Nietzsche: The Key Concepts

Nietzsche: The Key Concepts

Nietzsche: The Key Concepts

Nietzsche: The Key Concepts


Nietzsche: The Key Concepts is a comprehensive guide to one of the most widely-studied and influential philosophers of the nineteenth century. This invaluable resource helps navigate the often challenging and controversial thought outlined in Nietzsche's seminal texts.

Fully cross-referenced throughout and in an accessible A-Z format with suggestions for further reading, this concise yet thorough introduction explores such ideas as:

  • decadence
  • epistemology
  • modernity
  • nihilism
  • will to power

This volume is essential reading for students of philosophy and will be of interest to those studying in the fields of literature, religion and cultural theory.


Friedrich Nietzsche was born near the city of Leipzig in 1844. In his youth, he attended the well-known Pforta School and then the universities of Bonn and Leipzig. At university he read the philosophy of Schopenhauer and studied classical Greek philosophy. Nietzsche specialised in classical Greek texts, which bore fruit in the form of his appointment at the age of twenty-four to a post at the University of Basel. After a year, Nietzsche was made a professor. After another nine years, he was forced to retire due to ill health. The university granted him a pension which supported him for the rest of his life. For near on a decade, Nietzsche wrote, travelling through Europe as he did so. In January 1889, he suffered a mental collapse from which he was never to recover. He died in 1900. The brevity of Nietzsche’s creative life, 1872–88, stands in stark contrast to the books he wrote and the transformations of perspective they bear witness to.

Nietzsche is a thinker at once approachable and provocative, a writer by turns endearing, irritating, and challenging. He is nearly always complex: often when writing in terms that appear straightforward he turns out to be at his most subtle: ‘I did say I would speak crudely: which does not in any way signify a desire for it to be heard crudely, understood crudely’ (Genealogy, III, 16). He is a philosopher of stunning originality, which is not by any means to say that everything he has to say is to be agreed with. Since not long after his tragic mental collapse at the age of forty-four, Nietzsche has also been written about in industrial proportions – a fact that, given his views about mass culture, may well have amused and horrified him in equal measure. Indeed, so much Nietzsche literature exists that it would be impossible to summarise it in ten books. Much of what has been claimed of him, for him, and against him, has usually been contested elsewhere. Faced with this problem, this volume takes a rather direct approach. It seeks to offer the student reader of Nietzsche who is (as any informed reader of him ought to be, too) sometimes nonplussed by what they encounter, straightforward discussions of notions central . . .

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