Friedrich Nietzsche was born this day in 1844 in the small town of Röcken, near Leipzig, Saxony, in the Kingdom of Prussia. He died in August 25, 1900 in Weimar, Saxony, in the Second German Reich. The outlines of Nietzsche’s life are readily available online.
Nietzsche is one of the most important philosophers of the North American New Right because of his contributions to the philosophy of history, culture, and religion.
If you are thinking of reading Nietzsche’s works, the best introductions are Twilight of the Idols and The Antichrist, preferably in the R. J. Hollingdale translations. The next volume should be Beyond Good and Evil, which Nietzsche described as the prose presentation of his entire worldview. I recommend the Judith Norman translation on Cambridge University Press.
Thus Spake Zarathustra is Nietzsche’s poetic presentation of his philosophy, but it should be saved for later. It is the worst possible introduction to Nietzsche. It has been many people’s first Nietzsche book, and for all too many it has been their last.
Such Nietzsche books as On the Genealogy of Morals, The Birth of Tragedy, Untimely Meditations, and Joyful Wisdom are highly valuable, but should be saved till later. Daybreak and Human, All-Too-Human are products of a brief flirtation with certain Enlightenment ideas and are thus quite misleading as introductions. Ecce Homo, The Case of Wagner, and Nietzsche Contra Wagner should be saved for last. As a rule, the Cambridge University Press translations of Nietzsche should be preferred.
The introductory books on Nietzsche are mostly disappointing. I do recommend H. L. Mencken’s The Philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. Julian Young’s Nietzsche’s Philosophy of Art and Nietzsche’s Philosophy of Religion are very clear and exciting books that examine the development of Nietzsche’s ideas throughout his career. Because of the importance of art and religion to Nietzsche, they serve as excellent overviews of his philosophy. Young has just published an important biography, Friedrich Nietzsche: A Philosophical Biography which combines overviews of Nietzsche’s life and works in a single volume. Although it is a long book, it is well worth the investment of time.
Nietzsche is probably the author most often tagged on this website.
Here are the main works we have published by and about Nietzsche:
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