Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche was a German philosopher, cultural critic, poet, and Latin and Greek scholar whose work has exerted a profound influence on Western philosophy and modern intellectual history. Beginning his career as a classical philologist before turning to philosophy, he became the youngest-ever occupant of the Chair of Classical Philology at the University of Basel in 1869, at age 24. He resigned in 1879 due to health problems that plagued him most of his life, and he completed much of his core writing in the following decade. In 1889, at age 44, he suffered a collapse and a complete loss of his mental faculties. He lived his remaining years in the care of his mother (until her death in 1897) and then his sister Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche, and died in 1900.Nietzsche's body of writing spanned philosophical polemics, poetry, cultural criticism, aphorism, and fiction while displaying a fondness for metaphor and irony and drawing variously on philosophy, art, history, religion, and science. His work engaged with a wide range of subjects including morality, metaphysics, epistemology, aesthetics, and consciousness. Among the most prominent elements of his philosophy are his radical critique of reason and rejection of objective truth; his atheistic critique of religion and morality, and of Christianity in particular, which he characterized as propagating a slave morality in the service of cultural decline and the denial of life; his characterization of the human subject as the expression of competing wills, collectively understood as the will to power; and the aesthetic affirmation of existence in response to the "death of God" and the profound challenge of nihilism. His later work, which saw him develop influential (and frequently misunderstood) concepts such as the Übermensch and the doctrine of eternal recurrence, became increasingly preoccupied with the creative powers of the individual to overcome social, cultural, and moral contexts toward a state of aesthetic health.