Friedrich Nietzsche

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Friedrich Nietzsche, 1869

Friedrich Nietzsche (15 October 1840 – 25 August 1900) was a 19th-century philosopher who wrote extensively on women, relationships, and sexuality. His pulls-no-punches style of writing on all topics has made him an uncomfortable figure in polite company, but his writing on women sealed the reputation of his work as a body of evil.


Arthur Schopenhauer[edit]

Arthur Schopenhauer was an atheist who brought many eastern concepts to mid-1800s Europe. He is often characterized as a pessimist.

Richard Wagner[edit]

The musician Richard Wagner was a major influence on Nietzsche's life and philosophy, first as a friend and then as an enemy. The relationship was broken off when Wagner embraced what Nietzsche thought was pious national sentimentalism.



The Übermensch—which can be roughly translated as "over-man"—was an idea introduced in Thus Spoke Zarathustra as a value-creating man in contrast to the herd-man who lives according to the creed of another.

The Übermensch is a kind of transcendent figure which—while presumably human in form—no longer can be classed among the general masses of humankind.

Eternal Return[edit]

Nietzsche's unique use of the myth of eternal return forms a kind of litmus test between the Übermensch and mere humans.

In this version, a spirit reveals a metaphysical absolute: that our lives will be lived over and over, exactly the same, forever. The reaction of the subject forms the test: regular people will be horrified by this idea and consider it a curse while the Übermensch will consider it a blessing.


  • "You are going to women? Do not forget the whip!"
  • "Supposing that Truth is a woman —well, now, is there not some foundation for suspecting that all philosophers, insofar as they were dogmatists, have not known how to handle women?"
  • "When a woman has scholarly inclinations there is usually something wrong with her sexuality."
  • "Women are considered deep—why? Because one can never discover any bottom to them. Women are not even shallow."
  • "Ah, women. They make the highs higher and the lows more frequent."

Beyond Good and Evil[edit]

  • "Behind all their personal vanity, women themselves always have an impersonal contempt for woman."—Beyond Good and Evil
  • "It is "the slave" in the vain man's blood, the remains of the slave's craftiness - and how much of the "slave" is still left in woman, for instance!"—Beyond Good and Evil
  • "Where there is neither love nor hatred in the game woman is a mediocre player."
  • "In revenge and in love woman is more barbarous than man."

Ecce Homo[edit]

  • "All women all like me. But that’s an old story: except of course the abortive ones, the emancipated ones who are simply not up to having children."
  • "A little woman pursuing her vengeance would force overtake even Fate itself."

Human, All Too Human[edit]

  • "A woman may very well form a friendship with a man, but for this to endure, it must be assisted by a little physical antipathy."

The Gay Science[edit]

  • "Women are all skillful in exaggerating their weaknesses, indeed they are inventive in weaknesses, so as to seem quite fragile ornaments to which even a grain of dust does harm; their existence is meant to bring home to man's mind his coarseness, and to appeal to his conscience. They thus defend themselves against the strong and the 'law of the jungle'."

Thus Spoke Zarathustra[edit]

  • " Everything in woman is a riddle, and everything in woman has one solution—that is pregnancy. For the woman, the man is a means: the end is always the child."
  • "A real man wants two things: danger and play. Therefore he wants woman as the most dangerous plaything. Man shall be educated for war, and woman for the recreation of the warrior: all else is folly."
  • "I have I found all buyers cautious and astute. But even the most astute of them buys his wife while she is still wrapped."

Major Works[edit]

  • The Birth of Tragedy (1872)
  • Untimely Meditations (1876)
  • Human, All Too Human (1878)
  • The Dawn (1881)
  • The Gay Science (1882)
  • Thus Spoke Zarathustra (1883)
  • Beyond Good and Evil (1886)
  • On the Genealogy of Morality (1887)
  • The Case of Wagner (1888)
  • Twilight of the Idols (1888)
  • The Antichrist (1888)
  • Ecce Homo (1888)
  • Nietzsche contra Wagner (1888)
  • The Will to Power (unpublished manuscripts edited by his sister Elisabeth)