Friedrich NIETZSCHE : The Birth of Tragedy

Translated with an Introduction and Notes by DOUGLAS SMITH

Publication Information : Book Title : The Birth of Tragedy. Contributors : Friedrich Nietzsche – author, Douglas Smith – transltr. Publisher : Oxford University Press. Place of Publication : Oxford. Publication Year : 2000.


1844 Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche born in Röcken ( Saxony) on 15 October, son of Karl Ludwig and Franziska Nietzsche. His father and both grandfathers are Protestant clergymen.

1846 Birth of sister Elisabeth.

1849 Birth of brother Joseph ; death of father.

1850 Death of brother ; family moves to Naumburg.

1858-64 Attends renowned boys’ boarding-school Pforta, where he excels in classics. Begins to suffer from migraine attacks which will plague him for the rest of his life.

1864 Enters Bonn University to study theology and classical philology.

1865 Follows classics professor Ritschl to Leipzig University, where he drops theology and continues with studies in classical philology. Discovers Schopenhauer’s philosophy and becomes a passionate admirer.

1867 Begins publishing career with essay on Theognis ; continues publishing philological articles and book reviews till 1873.

1867-8 Military service in Naumburg, until invalided out after a riding accident.

1868 Back in Leipzig, meets Richard Wagner for the first time and quickly becomes a devotee. Increasing disaffection with philology : plans to escape to Paris to study chemistry.

1869 On Ritschl’s recommendation, appointed Extraordinary Professor of Classical Philology at Basle University. Awarded doctorate without examination ; renounces Prussian citizenship. Begins a series of idyllic visits to the Wagners at Tribschen, on Lake Lucerne. Develops admiration for Jacob Burckhardt, his new colleague in Basle.

1870 Promoted to full professor. Participates in Franco-Prussian War as volunteer medical orderly, but contracts dysentery and diphtheria at the front within a fortnight.

1871 Granted semester’s sick leave from Basle and works intensively on The Birth of Tragedy. Germany unified ; founding of the Reich.

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