Nietzsche and Beethoven
Illustrated Time Table on the Topic


Friedrich Nietzsche

"Aber red ihn nicht an wie damals, mit >Nun, mein Jung', immer brav< und so weiter.  Erstens hört er dich nicht, und dann wär's wohl überhaupt gegen den humanistischen Geschmack."  Ich wollte gehen, aber er hielt mich auf, indem er mich bei meinem Nachnamen rief: "Zeitblom!", was ebenfalls sehr hart klang.  Und als ich mich umwandte:  "Ich habe gefunden", sagte er, "es soll nicht sein."  "Was, Adrian, soll nicht sein?" "Das Gute und Edle", antwortete er mir, "was man das Menschliche nennt, obwohl es gut ist und edel.  Um was die Menschen gekämpft, wofür sie Zwingburgen gestürmt, und was die Erfüllten jubelnd verkündigt haben, das soll nicht sein.  Es wird zurückgenommen.  Ich will es zurücknehmen."  "ich verstehe dich, Lieber, nicht ganz.  Was willst du zurücknehmen?" "Die Neunte Symphonie", erwiderte er.  Und dann kam nichts mehr, wie ich auch wartete." (Thomas Mann, Doktor Faustus; due to copyright restrictions, I can only describe the content of this passage from Mann's novel:  In it, Adrian Leverkühn's friend, the philologist Serenus Zeitblom, while visiting him at his Bavarian country retreat, becomes a witness to the fact of the death of Leverkühn's lovely, five-year-old nephew.  The dialogue takes place during the little boy's last few days, and in it, the composer first asks his friend not to pester the little boy with any admonishments on bravery and then breaks out into his statement that he has found out that "it shall not be", by which he means that everything good and noble that man has fought for, shall not be, and that he, himself will take it back.  Leverkühn answers Zeitbloms puzzled question as to what he means by that with his intention of "taking the Ninth Symphony back").

The above quote and its English description  leads us back to what I hinted at in the starting page of this presentation, and to the little section of this entire website, on its future endeavors.  In it, I wrote that, as far as literature and music was concerned, I also went out from such works as Thomas Mann's novel "Doktor Faustus".  I think that now, the opportunity has arrived to discuss this further.

For those of you who have not had an opportunity, yet, to read Mann's novel, I just want to provide a few outer details with respect to the plot of the novel:  In it, Mann describes the life of the German composer Adrian Leverkühn in which he turns the latter, as a composer of the early 20th century, into the "inventor" of the twelve-tone-system (which actually goes back to Arnold Schönberg).  While Mann's "hero" appears to represent his Faustian concept of modern man's struggle with his life in his time, he also endows his "hero" with many character traits of and similarities in fate to Friedrich Nietzsche.  Mann's coming to terms and dealing with the topic of musical development during the 19th century is embedded into this novel insofar as it appeared useful to him in order to develop his Faust concept in it.  While it is now time to bid farewell to a further discussion of the content of this novel, it will even become clear to us lay readers that much would have had to happen during the course of the 19th century before Mann could let his hero attempt to "take back the Ninth Symphony".

In my investigation of the topic of Nietzsche and Beethoven, I ask myself the following question:  Am I on the right track by considering Nietzsche to represent a crucial part of 19th-century development of art, music and culture in this particular respect?  In our search for an answer to this question, I would, first of all, like to present you with an illustrated time table of the most important stations along the path of this development that would have been likely to have had an influence on both Beethoven, Nietzsche and their respective eras.

For such an overview, two similar points of departure offered themselves to me:  The beginning of the renaissance era, from a Faustian and literary viewpoint, since, after all, the actual historical "Faust" )who had only left traces in nine documents) lived at the beginning of Renaissance in Germany, while also, and certainly more relevantly, the dawn of the Copernican age coincided with the dawn of Renaissance in central Europe.  In a broader sense, both Beethoven and Nietzsche lived in times that were still shaped by the concepts developed with the dawn of these ages, while  Nietzsche would live to see the end of this era with Darwin's discoveries that also influenced his thinking to a certain extent.  Therefore, it is fitting to extend this time table from the beginning of the Copernican age to its end with Darwin's discoveries and with his development of his theory of evolution.

The  Copernican Age





"Copernicus, Nicolaus, b. Feb. 19, 1473, Torun, Pol., d. May 24, 1543, Frauenburg, East Prussia [now Frombork, Pol.]  Polish MIKOLAJ KOPERNIK Polish astronomer who proposed that the planets have the Sun as the fixed point to which their motions are to be referred; that the Earth is a planet which, besides orbiting the Sun annually, also turns once daily on its own axis; and that very slow, long-term changes in the direction of this axis account for the precessionof the equinoxes, This representation of the heavens is usually called the heliocentric, or "Sun-centred," system--derived from the Greek helios, meaning "Sun." Copernicus's theory  had important consequences for later thinkers of the scientific revolution, including such major figures as Galileo, Kepler, Descartes, and Newton. Copernicus probably hit upon his main idea sometime between 1508 and 1514, and during those years he wrote a manuscript usually called the Commentariolus ("Little Commentary"). However, the book that contains the final version of his theory, De revolutionibus orbium coelestium libri vi ("Six Books Concerning the Revolutions of the Heavenly Orbs"), did not appear in print until 1543, the year of his death." (Encyclopedia Britannica).

"Kepler, Johannes, b. Dec. 27, 1571, Weil der Stadt, Württemberg [Germany], d. Nov. 15, 1630, Regensburg.   German astronomer who discovered three major laws of planetary motion, conventionally designated as follows: (1) the planets move in elliptical orbits with the Sun at one focus; (2) the time necessary to traverse any arc of a planetary orbit is proportional to the area of the sector between the central body and that arc (the "area law"); and (3) there is an exact relationship between the squares of the planets' periodic times and the cubes of the radii of their orbits (the "harmonic law"). Kepler himself did not call these discoveries "laws," as would become customary after Isaac Newton derived them from a new and quite different set of general physical principles. He regarded them as celestial harmonies that reflected God's design for the universe. Kepler's discoveries turned Nicolaus Copernicus' Sun-centred system into a dynamic universe, with the Sun actively pushing the planets around in noncircular orbits. And it was Kepler's notion of a physical astronomy that fixed a new problematic for other important 17th-century world-system builders, the most famous of whom was Newton.  Among Kepler's many other achievements, he provided a new and correct account of how vision occurs; he developed a novel explanation for the behaviour of light in the newly invented telescope; he discovered several new, semiregular polyhedrons; and he offered a new theoretical foundation for astrology while at the same time restricting the domain in which its predictions could be considered reliable. A list of his discoveries, however, fails to convey the fact that they constituted for Kepler part of a common edifice of knowledge. The matrix of theological, astrological, and physical ideas from which Kepler's scientific achievements emerged is unusual and fascinating in its own right. Yet, because of the highly original nature of Kepler's discoveries, it requires an act of intellectual empathy for moderns to understand how such lasting results could have evolved from such an apparently unlikely complex of ideas. Although Kepler's scientific work was centred first and foremost on astronomy, that subject as then understood--the study of the motions of the heavenly bodies--was classified as part of a wider subject of investigation called "the science of the stars." The science of the stars was regarded as a mixed science consisting of a mathematical and a physical component and bearing a kinship to other like disciplines, such as music (the study of ratios of tones) and optics (the study of light). It also was subdivided into theoretical and practical categories. Besides the theory of heavenly motions, one had the practical construction of planetary tables and instruments; similarly, the theoretical principles of astrology had a corresponding practical part that dealt with the making of annual astrological forecasts about individuals, cities, the human body, and the weather. Within this framework, Kepler made astronomy an integral part of natural philosophy, but he did so in an unprecedented way--in the process, making unique contributions to astronomy as well as to all its auxiliary disciplines" (Op. cit.)
 "Bruno, Giordano, b. 1548, Nola, near Naples, d. Feb. 17, 1600, Rome, original name FILIPPO BRUNO, byname IL NOLANO, Italian philosopher, astronomer, mathematician, and occultist whose theories anticipated modern science. The most notable of these were his theories of the infinite universe and the multiplicity of worlds, in which he rejected the traditional geocentric (or Earth-centred) astronomy and intuitively went beyond the Copernican heliocentric (Sun-centred) theory, which still maintained a finite universe with a sphere of fixed stars. Bruno is, perhaps, chiefly remembered for the tragic death he suffered at the stake because of the tenacity with which he maintained his unorthodox ideas at a time when both the Roman Catholic and the Reformed churches were reaffirming rigid Aristotelian and Scholastic principles in their struggle for the evangelization of Europe.

 Galilei, Galileo, b. Feb. 15, 1564, Pisa [Italy], d. Jan. 8, 1642, Arcetri, near Florence, in full GALILEO GALILEI Italian natural philosopher, astronomer, and mathematician who made fundamental contributions to the sciences of motion, astronomy, and strength of materials and to the development of the scientific method. His formulation of (circular) inertia, the law of falling bodies, and parabolic trajectories marked the beginning of a fundamental change in the study of motion. His insistence that the book of nature was written in the language of mathematics changed natural philosophy from a verbal, qualitative account to a mathematical one in which experimentation became a recognized method for discovering the facts of nature. Finally, his discoveries with the telescope revolutionized astronomy and paved the way for the acceptance of the Copernican heliocentric system, but his advocacy of that system eventually resulted in an Inquisition process against him" (Op. cit.)

Important Thinkers and Scientists who built a bridge between the Corpernican Age and the Age of Enlightenment








"Descartes, Rene, b. March 31, 1596, La Haye, Touraine, Fr., d. Feb. 11, 1650, Stockholm, Swed. Latin RENATIUS CARTESIUS French mathematician, scientist, and philosopher. Because he was one of the first to oppose scholastic Aristotelianism, he has been called the father of modern philosophy. He began by methodically doubting knowledge based on authority, the senses, and reason, then found certainty in the intuition that, when he is thinking, he exists; this he expressed in the famous statement "I think, therefore I am." He developed a dualistic system in which he distinguished radically between mind, the essence of which is thinking, and matter, the essence of which is extension in three dimensions. Descartes's metaphysical system is intuitionist, derived by reason from innate ideas, but his physics and physiology, based on sensory knowledge, are mechanistic and empiricist." (Op. cit.)

"Spinoza, Baruch de, b. Nov. 24, 1632, Amsterdam, d. Feb. 21, 1677, The Hague.  (English), Hebrew forename BARUCH, Latin forename BENDICTUS, Portuguese BENTO DE ESPINOSA, Dutch-Jewish philosopher, the foremost exponent of 17th-century Rationalism.  Spinoza has an assured place in the intellectual history of the Western world, though his direct influence on technical philosophy has not been great. Throughout the 18th century he was almost universally decried as an atheist--or sometimes used as a cover for the detailing of atheist ideas. The tone had been set by Pierre Bayle, a Skeptical philosopher and encyclopaedist, in whose Dictionnaire historique et critique Spinozism was described as "the most monstrous hypothesis imaginable, the most absurd"; and even David Hume, a Scottish Skeptic and historian, felt obliged to speak of the "hideous hypothesis" of Spinoza.  Spinoza was rendered intellectually respectable by the efforts of literary critics, especially of the Germans G.E. Lessing and J.W. von Goethe and the English poet S.T. Coleridge, who admired the man and found austere excitement in his works, in which they saw an intensely religious attitude entirely divorced from dogma. Spinoza has also been much studied by professional philosophers since the beginning of the 19th century. Both absolute Idealists and Marxists have read their own doctrines into his work, and Empiricists, while rejecting his metaphysical approach, have developed certain detailed suggestions from his theory of knowledge and psychology" (Op. cit.)

"Hobbes, Thomas, b. April 5, 1588, Westport, Wiltshir, Egn., d. Dec. 4, 1679, Hardwick Hall, Derbyshire.  English philosopher and political theorist, best known for his publications on individual security and the social contract, which are important statements of both the nascent ideas of liberalism and the longstanding assumptions of political absolutism characteristic of the times.  Hobbes was not only the architect of a grand metaphysical design, but he was also a critical philosopher with a lively interest in language and a keen eye for its snares. Indeed, his account of the sources of absurdity, which provided him with a potent weapon against the scholastics, gives him some title to be regarded as a forerunner of modern logical analysis, and over the years he has gradually been accorded recognition as one of the greatest English political thinkers" (Op. cit.).

"Locke, John, b. Aug. 29, 1632, Wrington, Somerset, Eng., d. Oct. 28, 1704, Oates, Essex.  English philosopher who was an initiator of the Enlightenment in England and France, an inspirer of the U.S. Constitution, and the author of, among other works, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, his account of human knowledge, including the "new science" of his day--i.e., modern science.  Locke's faith in the salutary, ennobling powers of knowledge justifies his reputation as the first philosopher of the Enlightenment. In a broader context, he founded a tradition of thought that would span three centuries, in the schools of British empiricism and American pragmatism. In developing the Whig ideology underlying the Exclusion Controversy and the Revolution of 1688, Locke formulated the classic expression of liberalism, which was to inspire both the shapers of the American Revolution and the authors of the U.S. Constitution. Locke's influence remained strongly felt in the West in the 20th century, as notions of mind, freedom, and authority continued to be challenged and explored." (Op. cit.)

"Leibniz, Gottfried Wilhelm, b. July 1 [June 21, old style], 1646, Leipzig, d. Nov. 14, 1716, Hannover, Hanover.  German philosopher, mathematician, and political adviser, important both as a metaphysician and as a logician and distinguished also for his independent invention of the differential and integral calculus.   ... Leibniz laid the foundations of both integral and differential calculus. ...  With this discovery, he ceased to consider time and space as substances--another step closer to monadology. He began to develop the notion that the concepts of extension and motion contained an element of the imaginary, so that the basic laws of motion could not be discovered merely from a study of their nature. Nevertheless, he continued to hold that extension and motion could provide a means for explaining and predicting the course of phenomena. Thus, contrary to Descartes, Leibniz held that it would not be contradictory to posit that this world is a well-related dream. If visible movement depends on the imaginary element found in the concept of extension, it can no longer be defined by simple local movement; it must be the result of a force" (Op. cit.). 

"Newton, Sir Isaac, b. Dec. 25, 1642 {Jan. 4, 1643, New Style], Woolsthorpe, Lincolnshire, Eng., d. March 20 [March 31], 1727, London.  English physicist and mathematician, who was the culminating figure of the scientific revolution of the 17th century. In optics, his discovery of the composition of white light integrated the phenomena of colours into the science of light and laid the foundation for modern physical optics. In mechanics, his three laws of motion, the basic principles of modern physics, resulted in the formulation of the law of universal gravitation. In mathematics, he was the original discoverer of the infinitesimal calculus. Newton's Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica (Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy), 1687, was one of the most important single works in the history of modern science." (Op. cit.)

Hume, David, b. May 7 [April 26, Old Style], 1711, Edinburgh, Scot., d. Aug. 25, 1776, Edinburgh.  Scottish philosopher, historian, economist, and essayist, known especially for his philosophical empiricism and skepticism.  Hume conceived of philosophy as the inductive, experimental science of human nature. Taking the scientific method of the English physicist Sir Isaac Newton as his model and building on the epistemology of the English philosopher John Locke, Hume tried to describe how the mind works in acquiring what is called knowledge. He concluded that no theory of reality is possible; there can be no knowledge of anything beyond experience. Despite the enduring impact of his theory of knowledge, Hume seems to have considered himself chiefly as a moralist." (Op. cit.)

The Most Important Thinkers of Enlightenment




 "Voltaire, b. Nov. 21, 1694, Paris, France, d. May 30, 1778, Paris; pseudonym of FRANÇOIS-MARIE AROUET one of the greatest of all French writers. Although only a few of his works are still read, he continues to be held in worldwide repute as a courageous crusader against tyranny, bigotry, and cruelty. His writing embodies characteristic qualities of the French mind--a critical capacity, wit, and satire. His whole work vigorously propagates an ideal of progress to which men of all nations have remained responsive. His long life spanned the last years of classicism and the eve of the revolutionary era, and during this age of transition his works and activities influenced the direction taken by European civilization" (Encyclopedia Britannica, 15th ed., 1997, Vol. 12)
"Rousseau, Jean-Jacques, b. June 28, 1712, Geneva, Switz., d. July 2, 1778, Ermenonville, France; French philosopher, writer, and political theorist whose treatises and novels inspired the leaders of the French Revolution and the Romantic generation. Rousseau was the least academic of modern philosophers and in many ways was the most influential. His thought marked the end of the Age of Reason. He propelled political and ethical thinking into new channels. His reforms revolutionized taste, first in music, then in the other arts. He had a profound impact on people's way of life; he taught parents to take a new interest in their children and to educate them differently; he furthered the expression of emotion rather than polite restraint in friendship and love. He introduced the cult of religious sentiment among people who had discarded religious dogma. He opened men's eyes to the beauties of nature, and he made liberty an object of almost universal aspiration" (Encyclopedia Britannica, 15th ed., 1997, Vol. 10).

"Kant, Immanuel, b. April 22, 1724, Königsberg, Prussia [now Kaliningrad, Russia d. Feb. 12, 1804, Königsberg; German philosopher whose comprehensive and systematic work in the theory of knowledge, ethics, and aesthetics greatly influenced all subsequent philosophy, especially the various schools of Kantianism and Idealism. Kant was the foremost thinker of the Enlightenment and one of the greatest philosophers of all time. In him were subsumed new trends that had begun with the Rationalism (stressing reason) of René Descartes and the Empiricism (stressing experience) of Francis Bacon. He thus inaugurated a new era in the development of philosophical thought" (Encyclopedia Britannica, 15th ed., 1997, Vol. 8).

The Influence of German Literature






 "Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von, b. Aug. 28, 1749, Frankfurt am Main [Germany] d. March 22, 1832, Weimar, Saxe-Weimar, German poet, novelist, playwright, and natural philospoher, the greatest figure of the German Romantic period and of German literature as a whole. One of the giants of world literature, Goethe was perhaps the last European to attempt the mastery and many-sidedness of the great Renaissance personalities: critic, journalist, painter, theatre manager, statesman, educationalist, natural philosopher. The bulk and diversity of his output is in itself phenomenal: his writings on science alone fill about 14 volumes. In the lyric vein he displayed a command of a unique variety of theme and style; in fiction he ranged from fairy tales, which have proved a quarry for psychoanalysts, through the poetic concentration of his shorter novels and Novellen (novellas) to the "open," symbolic form of Wilhelm Meister; in the theatre, from historical, political, or psychological plays in prose through blank-verse drama to his Faust, one of the masterpieces of modern literature. He achieved in his 82 years a wisdom often termed Olympian, even inhuman; yet almost to the end he retained a willingness to let himself be shaken to his foundations by love or sorrow. He disciplined himself to a routine that might armour him against chaos; yet he never lost the power of producing magical short lyrics in which the mystery of living, loving, and thinking was distilled into sheer transparency" (Op. cit.).
"Schiller, Friedrich von, b. , Nov. 10, 1759, Marbach, Württemberg d. May 9, 1805, Weimar, Saxe-Weimar; leading German dramatist, poet, and literary theorist, best remembered for such dramas as Die Räuber (1781; The Robbers), the Wallenstein trilogy (1800-01), Maria Stuart (1801), and Wilhelm Tell (1804).   He was ennobled (with the addition of the von) in 1802" (Op. cit.)   With respect to Friedrich Schiller, we can refer you to the Research Section of this web site, where you will find, embedded into the Creation History of the Ode to Joy, biographical and other relevant information to this German writer.

"Kleist, Heinrich von, b. Oct. 18, 1777, Frankfurt an der Oder, Brandenburg d. Nov. 21, 1811, Wannsee, near Berlin; the first of the great German dramatists of the 19th century. Poets of the Realist, Expressionist, Nationalist, and Existentialist movements in France and Germany all saw their prototype in Kleist, a poet whose demonic genius had foreseen modern problems of life and literature" (Op. cit.).

  "Hölderlin, (Johann Christian) Friedrich, b. March 20, 1770, Lauffen am Neckar, Württemberg, d. June 7, 1843, Tübingen); German lyric poet who succeeded in naturalizing the forms of classical Greek verse in German and in melding Christian and classical themes. . . . Two years before he became mentally unbalanced, Hölderlin had summed up his destiny in the concluding lines of his ode "Die Heimat" (Home): For they who lend us the heavenly fire, the Gods, give us sacred sorrow too. Let it be so. A son of earth I seem; born to love and to suffer. . . . Hölderlin gained little recognition during his lifetime and was almost totally forgotten for nearly 100 years. It was not until the early years of the 20th century that he was rediscovered in Germany and that his reputation as one of the outstanding lyric poets in the German language was established in Europe" (Op. cit.) We might be able to note here that even the young Nietzsche already recognized Hölderlin's worth." (Op. cit.)

 "Jena Romanticism - German JENAER ROMANTIK, a first phase of Romanticism in German literature, centred in Jena from about 1798 to 1804. The group was led by the versatile writer Ludwig Tieck. Two members of the group, the brothers August Wilhelm and Friedrich von Schlegel, who laid down the theoretical basis for Romanticism in the circle's organ, the Athenäum, maintained that the first duty of criticism was to understand and appreciate the right of genius to follow its natural bent. The greatest imaginative achievement of this circle is to be found in the lyrics and fragmentary novels of Friedrich Leopold von Hardenberg. The works of Johann Gottlieb Fichte and Friedrich von Schelling expounded the Romantic doctrine in philosophy, whereas the theologian Friedrich Schleiermacher demonstrated the necessity of individualism in religious thought. By 1804 the circle at Jena had dispersed. A second phase of Romanticism was initiated two years later in Heidelberg" (Op. cit.).

"Novalis, b. May 2,1772, Oberwiederstedt, Prussian Saxony, died March 25, 1801, Weissenfels , pseudonym of FRIEDRICH LEOPOLD, BARON (FREIHERR) VON HARDENBERG early German Romantic poet and theorist who greatly influenced later Romantic thought.  Novalis was born into a family of Protestant Lower Saxon nobility and took his pseudonym from "de Novali," a name his family had formerly used. Young Novalis studied law at the University of Jena (1790), where he became acquainted with Friedrich von Schiller, and then at Leipzig, where he formed a friendship with Friedrich von Schlegel and was introduced to the philosophical ideas of Immanuel Kant and Johann Gottlieb Fichte. He completed his studies at Wittenberg in 1793, and in 1796 he was appointed auditor to the Saxon government saltworks at Weissenfels.  In 1794-95 Novalis fell in love with and was engaged to the 14-year-old Sophie von Kühn. She died of tuberculosis in 1797, however, and Novalis expressed his grief in the beautiful Hymnen an die Nacht (1800; Hymns to the Night). In these six prose poems interspersed with verse, Novalis celebrates night, or death, as an entry into a higher life in the presence of God and anticipates a mystical and loving union with Sophie and with the universe as a whole after his own death. In 1797 he went to the Academy of Freiberg to study mining. In 1798 Novalis again became engaged (to Julie von Charpentier), and in 1799 he became a mine inspector at the saltworks at Weissenfels, but he died of tuberculosis in 1801 before he could marry" (Op. cit.)

Thinkers, Artists and Scientists of the 19th Century






 "Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich, b. Aug. 27, 1770, Stuttgart, Württemberg [Germany] d. Nov. 14, 1831, Berlin; German philosopher who developed a dialectical scheme that emphasized the progress of history and of ideas from thesis to antithesis and thence to a synthesis. Hegel was the last of the great philosophical system builders of modern times. His work, following upon that of Immanuel Kant, Johann Gottlieb Fichte, and Friedrich Schelling, thus marks the pinnacle of classical German philosophy. As an absolute Idealist inspired by Christian insights and grounded in his mastery of a fantastic fund of concrete knowledge, Hegel found a place for everything--logical, natural, human, and divine--in a dialectical scheme that repeatedly swung from thesis to antithesis and back again to a higher and richer synthesis. His influence has been as fertile in the reactions that he precipitated--in Søren Kierkegaard, the Danish Existentialist; in the Marxists, who turned to social action; in the Vienna Positivists; and in G.E. Moore, a pioneering figure in British Analytic philosophy--as in his positive impact" (Op. cit.).
"Schopenhauer, Arthur, b. Feb. 22, 1788, Danzig, Prussia [now Gdansk, Pol.] d. Sept. 21, 1860, Frankfurt am Main; German philosopher, often called the "philosopher of pessimism," who was primarily important as the exponent of a metaphysical doctrine of the will in immediate reaction against Hegelian idealism. His writings influenced later existential philosophy and Freudian psychology" (Op. cit).  In our special links sections of this presentation, you will find in-depth information on this philosopher in several essays; we can also point to Richard Wagner's Beethoven essay featured in our English translation in this website, in the section on Beethoven and Wagner.
"Ludwig Feuerbach, b. July 28, 1804, Landshut, Bavaria [now in Germany] d. Sept. 13, 1872, Rechenberg, Feuerbach, b. July 28, 1804, Landshut, Bavaria [now in Germany] d. Sept. 13, 1872, Rechenberg, Ger. German philosopher and moralist remembered for his influence on Karl Marx and for his humanistic theologizing"  (Op. cit.).  Again, you will find in-depth information on this philosopher in the web site our special links section will be referring you to.
"Wagner, (Wilhelm) Richard b. May 22, 1813, Leipzig d. Feb. 13, 1883, Venice; German dramatic composer and theorist whose operas and music had a revolutionary influence on the course of Western music, either by extension of his discoveries or reaction against them. Among his major works are The Flying Dutchman (1843), Tannhäuser (1845), Lohengrin (1850), Tristan und Isolde (1865), Parsifal (1882), and his great tetralogy, The Ring of the Nibelung (1869-76)" (Op. cit.). With respect to Richard Wagner, we can also refer you to the Wagner-Beethoven pages of our section Beethoven and other Composers.  In it, you will find a complete Illustrated Wagner Time Table.
" Darwin, Charles    b. Feb. 12, 1808, The Mount, Shewsbury, Shropshire, Eng. d. April 19, 1882, Down Hoouse, Downe, Kent, in full CHARLES ROBERT DARWIN English naturalist renowned for his documentation of evolution and for his theory of its operation, known as Darwinism. His evolutionary theories, propounded chiefly in two works--On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection (1859) and The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex (1871)--have had a profound influence on subsequent scientific thought" (Op. cit.).

After this overview of thinkers, scientists and artists who have shaped this time in general but also more particularly Beethoven's and Nietzsche's times and influenced them directly in some cases, we might, perhaps, proceed to investigating  the first aspect of the dynamics of this topic, namely as to whether and to what extent "our" master composer Beethoven might have been interested in literature and philosophy and how his relationship to these developed during the course of his life. With respect to this and in addition to the link on the menu bar to the left, we also offer you the following link and wish you a great deal of reading enjoyment with this section!

Beethoven's Interest in
Literature and Philosophy