Nietzsche 1844 - 1900 (56)

That which does not kill us makes us stronger.


Thus Spoke


The AntiChrist

Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (1844-1900) was a German philosopher, poet, composer and scholar. He wrote critical essays on religion, morality, culture, philosophy and science. Born on October 15 1844, he grew up in Reken, near Leipzig, a Prussian province of Saxony. His father was a Lutheran pastor and his mother a pastor's daughter. Friedrich was the first born child, his sister Elizabeth Alexandra Teresa was born in 1846, then his brother in 1848. After the untimely death of his father from cerebral disease in 1849 and the loss of his brother the year after, his family moved to Naumburg. They stayed with Friedrich’s grandmother as his mother was not able to maintain a home. Since his childhood Friedrich was writing poems and short plays and in 1858 entered one of the most reputed schools for classics literature. He continued in the classics department of the University of Bonn, where he attended and theological lessons, unable to confess to his family that he didn’t want to become a priest as they expected him.

In 1867 he enlisted in the artillery and suffered a serious injury. In 1869, before he even get a Ph.D, he was appointed professor at the University of Basel, initially giving lectures on the history of ancient Greek poetry. During his stay in Switzerland he became a good friend with Wagner. Their friendship will end some years later, when the progressive ideas of Nietzsche came into conflict with the bigotry and anti-Semitism of Wagner. During the Franco-Prussian War (1870-1871 ) he served voluntarily on the side of Prussia as a nurse assistant. He wanted to be a soldier but the university administration did not allow him. During his tenure he was affected by several diseases which worsen his always frail health. In 1879 he resigned from the university because of his bad health. Released from academic obligations, he spent the next years traveling to Switzerland, Germany and Italy, searching every time for the best climate for his fragile health. During this period he completed some of his most important works , such as the Dawn (1881), The gay Science (1882), Thus spoke Zarathustra (1883-85), Beyond Good and Evil (1886), The Genealogy of Ethics (1887). On January 3, 1889 he suffered a nervous breakdown and the next days he sent letters to many people signing as "the Crucifix" or the "Dionysus". On 10 January he was taken to a psychiatric clinic where doctors diagnosed a "paralyzing mental disorder". His was suffering delusions of grandeur, called himself Duke or Kaiser or Friedrich Wilhelm IV and sometimes had a violent behavior. Since 1890 his mother took care of him until her death in 1897, then his sister until his death in 1900 from pneumonia.