In his History of Western Philosophy Bertrand Russell was caustic in his chapter on Nietzsche, calling his work the "mere power-phantasies of an invalid" and referring to Nietzsche as a "megalomaniac".
Nietzsche began his career as a classical philologist before turning to philosophy. At the age of 24 he became the Chair of Classical Philology at the University of Basel (the youngest-ever holder of this position), but resigned in 1879 due to health problems, which would plague him for most of his life. In 1889 he exhibited symptoms of serious mental illness, living out his remaining years in the care of his mother and sister until his death in 1900.
Born on 15 October 1844, Nietzsche grew up in the small town of Röcken, near Leipzig, in the Prussian Province of Saxony. He was named after King Frederick William IV of Prussia, who turned 49 on the day of Nietzsche's birth. (Nietzsche later dropped his given middle name, "Wilhelm".) Nietzsche's parents, Carl Ludwig (1813–1849), a Lutheran pastor and former teacher, and Franziska Oehler (1826–1897), married in 1843 and had two other children: a daughter, Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche, born in 1846, and a second son, Ludwig Joseph, born in 1848. Nietzsche's father died from a brain ailment in 1849; his younger brother died in 1850. The family then moved to Naumburg, where they lived with Nietzsche's paternal grandmother and his father's two unmarried sisters. After the death of Nietzsche's grandmother in 1856, the family moved into their own house.
includes: "Parable of the Madman" Friedrich Nietzsche Read by Ravi Zacharias