BORN IN 1844 in the small Prussian town of Röcken and named after Friedrich Wilhelm IV, Friedrich Nietzsche came from a family in which his father and his two grandfathers were Lutheran ministers, and as a child he was pious. At the university, he was strongly influenced by philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer, and composer Richard Wagner took the place of a father to the young student, his own father having died when he was four. Nietzsche attained early academic success and was elected a professor of classical philology at the University of Basel at 24. He retired at 34 due to his health, and composed most of his major works in the following nine years while leading a wandering existence. His health collapsed shortly after his ...

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