Friedrich Nietzsche

Nietzsche, Friedrich Wilhelm

Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (frē´drĬkh vĬl´hĕlm nē´chə), 1844–1900, German philosopher, b. Röcken, Prussia. The son of a clergyman, Nietzsche studied Greek and Latin at Bonn and Leipzig and was appointed to the chair of classical philology at Basel in 1869. In his early years he was friendly with the composer Richard Wagner, although later he was to turn against him. Nervous disturbances and eye trouble forced Nietzsche to leave Basel in 1879; he moved from place to place in a vain effort to improve his health until 1889, when he became hopelessly insane. Nietzsche was not a systematic philosopher but rather a moralist who passionately rejected Western bourgeois civilization. He regarded Christian civilization as decadent, and in place of its "slave morality" he looked to the superman, the creator of a new heroic morality that would consciously affirm life and the life values. That superman would represent the highest passion and creativity and would live at a level of experience beyond the conventional standards of good and evil. His creative "will to power" would set him off from "the herd" of inferior humanity. Nietzsche's thought had widespread influence but was of particular importance in Germany. Apologists for Nazism seized on much of his writing as a philosophical justification for their doctrines, but most scholars regard this as a perversion of Nietzsche's thought. Among his most famous works are The Birth of Tragedy (1872, tr. 1910); Thus Spake Zarathustra (1883–91, tr. 1909, 1930), and Beyond Good and Evil (1886, tr. 1907).

See his selected letters ed. by C. Middleton (1969); biographies by C. K. Brinton (1941, repr. 1965), H. A. Reyburn (1948, repr. 1973), I. Frenzel (1967), R. Hayman (1980, repr. 1999), L. Chamberlain (1996), C. Cate (2005), and J. Young (2010); studies by H. L. Mencken (1913, repr. 1993), R. Pfefler (1972), R. C. Solomon, ed. (1973), W. A. Kaufmann (4th ed. 1974), J. T. Wilcox (1974), J. P. A. Stern (1979), R. Schacht (1983), G. Clive (1984), R. J. Hollingdale (1985), A. Nehamas (1985), J. Köhler (tr. 1998), R. C. Solomon and K. M. Higgins (2000), R. B. Pippin (2010), K. Michalski (tr. 2011), and J. Ratner-Rosenhagen (2011).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Friedrich Nietzsche
Lee Spinks.
Routledge, 2003
Friedrich Nietzsche: His Life and Thought
A. J. Hoover; Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche.
Praeger, 1994
Nietzsche's Thus Spoke Zarathustra: An Edinburgh Philosophical Guide
Douglas Burnham; Martin Jesinghausen.
Edinburgh University Press, 2010
Routledge Philosophy Guidebook to Nietzsche on Morality
Brian Leiter.
Routledge, 2002
The Flame of Eternity: An Interpretation of Nietzsche's Thought
Krzysztof Michalski; Benjamin Paloff.
Princeton University Press, 2012
Nietzsche on Epistemology and Metaphysics: The World in View
Tsarina Doyle.
Edinburgh University Press, 2009
On the Genealogy of Morality: A Polemic
Friedrich Nietzsche; Maudemarie Clarke; Alan J. Swenswen.
Hackett Publishing, 1998
The Birth of Tragedy
Douglas Smith; Friedrich Nietzsche.
Oxford University Press, 2000
Reading Nietzsche
Robert C. Solomon; Kathleen M. Higgins.
Oxford University Press, 1990
On Nietzsche
Georges Bataille; Bruce Boone.
Paragon House, 1994
Living with Nietzsche: What the Great "Immoralist" Has to Teach Us
Robert C. Solomon.
Oxford University Press, 2003
Nietzsche and Morality
Brian Leiter; Neil Sinhababu.
Oxford University Press, 2007
Nietzsche: The Ethics of An Immoralist
Peter Berkowitz.
Harvard University Press, 1996
Nietzsche and Metaphysics
Peter Poellner.
Clarendon Press, 1995
Nietzsche's System
John Richardson.
Oxford University Press, 1996
Nietzsche Humanist
Claude Nicholas Pavur.
Marquette University Press, 1998
Selected Letters of Friedrich Nietzsche
Christopher Middleton; Christopher Middleton; Friedrich Nietzsche.
Hackett, 1941
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