Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche, born on October 15, 1844, was a German philosopher who is known for his work that strongly influenced modern intellectual history. His influential phrase “God is dead” has become one of the most quoted statements in philosophical debates, and although his writing did not reach a massive audience while he was still alive, he has undoubtedly become one of the most famous thinkers and theorists of the modern era. Today, we commemorate this illustrious man’s life and career. Join us as we review his trajectory and many achievements.
Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche
October 15, 1844
August 25, 1900 (age 55)
Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche was a German philosopher whose wisdom set him apart. He was born on October 15, 1844, in Röcken, a village in what was the now dissolved Kingdom of Prussia. In his youth, he attended a private school, where he excelled in Christian theology. By 1854, Nietzsche attended Domgymnasium Naumburg, and later on, he was offered a scholarship at Schulpforta to study there from 1858 to 1864. After his graduation, Nietzsche began studying theology and classical philology at the University of Bonn in hopes of becoming a minister. In 1869, he was offered a professorship of classical philology at the University of Basel in Switzerland. He received an honorary doctorate in March of that year and assumed his role at the university.
In 1872, Nietzsche published his work of dramatic theory, “The Birth of Tragedy from the Spirit of Music.” He followed this up with “On Truth and Lies in a Nonmoral Sense” in1873. That same year, he began working on “Philosophy in the Tragic Age of the Greeks,” first published in 1923. Throughout his life, Nietzsche wrote more books, including “The Gay Science” in 1882, “The Case of Wagner” in 1888, and several more. A grand total of 15 books, as well as many additional papers. Nietzsche was known for his writing which spanned philosophical polemics, cultural criticism, poetry, and fiction. His works also displayed aphorism and irony. He is credited for developing concepts like the widely known ‘Übermensch.’ His body of work resonated with different niches from science to art, philology, history, music, religion, tragedy, and culture.
For such a gifted scholar, Nietzsche’s personal life was somewhat nonexistent. He proposed to Lou Salome on three separate occasions, but she rejected him each time. There have also been claims that Nietzsche was homosexual. In the early 1890s, Nietzsche started losing lucidity; by 1899, he had suffered at least two strokes. He contracted pneumonia in 1900 and died on August 25, 1900. Nietzsche had no kids, and he was survived by his sister.
He publishes “The Birth of Tragedy from the Spirit of Music.”
Nietzsche renounces his position as the Chair of Classical Philology.
Nietzsche publishes “The Gay Science,” which becomes his most personal book.
Nietzsche publishes his critical essay, “Nietzsche contra Wagner.”
Why We Love Friedrich Nietzsche
He was smart
Nietzsche was one of the most intellectually sound scholars of his time. He imparted wisdom through his body of work.
He was straightforward
Nietzsche was known for his straightforward personality. His philosophy exudes grit.
He bridged the gap
Nietzsche’s work serves as a bridge to modern philosophy. His work is still referenced today.
5 Surprising Facts
He served in the military
During the Franco-Prussian war, from 1870 to 1871, Nietzsche served in the Prussian forces.
He consumed opioids and sedatives
Nietzsche took large doses of this opium and chloral hydrate to try and sleep better.
He had a mental breakdown
In 1889, Nietzsche had one of the first major episodes of his mental illness.
He lived with his mother
In his last years of life, Nietzsche lived with his mother, who cared for him until her death.
His mustache frightened women
Nietzsche’s mustache was known to frighten women.
Friedrich Nietzsche FAQs
Did Nietzsche believe in God?
He was an atheist.
Was Nietzsche a nihilist?
Yes, Nietzsche was a self-proclaimed nihilist.
How many languages did Friedrich Nietzsche speak?
Three; German, Greek, and Latin.
Friedrich Nietzsche’s birthday dates