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Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche, 1844 - 1900

portrait of Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche
Photo by F. Hartmann at Basel (Ca. 1875)
Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche signature

Born: 15 October 1844, Röcken bei Lützen, Prussia
Died: 25 August 1900, Weimar, Saxony, German Empire

Nietzsche was a German philosopher, poet, composer, and classical philologist born near Leipzig in Prussia. He was the son of a Lutheran pastor, and entered the University of Bonn in 1854 as a theology and philology student. However, he soon lost his faith and dropped his theology studies.

In 1867, Nietzche entered his required military service and was injured in a horse-riding accident, and while on sick leave, attended the University of Leipzig, where he met composer Richard Wagner, who shared his interest in atheist philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer, and in music and composition. In May 1869, Nietzsche was given a position as a professor of classical philology at the University of Basel in Switzerland. He returned to military service in 1870, as a hospital attendant during the Siege of Metz he saw firsthand the trauma of battle, and contracted diphtheria and dysentery.

Nietzsche's first book, The Birth of Tragedy, was published in 1872 and received praise from Wagner but a devastating review affected both the book's reception and his class enrollment. Nevertheless, he remained as a professor in Basel until his deteriorating health forced his retirement in 1879.

From 1880 until 1889, Nietzsche wandered between his mother's house in Naumberg and various French, Swiss, German and Italian cities. This was his most productive time, during which he produced his best-known works, but it was one of declining mental and physical health, which culminated in his collapse in Turin in 1889. He would never return to sanity.

Biography from Wikipedia and Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

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