We Philologists

Author: Friedrich Nietzsche

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If we take into account that Nietzsche was a professor of classical philology – the study of ancient languages – at the University of Basel between 1869 and 1878, it is not surprising that he addressed this topic in his works.

In We Philologists, written around 1874 and published after his death in 1900, we find Nietzsche’s criticism of the professors of philology in Germany (very influential at the time) because, in his opinion, they were unfit to exercise their profession because they were mentally deficient in entering into the spirit of antiquity.

For him, both the teachers and their students were unfit when compared to the Greek ideal, which he describes as people of mental acuity and clear speech.


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Homer and Classical Philology

Friedrich Nietzsche

Homer and Classical Philology could be considered as the “first work” of the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, which precedes his book The Birth of Tragedy. It is the inaugural speech that Nietzsche delivered on May 28, 1869 at the University of Basel.

It is a tradition in this house of studies that newly installed professors give a speech to make themselves known professionally and also the aspects and approaches of their work.

This essay is considered an important work that analyzes the language and use of mythology in two of Homer’s most representative works, The Iliad and The Odyssey, and their relationship with classical philology. It also refers to how the works attributed to the ancient Greek poet may not have been written by him.

We invite you to read what could be considered the true early work of this influential philosopher and cultural critic.

The Birth of Tragedy

Friedrich Nietzsche

The Birth of Tragedy is a book written between 1871 and 1872.

It is the first work of the German philosopher. In this book, controversial at the time, he not only systematically exposes the content of his study of the Greeks, but also begins to shape his philosophy, already influenced by the thoughts of Arthur Schopenhauer and the music of Richard Wagner.

This text, which is a hybrid of philosophy and philology, which is why the author called it a «centaur», deals with the birth of the Attic tragedy, the aesthetic motives that inspired it and the causes of its disappearance.

Thoughts Out of Season part I

Friedrich Nietzsche

Thoughts out of Season is a classic work by Nietzsche that can also be found under the name of Untimely Meditations or also as Unfashionable Observations. This publication is a compendium of 4 works and was started in the year 1873 and finished in 1876.

Friedrich Nietzsche is known for having been a man dedicated to the study of philosophy, morals, culture, religion, etc., and who usually resorted to resources such as aphorism, irony and metaphor to expound his ideas, this work being an example of this.

Perhaps for some readers unaccustomed to the narrative of this classical philologist, Thoughts out of Season may seem a somewhat complex reading, but for those who are already familiar with other works of the writer such as Thus Spoke Zarathustra, The Genealogy of Morals or Twilight of the Idols, they will be able to read and understand this volume without major problems.

Thoughts Out of Season part II

Friedrich Nietzsche

This work includes two essays by the cultural critic and classical philologist Friedrich Nietzsche, the first entitled “Use and Abuse of History” and the second “Schopenhauer as Educator,” which form the second and third parts of the series ” Thoughts Out of Season”, also known as “Untimely Meditations” and “Unfashionable Observations”.

These essays were first published in English in 1910 and, like other works by Nietzsche, deal with philosophy, religion and psychology. And they were written at the time when the German philosopher was working as a professor of classical philology at Basel.

In the first essay, Nietzsche condemns those who use the past as a means to justify their present. And in the second he makes clear his position against state-subsidized philosophy and against those professors who trained their students with cathedral-like authority in all their pronouncements.

Human, All Too Human

Friedrich Nietzsche

Human, all too human is a book whose first volume was published in 1878. It was followed by two subsequent sequels, in March and December 1880 respectively: «Assorted Opinions and Maxims» and «The Wanderer and his Shadow».

These two sequels were later collected, in 1886, in a single volume, as the second volume of “Human, all too human”.

This work breaks with Nietzsche’s earlier style. In fact, it is here that for the first time he consciously rehearses the use of aphorisms, brief and penetrating, as an instrument for writing and communicating his profound, incisive and sometimes even contradictory thought.