Without simplifying things too much, Kaufmann saw Nietzsche as something of an early existentialist, which brings us to these vintage lectures recorded in 1960 (right around the time that Kaufmann, a German-born convert to Judaism, also became a naturalized American citizen). The three lectures offer a short primer on existentialism and the modern crises philosophers grappled with. Kierkegaard and the Crisis in Religion begins the series, followed by Nietzsche and the Crisis in Philosophy and Sartre and the Crisis in Morality . You can hear them right below:
In 1873, Nietzsche began to accumulate notes that would be posthumously published as Philosophy in the Tragic Age of the Greeks . Between 1873 and 1876, he published four separate long essays: " David Strauss : the Confessor and the Writer", "On the Use and Abuse of History for Life", "Schopenhauer as Educator" and "Richard Wagner in Bayreuth". These four later appeared in a collected edition under the title Untimely Meditations . The essays shared the orientation of a cultural critique, challenging the developing German culture along lines suggested by Schopenhauer and Wagner. During this time, in the circle of the Wagners, Nietzsche met Malwida von Meysenbug and Hans von Bülow , and also began a friendship with Paul Rée , who in 1876 influenced him into dismissing the pessimism in his early writings. However, he was deeply disappointed by the Bayreuth Festival of 1876, where the banality of the shows and baseness of the public repelled him. He was also alienated by Wagner's championing of "German culture", which Nietzsche felt a contradiction in terms, as well as by Wagner's celebration of his fame among the German public. All this contributed to Nietzsche's subsequent decision to distance himself from Wagner.
The problem of those who wait - It requires luck and much that is incalculable if a higher human being in whom there slumbers the solution of a problem is to act- 'break out' one might say - at the right time. Usually it does not happen, and in every corner of the earth there are people waiting who hardly know to what extent they are waiting but even less that they are waiting in vain. Sometimes the awakening call, that chance event which gives 'permission' to act, comes too late- when the best part of youth and the strength to act has already been used up in sitting still; and how many a man has discovered to his horror when he 'rose up' that his limbs had gone to sleep and his spirit was already too heavy! 'It is too late'- he has said to himself, having lost faith in himself and henceforth forever useless.