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Happy birthday Friedrich Nietzsche!

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Nietzsche (October 15, 1844—August 25, 1900) was a Prussian-born philologist, philosopher and author. He wrote many essays, poems, and other works on the Apollonian/Dionysian dichotomy, perspectivism, the Will to Power, the "death of God", the Übermensch, and eternal recurrence.

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Nietzsche was born in Röcken bei Lützen, near Leipzig, Germany to Karl Ludwig and Franziska Nietzsche. Nietzsche attended the University of Bonn, studying theology and philology. He studied the work Friedrich Wilhelm Ritschl, who was a classics scholar. He was so intrigued by his work that he followed him to the University of Leipzig, where Nietzsche quickly found his footing and published essays on two 6th century BCE poets, Theognis and Simonides, as well as on Aristotle.

While in Leipzig, Nietzsche came under the influence of Arthur Schopenhauer's The World as Will and Representation (1818). That piece, along with F.A. Lange's newly-published History of Materialism and Critique of its Present Significance (1866) became major reference points for Nietzsche.

After a stint in the military which resulted in a chest injury, Nietzsche returned to the University of Leipzig. Upon his return, he met famed composer Richard Wagner, and the two developed an intense friendship. Wagner was considerably older than Nietzsche, and their relationship came to resemble a familial one. (Image source)

Nietzsche began teaching at the University of Basel at the age of 24. While there, he cultivated close relationships with Franz Overbeck and Jacob Burkhardt, in addition to continuing to frequent Wagner's home in Lucerne.

In 1872, Nietzsche published his first book, The Birth of Tragedy to little recognition. He went on to complete essays that would posthumously be published as Philosophy in the Tragic Age of the Greeks, as well as Unfashionable Observations (1873–76).

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Soon, he entered into a close friendship with writer Paul Rée, and went on to write Human, All-Too-Human (1878).

Following this period, Nietzsche began to experience a deterioration of his mental faculties. He began to write letters to his old friends, who had him transferred to a medical clinic. He has been diagnosed with a variety of illnesses, but at the time was diagnosed with syphilis. He eventually died of pneumonia combined with a stroke.His health began to deteriorate around this time. Having given up his German citizenship and not attained any other, he spent the 1880s traversing Western Europe, alternating between his mother's home in Naumburg, Switzerland and many French, Swiss, German and Italian cities. (Image source)

Additional Info

  • Birthday Date: Wednesday, 15 October 2014
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