Friedrich Nietzsche

Portrait of Friedrich Nietzsche

Friedrich Nietzsche was a German philologist, philosopher, prose poet and cultural critic. He has been a major influence on modern philosophy. He was born in Rocken, Lutzen in Germany on 15th October 1844 and died in Weimar on 25th August 1900 aged 55.

Major Works

Human, All Too Human” (1878)
“Daybreak” (1881) 
“The Joyful Science” (1882) 
“Thus Spoke Zarathustra” (1884) 
“Beyond Good and Evil” (1886) 
“On the Genealogy of Morals” (1887)
Twilight of the Idols” (1888)

Biography Timeline

Friedrich Nietzsche was born at Rocken in the German province of Saxony on 15th October 1844 to Carl Ludwig Nietzsche a religious pastor and his wife Franziska.

1846: His sister Elisabeth is born on 10th July.

1849: His father dies aged 36 of a brain tumour.

1850: His mother moves the family to Naumburg to be near relatives. Nietzsche attends the local elementary school.

1854: His mother refuses to send him to the Franckeschen Stiftungen in Halle, a school for fatherless children. Nietzsche begins to write music and poetry for the first time.

1855: He enrols at the Naumburg Domgymnasium.

1858: He writes more music and writes his autobiography “Aus Meinen Leben“. In September he receives a scholarship to the Landesschule Pforta despite poor grades.

1859: He begins to do well at school and writes a play called “Prometheus”.

1860: He starts a literary society called “Germania” for monthly musical and literary works.

1861: He composes “Ermanarich: Symphonische Dichtung“, a work for four hands on the piano.

1862: He writes “Fatum und Geschichte” (Fate and History), “Willensfreiheit und Fatum” (Freedom of the Will and Fate) and “Uber das Dämonische in der Musik” (On the Demonic in Music) for “Germania”. 

1864: He writes “Uber Stimmungen” (On Moods). He finishes at Pforta and becomes a student of theology and philology at the University of Bonn in October where he joins the fraternity “Franconia”.

1865: He resigns from “Franconia” saying he can’t cope with the constant drinking culture. In the autumn Friedrich Ritschl, who taught latin grammar, resigns due to a dispute and moves to the University of Leipzig and Nietzsche follows him there. Nietzsche discovers the works of Arthur Schopenhauer in a second hand bookshop.

1866: He begins a friendship with Erwin Rohde.

1867: He embarks on a compulsory year of military service.

1868: A private in an Artillery regiment he has an accident on a horse and is confined to bed with chest pains. He writes notes for a planned dissertation. “Die Teleologie Seit Kant” (The Concept of the Organic Since Kant). He publishes several works including “Beiträge zur Kritik der Griechischen Lyriker” (Contribution toward the Critique of the Greek Lyric Poet, Simonides”) in the Rheinisches Museum für Philologie. On 8th November he meets Richard Wagner in Leipzig.

1869: He is appointed the professor of classical philology at the University of Basel in February. In May he gives his inaugural lecture entitled “Über die Persönlichkeit Homers” (On the Personality of Homer). He begins writing “The Birth of Tragedy“.

1870: He gives a number of public lectures at Basel and becomes a full time teaching professor. In August he serves as a volunteer medical orderly in the Franco-Prussian war.

1872:Die Geburt der Tragödie aus dem Geiste der Musik” (The Birth Of Tragedy Out of the Spirit of Music) is published. Nietzsche meets Wagner in May.

1873: He meets Paul Ree during May. In August he publishes the first of his “Untimely Meditations” called “David Strauss, the Confessor and the Writer“. In October Richard Wagner asks him to write “Mahnruf an die Deutschen” (Exhortation to the Germans) as a fundraising appeal for his new theatre in Bayreuth, Bavaria.

1876: He takes leave of absence from the University of Basel. He attends the first Bayreuth Wagner festival in Bayreuth and publishes the fourth “Untimely Meditation” “Richard Wagner in Bayreuth“. Nietzsche goes to Naples during October and has his last meeting with Wagner there. HE spends the winter in Sorrento, Italy.

1877: He requests an extension in his leave of abscence.

1878: Richard Wagner sends him the finished version of “Parsifal”.Human, All Too Human” is completed and Nietzsche sends it to his publisher and a copy rot Wagner. This is the last time the two will correspond. He requests another extension in his leave of abscence.

1879: He finally resigns from the university by sending letter from Geneva. They grant him a six year pension. “The Wanderer and His Shadow” is published in December.

1880: He visits Venice. In November he completes writing “Dawn” in Genoa, Italy.

1881: He visits Sils Maria in Switzerland. He writes “The Joyful Science” later in the year.

1882: He meets Lou Salome for the first time in Rome. In October Paul Rée and Lou Salomé arrive in Leipzig for a one-month visit to see him but their friendship declines rapidly and they go off to Paris. Nietzsche never sees them again.

1883: He begins to write “Thus Spake Zarathustra” and begins the second part in Sils Maria. In September his sister Elisabeth becomes engaged to Bernhard Förster, a leader anti-jewish movement in Germany.

1884: “Thus Spake Zarathustra” part three is published and he begins work on part four later in the year.

1885: Elisabeth marries Bernhard Forster on 22nd May.

1886: Elisabeth leaves for Paraguay in South America. “Beyond Good and Evil” is published in August.

1887: He writes “On the Genealogy of Morals” which is published in November.

1888: He writes Writes “The Case of Wagner” and “Dionysus Dithyrambs“. He begins to write “Twilight of the Idols“, which is published the following year and “The Antichrist” which is published in November 1894. He also writes “Ecce Homo” and “Nietzsche contra Wagner“.

1889: He suffers a complete nervous breakdown whilst in Turin, Italy and he is looked after by his mother in in Jena and Naumburg in Germany.

1897: His mother dies and Elisabeth, now back in Germany, takes over his care in Weimar.

Friedrich Nietzsche finally dies on 25th August 1900 in Weimar and he is buried in Röcken Churchyard in Thüringen, Germany.

Further Information

List of works by Nietzsche in order.

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