In this beautifully written account, Julian Young provides the most comprehensive bio-
graphy available today of the life and philosophy of the nineteenth-century German philos-
opher Friedrich Nietzsche. Young deals with the many puzzles created by the conjunction
of Nietzsche’s personal history and his work: why the son of a Lutheran pastor developed
into the self-styled “Antichrist”; why this archetypical Prussian came to loathe Bismarck’s
Prussia; and why this enemy of feminism preferred the company of feminist women. Set-
ting Nietzsche’s thought in the context of his times – the rise of Prussian militarism, anti-
Semitism, Darwinian science, the “Youth” and emancipationist movements, as well as the
“death of God” – Young emphasizes the decisive inﬂuence of Plato and of Richard Wagner
on Nietzsche’s attempt to reform Western culture. He also describes the devastating eﬀect
on Nietzsche’s personality of his unhappy love for Lou Salom´e and attempts to understand
why, at the age of forty-four, he went mad.
This book includes a selection of more than thirty photographs of Nietzsche, his friends,
and his work sites. Seventeen of the philosopher’s musical compositions, which are key to
a deeper understanding of his intellectual project, are available online.
Educated at Cambridge University and the University of Pittsburgh, Julian Young is Kenan
Professor of Humanities at Wake Forest University, Professor of Philosophy at the Uni-
versity of Auckland, and Honorary Research Professor at the University of Tasmania. A
scholar of nineteenth- and twentieth-century German philosophy, he is the author of nine
books, most recently Nietzsche’s Philosophy of Religion, and has been invited to speak at uni-
versities and conferences throughout the world.
Chapters and sections with headings in italics discuss Nietzsche’s works. The
remainder discuss his life. There are thus three ways of reading this book. One
can read about Nietzsche’s life, about his works, or, best of all, about both his life
and his works.
Seventeen of Nietzsche’s musical compositions, together with a com-
mentary, are available on the book’s Web site, http://www.cambridge.org/
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List of Abbreviations
A Divided Heritage,
The Germania Society,
Free at Last,
Beer-Drinking on the Rhine,
The Cologne Brothel,
David Strauss and the Critique of Christianity,
The Study of Classics,
‘Fairy-Tale-Like and Seven-League-Bootish’,
The World as Will and Representation,
Basel in ,
Colleagues and Friends,
Isle of the Blessed,
The End of an
Richard Wagner and the Birth of The Birth of Tragedy
The Wagnerian Worldview,