Friedrich Nietzsche - Chronology

Based on the Chronology in The Portable Nietzsche, ed. and trans. Walter Kaufmann (1954; Penguin, 1968), with additional information from the following books:

Philosophy and Truth: Selections from Nietzsche’s Notebooks of the Early 1870s, ed. and trans. Daniel Breazeale (New Jersey: Humanities Press, 1979).

Friedrich Nietzsche on Rhetoric and Language, ed. and trans. Sander L. Gilman, Carole Blair, and David J. Parent (New York: Oxford University Press, 1989).


1844 - Born (15 Oct) at in Röcken, Germany.

1849 - Death of his father, a Lutheran pastor, on July 30.

1850 - Family moves to Naumburg.

1858-64 - Attends boarding school at Schulpforta.

1864 - Studies classical philology at Bonn University.

1865- Continues studies at Leipzig and accidentally discovers Schopenhauer’s main work in a second-hand bookstore.

1868 - First meeting with Richard Wagner.

1869 - Professor extraordinarius of classical philology at the University of Basel, Switzerland.

Winter Semester 1869-70 - First lecture course on Pre-Platonic philosophy (no information survives).

1870 Promoted to full professor. As a Swiss subject, volunteers as a medical orderly in the Franco-Prussian war and serves briefly with the Prussian forces. Returns to Basel in October, his health shattered.

1872 - Publication of Die Geburt der Tragödie aus dem Geist der Musik (The Birth of Tragedy out of the Spirit of Music), his first book.
Summer semester - Lecture course on Pre-Platonic philosophy.

1872-73 - Winter semester - Lecture course on “The History of Greek Eloquence” (attended by only two students). A manuscript believed to be the text of the lectures or based on the lectures has been translated as “The History of Greek Eloquence (1872-73),” trans. David J. Parent, Friedrich Nietzsche on Rhetoric and Language, ed and trans. Sander L. Gilman, Carole Blair, and David J. Parent (New York: Oxford University Press, 1989), 213-42.

1873 - Publication of the first two Unzeitgemässe Betrachtungen (Untimely Meditations): David Strauss, der Bekenner und Schrisftsteller (“David Strauss, the Confessor and Writer”) and Vom Nutzen und Nachteil der Historie für das Leben (“On the Uses and Disadvantages of History for Life”).
Spring - Writes Die Philosophie im tragischen Zeitalter der Griechen (“Philosophy in the Tragic Age of the Greeks”), based upon texts for lecture course on Pre-Platonic philosophy.
Summer semester - Lecture course on Pre-Platonic philosophy.
Writes the unfinished manuscript Über Wahrheit und Lüge im aussermoralichen Sinne (“On the Truth and Lies in a Nonmoral Sense”)

1873-74 - Prepares notes for a course of lectures on classical rhetoric for the summer semester of 1874; the course is not offered because of lack of student interest. For notes on the text of these lecture notes, click here: <>.

1874 - Schopenhauer als Erzieher (“Schopenhauer as Educator”) is published as the third Untimely Meditation.

1876 - After many delays, Nietzsche completes and publishes “Richard Wagner in Bayreuth” as the last of the Untimely Meditations, although more had been planned originally.
Summer semester - Lecture course on Pre-Platonic philosophy.
Poor health. Leave from the university. Sorrento.

1878 - Menschliches, Allzumenschliches (Human, All-Too-Human) appears. For the next ten years a new book is printed every year.

1879 - Resignation from the university with pension. Vermischte Meinungen und Sprüche (Mixed Opinions and Maxims) published as Anhang (appendix) of Human, All Too Human. Summer in St. Moritz in the Engadin.

1880 - Der Wanderer und sein Schatten (The Wanderer and His Shadow) appears as Zweiter und letzter nachtrag (second and final sequel) of Human, All Too Human.

1881 - Publication of Die Morgenröte (The Dawn). Winter and Spring in Genoa, summer in Sils Maria (Engadin), fall in Genoa.

1882 - Publication of Die Fröhliche Wissenschaft (The Gay Science). Winter in Genoa, spring in Messina, summer in Tautenburg with Lou Salomé and his siter Elizabeth, fall in Leipzig. Goes to Rapallo in November.

1883 - Writes the First Part of Also Sprach Zarathustra in Rapello during the winter; spends March and April in Genoa, May in Rome, and the summer in Sils Maria, where he completes Part Two. Both parts are published separately in 1883. From now until 1888, Nietzsche spends every summer in Sils Maria, every winter in Nizza.

1884 - Writes the Third Part in Nizza in January. It is published later the same year.

1885 - The Fourth and Last Part of Zarathustra is written during the winter in Nizza and Mentone. Forty copies are printed privately, but only seven distributed among friends.

1886 - Publication of Jenseits von Gut und Böse (Beyond Good and Evil). A new preface is added to the remaining copies of both previous editions of The Birth of Tragedy (1872 and 1878, textually different); the last part of the title is now omitted in favor of a new subtitle: Griechentum und Pessimismus (The Greek Spirit and Pessimism). Second edition of Human, All Too Human with a new preface and with the two sequels printed as volume two.

1887 - Publication of Zur Genealogie der Moral (Toward a Genealogy of Morals). Second edition of The Dawn, with a new preface, and of The Gay Science, with a newly added fifth book (aphorisms 343-383) and an appendix of poems.

1888 - Winter in Nizza, spring in Turin, summer in Sils Maria, fall in Turin. Publication of Der Fall Wagner (The Wagner Case). The beginning of fame: Georg Brandes lectures on Nietzsche at the University of Copenhagen.

1889 - Nietzsche becomes insane early in January in Turin. Overbeck, a friend and former colleague, brings him back to Basel. He is committed to the asylum in Jena, but soon released in care of his mother, who takes him to Naumburg. Die Götzen-Dämmerung (Twilight of the Idols), written in 1888, appears in January.

1891 - The first public edition of the Fourth Part of Zarathustra is held up at the last minute lest it be confiscated. It is published in 1892.

1895 - Der Antichrist and Nietzsche contra Wagner, both written in 1888, are finally published in volume eight of Nietzsche’s collected works—the former, mistakenly, as Book One of Der Wille zur Macht (The Will to Power).

1897 - Nietzsche’s mother dies. His sister moves him to Weimar.

1900 - Dies (25 August) in Weimar.

1901 - His sister publishes some 400 of his notes, many already fully utilized by him, in Volume XV of the collected works under the title Der WIlle zur Macht (The Will to Power).

1904 - His sister integrates 200 pages of further material from The Will to Power in the last volume of her biography, Das Leben Friedrich Nietzsches. A completely remodeled version of The Will to Power, consisting of 1067 notes, appears in a subsequent edition of the works in Volumes XV (1910) and XVI (1911).

1908 - First edition of Ecce Homo, written in 1888.