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Nietzsche: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) Paperback – 19 Oct 2000


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Product details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford Paperbacks; New Ed edition (19 Oct. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0192854143
  • ISBN-13: 978-0192854148
  • Product Dimensions: 17 x 1.5 x 10.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 60,388 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

."..I find Tanner's book enormously useful for introducing Nietzsche philosophically.... Tanner manages to be succinct without being boring or pedantic.... I think his succinct and highly critical readings encourage genuine philosophical grappling with our modern self-proclaimed Dionysus, who after all needs to be treated as a philosopher, not an idol or a god."--Teaching Philosophy"A breezy first look at Nietzsche...useful for undergraduates who need a quick and painless dose of Nietzsche's ideas."--Ethics

About the Author

Michael Tanner is a Fellow of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, and a University Lecturer in Philosophy. He is author of Wagner (Fontana, 1995).

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First Sentence
Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) was a German philosopher, almost wholly neglected during his sane life, which came to an abrupt end early in 1889. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

3.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

54 of 58 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 18 Dec. 2000
Format: Paperback
This book, one of a series of 'Very Short Introductions' presents Nietzsche from a broadly chronological viewpoint, mainly covering his work, but also extending into his life. It is written by someone with an obviously extensive knowledge of his subject, and an authoritative, gratifyingly honest approach. Possibly more importantly, Tanner seems to have a very good 'feel' for Nietzsche's intentions, something crucially important to studies of the idiosyncratic, often challenging approach of this particular philosopher. Speaking as an undergraduate student embarking on a dissertation study of Nietzsche, I found this book to be an extremely good introduction to the depth of the man's work, and would heartily recommend it to anyone with any interest in modern philosophy.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By William R. Woods on 9 Oct. 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I didn't expect to have his works explained in 3/4 short sentences but often the syntax was as complicated as Nietzsche's. If nothing else a list of his most significant insights & where they are to be found & an idiot's guide to the main works (perhaps as appendices)would be a great help to lay readers like me.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By JONESY on 23 Nov. 2012
Format: Paperback
Having read many of the short introduction series, I was disappointed with this one. The Guardian plaudit on the back praising it as 'highly readable' is very misleading. It isn't. Not unless you're a well read scholar of classics with an incredibly strong grasp of English.

I think Tanner was the wrong person to author this introduction. Parts of it read more like a thesis than an accessible introduction. Much of the terminology was completely unnecessary and smacked more of showing off rather than providing an accessible short introduction, as was surely the publisher's objective.

Granted Nietzsche isn't readily accessible, and anyone would have their work cut out collating his works into something lucid and coherent. However, the whiff of intellectual snobbery was pungent throughout this book. Which is just rude given its target audience. Singer's treatment of Hegel in this series hit exactly the right tone so it is possible for commentators to decipher philosophers with obscure concepts. Yet in this instance, it's like our guide just couldn't be bothered.

Tanner obviously knows what he's talking about. No doubt. However, unless you've an MA in Philosophy (and even then you'll struggle) then maybe give this one a miss. There's better commentators who are more respectful to their audiences and who don't incessantly feel the urge to demonstrate how many big words they know.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Maryse Degas on 22 April 2008
Format: Paperback
Michael Tanner presents Nietzsche in an engaging, accessible way for the complete beginner (which is no mean feat!) The book is more of a primer than an introduction and really supplemented by reading the works presented simultaneously or shortly after to get a real feel for him but Tanner presents Nietzsche and his work in such a way that you'll want to read him anyway. On the other hand if you just want a better idea of what Nietzsche was on about, this book will provide you with an explanation of Nietzsche's main theories. Sometimes it does get a little dense and difficult to read but less so than some other so called introductions to philosophers and philosophic ideas. A great introduction into one of the most influential modern thinkers.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By JA Foxton on 3 Dec. 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Sometimes we approach books like this because we want a 'taster' but have no intention of going any further with the subject. May I suggest that this book is not likely to fit the bill here or excuse us from reading Nietzsche? The reason being that Nietzsche is a philosopher who is particularly difficult to systematise and, as such, there don't appear to be any convenient shortcuts which will allow us to bypass tackling his work directly.

Having said this, for anyone who has read any Nietzsche, this is a superb book. Michael Tanner has organised things following a roughly chronological order and clearly has an outstanding feel for his subject.

Having read most of Nietzsche's published work and numerous other books about Nietzsche, this is a book which I consider to be a 'must read' for any enthusiast. It would surprise me if anyone read this book and found that their appreciation of Nietzsche wasn't enhanced in the process.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By I. M. Pryce on 1 Jan. 2009
Format: Paperback
This short introduction to Nietzsche concentrates on the period in which Nietzsche published, with mainly a chronological look at his works. Tanner does this well giving the reader a good idea of Nietzsche's work and how it changed over time. Tanner's writing is compelling, managing to transfer some of his enthusiasm for Nietzsche to the reader, which makes the read more enjoyable and ties in with the way Nietzsche wrote himself.

Although Tanner does link in changes in Nietzsche's relationships to e.g. Wagner as his philosophy progressed, and did well linking in the outside influences on his work, I was slightly disappointed with the lack of biography in the book. There is very little mentioned of Nietzsche before the Birth of Tragedy and after his decent into madness in 1889. Although what one could write on the matter is probably not much, it would have been nice to have slightly more of a background to the man behind the philosophy.

Tanner's guide at the end of the book to further reading and translations is useful; saying which translations into English are usable and which to avoid, also commenting well on a number of publications about Nietzsche which may interest the reader if they wish to know more on the subject.
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