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Journeys In Thought - Nietzsche In Switzerland

Updated Monday 24th October 2005

Nietzsche is often remembered as a miserable polemicist who proclaimed the death of God, before embracing a horse and going crazy in Turin . In fact, when this German-born genius arrived in the Swiss town of Basel in 1869, he was young, happy and full of optimism.

Nietzsche Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Mary Evans Picture Library

Just appointed to a full chair of classics at the University, he would remain in Switzerland, off and on, for the next decade; it was here that he would begin to make his name. While is Basel he published his first book, The Birth of Tragedy, including a sustained attack on Socrates and the supremacy of rationality.Nietzsche also reflected deeply on the role of the teacher in society; it was only when illness struck that Neitzsche allowed his own teaching commitments to slide.

Of enormous influence upon him was his friendship with Richard Wagner – from Basel, Nietzsche would routinely make the trip to Luzern where Wagner and his family lived. Nietzsche was treated as an honorary member of this family.

Interviewees for the programme include Angie Hobbs, Roger Scruton and Raimond Gaita. Interviews were also conducted in Basel itself and at the Wagner Museum in Luzern.

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