Born October 15th 1844 in East-central Germany1, Nietzsche lived an influential but relatively brief life due to an early onset of insanity. He collapsed at the age of forty-four and spent the last decade of his life thereafter incapacitated by the loss of his mental faculties before dying in 1900. Prior to this, however, the philosopher lead an interesting life, becoming the youngest individual to be appointed Chair of Classical Philology during his time as a professor of the subject at the University of Basel2. During this time, he published four of his more well-known works, including The Birth of Tragedy (1871) and Human, All Too Human (1878) but in 1879, Nietzsche cut ties with the university to become an independent philosopher. He travelled much in this last decade of his sane life, including stays in Switzerland, France and Italy, and it was during this period that what could be considered his magnum opus in four volumes, Thus Spoke Zarathustra (1893-5) as well as other popular works such as The Gay Science (1882, 1887), Beyond Good and Evil (1886) and the Genealogy of Morals (1887). Nietzsche is recorded as having reported that “[t]en days sufficed” for the writing of each part of Zarathustra.3
Nietszche’s major points of interest in philosophy include the “will to power”, the implications of his famous proclamation that “God is dead”, the “Superman/Overman” (“Übermensch”) ideal and the idea of “life-affirmation”. These ideas and his works have been highly influential to a number of thinkers as well as Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud who provided the foundations for the field of modern psychology between them. Unfortunately, Nietzsche’s works were manipulated posthumously by his sister to support the Nazi cause for a time, though scholars have since worked diligently to separate the real Nietzsche writing from these tampered documents.
1. "Friedrich Nietzsche Biography." Bio.com. A&E Networks Television, n.d. Web. 23 Nov. 2013.
2. Friedrich Nietzsche. (2013). The Famous People website. Retrieved 07:17, Nov 23, 2013
3. Nietzsche, Friedrich. "Friedrich Nietzsche: Thus Spake Zarathustra." Thus Spoke Zarathustra. Ed. Michael Moncur. Vol. 1. N.p.: n.p., n.d. 9. Thus Spake Zarathustra by Friedrich Nietzsche: (continued). The Literature Page, 2003. Web. 23 Nov. 2013.