Friedrich Nietzsche Biography

Nietzsche, the beginning of the understanding of existentialism, post-structuralism, and post-modernism

Friedrich Nietzsche is a German philosopher, philologist, and critic known for his uncompromising views on traditional European religion and moral code. He was a critic of conventional philosophy, social and political pieties related to modernity. Most of his work was published during the 1870s and 1880s.

Early Life

While studying at Schulpforta, he learned Greek, Latin, French, and Hebrew. He was very good at Christian theology. He became interested in topics that weren’t seen in a positive light and was influenced by lesser-known poets like Friedrich Hölderlin and Ernst Ortlepp. They made him think about things other Germans didn’t find healthy. He further studied at the University of Bonn. Nietzsche chose theology and classical philology. He wanted to become a minister. But after finishing a semester, he couldn’t study it anymore and lost his faith. Nietzsche became an atheist and criticized the way the central teachings of Christianity were no longer valued.

Nietzsche Renounced Persian Citizenship

Nietzsche put his attention to philology at the University of Leipzig in 1865 under Professor Friedrich Wilhelm Ritschl. As a philologist, he was well-read on Greek philosophy and the works of Kant, Plato, Mill, Schopenhauer, and Spir. He served in the Prussian artillery in Naumburg in 1867 voluntarily. In 1968, he got back to studying. He was offered a tenured position as a professor of Philology at the University of Basel. He was initially planning to switch to philosophy. However, he didn’t reject the offer and started teaching at Basel in 1969. He renounced his Prussian citizenship but still served with the Prussian forces during the Franco-Prussian War the following year.

Nietzsche’s Publications

Nietzsche published his first book titled The Birth of Tragedy in 1872. From 1873-76, he published four separate essays “David Strauss: the Confessor and the Writer”, “On the Use and Abuse of History for Life”, “Schopenhauer as Educator”, and “Richard Wagner in Bayreuth” which appeared in the collection titled Untimely Meditations.

His book Human, All Too Human’ came in 1878. In it, Nietzsche spoke up against the pessimistic ideas of Wagner and Schopenhauer. He resigned from his position at Basel because of health complications in 1879. He wrote his most infamous book The Antichrist’ soon after. His other prominent works include ‘The Gay Science’ and Also Sprach Zarathustra’. His thoughts and ideas were not exactly German so he failed to get any more teaching positions at any German universities. Nietzsche was against anti-semitism and had deep disgust for people who supported it. He severed ties with many of his friends and acquaintances over this issue. He wrote several polemics until mental illness had him in its clutches.


Apart from philosophy, Nietzsche was also into music but did not credit himself to be successful. He introduced the Apollonian and Dionysian concepts and perspectivism and talked about nihilism and the logic behind it. Nietzsche believed that the ‘Will to Power’ was the basis of exploring and understanding human behavior and is the element that his philosophy is based around. He also presented the hypothetical concept of Eternal return according to which the universe will keep on recurring in the same pattern for an infinite number of times across infinite time or space. Übermensch is another concept that he explained through his book Also Sprach Zarathustra.

Last Years

When Nietzsche was struck by illness, his sister Elisabeth interpreted his work in her own ‘German’ way and published it. It made people think of him badly but things got better after the original work was released. His work’s association with Adolf Hitler was another issue. 

Nietzsche was the first step towards understanding existentialism, post-structuralism, and post-modernism and has been the source of inspiration to one too people like André Gide, August Strindberg, Robinson Jeffers, Pío Baroja, D.H. Lawrence, Edith Södergran, and Yukio Mishima. Philosophers like Jean-Paul Sartre, Oswald Spengler, George Grant, Emil Cioran, Albert Camus, Ayn Rand, Jacques Derrida, Leo Strauss, Max Scheler, Michel Foucault and Bernard Williams were awed by him.

Born- 15 October 1844

Place- Röcken, Saxony, Prussia

Field- Philology, Philosophy, Psychology, Anti-foundationalism, Anti-consumerism, Atheism, Continental philosophy, German idealism, Existentialism, Nihilism, Anti-nihilism, Perspectivism, Voluntarism.

Achievement- He has influenced countless poets, philosophers and authors to embrace new ideas.