The Essential Nietzsche

Essay by ivzivkovicB+, April 2004

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Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche was born on October 15, 1884 in a small town near Leipzig. His father was a prominent Lutheran minister and his mother a simple homemaker. His father died while Friedrich was a small boy and his younger brother passed on not too long after that as well. At the age of fourteen young Friedrich was enrolled in an upscale boarding school in Schlupforta, where he began to prepare for his University studies. In Schlupforta he showed interest in music and was introduced to music of Richard Wagner, a famous German composer at the time. After successfully graduating from Schlupforta he moved on to the University of Bonn where he studied Philology and Theology. In 1865 he moved his studies to University of Leipzig where he started studying philosophy rather than philology and theology. It is in University of Leipzig that he was introduced to the world of Arthur Schopenhauer who, it is argued, influenced his work in the early years of his writing.

Schopenhauer was an atheist and Nietzsche identified with his views of a will that dominates our existence. Nietzsche served in the army from the age of 23 but was discharged due to an injury resulting from a fall while climbing on a horse. He became a professor at the University of Basel at the age of 24 and that is where he published the "Birth of Tragedy" in 1872. This work was not very successful, but it not away from his popularity and the high regard he held with other scholars. Later on in life as his health deteriorated he traveled through Europe rarely settling in one place for more than two months and he wrote the bulk of his work while on these travels. He was associated with many noteworthy people of his...