Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (15 October 1844 – 25 August 1900) was a German philologist, philosopher, cultural critic, poet and composer. He wrote several critical texts on religion, morality, contemporary culture, philosophy and science, displaying a fondness for metaphor, irony and aphorism.
Nietzsche’s key ideas include the Apollonian/Dionysian dichotomy, perspectivism, the Will to Power, the “death of God”, the Übermensch and eternal recurrence. One of the key tenets of his philosophy is the concept of “life-affirmation,” which embraces the realities of the world in which we live over the idea of a world beyond. It further champions the creative powers of the individual to strive beyond social, cultural, and moral contexts. His radical questioning of the value and objectivity of truth has been the focus of extensive commentary, and his influence remains substantial, particularly in the continental philosophical schools of existentialism, postmodernism, and post-structuralism. His ideas of individual overcoming and transcendence beyond structure and context have had a profound impact on late-twentieth and early-twenty-first century thinkers, who have used these concepts as points of departure in the development of their philosophies.
Nietzsche began his career as a classical philologist — a scholar of Greek and Roman textual criticism — before turning to philosophy. In 1869, at age twenty-four, he was appointed to the Chair of Classical Philology at the University of Basel, the youngest individual to have held this position. He resigned in the summer of 1879 due to health problems that plagued him most of his life. In 1889, at age forty-four, he suffered a collapse and a complete loss of his mental faculties. The breakdown was later ascribed to atypical general paresis due to tertiary syphilis, but this diagnosis has come into question. Re-examination of Nietzsche’s medical evaluation papers show that he almost certainly died of brain cancer. Nietzsche lived his remaining years in the care of his mother until her death in 1897, after which he fell under the care of his sister Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche until his death in 1900.
Here’s the shocking part:
As his caretaker, his sister assumed the roles of curator and editor of Nietzsche’s manuscripts. Förster-Nietzsche was married to a prominent German nationalist and antisemite, Bernhard Förster, and reworked Nietzsche’s unpublished writings to fit her own ideology, often in ways contrary to Nietzsche’s stated opinions, which were strongly and explicitly opposed to antisemitism and nationalism (see Nietzsche’s criticism of antisemitism and nationalism). Through Förster-Nietzsche’s editions, Nietzsche’s name became associated with German militarism and Nazism, although later twentieth-century scholars have counteracted this conception of his ideas.
Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul (b. 17 August 1932), is a Trinidad-born Nobel Prize-winning British writer known for the comic early novels of Trinidad, the bleaker later novels of the wider world, and the chronicles of his life and travels.
Naipaul has published more than 30 books, both of fiction and nonfiction, over some 50 years.
Naipaul was married to Patricia Ann Hale from 1955 until her death in 1996. She served as first reader, editor, and critic of his writings. To her Naipaul dedicated his A House for Mr. Biswas.
As I mentioned, both authors were hard to live with. From the account, it sounds as if Naipaul is very lucky that his late wife, Pat, stayed with him and supported him.
Nietsche broke off relations with a lot of people during his short life. There may have been good reasons for this, but it seems that his strong views made him a difficult person.