Nietzsche's Philosophical Context
An Intellectual Biography
Publication Year: 2008
Published by: University of Illinois Press
Series: International Nietzsche Studies
A large number of interpretations of Nietzsche’s philosophy are published every year in the form of books and articles. But there has been a shortage of studies that show how Nietzsche worked and thought, to which questions and thinkers he responded, and by which...
Notes on References
For good service in Nietzsche’s library in Weimar over many years, I wish to thank Frau Schmidt, Frau Matteis, Frau Fox, Frau Schneider, Frau Kuhles, Frau Ellermann-Minda, Frau Schwitalla, Dr. Frank Simon-Ritz, the director of the Anna Amalia Bibliothek...
Most great philosophers are seen as figures towering above their time. In Nietzsche’s case, such a view is perhaps especially pervasive, for he fostered it himself with his claims to be “untimely” and “a destiny” and with prophetic writings such as Thus Spoke Zarathustra. He...
1. Nietzsche As Reader
One can easily get the impression that Nietzsche, and especially the late Nietzsche, read little. He criticized reading as insufficiently life-affirming and Dionysian: “Early in the morning at the break of day, in all the freshness and dawn of one’s strength, to...
2. The Major Philosophical Influences on Nietzsche's Thinking
Nietzsche was educated as a classical philologist and had a very limited philosophical education in the conventional sense. As a philosopher he was largely an autodidact. He never had a living philosophical teacher or mentor who could help him develop. He therefore...
3. The Young Nietzsche: 1844-69
As is the case for most young people, Nietzsche’s first philosophical influences came from persons and sources outside of philosophy. Most important was a strong Christian influence, which made him a very pious child. The early death of his father—a Protestant pastor—when Nietzsche was only five years old may well have had the effect of intensifying his...
4. The Early Nietzsche: 1869-74
During Nietzsche’s first three years as a professor at Basel (1869–71)—a period during which he worked hard to prepare lectures and teaching, finished the extensive index to twenty-four massive volumes of the journal Rheinisches Museum für Philologie (which was published at the end of 1871 as a separate volume of 167 pages),1 and wrote The Birth of Tragedy (published...
5. The Middle Nietzsche: 1875-82
During 1875 and 1876, Nietzsche went through an intellectual and emotional crisis and changed fundamental aspects of his Weltanschauung, including breaking with Schopenhauer, Kant, and Wagner.1 Nietzsche then exchanged his earlier enthusiasm for metaphysics...
6. The Late Nietzsche: 1883-89
During the Zarathustra period (1883–85), when Nietzsche developed much of his new philosophy, he continued a relatively broad philosophical reading. This reading, as always, also consisted of much rereading of philosophical texts he had read earlier, such as...
An important approach to understanding a philosopher is to reconstruct his thinking, not in terms of a number of propositions but as answers to questions and implicit questions that he attempted to answer or to which he attempted to respond.1 This can be done by using the...
Table 1. Chronological Listing of Nietzsche's Philosophical Reading
Table 2. Philosophical Titles in Nietzsche's Library: Unknown If and When Read
Table 3. Alphabetical Listing of Nietzsche's Philosophical Reading