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  • 8/23/2003

Friedrich Nietzsche

(1844-1900)

Born the son of a Lutheran pastor in Röcken, Saxony, Friedrich Nietzsche was raised by female relatives after his father's death in 1849. He quickly abandoned his initial pursuit of theology in order to specialize in philology at Bonn and Leipzig, where he studied with Friedrich Ritschl. Nietzsche's mastery of classical literature led to an early academic appointment at Basel and the publication of  Die Geburt der Tragödie aus dem Geiste der Musik(The Birth of Tragedy) (1872), with its distinction between Apollonian and Dionysian cultures. When ill health forced an early end to his teaching career, Nietzsche began to produce the less scholarly, quasi-philosophical, and anti-religious works for which he is now best known, includingMenschliches, allzumenschliches (Human, All Too Human) (1878),Also Sprach Zarathustra (Thus Spoke Zarathustra) (1883),Die Fröhliche Wissenschaft (The Gay Science) (1882), andJenseits von Gut und Böse (Beyond Good and Evil) (1886). Nietzsche never recovered from a serious physical and mental collapse he suffered in 1889; hisDer Wille zur Macht (Will to Power) (1901) and the autobiographicalEcce Homo (Ecce Homo) (1908) were published posthumously.

Nietzsche sharply criticized the Greek tradition's over-emphasis on reason in hisDie Götzendämmerung (Twilight of the Idols) (1889). Reliance on abstract concepts in a quest for absolute truth, he supposed, is merely a symptom of the degenerate personalities of philosophers likeSocrates. From this Nietzsche concluded that traditional philosophy and religion are both erroneous and harmful for human life; they enervate and degrade our native capacity for achievement.

Progress beyond the stultifying influence of philosophy, then, requires a thorough "revaluation of values." InZur Geneologie der Moral (On the Genealogy of Morals) (1887) Nietzsche bitterly decried the slave morality enforced by social sanctions and religious guilt. Only rare, superior individuals—the noble ones, or Übermenschen—can rise above all moral distinctions to achieve a heroic life of truly human worth.

Nietzsche's Writings

Kritische Gesamtausgabe Briefwechsel. ed. G. Colli and M. Montinari, 24 vols. in 4 parts.Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 1975.

The Antichrist. trans. Walter Kaufmann, in The Portable Nietzsche, ed. Walter Kaufmann. New York: Viking Press, 1968.

Beyond Good and Evil. trans. Walter Kaufmann. New York: Random House, 1966.

The Birth of Tragedy. trans. Walter Kaufmann, inThe Birth of Tragedy and The Case of Wagner. New York: Random House, 1967.

The Case of Wagner. trans. Walter Kaufmann, in The Birth of Tragedy and The Case of Wagner. New York: Random House, 1967.

Daybreak: Thoughts on the Prejudices of Morality. trans. R. J. Hollingdale.Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982.

Ecce Homo: How One Becomes What One Is. trans. Walter Kaufmann, inOn the Genealogy of Morals and Ecce Homo.New York: Random House, 1967.

The Gay Science, with a Prelude of Rhymes and an Appendix of Songs. tr. Walter Kaufmann. New York: Random House, 1974.

Human, All Too Human: A Book for Free Spirits. trans. R. J. Hollingdale.Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986.

Nietzsche Contra Wagner. trans. Walter Kaufmann, inThe Portable Nietzsche. New York: Viking Press, 1968.

On the Genealogy of Morals. trans. Walter Kaufmann and R.J. Hollingdale, inOn the Genealogy of Morals and Ecce Homo.New York: Random House, 1967.

Philosophy and Truth: Selections from Nietzsche's Notebooks of the Early 1870's. trans. and ed. Daniel Breazeale.Atlantic Highlands, N.J.: Humanities Press, 1979.

Philosophy in the Tragic Age of the Greeks. trans. Marianne Cowan.Chicago: Henry Regnery Company, 1962.

Thus Spoke Zarathustra. trans. Walter Kaufmann, inThe Portable Nietzsche.New York: Viking Press, 1968.

Twilight of the Idols. trans. Walter Kaufmann, inThe Portable Nietzsche. New York: Viking Press, 1968.

Untimely Meditations. trans. R. J. Hollingdale. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983.

The Will to Power. trans. Walter Kaufmann. New York: Random House, 1967.

Some Quotations by Nietzsche

He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.
Insanity in individuals is something rare - but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule.

It is hard enough to remember my opinions, without also remembering my reasons for them!

Talking much about oneself can also be a means to conceal oneself.

The advantage of a bad memory is that one enjoys several times the same good things for the first time.

The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently.

The visionary lies to himself, the liar only to others.

Out of life's school of war: What does not destroy me makes me stronger.

Taken from:

http://www.philosophypages.com/ph/niet.htm
http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/nietzsche/

For more information:

Journal of Nietzsche Studies: http://www.fns.org.uk/jns.htm
http://www.dartmouth.edu/~fnchron/
http://www.inch.com/~ari/nietzsche1.html
http://www.tameri.com/csw/exist/nietz.asp

http://kirjasto.sci.fi/nietzsch.htm

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