Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (1844–1900), born near Leipzig, was the son of a Lutheran minister and grandson of two clergymen. Nietzsche was five years old when his father died, and he grew up in a household consisting of his mother, sister, two maiden aunts, and his grandmother. He was a model child and an excellent student; by the time he was 10, he had written several plays and composed music. At the age of 14, he entered the famous Schulpforta (a boarding school), where religion was one of his best subjects; he also excelled in his study of Greek and Roman liter- ature. In 1864, he entered Bonn University, where he expressed disgust for the beer drinking and carousing behavior of his fellow students. When Nietzsche’s favorite teacher (Friedrich Ritschl) transferred from Bonn to the University of Leipzig, Nietzsche followed him there. Nietzsche’s student days ended when, at the age of 24, he accepted an offer he received from the University of Basel to teach classical philology (the study of ancient lan- guages, ideas, and word origins) even before he had received his doctorate. He taught at Basel for 10 years before poor health forced his retirement at the age of 35. His most influential books followed his academic retirement.

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