During the months surrounding Nietzsche’s initial meeting with Wagner, Ritschl recommended Nietzsche for a position on the classical philology faculty at the University of Basel.The Swiss university offered Nietzsche the professorial position, and he began teaching there in May, 1869, at the age of 24.
Nietzsche also cultivated his friendship with Richard Wagner and visited him often at his Swiss home in Tribschen, a small town near Lucerne.
Never in outstanding health, further complications arose from Nietzsche’s August-October 1870 service as a 25-year-old hospital attendant during the Franco-Prussian War (1870–71), where he participated in the siege of Metz.
At Basel, Nietzsche’s satisfaction with his life among his philology colleagues was limited, and he established closer intellectual ties to the historians Franz Overbeck (1837–1905) and Jacob Burkhardt (1818–1897), whose lectures he attended.
Overbeck—who roomed for five years in the same house as Nietzsche—became Nietzsche’s close and enduring friend, exchanging many letters with him over the years, and rushing to Nietzsche’s assistance in Turin immediately after his devastating collapse in 1889.
Friedrich Nietzsche (1844–1900) was a German philosopher of the late 19th century who challenged the foundations of Christianity and traditional morality.
He was interested in the enhancement of individual and cultural health, and believed in life, creativity, power, and down-to-earth realities, rather than those situated in a world beyond.Wagner and Nietzsche shared an enthusiasm for Schopenhauer, and Nietzsche—who had been composing piano, choral and orchestral music since he was a teenager—admired Wagner for his musical genius, magnetic personality and cultural influence.Wagner was the same age Nietzsche’s father would have been, and he had also attended the University of Leipzig many years before.When Nietzsche was nearly 5 years old, his father, Karl Ludwig Nietzsche (1813–1849) died from a brain ailment (July 30, 1849) and the death of Nietzsche’s two-year-old brother, Ludwig Joseph, traumatically followed six months later (January 4, 1850).Having been living only yards away from Röcken’s church in the house reserved for the pastor and his family, the Nietzsche family left their home soon after Karl Ludwig’s death.Central to his philosophy is the idea of “life-affirmation,” which involves an honest questioning of all doctrines that drain life’s expansive energies, however socially prevalent those views might be.Often referred to as one of the first existentialist philosophers along with Søren Kierkegaard (1813–1855), Nietzsche’s revitalizing philosophy has inspired leading figures in all walks of cultural life, including dancers, poets, novelists, painters, psychologists, philosophers, sociologists and social revolutionaries.But Nietzsche broke with Wagner personally and intellectually in the late 1870s, and his assessments became increasingly negative (and more and more explicit) as time went on.Nevertheless, even after their break, Nietzsche was still reminiscing wistfully in 1882 about how his days with Wagner had been the best of his life.Inspired by Ritschl, and following him to the University of Leipzig in 1865—an institution located closer to Nietzsche’s hometown of Naumburg—Nietzsche quickly established his own academic reputation through his published essays on two 6th century BCE poets, Theognis and Simonides, as well as on Aristotle.In Leipzig, he developed a close friendship with Erwin Rohde (1845–1898), a fellow philology student and future philologist, with whom he would correspond extensively in later years. Lange’s newly-published (1866)—a work that criticizes materialist theories from the standpoint of Kant’s critique of metaphysics, and that attracted Nietzsche’s interest for its view that metaphysical speculation is an expression of poetic illusion.