'Twilight of the Idols', an attack on all the prevalent ideas of his time, offers a lightning tour of his whole philosophy. It also prepares the way for 'The Anti-Christ', a final assault on institutional Christianity. Both works show Nietzsche lashing out at self-deception, astounded at how often morality is based on vengefulness and resentment. Both reveal a profound understanding of human mean-spiritedness which still cannot destroy the underlying optimism of Nietzsche, the supreme affirmer among the great philosophers.
Frederich Nietzsche was born in Leipzig in 1844, the son of a Lutheran clergyman. At the age of twenty-four he became the chair of classical philology at Basel University until his bad health forced him to retire in 1879. He divorced himself from society until his final collapse in 1899 when he became insane. He died in 1900. M. Tanner is Lecturer in Philosophy at Cambridge. R.J. Hollingdale has translated eleven of Nietzsche's books and published two books about him.