The literary career of Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) spanned less than twenty years, but no area of intellectual inquiry was left untouched by his iconoclastic genius. The philosopher who announced the death of God in The Gay Science (1882) and went on to challenge the Christian code of morality in Beyond Good and Evil (1886), grappled with the fundamental issues of the human condition in his own intense autobiography, Ecce Homo (1888). Most notorious of all, perhaps, his idea of the triumphantly transgressive ubermann ('superman') is developed in the extreme, yet poetic words of Thus Spake Zarathustra (1883-92). Whether addressing conventional Western philosophy or breaking new ground, Nietzsche vastly extended the boundaries of nineteenth-century thought.
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