellion against tradition and authority greatly intrigued Nietzsche. The cultural environment encouraged him to expand his horizons beyond philology and to continue his study of philosophy.

In 1867 Nietzsche signed up for one year of voluntary service with the Prussian artillery division in Naumburg. However, a riding accident in March 1868 left him unfit for service. Consequently Nietzsche turned his attention to his studies again, completing them and first meeting with Richard Wagner
Richard Wagner
Wilhelm Richard Wagner was a German composer, conductor, theatre director, philosopher, music theorist, poet, essayist and writer primarily known for his operas...

 later that year.

Professor at Basel (1869–1879)



In part because of Ritschl's support, Nietzsche received a remarkable offer to become professor of classical philology
Classical philology
Classical philology is the study of ancient Greek and classical Latin. Classical philology has been defined as "the careful study of the literary and philosophical texts of the ancient Greek and Roman worlds." Greek and Latin literature and civilization have traditionally been considered...

 at the University of Basel
University of Basel
The University of Basel is located in Basel, Switzerland, and is considered to be one of leading universities in the country...

. He was only 24 years old and had neither completed his doctorate nor received his teaching certificate. Despite the fact that the offer came at a time when he was considering giving up philology for science, he accepted. To this day, Nietzsche is still among the youngest of the tenured Classics professors on record. Before moving to Basel, Nietzsche renounced his Prussian citizenship: for the rest of his life he remained officially stateless.

Nevertheless, Nietzsche served in the Prussian forces during the Franco-Prussian War
Franco-Prussian War
The Franco-Prussian War or Franco-German War, often referred to in France as the 1870 War was a conflict between the Second French Empire and the Kingdom of Prussia. Prussia was aided by the North German Confederation, of which it was a member, and the South German states of Baden, Württemberg and...

 of 1870 to 1871 as a medical orderly
Orderly
A medical orderly , is a hospital attendant whose job consists of assisting medical and/or nursing staff with various nursing and/or medical interventions. These duties are classified as routine tasks involving no risk for the patient.- Job details :Orderlies are often utilized in various hospital...

. In his short time in the military he experienced much, and witnessed the traumatic effects of battle. He also contracted diphtheria
Diphtheria
Diphtheria is an upper respiratory tract illness caused by Corynebacterium diphtheriae, a facultative anaerobic, Gram-positive bacterium. It is characterized by sore throat, low fever, and an adherent membrane on the tonsils, pharynx, and/or nasal cavity...

 and dysentery
Dysentery
Dysentery is an inflammatory disorder of the intestine, especially of the colon, that results in severe diarrhea containing mucus and/or blood in the faeces with fever and abdominal pain. If left untreated, dysentery can be fatal.There are differences between dysentery and normal bloody diarrhoea...

. Walter Kaufmann speculates that he might also have contracted syphilis
Syphilis
Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection caused by the spirochete bacterium Treponema pallidum subspecies pallidum. The primary route of transmission is through sexual contact; however, it may also be transmitted from mother to fetus during pregnancy or at birth, resulting in congenital syphilis...

 along with his other infections at this time, and some biographers speculate that syphilis caused his eventual dementia, though there is some disagreement on this matter. On returning to Basel in 1870 Nietzsche observed the establishment of the German Empire
German Empire
The German Empire refers to Germany during the "Second Reich" period from the unification of Germany and proclamation of Wilhelm I as German Emperor on 18 January 1871, to 1918, when it became a federal republic after defeat in World War I and the abdication of the Emperor, Wilhelm II.The German...

 and the following era of Otto von Bismarck
Otto von Bismarck
Otto Eduard Leopold, Prince of Bismarck, Duke of Lauenburg , simply known as Otto von Bismarck, was a Prussian-German statesman whose actions unified Germany, made it a major player in world affairs, and created a balance of power that kept Europe at peace after 1871.As Minister President of...

 as an outsider and with a degree of skepticism regarding its genuineness. At the University, he delivered his inaugural lecture, "Homer and Classical Philology". Nietzsche also met Franz Overbeck
Franz Overbeck
Franz Camille Overbeck was a German Protestant theologian. In Anglo-American discourse, he is perhaps best known in regard to his friendship with Friedrich Nietzsche; while in German theological circles, Overbeck remains discussed for his own contributions.- Youth :Franz Overbeck was born in Saint...

, a professor of theology
Theology
Theology is the systematic and rational study of religion and its influences and of the nature of religious truths, or the learned profession acquired by completing specialized training in religious studies, usually at a university or school of divinity or seminary.-Definition:Augustine of Hippo...

, who remained his friend throughout his life; Afrikan Spir,
a little-known Russian philosopher and author of Denken und Wirklichkeit (1873); and his colleague the historian Jacob Burckhardt
Jacob Burckhardt
Carl Jacob Christoph Burckhardt was a historian of art and culture, and an influential figure in the historiography of each field. He is known as one of the major progenitors of cultural history, albeit in a form very different from how cultural history is conceived and studied in academia today...

, whose lectures Nietzsche frequently attended, began to exercise significant influence on Nietzsche during this time.

Nietzsche had already met Richard Wagner
Richard Wagner
Wilhelm Richard Wagner was a German composer, conductor, theatre director, philosopher, music theorist, poet, essayist and writer primarily known for his operas...

 in Leipzig in 1868, and (some time later) Wagner's wife Cosima
Cosima Wagner
Cosima Francesca Gaetana Wagner, née de Flavigny, from 1844 known as Cosima Liszt; was the daughter of Hungarian composer Franz Liszt...

. Nietzsche admired both greatly, and during his time at Basel frequently visited Wagner's house in Tribschen
Tribschen
Tribschen is a suburb of Lucerne, in the Canton of Lucerne in central Switzerland.Tribschen is best known today as the home of the German composer Richard Wagner from 30 March 1866 to 22 April 1872. When Wagner was obliged to leave Munich in March 1866, he moved to a spacious villa in Tribschen on...

 in the Canton of Lucerne
Canton of Lucerne
Lucerne is a canton of Switzerland. It is located in the centre of Switzerland. The population of the canton is . , the population included 57,268 foreigners, or about 15.8% of the total population. The cantonal capital is Lucerne.-History:...

. The Wagners brought Nietzsche into their most intimate circle, and enjoyed the attention he gave to the beginning of the Bayreuth Festival Theatre
Bayreuth Festspielhaus
The or Bayreuth Festival Theatre is an opera house north of Bayreuth, Germany, dedicated solely to the performance of operas by the 19th-century German composer Richard Wagner...

. In 1870 he gave Cosima Wagner the manuscript of 'The Genesis of the Tragic Idea' as a birthday gift. In 1872 Nietzsche published his first book, The Birth of Tragedy
The Birth of Tragedy
The Birth of Tragedy from the Spirit of Music is a 19th-century work of dramatic theory by the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. It was reissued in 1886 as The Birth of Tragedy, Or: Hellenism and Pessimism ...

. However, his colleagues in the field of classical philology, including Ritschl, expressed little enthusiasm for the work, in which Nietzsche eschewed the classical philologic method in favor of a more speculative approach. In a polemic
Polemic
A polemic is a variety of arguments or controversies made against one opinion, doctrine, or person. Other variations of argument are debate and discussion...

, Philology of the Future, Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff
Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff
Enno Friedrich Wichard Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff was a German Classical Philologist. Wilamowitz, as he is known in scholarly circles, was a renowned authority on Ancient Greece and its literature.- Youth :...

 dampened the book's reception and increased its notoriety. In response, Rohde (by now a professor in Kiel
Kiel
Kiel is the capital and most populous city in the northern German state of Schleswig-Holstein, with a population of 238,049 .Kiel is approximately north of Hamburg. Due to its geographic location in the north of Germany, the southeast of the Jutland peninsula, and the southwestern shore of the...

) and Wagner came to Nietzsche's defense. Nietzsche remarked freely about the isolation he felt within the philological community and attempted to attain a position in philosophy at Basel, though unsuccessfully.

Between 1873 and 1876, Nietzsche published separately four long essays: David Strauss: the Confessor and the Writer, On the Use and Abuse of History for Life, Schopenhauer as Educator, and Richard Wagner in Bayreuth. (These four later appeared in a collected edition under the title, Untimely Meditations.) The four essays shared the orientation of a cultural critique, challenging the developing German culture along lines suggested by Schopenhauer and Wagner. In 1873, Nietzsche also began to accumulate notes that would be posthumously published as Philosophy in the Tragic Age of the Greeks
Philosophy in the Tragic Age of the Greeks
Philosophy in the Tragic Age of the Greeks is a publication of an incomplete book by Friedrich Nietzsche. He had a clean copy made from his notes with the intention of publication. The notes were written around 1873. In it he discussed five Greek philosophers from the sixth and fifth centuries B.C....

. During this time, in the circle of the Wagners, Nietzsche met Malwida von Meysenbug
Malwida von Meysenbug
Malwida von Meysenbug was a German writer, who was a friend of Friedrich Nietzsche and Richard Wagner. She also met the French writer Romain Rolland in Rome in 1890, and is the author of Memories of an Idealist. She published the first volume anonymously in 1869.Von Meysenbug was born at Kassel,...

 and Hans von Bülow
Hans von Bülow
Hans Guido Freiherr von Bülow was a German conductor, virtuoso pianist, and composer of the Romantic era. He was one of the most famous conductors of the 19th century, and his activity was critical for establishing the successes of several major composers of the time, including Richard...

, and also began a friendship with Paul Rée
Paul Rée
Paul Ludwig Carl Heinrich Rée was a German author and philosopher, and friend of Friedrich Nietzsche.-Biography:...

, who in 1876 influenced him in dismissing the pessimism in his early writings. However, he was deeply disappointed by the Bayreuth Festival
Bayreuth Festival
The Bayreuth Festival is a music festival held annually in Bayreuth, Germany, at which performances of operas by the 19th century German composer Richard Wagner are presented...

 of 1876, where the banality of the shows and the baseness of the public repelled him. He was also alienated by Wagner's championing of 'German culture', which Nietzsche thought a contradiction in terms, as well as by Wagner's celebration of his fame among the German public. All this contributed to Nietzsche's subsequent decision to distance himself from Wagner.

With the publication of Human, All Too Human
Human, All Too Human
Human, All Too Human , subtitled A Book for Free Spirits , is a book by 19th century philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, originally published in 1878...

in 1878 (a book of aphorisms on subjects ranging from metaphysics to morality and from religion to the sexes) Nietzsche's reaction against the pessimistic philosophy of Wagner and Schopenhauer became evident, as well as the influence of Afrikan Spir's Denken und Wirklichkeit. Nietzsche's friendship with Deussen and Rohde cooled as well. In 1879, after a significant decline in health, Nietzsche had to resign his position at Basel. (Since his childhood, various disruptive illnesses had plagued him, including moments of shortsightedness that left him nearly blind, migraine headaches, and violent indigestion. The 1868 riding accident and diseases in 1870 may have aggravated these persistent conditions, which continued to affect him through his years at Basel, forcing him to take longer and longer holidays until regular work became impractical.)

Independent philosopher (1879–1888)


Because his illness drove him to find climates more conducive to his health, Nietzsche traveled frequently, and lived until 1889 as an independent author in different cities. He spent many summers in Sils Maria
Sils im Engadin/Segl
Sils im Engadin/Segl is a municipality in the district of Maloja in the Swiss canton of Graubünden.-Name and coat of arms:The municipality's name is a combination of the German and Romansh names. Sils im Engadin is the German name while Segl is the Romansh. The coat of arms is Per fess Azure a...

, near St. Moritz
St. Moritz
St. Moritz is a resort town in the Engadine valley in Switzerland. It is a municipality in the district of Maloja in the Swiss canton of Graubünden...

 in Switzerland, and many winters in the Italian cities of Genoa
Genoa
Genoa |Ligurian]] Zena ; Latin and, archaically, English Genua) is a city and an important seaport in northern Italy, the capital of the Province of Genoa and of the region of Liguria....

, Rapallo
Rapallo
Rapallo is a municipality in the province of Genoa, in Liguria, northern Italy. As of 2007 it counts approximately 34,000 inhabitants, it is part of the Tigullio Gulf and is located in between Portofino and Chiavari....

 and Turin
Turin
Turin is a city and major business and cultural centre in northern Italy, capital of the Piedmont region, located mainly on the left bank of the Po River and surrounded by the Alpine arch. The population of the city proper is 909,193 while the population of the urban area is estimated by Eurostat...

 and in the French city of Nice
Nice
Nice is the fifth most populous city in France, after Paris, Marseille, Lyon and Toulouse, with a population of 348,721 within its administrative limits on a land area of . The urban area of Nice extends beyond the administrative city limits with a population of more than 955,000 on an area of...

. In 1881, when France occupied Tunisia
French occupation of Tunisia
The French conquest of Tunisia occurred in two phases in 1881: the first consisting of the invasion and securing of the country before the signing of a treaty of protection, and the second consisting in the suppression of a rebellion...

, he planned to travel to Tunis
Tunis
Tunis is the capital of both the Tunisian Republic and the Tunis Governorate. It is Tunisia's largest city, with a population of 728,453 as of 2004; the greater metropolitan area holds some 2,412,500 inhabitants....

 to view Europe from the outside, but later abandoned that idea (probably for health reasons). While in Genoa
Genoa
Genoa |Ligurian]] Zena ; Latin and, archaically, English Genua) is a city and an important seaport in northern Italy, the capital of the Province of Genoa and of the region of Liguria....

, Nietzsche's failing eyesight prompted him to explore the use of typewriter
Typewriter
A typewriter is a mechanical or electromechanical device with keys that, when pressed, cause characters to be printed on a medium, usually paper. Typically one character is printed per keypress, and the machine prints the characters by making ink impressions of type elements similar to the pieces...

s as a means of continuing to write. He is known to have tried using the Hansen Writing Ball, a contemporary typewriter device.

Nietzsche occasionally returned to Naumburg to visit his family, and, especially during this time, he and his sister
Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche
Therese Elisabeth Alexandra Förster-Nietzsche , who went by her second name, was the sister of philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche and the creator of the Nietzsche Archive in 1894....

 had repeated periods of conflict and reconciliation. He lived on his pension from Basel, but also received aid from friends.

A past student of his, Peter Gast (born Heinrich Köselitz), became a sort of private secretary to Nietzsche. In 1876, Koselitz transcribed the crabbed, nearly illegible handwriting of Nietzsche for the first time with Richard Wagner in Bayreuth. He would go on to both transcribe and proofread the galleys for almost all of Nietzsche's work from there on. On at least one occasion, February 23, 1880, the usually broke Koselitz received 200 marks from their mutual friend, Paul Ree. Koselitz was one of the very few friends Nietzsche allowed to criticize him. In responding most enthusiastically to "Zarathusa," Koselitz did feel it necessary to point out that what were described as "superfluous" people were in fact quite necessary. He went on to list the number of people Epicurus, for example, had to rely on -- even with his simple diet of goat cheese.

To the end of his life, Gast and Overbeck remained consistently faithful friends. Malwida von Meysenbug remained like a motherly patron even outside the Wagner circle. Soon Nietzsche made contact with the music-critic Carl Fuchs. Nietzsche stood at the beginning of his most productive period. Beginning with Human, All Too Human
Human, All Too Human
Human, All Too Human , subtitled A Book for Free Spirits , is a book by 19th century philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, originally published in 1878...

in 1878, Nietzsche would publish one book (or major section of a book) each year until 1888, his last year of writing, during which he completed five.

In 1882 Nietzsche published the first part of The Gay Science
The Gay Science
The Gay Science is a book written by Friedrich Nietzsche, first published in 1882 and followed by a second edition, which was published after the completion of Thus Spoke Zarathustra and Beyond Good and Evil, in 1887. This substantial expansion includes a fifth book and an appendix of songs...

. That year he also met Lou Andreas Salomé, through Malwida von Meysenbug and Paul Rée. Nietzsche and Salomé spent the summer together in Tautenburg
Tautenburg
Tautenburg, a municipality in the Saale-Holzland district in Thuringia in Germany, houses the Karl Schwarzschild Observatory....

 in Thuringia
Thuringia
The Free State of Thuringia is a state of Germany, located in the central part of the country.It has an area of and 2.29 million inhabitants, making it the sixth smallest by area and the fifth smallest by population of Germany's sixteen states....

, often with Nietzsche's sister Elisabeth as a chaperone. Nietzsche, however, regarded Salomé less as an equal partner than as a gifted student. Salomé reports that he asked her to marry him and that she refused, though the reliability of her reports of events has come into question. Nietzsche's relationship with Rée and Salomé broke up in the winter of 1882/1883, partially because of intrigues conducted by Nietzsche's sister Elisabeth. Amidst renewed bouts of illness, living in near isolation after a falling-out with his mother and sister regarding Salomé, Nietzsche fled to Rapallo. Here he wrote the first part of Thus Spoke Zarathustra
Thus Spoke Zarathustra
Thus Spoke Zarathustra: A Book for All and None is a philosophical novel by German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, composed in four parts between 1883 and 1885...

in only ten days.

By 1882, Nietzsche was taking huge doses of opium, but was still having trouble sleeping. In 1883, while staying in Nice, he was writing out his own prescriptions for the sleeping powder chloralhydrate, signing them 'Dr Nietzsche'.

After severing his philosophical ties with Schopenhauer and his social ties with Wagner, Nietzsche had few remaining friends. Now, with the new style of Zarathustra, his work became even more alienating and the market received it only to the degree required by politeness. Nietzsche recognized this and maintained his solitude, though he often complained about it. His books remained largely unsold. In 1885 he printed only 40 copies of the fourth part of Zarathustra, and distributed only a fraction of these among close friends, including Helene von Druskowitz
Helene von Druskowitz
Helene von Druskowitz was an Austrian philosopher, writer and music critic. She was the second woman to obtain a Doctorate in Philosophy, which she obtained in Zürich...

.

In 1883 he tried and failed to obtain a lecturing post at the University of Leipzig
University of Leipzig
The University of Leipzig , located in Leipzig in the Free State of Saxony, Germany, is one of the oldest universities in the world and the second-oldest university in Germany...

. It was made clear to him that, in view of the attitude towards Christianity and the concept of God expressed in Zarathustra, he had become in effect unemployable at any German University. The subsequent "feelings of revenge and resentment" embittered him. "And hence my rage since I have grasped in the broadest possible sense what wretched means (the depreciation of my good name, my character and my aims) suffice to take from me the trust of, and therewith the possibility of obtaining, pupils."

In 1886 Nietzsche broke with his editor, Ernst Schmeitzner, disgusted by his anti-Semitic opinions. Nietzsche saw his own writings as "completely buried and unexhumeable in this anti-Semitic dump" of Schmeitzner—associating the editor with a movement that should be "utterly rejected with cold contempt by every sensible mind". He then printed Beyond Good and Evil
Beyond Good and Evil
Beyond Good and Evil is a book by the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, first published in 1886.It takes up and expands on the ideas of his previous work, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, but approached from a more critical, polemical direction....

at his own expense, and issued in 1886–1887 second editions of his earlier works (The Birth of Tragedy, Human, All Too Human
Human, All Too Human
Human, All Too Human , subtitled A Book for Free Spirits , is a book by 19th century philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, originally published in 1878...

, Dawn, and The Gay Science), accompanied by new prefaces in which he reconsidered his earlier works. Thereafter, he saw his work as completed for a time and hoped that soon a readership would develop. In fact, interest in Nietzsche's thought did increase at this time, if rather slowly and in a way hardly perceived by him. During these years Nietzsche met Meta von Salis, Carl Spitteler
Carl Spitteler
Carl Friedrich Georg Spitteler was a Swiss poet who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1919. His work includes both pessimistic and heroic poems....

, and also Gottfried Keller
Gottfried Keller
Gottfried Keller , a Swiss writer of German-language literature, was best known for his novel Green Henry .- Life and work :...

. In 1886 his sister Elisabeth married the anti-Semite Bernhard Förster
Bernhard Förster
Bernhard Förster was a nineteenth century German teacher...

 and traveled to Paraguay
Paraguay
Paraguay , officially the Republic of Paraguay , is a landlocked country in South America. It is bordered by Argentina to the south and southwest, Brazil to the east and northeast, and Bolivia to the northwest. Paraguay lies on both banks of the Paraguay River, which runs through the center of the...

 to found Nueva Germania
Nueva Germania
Nueva Germania is a district of San Pedro Department in Paraguay. It was founded as a German colony on August 23, 1887 by Bernhard Förster, who was married to Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche, sister of the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche...

, a "Germanic" colony—a plan to which Nietzsche responded with mocking laughter. Through correspondence, Nietzsche's relationship with Elisabeth continued on the path of conflict and reconciliation, but they would meet again only after his collapse. He continued to have frequent and painful attacks of illness, which made prolonged work impossible. In 1887 Nietzsche wrote the polemic
Polemic
A polemic is a variety of arguments or controversies made against one opinion, doctrine, or person. Other variations of argument are debate and discussion...

 On the Genealogy of Morals.

During the same year Nietzsche encountered the work of Fyodor Dostoevsky
Fyodor Dostoevsky
Fyodor Mikhaylovich Dostoyevsky was a Russian writer of novels, short stories and essays. He is best known for his novels Crime and Punishment, The Idiot and The Brothers Karamazov....

, with whom he felt an immediate kinship. He also exchanged letters with Hippolyte Taine
Hippolyte Taine
Hippolyte Adolphe Taine was a French critic and historian. He was the chief theoretical influence of French naturalism, a major proponent of sociological positivism, and one of the first practitioners of historicist criticism. Literary historicism as a critical movement has been said to originate...

, and then also with Georg Brandes
Georg Brandes
Georg Morris Cohen Brandes was a Danish critic and scholar who had great influence on Scandinavian and European literature from the 1870s through the turn of the 20th century. He is seen as the theorist behind the "Modern Breakthrough" of Scandinavian culture...

. Brandes, who had started to teach the philosophy of Søren Kierkegaard
Søren Kierkegaard
Søren Aabye Kierkegaard was a Danish Christian philosopher, theologian and religious author. He was a critic of idealist intellectuals and philosophers of his time, such as Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling and Karl Wilhelm Friedrich Schlegel...

 in the 1870s, wrote to Nietzsche asking him to read Kierkegaard, to which Nietzsche replied that he would come to Copenhagen and read Kierkegaard with him. However, before fulfilling this undertaking, he slipped too far into sickness. In the beginning of 1888, in Copenhagen, Brandes delivered one of the first lectures on Nietzsche's philosophy.

Although Nietzsche had in 1886 announced (at the end of On The Genealogy of Morality) a new work with the title The Will to Power
The Will to Power
The Will to Power is the title given to a book of selectively reordered notes from the literary remains of Friedrich Nietzsche by his sister Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche and Heinrich Köselitz...

: Attempt at a Revaluation of All Values
, he eventually seems to have abandoned this particular approach and instead used some of the draft passages to compose Twilight of the Idols
Twilight of the Idols
Twilight of the Idols, or, How to Philosophize with a Hammer is a book by Friedrich Nietzsche, written in 1888, and published in 1889.-Genesis:...

and The Antichrist
The Antichrist (book)
The Antichrist is a book by the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, originally published in 1895. Although it was written in 1888, its controversial content made Franz Overbeck and Heinrich Köselitz delay its publication, along with Ecce Homo...

(both written in 1888).

His health seemed to improve, and he spent the summer in high spirits. In the fall of 1888 his writings and letters began to reveal a higher estimation of his own status and "fate." He overestimated the increasing response to his writings, especially to the recent polemic, The Case of Wagner
The Case of Wagner
The Case of Wagner is a German book by the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, originally published in 1888. Subtitled "A Musician's Problem", it has also been known as "The Wagner Case" in English.-Contents:...

. On his 44th birthday, after completing Twilight of the Idols and The Antichrist, he decided to write the autobiography Ecce Homo. In the preface to this work—which suggests Nietzsche was well aware of the interpretive difficulties his work would generate—he declares, "Hear me! For I am such and such a person. Above all, do not mistake me for someone else." In December, Nietzsche began a correspondence with August Strindberg
August Strindberg
Johan August Strindberg was a Swedish playwright, novelist, poet, essayist and painter. A prolific writer who often drew directly on his personal experience, Strindberg's career spanned four decades, during which time he wrote over 60 plays and more than 30 works of fiction, autobiography,...

, and thought that, short of an international breakthrough, he would attempt to buy back his older writings from the publisher and have them translated into other European languages. Moreover, he planned the publication of the compilation Nietzsche Contra Wagner
Nietzsche contra Wagner
"Nietzsche contra Wagner" is a critical essay by Friedrich Nietzsche, composed of recycled passages from his past works, written in his last year of lucidity . It was not published until 1895, six years after Nietzsche's mental collapse. In it Nietzsche describes why he parted ways with his...

and of the poems that composed his collection Dionysian-Dithyramb
Dithyramb
The dithyramb was an ancient Greek hymn sung and danced in honour of Dionysus, the god of wine and fertility; the term was also used as an epithet of the god: Plato, in The Laws, while discussing various kinds of music mentions "the birth of Dionysos, called, I think, the dithyramb." Plato also...

s.

Mental breakdown and death (1889–1900)


On January 3, 1889, Nietzsche suffered a mental collapse. Two policemen approached him after he caused a public disturbance in the streets of Turin. What happened remains unknown, but an often-repeated tale states that Nietzsche witnessed the whipping of a horse at the other end of the Piazza Carlo Alberto, ran to the horse, threw his arms up around its neck to protect the horse, and then collapsed to the ground.

In the following few days, Nietzsche sent short writings—known as the Wahnbriefe ("Madness Letters")—to a number of friends (including Cosima Wagner
Cosima Wagner
Cosima Francesca Gaetana Wagner, née de Flavigny, from 1844 known as Cosima Liszt; was the daughter of Hungarian composer Franz Liszt...

 and Jacob Burckhardt
Jacob Burckhardt
Carl Jacob Christoph Burckhardt was a historian of art and culture, and an influential figure in the historiography of each field. He is known as one of the major progenitors of cultural history, albeit in a form very different from how cultural history is conceived and studied in academia today...

). To his former colleague Burckhardt, Nietzsche wrote: "I have had Caiaphas
Caiaphas
Joseph, son of Caiaphas, Hebrew יוסף בַּר קַיָּפָא or Yosef Bar Kayafa, commonly known simply as Caiaphas in the New Testament, was the Roman-appointed Jewish high priest who is said to have organized the plot to kill Jesus...

 put in fetters
Fetters
Legcuffs, shackles, footcuffs, fetters or leg irons are a kind of physical restraint used on the feet or ankles to allow walking but prevent running and kicking. The term "fetter" shares a root with the word "foot"....

. Also, last year I was crucified by the German doctors in a very drawn-out manner. Wilhelm, Bismarck
Otto von Bismarck
Otto Eduard Leopold, Prince of Bismarck, Duke of Lauenburg , simply known as Otto von Bismarck, was a Prussian-German statesman whose actions unified Germany, made it a major player in world affairs, and created a balance of power that kept Europe at peace after 1871.As Minister President of...

, and all anti-Semites abolished." Additionally, he commanded the German emperor to go to Rome to be shot, and summoned the European powers to take military action against Germany.

On January 6, 1889, Burckhardt showed the letter he had received from Nietzsche to Overbeck. The following day Overbeck received a similarly revealing letter, and decided that Nietzsche's friends had to bring him back to Basel. Overbeck traveled to Turin and brought Nietzsche to a psychiatric clinic in Basel. By that time Nietzsche appeared fully in the grip of a serious mental illness, and his mother Franziska decided to transfer him to a clinic in Jena
Jena
Jena is a university city in central Germany on the river Saale. It has a population of approx. 103,000 and is the second largest city in the federal state of Thuringia, after Erfurt.-History:Jena was first mentioned in an 1182 document...

 under the direction of Otto Binswanger
Otto Binswanger
Otto Ludwig Binswanger was a Swiss psychiatrist and neurologist who came from a famous family of physicians; his father was founder of the Kreuzlingen Sanatorium, and he was uncle to Ludwig Binswanger who was a major figure in the existential psychology movement...

. From November 1889 to February 1890 the art historian Julius Langbehn
Julius Langbehn
Julius Langbehn was a German conservative art historian and philosopher. He was born in Hadersleben, Schleswig .-Work:* Rembrandt als Erzieher * 40 Lieder von einem Deutschen...

 attempted to cure Nietzsche, claiming that the methods of the medical doctors were ineffective in treating Nietzsche's condition. Langbehn assumed progressively greater control of Nietzsche until his secretiveness discredited him. In March 1890 Franziska removed Nietzsche from the clinic, and in May 1890 brought him to her home in Naumburg. During this process Overbeck and Gast contemplated what to do with Nietzsche's unpublished works. In January 1889 they proceeded with the planned release of Twilight of the Idols, by that time already printed and bound. In February they ordered a fifty copy private edition of Nietzsche contra Wagner, but the publisher C. G. Naumann secretly printed one hundred. Overbeck and Gast decided to withhold publishing The Antichrist and Ecce Homo because of their more radical content. Nietzsche's reception and recognition enjoyed their first surge.

In 1893 Nietzsche's sister Elisabeth returned from Nueva Germania
Nueva Germania
Nueva Germania is a district of San Pedro Department in Paraguay. It was founded as a German colony on August 23, 1887 by Bernhard Förster, who was married to Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche, sister of the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche...

 (in Paraguay) following the suicide of her husband. She read and studied Nietzsche's works, and piece by piece took control of them and of their publication. Overbeck eventually suffered dismissal, and Gast finally cooperated. After the death of Franziska in 1897 Nietzsche lived in Weimar
Weimar
Weimar is a city in Germany famous for its cultural heritage. It is located in the federal state of Thuringia , north of the Thüringer Wald, east of Erfurt, and southwest of Halle and Leipzig. Its current population is approximately 65,000. The oldest record of the city dates from the year 899...

, where Elisabeth cared for him and allowed people, including Rudolf Steiner
Rudolf Steiner
Rudolf Joseph Lorenz Steiner was an Austrian philosopher, social reformer, architect, and esotericist. He gained initial recognition as a literary critic and cultural philosopher...

 (who in 1895 had written one of the first books praising Nietzsche) to visit her uncommunicative brother. Elisabeth at one point went so far as to employ Steiner–at a time when he was still an ardent fighter against any mysticism–as a tutor to help her to understand her brother's philosophy. Steiner abandoned the attempt after only a few months, declaring that it was impossible to teach her anything about philosophy.

Nietzsche's mental illness was originally diagnosed as tertiary syphilis, in accordance with a prevailing medical paradigm of the time. Although most commentators regard his breakdown as unrelated to his philosophy Georges Bataille
Georges Bataille
Georges Bataille was a French writer. His multifaceted work is linked to the domains of literature, anthropology, philosophy, economy, sociology and history of art...

 drops dark hints ("'man incarnate' must also go mad") and René Girard
René Girard
René Girard is a French historian, literary critic, and philosopher of social science. His work belongs to the tradition of anthropological philosophy...

's postmortem psychoanalysis posits a worshipful rivalry with Richard Wagner
Richard Wagner
Wilhelm Richard Wagner was a German composer, conductor, theatre director, philosopher, music theorist, poet, essayist and writer primarily known for his operas...

. The diagnosis of syphilis was challenged, and manic-depressive illness with periodic psychosis, followed by vascular dementia was put forward by Cybulska prior Schain's; and Sax's studies;. Orth and Trimble postulate frontotemporal dementia
Frontotemporal dementia
Frontotemporal dementia is a clinical syndrome caused by degeneration of the frontal lobe of the brain and may extend back to the temporal lobe...

, while other researchers propose a syndrome called CADASIL.

In 1898 and 1899 Nietzsche suffered at least two strokes, which partially paralysed him and left him unable to speak or walk. After contracting pneumonia in mid-August 1900 he had another stroke during the night of August 24 / August 25, and died about noon on August 25. Elisabeth had him buried beside his father at the church in Röcken
Röcken
Röcken is a village and a former municipality in the Burgenlandkreis district, in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. Since 1 July 2009, it has been part of the town Lützen....

 bei Lützen
Lützen
' is a town in the Burgenlandkreis district, in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. It is situated approx. 14 km northeast of Weißenfels, and 18 km southwest of Leipzig.The town was the scene of two famous battles:...

. His friend, Gast, gave his funeral oration, proclaiming: "Holy be your name to all future generations!" Nietzsche had written in Ecce Homo (at the time of the funeral still unpublished) of his fear that one day his name would be regarded as "holy".

Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche compiled
The Will to Power from Nietzsche's unpublished notebooks, and published it posthumously. Because his sister arranged the book based on her own conflation of several of Nietzsche's early outlines, and took great liberties with the material, the consensus holds that it does not reflect Nietzsche's intent. Indeed, Mazzino Montinari
Mazzino Montinari
Mazzino Montinari was an Italian scholar of Germanistics. A native of Lucca, he became regarded as one of the most distinguished researchers on Friedrich Nietzsche, and harshly criticized the edition of The Will to Power, which he regarded as a forgery, in his book The will to power does not...

, the editor of Nietzsche's
Nachlass
Nachlass
Nachlass is a German word, used in academia to describe the collection of manuscripts, notes, correspondence, and so on left behind when a scholar dies. The word is a compound in German: nach means 'after', and the verb lassen means 'leave'. The plural can be either Nachlasse or Nachlässe...

, called it a forgery in The 'Will to Power' Does Not Exist. For example, Elisabeth removed aphorism 35 of The Antichrist, where Nietzsche rewrote a passage of the Bible (see The Will to Power
The Will to Power
The Will to Power is the title given to a book of selectively reordered notes from the literary remains of Friedrich Nietzsche by his sister Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche and Heinrich Köselitz...

 and Nietzsche's criticisms of anti-Semitism and nationalism).

Citizenship, nationality, ethnicity


Nietzsche is commonly classified as a German philosopher. The modern unified nation-state called Germany did not yet exist at the time of his birth, but the German Confederation
German Confederation
The German Confederation was the loose association of Central European states created by the Congress of Vienna in 1815 to coordinate the economies of separate German-speaking countries. It acted as a buffer between the powerful states of Austria and Prussia...

 of states did, and Nietzsche was a citizen of one of these, Prussia—for a time. When he accepted his post at Basel, Nietzsche applied for the annulment of his Prussian citizenship. The official response confirming the revocation of his citizenship came in a document dated April 17, 1869, and for the rest of his life he remained officially stateless
Statelessness
Statelessness is a legal concept describing the lack of any nationality. It is the absence of a recognized link between an individual and any state....

.

According to a common myth, Nietzsche's ancestors were Polish. Nietzsche himself subscribed to this story toward the end of his life. He wrote in 1888, "My ancestors were Polish noblemen (Nietzky); the type seems to have been well preserved despite three generations of German mothers." At one point Nietzsche becomes even more adamant about his Polish Identity. "I am a pure-blooded Polish nobleman, without a single drop of bad blood, certainly not German blood." On yet another occasion Nietzsche stated "Germany is a great nation only because its people have so much Polish blood in their veins [...] I am proud of my Polish descent." Nietzsche believed his name might have been Germanized, in one letter claiming, "I was taught to ascribe the origin of my blood and name to Polish noblemen who were called Niëtzky and left their home and nobleness about a hundred years ago, finally yielding to unbearable suppression: they were Protestants."

Most scholars dispute Nietzsche's account of his family's origins. Hans von Müller debunked the genealogy put forward by Nietzsche's sister in favor of a Polish noble heritage. Max Oehler
Max Oehler
Max Oehler was a German army officer and archivist for the "Nietzsche-Archiv." Oehler pursued his career in the German Empire's military until the end of World War I and the German November Revolution. Under the Weimar Republic, which he opposed, he served as an archivist in his cousin Elisabeth...

, the curator of Nietzsche Archive at Weimar
Weimar
Weimar is a city in Germany famous for its cultural heritage. It is located in the federal state of Thuringia , north of the Thüringer Wald, east of Erfurt, and southwest of Halle and Leipzig. Its current population is approximately 65,000. The oldest record of the city dates from the year 899...

, argued that all of Nietzsche's ancestors bore German names, even the wives' families. Oehler claims that Nietzsche came from a long line of German Lutheran clergymen on both sides of his family, and modern scholars regard the claim of Nietzsche's Polish ancestry as "pure invention." Colli and Montinari, the editors of Nietzsche's assembled letters, gloss Nietzsche's claims as a "mistaken belief" and "without foundation." The name Nietzsche itself is not a Polish name, but an exceptionally common one throughout central Germany, in this and cognate forms (such as Nitsche and Nitzke). The name derives from the forename Nikolaus, abbreviated to Nick; assimilated with the Slavic Nitz, it first became Nitsche and then Nietzsche.

It is not known why Nietzsche wanted to be thought of as Polish nobility. According to biographer R. J. Hollingdale
R. J. Hollingdale
Reginald John Hollingdale was best known as a biographer and a translator of German philosophy and literature, especially the works of Friedrich Nietzsche, Goethe, E.T.A. Hoffmann, G. C. Lichtenberg, and Schopenhauer. Hollingdale was also elected president of The Friedrich Nietzsche Society in 1989...

, Nietzsche's propagation of the Polish ancestry myth may have been part of the latter's "campaign against Germany".

Philosophy


A few of the themes that Nietzsche scholars have devoted the most attention to include Nietzsche's views on morality, his view that "God is dead
God is dead
"God is dead" is a widely-quoted statement by German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. It first appears in The Gay Science , in sections 108 , 125 , and for a third time in section 343...

" (and along with it any sort of God's-eye view on the world thus leading to perspectivism
Perspectivism
Perspectivism is the philosophical view developed by Friedrich Nietzsche that all ideations take place from particular perspectives. This means that there are many possible conceptual schemes, or perspectives in which judgment of truth or value can be made...

), his notions of the will to power
Will to power
The will to power is widely seen as a prominent concept in the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. The will to power describes what Nietzsche may have believed to be the main driving force in man; achievement, ambition, the striving to reach the highest possible position in life; these are all...

 and Übermensch
Übermensch
The Übermensch is a concept in the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. Nietzsche posited the Übermensch as a goal for humanity to set for itself in his 1883 book Thus Spoke Zarathustra ....

, and his suggestion of eternal return
Eternal return
Eternal return is a concept which posits that the universe has been recurring, and will continue to recur, in a self-similar form an infinite number of times across infinite time or space. The concept initially inherent in Indian philosophy was later found in ancient Egypt, and was subsequently...

.

Nietzsche's works remain controversial, due to interpretations and misinterpretations of his work. Common misinterpretations of Nietzsche include the notion that he rejected religious spirituality in its entirety, that he was anti-Semitic, or that he was entirely opposed to Christian beliefs. Nietzsche's concept that "God is dead" applies to the Judeo-Christian faith, though not to other faiths, he claimed that Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

 is a successful religion that he complements for fostering critical thought. While Nietzsche attacked the principles of Judaism
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

, Nietzsche was not anti-Semitic, in his work On the Genealogy of Morality
On the Genealogy of Morality
On the Genealogy of Morality, or On the Genealogy of Morals , subtitled "A Polemic" , is a work by German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, composed and first published in 1887 with the intention of expanding and following through on certain new doctrines sketched out in his previous work Beyond...

, he explicitly condemns anti-Semitism, and pointed out that his attack on Judaism was not an attack on Jews as a people but specifically an attack upon the ancient Jewish priesthood whom he claims anti-Semitic Christians paradoxically based their views upon. He did not attack the teachings and examples of Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

, but claimed that the Christian faith as practiced was not a proper representation of Jesus' teachings, it forced people merely to believe in the way of Jesus, but not to act as Jesus did, in particular Jesus' example of refusing to judge people that Nietzsche claimed Christians had deliberately done the opposite of this. He condemned institutionalized Christianity for emphasizing a morality of pity
Pity
Pity originally means feeling for others, particularly feelings of sadness or sorrow, and was once used in a comparable sense to the more modern words "sympathy" and "empathy"...

, that assumes an inherent illness in society.

Morality


In Daybreak
The Dawn (book)
The Dawn is a book written by the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche in 1881 ....

Nietzsche begins his "Campaign against Morality". He calls himself an "immoralist" and harshly criticizes the prominent moral schemes of his day: Christianity, Kantianism
Kantianism
Kantianism is the philosophy of Immanuel Kant, a German philosopher born in Königsberg, Prussia . The term Kantianism or Kantian is sometimes also used to describe contemporary positions in philosophy of mind, epistemology, and ethics.-Ethics:Kantian ethics are deontological, revolving entirely...

, and utilitarianism
Utilitarianism
Utilitarianism is an ethical theory holding that the proper course of action is the one that maximizes the overall "happiness", by whatever means necessary. It is thus a form of consequentialism, meaning that the moral worth of an action is determined only by its resulting outcome, and that one can...

. In
Ecce Homo
Ecce Homo (book)
Ecce Homo: How One Becomes What One Is is the title of the last original book written by philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche before his final years of insanity that spanned until his death in 1900...

Nietzsche called the establishment of moral systems based on a dichotomy of good and evil a "calamitous error", and wished to initiate a re-evaluation of the values
Value (personal and cultural)
A personal or cultural value is an absolute or relative ethical value, the assumption of which can be the basis for ethical action. A value system is a set of consistent values and measures. A principle value is a foundation upon which other values and measures of integrity are based...

 of the Judeo-Christian world. He indicates his desire to bring about a new, more naturalistic source of value in the vital impulses of life itself.

In
Beyond Good And Evil
Beyond Good and Evil
Beyond Good and Evil is a book by the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, first published in 1886.It takes up and expands on the ideas of his previous work, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, but approached from a more critical, polemical direction....

and On The Genealogy Of Morality, Nietzsche's genealogical account of the development of master-slave morality
Master-slave morality
Master-slave morality is a central theme of Friedrich Nietzsche's works, in particular the first essay of On the Genealogy of Morality. Nietzsche argued that there were two fundamental types of morality: 'Master morality' and 'slave morality'...

 occupies a central place. Nietzsche presents master-morality as the original system of morality—perhaps best associated with Homeric Greece. Here, value arises as a contrast between good and bad, or between 'life-affirming' and 'life-denying': wealth, strength, health, and power, the sort of traits found in a Homeric hero, count as good; while bad is associated with the poor, weak, sick, and pathetic, the sort of traits conventionally associated with slaves in ancient times.

Slave-morality, in contrast, comes about as a reaction to master-morality. Nietzsche associates slave-morality with the Jewish and Christian traditions. Here, value emerges from the contrast between good and evil: good being associated with other-worldliness, charity, piety, restraint, meekness, and submission; evil seen as worldly, cruel, selfish, wealthy, and aggressive. Nietzsche sees slave-morality born out of the ressentiment
Ressentiment
Ressentiment , in philosophy and psychology, is a particular form of resentment or hostility. It is the French word for "resentment" . Ressentiment is a sense of hostility directed at that which one identifies as the cause of one's frustration, that is, an assignment of blame for one's frustration...

 of slaves. It works to overcome the slave's own sense of inferiority before the (better-off) masters. It does so by making out slave weakness to be a matter of choice, by, e.g., relabeling it as "meekness."

Nietzsche sees the slave-morality as a source of the nihilism that has overtaken Europe. In Nietzsche's eyes, modern Europe, and its Christianity, exists in a hypocritical state due to a tension between master and slave morality, both values contradictorily determining, to varying degrees, the values of most Europeans (who are "motley"). Nietzsche calls for exceptional people to no longer be ashamed of their uniqueness in the face of a supposed morality-for-all, which Nietzsche deems to be harmful to the flourishing of exceptional people. However, Nietzsche cautions that morality, per se, is not bad; it is good for the masses, and should be left to them. Exceptional people, on the other hand, should follow their own "inner law." A favorite motto of Nietzsche, taken from Pindar
Pindar
Pindar , was an Ancient Greek lyric poet. Of the canonical nine lyric poets of ancient Greece, his work is the best preserved. Quintilian described him as "by far the greatest of the nine lyric poets, in virtue of his inspired magnificence, the beauty of his thoughts and figures, the rich...

, reads: "Become what you are."

Death of God, nihilism, perspectivism


The statement "God is dead
God is dead
"God is dead" is a widely-quoted statement by German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. It first appears in The Gay Science , in sections 108 , 125 , and for a third time in section 343...

", occurring in several of Nietzsche's works (notably in The Gay Science
The Gay Science
The Gay Science is a book written by Friedrich Nietzsche, first published in 1882 and followed by a second edition, which was published after the completion of Thus Spoke Zarathustra and Beyond Good and Evil, in 1887. This substantial expansion includes a fifth book and an appendix of songs...

), has become one of his best-known remarks. On the basis of it, most commentators regard Nietzsche as an atheist
Atheism
Atheism is, in a broad sense, the rejection of belief in the existence of deities. In a narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities...

; others (such as Kaufmann) suggest that this statement reflects a more subtle understanding of divinity. In Nietzsche's view, recent developments in modern science and the increasing secularization
Secularization
Secularization is the transformation of a society from close identification with religious values and institutions toward non-religious values and secular institutions...

 of European society had effectively 'killed' the Abrahamic God, who had served as the basis for meaning and value in the West for more than a thousand years.

Nietzsche claimed the death of God would eventually lead to the loss of any universal perspective on things, and along with it any coherent sense of objective truth. Instead we would retain only our own multiple, diverse, and fluid perspectives. This view has acquired the name "perspectivism
Perspectivism
Perspectivism is the philosophical view developed by Friedrich Nietzsche that all ideations take place from particular perspectives. This means that there are many possible conceptual schemes, or perspectives in which judgment of truth or value can be made...

".

Alternatively, the death of God may lead beyond bare perspectivism to outright nihilism
Nihilism
Nihilism is the philosophical doctrine suggesting the negation of one or more putatively meaningful aspects of life. Most commonly, nihilism is presented in the form of existential nihilism which argues that life is without objective meaning, purpose, or intrinsic value...

, the belief that nothing has any inherent importance and that life lacks purpose. As Heidegger put the problem, "If God as the suprasensory ground and goal of all reality is dead, if the suprasensory world of the Ideas has suffered the loss of its obligatory and above it its vitalizing and upbuilding power, then nothing more remains to which man can cling and by which he can orient himself." Developing this idea, Nietzsche wrote Thus Spoke Zarathustra
Thus Spoke Zarathustra
Thus Spoke Zarathustra: A Book for All and None is a philosophical novel by German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, composed in four parts between 1883 and 1885...

, therein introducing the concept of a value-creating Übermensch
Übermensch
The Übermensch is a concept in the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. Nietzsche posited the Übermensch as a goal for humanity to set for itself in his 1883 book Thus Spoke Zarathustra ....

. According to Lampert, "the death of God must be followed by a long twilight of piety and nihilism (II. 19; III. 8). […] Zarathustra's gift of the superman is given to a mankind not aware of the problem to which the superman is the solution."

Will to power


A basic element in Nietzsche's philosophical outlook is the "will to power" (der Wille zur Macht), which provides a basis for understanding human behavior. In a wide sense of a term, the will to power is a more important element than pressure for adaptation or survival. According to Nietzsche, only in limited situations is the drive for conservation precedent over the will to power. The natural condition of life, according to him, is one of profusion. In its later forms Nietzsche's concept of the will to power applies to all living things, suggesting that adaptation and the struggle to survive is a secondary drive in the evolution of animals, less important than the desire to expand one's power. Nietzsche eventually took this concept further still, and speculated that it may apply to inorganic nature as well. He transformed the idea of matter as centers of force into matter as centers of will to power. Nietzsche wanted to dispense with the atomistic theory of matter, a theory which he viewed as a relic of the metaphysics of substance. One study of Nietzsche defines his fully developed concept of the will to power as "the element from which derive both the quantitative difference of related forces and the quality that devolves into each force in this relation" revealing the will to power as "the principle of the synthesis of forces."

Nietzsche's notion of the will to power can also be viewed as a response to Schopenhauer's "will to live." Writing a generation before Nietzsche, Schopenhauer had regarded the entire universe and everything in it as driven by a primordial will to live, thus resulting in all creatures' desire to avoid death and to procreate. Nietzsche, however, challenges Schopenhauer's account and suggests that people and animals really want power; living in itself appears only as a subsidiary aim—something necessary to promote one's power. Defending his view, Nietzsche describes instances where people and animals willingly risk their lives to gain power—most notably in instances like competitive fighting and warfare. Once again, Nietzsche seems to take part of his inspiration from the ancient Homeric Greek texts he knew well: Greek heroes and aristocrats or "masters" did not desire mere living (they often died quite young and risked their lives in battle) but wanted power, glory, and greatness. In this regard he often mentions the common Greek theme of agon or contest.

In addition to Schopenhauer's psychological views, Nietzsche contrasts his notion of the will to power with many of the other most popular psychological views of his day, such as that of utilitarianism
Utilitarianism
Utilitarianism is an ethical theory holding that the proper course of action is the one that maximizes the overall "happiness", by whatever means necessary. It is thus a form of consequentialism, meaning that the moral worth of an action is determined only by its resulting outcome, and that one can...

. Utilitarianism—a philosophy mainly promoted, in Nietzsche's days and before, by British thinkers such as Jeremy Bentham
Jeremy Bentham
Jeremy Bentham was an English jurist, philosopher, and legal and social reformer. He became a leading theorist in Anglo-American philosophy of law, and a political radical whose ideas influenced the development of welfarism...

 and James Mill
James Mill
James Mill was a Scottish historian, economist, political theorist, and philosopher. He was a founder of classical economics, together with David Ricardo, and the father of influential philosopher of classical liberalism, John Stuart Mill.-Life:Mill was born at Northwater Bridge, in the parish of...

—claims that all people fundamentally want to be happy. But this conception of happiness found in utilitarianism Nietzsche rejected as something limited to, and characteristic of, English society only. Also Platonism and Christian neo-Platonism–which claim that people ultimately want to achieve unity with The Good or with God–are philosophies he criticizes. In each case, Nietzsche argues that the "will to power" provides a more useful and general explanation of human behavior.

Übermensch


Another concept important to an understanding of Nietzsche's thought is the Übermensch
Übermensch
The Übermensch is a concept in the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. Nietzsche posited the Übermensch as a goal for humanity to set for itself in his 1883 book Thus Spoke Zarathustra ....

. While interpretations of Nietzsche's overman vary wildly, here is one of his quotations from Thus Spoke Zarathustra (Prologue, §§3–4):

"I teach you the overman. Man is something that shall be overcome. What have you done to overcome him? … All beings so far have created something beyond themselves; and do you want to be the ebb of this great flood, and even go back to the beasts rather than overcome man? What is ape to man? A laughing stock or painful embarrassment. And man shall be that to overman: a laughingstock or painful embarrassment. You have made your way from worm to man, and much in you is still worm. Once you were apes, and even now, too, man is more ape than any ape.... The overman is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the overman shall be the meaning of the earth.... Man is a rope, tied between beast and overman—a rope over an abyss … what is great in man is that he is a bridge and not an end."

Eternal return


The idea of eternal return
Eternal return
Eternal return is a concept which posits that the universe has been recurring, and will continue to recur, in a self-similar form an infinite number of times across infinite time or space. The concept initially inherent in Indian philosophy was later found in ancient Egypt, and was subsequently...

 occurs in a parable in Section 341 of
The Gay Science
The Gay Science
The Gay Science is a book written by Friedrich Nietzsche, first published in 1882 and followed by a second edition, which was published after the completion of Thus Spoke Zarathustra and Beyond Good and Evil, in 1887. This substantial expansion includes a fifth book and an appendix of songs...

, and also in the chapter "Of the Vision and the Riddle" in Thus Spoke Zarathustra
Thus Spoke Zarathustra
Thus Spoke Zarathustra: A Book for All and None is a philosophical novel by German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, composed in four parts between 1883 and 1885...

, among other places. Nietzsche contemplates the idea as potentially "horrifying and paralyzing", and says that its burden is the "heaviest weight" imaginable ("das schwerste Gewicht"). The wish for the eternal return of all events would mark the ultimate affirmation of life, a reaction to Schopenhauer
Arthur Schopenhauer
Arthur Schopenhauer was a German philosopher known for his pessimism and philosophical clarity. At age 25, he published his doctoral dissertation, On the Fourfold Root of the Principle of Sufficient Reason, which examined the four separate manifestations of reason in the phenomenal...

's praise of denying the will–to–live. To comprehend eternal recurrence in his thought, and to not merely come to peace with it but to embrace it, requires
amor fati
Amor fati
Amor fati is a Latin phrase loosely translating to "love of fate" or "love of one's fate". It is used to describe an attitude in which one sees everything that happens in one's life, including suffering and loss, as good...

, "love of fate":

Reading and influence




As a philologist, Nietzsche had a thorough knowledge of Greek philosophy
Greek philosophy
Ancient Greek philosophy arose in the 6th century BCE and continued through the Hellenistic period, at which point Ancient Greece was incorporated in the Roman Empire...

. He read Immanuel Kant
Immanuel Kant
Immanuel Kant was a German philosopher from Königsberg , researching, lecturing and writing on philosophy and anthropology at the end of the 18th Century Enlightenment....

, John Stuart Mill
John Stuart Mill
John Stuart Mill was a British philosopher, economist and civil servant. An influential contributor to social theory, political theory, and political economy, his conception of liberty justified the freedom of the individual in opposition to unlimited state control. He was a proponent of...

, Arthur Schopenhauer
Arthur Schopenhauer
Arthur Schopenhauer was a German philosopher known for his pessimism and philosophical clarity. At age 25, he published his doctoral dissertation, On the Fourfold Root of the Principle of Sufficient Reason, which examined the four separate manifestations of reason in the phenomenal...

 and African Spir
African Spir
Afrikan Aleksandrovich Špir was a Russian Neo-Kantian philosopher of German descent who wrote primarily in German...

, who became his main opponents in his philosophy, and later Spinoza, whom he saw as his "precursor" in some respects but as a personification of the "ascetic ideal" in others. However, Nietzsche referred to Kant as a "moral fanatic", Mill as a "blockhead", and of Spinoza he said: "How much of personal timidity and vulnerability does this masquerade of a sickly recluse betray?"

Nietzsche's philosophy, while highly innovative and revolutionary, was indebted to many predecessors. While at Basel, Nietzsche offered lecture courses on the "Pre-Platonic Philosophers" for several years, and the text of this lecture series has been characterized as a "lost link" in the development of his thought. "In it concepts such as the will to power, the eternal return of the same, the overman, gay science, self-overcoming and so on receive rough, unnamed formulations and are linked to specific pre-Platonics, especially Heraclitus, who emerges as a pre-Platonic Nietzsche." The pre-Socratic Greek thinker Heraclitus
Heraclitus
Heraclitus of Ephesus was a pre-Socratic Greek philosopher, a native of the Greek city Ephesus, Ionia, on the coast of Asia Minor. He was of distinguished parentage. Little is known about his early life and education, but he regarded himself as self-taught and a pioneer of wisdom...

 was known for the rejection of the concept of being
Being
Being , is an English word used for conceptualizing subjective and objective aspects of reality, including those fundamental to the self —related to and somewhat interchangeable with terms like "existence" and "living".In its objective usage —as in "a being," or "[a] human being" —it...

 as a constant and eternal principle of universe, and his embrace of "flux" and incessant change. His symbolism of the world as "child play" marked by amoral spontaneity and lack of definite rules was appreciated by Nietzsche. From his Heraclitean sympathy Nietzsche was also a vociferous detractor of Parmenides
Parmenides
Parmenides of Elea was an ancient Greek philosopher born in Elea, a Greek city on the southern coast of Italy. He was the founder of the Eleatic school of philosophy. The single known work of Parmenides is a poem, On Nature, which has survived only in fragmentary form. In this poem, Parmenides...

, who opposed Heraclitus and believed all world is a single Being with no change at all.

In his Egotism in German Philosophy, Santayana
George Santayana
George Santayana was a philosopher, essayist, poet, and novelist. A lifelong Spanish citizen, Santayana was raised and educated in the United States and identified himself as an American. He wrote in English and is generally considered an American man of letters...

 claimed that Nietzsche's whole philosophy was a reaction to Schopenhauer. Santayana wrote that Nietzsche's work was "an emendation of that of
Schopenhauer. The will to live would become the
will to dominate; pessimism founded on reflection
would become optimism founded on courage; the
suspense of the will in contemplation would yield to
a more biological account of intelligence and taste;
finally in the place of pity and asceticism (Schopenhauer's two principles of morals) Nietzsche would
set up the duty of asserting the will at all costs and
being cruelly but beautifully strong.
These points of difference from Schopenhauer
cover the whole philosophy of Nietzsche."

Nietzsche expressed admiration for 17th century French moralists
French literature of the 17th century
17th-century French literature was written throughout the Grand Siècle of France, spanning the reigns of Henry IV of France, the Regency of Marie de Medici, Louis XIII of France, the Regency of Anne of Austria and the reign of Louis XIV of France...

 such as La Rochefoucauld
François de La Rochefoucauld (writer)
François VI, Duc de La Rochefoucauld, Prince de Marcillac was a noted French author of maxims and memoirs. The view of human conduct his writings describe has been summed up by the words "everything is reducible to the motive of self-interest", though the term "gently cynical" has also been applied...

, Jean de La Bruyère
Jean de La Bruyère
Jean de La Bruyère was a French essayist and moralist.-Ancestry:He was born in Paris, not, as was once thought, at Dourdan in 1645...

 and Vauvenargues, as well as for Stendhal
Stendhal
Marie-Henri Beyle , better known by his pen name Stendhal, was a 19th-century French writer. Known for his acute analysis of his characters' psychology, he is considered one of the earliest and foremost practitioners of realism in his two novels Le Rouge et le Noir and La Chartreuse de Parme...

. The organicism
Organicism
Organicism is a philosophical orientation that asserts that reality is best understood as an organic whole. By definition it is close to holism. Plato, Hobbes or Constantin Brunner are examples of such philosophical thought....

 of Paul Bourget
Paul Bourget
Paul Charles Joseph Bourget , was a French novelist and critic.-Biography:He was born in Amiens in the Somme département of Picardie, France. His father, a professor of mathematics, was later appointed to a post in the college at Clermont-Ferrand, where Bourget received his early education...

 influenced Nietzsche, as did that of Rudolf Virchow
Rudolf Virchow
Rudolph Carl Virchow was a German doctor, anthropologist, pathologist, prehistorian, biologist and politician, known for his advancement of public health...

 and Alfred Espinas
Alfred Espinas
Alfred Victor Espinas was a French thinker noted for having been an influence on Nietzsche. He was a student of Comte and Spencer...

. Nietzsche early learned of Darwinism
Darwinism
Darwinism is a set of movements and concepts related to ideas of transmutation of species or of evolution, including some ideas with no connection to the work of Charles Darwin....

 through Friedrich Albert Lange
Friedrich Albert Lange
Friedrich Albert Lange , was a German philosopher and sociologist.-Biography:Lange was born in Wald, near Solingen, the son of the theologian, Johann Peter Lange. He was educated at Duisburg, Zürich and Bonn, where he distinguished himself in gymnastics as much as academically...

. Notably, he also read some of the posthumous works of Charles Baudelaire
Charles Baudelaire
Charles Baudelaire was a French poet who produced notable work as an essayist, art critic, and pioneering translator of Edgar Allan Poe. His most famous work, Les Fleurs du mal expresses the changing nature of beauty in modern, industrializing Paris during the nineteenth century...

, Tolstoy
Leo Tolstoy
Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy was a Russian writer who primarily wrote novels and short stories. Later in life, he also wrote plays and essays. His two most famous works, the novels War and Peace and Anna Karenina, are acknowledged as two of the greatest novels of all time and a pinnacle of realist...

's My Religion, Ernest Renan
Ernest Renan
Ernest Renan was a French expert of Middle East ancient languages and civilizations, philosopher and writer, devoted to his native province of Brittany...

's
Life of Jesus and Fyodor Dostoyevsky's The Possessed. Nietzsche called Dostoevsky "the only psychologist from whom I have anything to learn." Harold Bloom
Harold Bloom
Harold Bloom is an American writer and literary critic, and is Sterling Professor of Humanities at Yale University. He is known for his defense of 19th-century Romantic poets, his unique and controversial theories of poetic influence, and his prodigious literary output, particularly for a literary...

 has often claimed, particularly in
Where Shall Wisdom Be Found?, that the essays of Ralph Waldo Emerson
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Ralph Waldo Emerson was an American essayist, lecturer, and poet, who led the Transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th century...

 had a profound and favourable influence on Nietzsche. While Nietzsche never mentions Max Stirner
Max Stirner
Johann Kaspar Schmidt , better known as Max Stirner , was a German philosopher, who ranks as one of the literary fathers of nihilism, existentialism, post-modernism and anarchism, especially of individualist anarchism...

, the similarities in their ideas have prompted a minority of interpreters to suggest a relationship between the two. In 1861 Nietzsche wrote an enthusiastic essay on his "favorite poet", Friedrich Hölderlin
Friedrich Hölderlin
Johann Christian Friedrich Hölderlin was a major German lyric poet, commonly associated with the artistic movement known as Romanticism. Hölderlin was also an important thinker in the development of German Idealism, particularly his early association with and philosophical influence on his...

, mostly forgotten at that time. He also expressed deep appreciation for Adalbert Stifter
Adalbert Stifter
Adalbert Stifter was an Austrian writer, poet, painter, and pedagogue. He was especially notable for the vivid natural landscapes depicted in his writing, and has long been popular in the German-speaking world, while almost entirely unknown to English readers.-Life:Born in Oberplan in Bohemia , he...

's Indian Summer
Der Nachsommer
Der Nachsommer is a novel in three volumes by Adalbert Stifter. A 19th century Bildungsroman that describes the journey of an idealistic, sheltered young man from childhood to maturity, it combines aspects of Biedermeier thought with elements of German humanism to create what is generally...

.

Reception


Nietzsche's works did not reach a wide readership during his active writing career. However, in 1888 Georg Brandes
Georg Brandes
Georg Morris Cohen Brandes was a Danish critic and scholar who had great influence on Scandinavian and European literature from the 1870s through the turn of the 20th century. He is seen as the theorist behind the "Modern Breakthrough" of Scandinavian culture...

 (an influential Danish critic) aroused considerable excitement about Nietzsche through a series of lectures he gave at the University of Copenhagen
University of Copenhagen
The University of Copenhagen is the oldest and largest university and research institution in Denmark. Founded in 1479, it has more than 37,000 students, the majority of whom are female , and more than 7,000 employees. The university has several campuses located in and around Copenhagen, with the...

. Then in 1894 Lou Andreas-Salomé
Lou Andreas-Salomé
Lou Andreas-Salomé was a Russian-born psychoanalyst and author. Her diverse intellectual interests led to friendships with a broad array of distinguished western luminaries, including Nietzsche, Wagner, Freud, and Rilke.- Early years :Lou Salomé was born in St...

 published her book, Friedrich Nietzsche in seinen Werken (Friedrich Nietzsche in His Works). Andreas-Salomé had known Nietzsche well in the early 1880s, and she returned to the subject of Nietzsche, years later, in her work Lebensrückblick – Grundriß einiger Lebenserinnerungen (Looking Back: Memoirs) (written in 1932), which covered her intellectual relationships with Nietzsche, Rilke
Rainer Maria Rilke
René Karl Wilhelm Johann Josef Maria Rilke , better known as Rainer Maria Rilke, was a Bohemian–Austrian poet. He is considered one of the most significant poets in the German language...

, and Freud
Sigmund Freud
Sigmund Freud , born Sigismund Schlomo Freud , was an Austrian neurologist who founded the discipline of psychoanalysis...

. Nietzsche himself had acquired the publication-rights for his earlier works in 1886 and began a process of editing and re-formulation that placed the body of his work in a more coherent perspective.

In the years after his death in 1900, Nietzsche's works became better known, and readers have responded to them in complex and sometimes controversial ways. Many Germans eventually discovered his appeals for greater individualism
Individualism
Individualism is the moral stance, political philosophy, ideology, or social outlook that stresses "the moral worth of the individual". Individualists promote the exercise of one's goals and desires and so value independence and self-reliance while opposing most external interference upon one's own...

 and personality development in Thus Spoke Zarathustra, but responded to those appeals divergently. He had some following among left-wing Germans in the 1890s; in 1894–1895 German conservatives wanted to ban his work as subversive. During the late 19th century Nietzsche's ideas were commonly associated with anarchist movements
Anarchism and Friedrich Nietzsche
The relation between Anarchism and Friedrich Nietzsche has been ambiguous. Even though Friedrich Nietzsche criticized anarchism his thought proved influential for many thinkers within what can be characterized as the anarchist movement...

 and appear to have had influence within them, particularly in France and the United States. The poet W.B. Yeats helped to raise awareness of Nietzsche in Ireland. H.L. Mencken produced translations of Nietzsche's works that helped to increase knowledge of his philosophy in the United States.

By World War I, Nietzsche had acquired a reputation as an inspiration for right-wing German militarism
Militarism
Militarism is defined as: the belief or desire of a government or people that a country should maintain a strong military capability and be prepared to use it aggressively to defend or promote national interests....

. German soldiers received copies of Thus Spoke Zarathustra as gifts during World War I. The Dreyfus Affair
Dreyfus Affair
The Dreyfus affair was a political scandal that divided France in the 1890s and the early 1900s. It involved the conviction for treason in November 1894 of Captain Alfred Dreyfus, a young French artillery officer of Alsatian Jewish descent...

 provides another example of his reception: the French anti-semitic Right labelled the Jewish and Leftist intellectuals who defended Alfred Dreyfus
Alfred Dreyfus
Alfred Dreyfus was a French artillery officer of Jewish background whose trial and conviction in 1894 on charges of treason became one of the most tense political dramas in modern French and European history...

 as "Nietzscheans". Nietzsche had a distinct appeal for many Zionist
Zionism
Zionism is a Jewish political movement that, in its broadest sense, has supported the self-determination of the Jewish people in a sovereign Jewish national homeland. Since the establishment of the State of Israel, the Zionist movement continues primarily to advocate on behalf of the Jewish state...

 thinkers at the turn of the century. It has been argued that his work influenced Theodore Herzl, and Martin Buber
Martin Buber
Martin Buber was an Austrian-born Jewish philosopher best known for his philosophy of dialogue, a form of religious existentialism centered on the distinction between the I-Thou relationship and the I-It relationship....

 went so far as to extoll Nietzsche as a "creator" and "emissary of life". Israel Eldad
Israel Eldad
Israel Eldad , was a noted Israeli independence fighter and Revisionist Zionist philosopher...

, the ideological chief of the Stern Group that fought the British in Palestine in the 1940s, wrote about Nietzsche in his underground newspaper and later translated most of Nietzsche's books into Hebrew. Bertrand Russell
Bertrand Russell
Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell, OM, FRS was a British philosopher, logician, mathematician, historian, and social critic. At various points in his life he considered himself a liberal, a socialist, and a pacifist, but he also admitted that he had never been any of these things...

, in his History of Western Philosophy
History of Western Philosophy (Russell)
A History of Western Philosophy by the philosopher Bertrand Russell is a conspectus of Western philosophy from the pre-Socratic philosophers to the early 20th century. Although criticised for its over-generalization and its omissions, particularly from the post-Cartesian period, it was a popular...

was scathing about Nietzsche, calling his work the "mere power-phantasies of an invalid", referring to him as a "megalomaniac", and writing that he was a philosophical progenitor of the Nazis and fascists.

Nietzsche's growing prominence suffered a severe setback when his works became closely associated with Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

 and the German Reich. Many political leaders of the twentieth century were at least superficially familiar with Nietzsche's ideas, although it is not always possible to determine whether or not they actually read his work. Hitler, for example, probably never read Nietzsche, and if he did, his reading was not extensive, although he was a frequent visitor to the Nietzsche museum in Weimar and did use expressions of Nietzsche's, such as "lords of the earth" in Mein Kampf
Mein Kampf
Mein Kampf is a book written by Nazi leader Adolf Hitler. It combines elements of autobiography with an exposition of Hitler's political ideology. Volume 1 of Mein Kampf was published in 1925 and Volume 2 in 1926...

. The Nazis made selective use of Nietzsche's philosophy. Mussolini
Benito Mussolini
Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini was an Italian politician who led the National Fascist Party and is credited with being one of the key figures in the creation of Fascism....

 and Charles de Gaulle
Charles de Gaulle
Charles André Joseph Marie de Gaulle was a French general and statesman who led the Free French Forces during World War II. He later founded the French Fifth Republic in 1958 and served as its first President from 1959 to 1969....

 read Nietzsche. It has been suggested that Theodore Roosevelt
Theodore Roosevelt
Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt was the 26th President of the United States . He is noted for his exuberant personality, range of interests and achievements, and his leadership of the Progressive Movement, as well as his "cowboy" persona and robust masculinity...

 read Nietzsche and was profoundly influenced by him, and in more recent years, Richard Nixon
Richard Nixon
Richard Milhous Nixon was the 37th President of the United States, serving from 1969 to 1974. The only president to resign the office, Nixon had previously served as a US representative and senator from California and as the 36th Vice President of the United States from 1953 to 1961 under...

 read Nietzsche with "curious interest".

A decade after World War II, there was a revival of Nietzsche's philosophical writings thanks to exhaustive translations and analyses by Walter Kaufmann and R.J. Hollingdale. Others, well known philosophers in their own right, wrote commentaries on Nietzsche's philosophy, including Martin Heidegger
Martin Heidegger
Martin Heidegger was a German philosopher known for his existential and phenomenological explorations of the "question of Being."...

, who produced a four-volume study. Many 20th century thinkers (particularly in the tradition of continental philosophy
Continental philosophy
Continental philosophy, in contemporary usage, refers to a set of traditions of 19th and 20th century philosophy from mainland Europe. This sense of the term originated among English-speaking philosophers in the second half of the 20th century, who used it to refer to a range of thinkers and...

) cite him as a profound influence, including Martin Heidegger
Martin Heidegger
Martin Heidegger was a German philosopher known for his existential and phenomenological explorations of the "question of Being."...

, Jean-Paul Sartre
Jean-Paul Sartre
Jean-Paul Charles Aymard Sartre was a French existentialist philosopher, playwright, novelist, screenwriter, political activist, biographer, and literary critic. He was one of the leading figures in 20th century French philosophy, particularly Marxism, and was one of the key figures in literary...

, Leo Strauss
Leo Strauss
Leo Strauss was a political philosopher and classicist who specialized in classical political philosophy. He was born in Germany to Jewish parents and later emigrated to the United States...

, Albert Camus
Albert Camus
Albert Camus was a French author, journalist, and key philosopher of the 20th century. In 1949, Camus founded the Group for International Liaisons within the Revolutionary Union Movement, which was opposed to some tendencies of the Surrealist movement of André Breton.Camus was awarded the 1957...

, Michel Foucault
Michel Foucault
Michel Foucault , born Paul-Michel Foucault , was a French philosopher, social theorist and historian of ideas...

, Jacques Derrida
Jacques Derrida
Jacques Derrida was a French philosopher, born in French Algeria. He developed the critical theory known as deconstruction and his work has been labeled as post-structuralism and associated with postmodern philosophy...

, and Gilles Deleuze
Gilles Deleuze
Gilles Deleuze , was a French philosopher who, from the early 1960s until his death, wrote influentially on philosophy, literature, film, and fine art. His most popular works were the two volumes of Capitalism and Schizophrenia: Anti-Oedipus and A Thousand Plateaus , both co-written with Félix...

, whose philosophy of immanence has significant similarities to Nietzsche's will to power. In the Anglo-American tradition he has had a profound influence on Bernard Williams
Bernard Williams
Sir Bernard Arthur Owen Williams was an English moral philosopher, described by The Times as the most brilliant and most important British moral philosopher of his time. His publications include Problems of the Self , Moral Luck , Ethics and the Limits of Philosophy , and Truth and Truthfulness...

 due to the scholarship of Walter Kaufmann and R. J. Hollingdale
R. J. Hollingdale
Reginald John Hollingdale was best known as a biographer and a translator of German philosophy and literature, especially the works of Friedrich Nietzsche, Goethe, E.T.A. Hoffmann, G. C. Lichtenberg, and Schopenhauer. Hollingdale was also elected president of The Friedrich Nietzsche Society in 1989...

, which rehabilitated Nietzsche as a philosopher, and American philosophers such as Alexander Nehamas
Alexander Nehamas
Alexander Nehamas is Professor of philosophy and Edmund N. Carpenter, II Class of 1943 Professor in the Humanities at Princeton University. He works on Greek philosophy, aesthetics, Nietzsche, Foucault, and literary theory....

, William E. Connolly
William E. Connolly
William E. Connolly is a political theorist known for his work on democracy and pluralism. He is the Krieger-Eisenhower Professor of Political Science at Johns Hopkins University. His 1974 work The Terms of Political Discourse won the 1999 Benjamin Lippincott Award.-Biography:Connolly was raised in...

, Judith Butler
Judith Butler
Judith Butler is an American post-structuralist philosopher, who has contributed to the fields of feminism, queer theory, political philosophy, and ethics. She is a professor in the Rhetoric and Comparative Literature departments at the University of California, Berkeley.Butler received her Ph.D...

, Brian Leiter
Brian Leiter
Brian Leiter is an American philosopher and legal scholar who is currently John Wilson Professor of Law at the University of Chicago Law School, and founder and Director of Chicago's new Center for Law, Philosophy, and Human Values and the editor of the Philosophical Gourmet Report. He taught from...

, Ruth Abbey
Ruth Abbey
Ruth Abbey is an Australian political philosopher with interests in contemporary political theory, history of political thought and feminist political thought.She is a John Cardinal O'Hara, C.S.C...

 and Michael Allen Gillespie
Michael Allen Gillespie
Michael Allen Gillespie is an American Philosopher and Professor of Philosophy at Duke University. His areas of interest are Political Philosophy, Modern Continental Philosophy and History of Political Philosophy...

 continue to study him today.

Works



  • The Greek State (1871)
  • The Birth of Tragedy
    The Birth of Tragedy
    The Birth of Tragedy from the Spirit of Music is a 19th-century work of dramatic theory by the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. It was reissued in 1886 as The Birth of Tragedy, Or: Hellenism and Pessimism ...

    (1872)
  • On Truth and Lies in a Nonmoral Sense (1873)
  • Philosophy in the Tragic Age of the Greeks
    Philosophy in the Tragic Age of the Greeks
    Philosophy in the Tragic Age of the Greeks is a publication of an incomplete book by Friedrich Nietzsche. He had a clean copy made from his notes with the intention of publication. The notes were written around 1873. In it he discussed five Greek philosophers from the sixth and fifth centuries B.C....

    (1873)
  • Untimely Meditations (1876)
  • Human, All Too Human
    Human, All Too Human
    Human, All Too Human , subtitled A Book for Free Spirits , is a book by 19th century philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, originally published in 1878...

    (1878; additions in 1879, 1880)
  • The Dawn
    The Dawn (book)
    The Dawn is a book written by the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche in 1881 ....

    (1881)
  • The Gay Science
    The Gay Science
    The Gay Science is a book written by Friedrich Nietzsche, first published in 1882 and followed by a second edition, which was published after the completion of Thus Spoke Zarathustra and Beyond Good and Evil, in 1887. This substantial expansion includes a fifth book and an appendix of songs...

    (1882)
  • Thus Spoke Zarathustra
    Thus Spoke Zarathustra
    Thus Spoke Zarathustra: A Book for All and None is a philosophical novel by German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, composed in four parts between 1883 and 1885...

    (1883–1885)
  • Beyond Good and Evil (1886)
  • On the Genealogy of Morality
    On the Genealogy of Morality
    On the Genealogy of Morality, or On the Genealogy of Morals , subtitled "A Polemic" , is a work by German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, composed and first published in 1887 with the intention of expanding and following through on certain new doctrines sketched out in his previous work Beyond...

    (1887)
  • The Case of Wagner
    The Case of Wagner
    The Case of Wagner is a German book by the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, originally published in 1888. Subtitled "A Musician's Problem", it has also been known as "The Wagner Case" in English.-Contents:...

    (1888)
  • Twilight of the Idols
    Twilight of the Idols
    Twilight of the Idols, or, How to Philosophize with a Hammer is a book by Friedrich Nietzsche, written in 1888, and published in 1889.-Genesis:...

    (1888)
  • The Antichrist
    The Antichrist (book)
    The Antichrist is a book by the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, originally published in 1895. Although it was written in 1888, its controversial content made Franz Overbeck and Heinrich Köselitz delay its publication, along with Ecce Homo...

    (1888)
  • Ecce Homo
    Ecce Homo (book)
    Ecce Homo: How One Becomes What One Is is the title of the last original book written by philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche before his final years of insanity that spanned until his death in 1900...

    (1888)
  • Nietzsche contra Wagner
    Nietzsche contra Wagner
    "Nietzsche contra Wagner" is a critical essay by Friedrich Nietzsche, composed of recycled passages from his past works, written in his last year of lucidity . It was not published until 1895, six years after Nietzsche's mental collapse. In it Nietzsche describes why he parted ways with his...

    (1888)
  • The Will to Power (unpublished manuscripts edited together by his sister)
  • Unpublished Writings (1869–1889)

External links



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  • Nietzsche from the radio program Philosophy Talk
    Philosophy Talk
    Philosophy Talk is a talk radio program co-hosted by John Perry and Ken Taylor, who are professors at Stanford University. The show is also available as a podcast, available for purchase. The program deals both with fundamental problems of philosophy and with the works of famous philosophers,...

  • Brian Leiter's Nietzsche Blog: News, polls, and discussion about Nietzsche and current events in Nietzsche scholarship from Brian Leiter
    Brian Leiter
    Brian Leiter is an American philosopher and legal scholar who is currently John Wilson Professor of Law at the University of Chicago Law School, and founder and Director of Chicago's new Center for Law, Philosophy, and Human Values and the editor of the Philosophical Gourmet Report. He taught from...

     (University of Chicago).
  • BBC
    BBC
    The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

     (1999). "Beyond Good and Evil". Human, All Too Human
    Human, All Too Human (TV series)
    Human, All Too Human is a three-part 1999 documentary television series produced by the BBC. It follows the lives of three prominent European philosophers: Friedrich Nietzsche, Martin Heidegger, and Jean-Paul Sartre...

    .
  • Timeline of German Philosophers