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© 2015, The Columbia University Press.

Friedrich Nietzsche: Selected full-text books and articles

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