Thus Spoke Zarathustra

Friedrich Nietzsche

October 15

Friedrich Nietzsche, born: October 15, 1844, Röcken, Saxony, Germany—died August 25, 1900, Weimar, Thuringian States

German classical scholar, philosopher, and critic of culture, who became one of the most influential of all modern thinkers. His attempts to unmask the motives that underlie traditional Western religion, morality, and philosophy deeply affected generations of theologians, philosophers, psychologists, poets, novelists, and playwrights.

Friedrich Nietzsche was a gifted philosopher who became the youngest ever professor at Basel University aged 24 in 1869. While in Basel Nietsche formed a friendship with the composer Richard Wagner.

He is known for numerous major works of philosophy, quite controversial at the time, like "Apollonian" and "Dionysian", "Übermensch" and "Also sprach Zarathustra". Nietzsche is particularly associated with Nihilism and associates it with the modern age.

Nietzsche's life descended into madness after 1888 and he spent the last 11 years of this life suffering mental illness generally thought to have been brought on by syphilis contracted as a young man.

Thus Spoke Zarathustra

by Friedrich Nietzsche

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October 10

Giuseppe Verdi, in full Giuseppe Fortunino Francesco Verdi, born: October 10, 1813, Le Roncole, Italy — died January 27, 1901, Milan, Italy

Dominant Italian composer: Verdi's first success was with the opera "Nubucco" (1842), which began a period where he drove himself to produce two operas a year.

Verdi's relationship and later marriage with the former singer Giuseppina Strepponi is thought to have inspired three of his classic operas "Rigoletto" (1851), Il trovatore (1853 and "La traviata" (1853), especially the character of the fallen woman Violetta .

Verdi then became internationally famous, producing operas for the Opéra at Paris such as "Don Carlos" (1867) and for overseas commissions such as "Aida" (1871) in Cairo.

In his later years Verdi was coaxed out of retirement to compose two classic operas, "Otello" (1887) for La Scala in Milan and his last opera "Falstaff" (1893) produced from a liberetto by Arrigo Boito.

Book: Verdi by Julian Budden

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John Lennon: The Life

The Very Best of John Lennon

October 9

John Lennon, in full John Winston Ono Lennon, born: October 9, 1940, Liverpool, England—died December 8, 1980, New York, New York, U.S.

Founding member of The Beatles, Lennon formed a songwriting partnership with Paul McCartney that became one of the most successful and famous in the history of music. Born in Liverpool, Lennon was in the group the Quarrymen which eventually developed into the Beatles in 1960.

As part of the best-selling group in music history, Lennon wrote or co-wrote many of the band's biggest hits. His rebellious nature gave his writings, interviews and work a notably acerbic and sardonic wit. After the group broke up in 1970, Lennon embarked on a successful solo career with his wife Yoko Ono. This included the hit 1971 single "Imagine".

In 1975 he withdrew from the music business to raise his son, Sean, but returned in 1980 to release the album Double Fantasy, with Yoko Ono. Three weeks after its release he was shot and killed by Mark David Chapman outside his Manhattan apartment. His death triggered an outpouring of grief on an unprecedented scale throughout the world.

Book: John Lennon: The Life by Philip Norman

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