Peter Wessel Zapffe (1899-1990) was a Norwegian philosopher, writer, environmentalist, mountaineer, literary critic, and humorist who was born in the arctic city of Tromsø. In the first part of the inter-war period (1918-25), Zapffe studied law at the University of Oslo and started pursuing mountaineering as a hobby. After having worked as a jurist in the late 1920s in Tromsø, Zapffe resumed his studies in 1929. He originally planned to take a magister degree (a degree that is between a Master’s and a Ph.D.) in literature, but his dissertation was changed into a doctoral dissertation in philosophy (Dr. philos. degree). The 1941 Ph.D. dissertation On the Tragic established Zapffe as one of the most original Norwegian philosophers of the twentieth century. Rather than following an established school like most other Norwegian philosophers, Zapffe constructed his own brand of pessimistic existentialism influenced by the biology of Jakob Johann von Uexküll (1864-1944), the philosophies of Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860) and Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900), as well as the literature of Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906).