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40 of 40 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nietzsche's exuberent though at times naive first work
The Birth of Tragedy is Nietzsche's first work, and in his 'Attempt at Self-criticism' he was subsequently to reject its naïve tone, raw style and bald assertions of a Germanic cultural rebirth under the aegis of Wagner, whose influence Nietzsche had by that time repudiated. It is evidently the work of a young thinker whose opinions were not yet fully formed, yet to...
Published on 7 Sept. 2001

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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Well it's Nietzsche - and not one of his best
You have to be really interested in Nietzsche to enjoy this book - his style is rhetorical, paradoxical, digressive, sometimes contradictory, and difficult to understand without background knowledge. The primary theme is of the lost utopian age of Ancient Greek civilization at its peak, and the role of Greek tragedy in unifying the people in a way which transcended the...
Published on 12 Feb. 2013 by Algypop


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40 of 40 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nietzsche's exuberent though at times naive first work, 7 Sept. 2001
By A Customer
The Birth of Tragedy is Nietzsche's first work, and in his 'Attempt at Self-criticism' he was subsequently to reject its naïve tone, raw style and bald assertions of a Germanic cultural rebirth under the aegis of Wagner, whose influence Nietzsche had by that time repudiated. It is evidently the work of a young thinker whose opinions were not yet fully formed, yet to escape from influence of Schopenhauer. In comparison then, to his later masterpieces Thus Spoke Zarathustra, and Beyond Good and Evil, the Birth of Tragedy lacks Nietzsche's trademark vision and audacity.
That said, The Birth of Tragedy stands well as a work of its own accord; Nietzsche's war on Socratic optimism is began in this work, and the brilliant and influential Appollinian and Dionysian dialectic makes it first appearance here. Anyone interested in Greek tragedy or in Attic culture in general will undoubtedly benefit from reading the thoughts of a great thinker on the subject. Indeed it very difficult to dislike or dismiss Birth of Tragedy as a whole, despite the fact that it is flawed in parts. As with Nietzsche's other works, the sheer exuberance and intellectual excitement of the author enthuses the reader - and for this reason, recommends the work to anyone with taste for ancient Greece, or for Friedrich Nietzsche.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nietzsche's views on art, 9 Jun. 2008
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C. Harman (London, England) - See all my reviews
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Nietzsche is a philosopher that most people have heard of. He is quoted, or at least mentioned, a lot, all over the place. But he also seems grossely misunderstood. He is not the anarchistic maniac that one would think he is from listening even to commentators that should know better. He was actually a philologist (a historian of language), and taught at University level before packing it all in to roam Europe and write his books. He is a colouful, eccentric, enthusiastic personality who also happens to talk a lot of sense. His style is often very instinctive, saying things that defy normal logic - they at first seem odd, but then one does realize that he is absolutely correct in what he is saying. This book outlines his view on the importance in art of combining the sensible, ordered 'Apollonian' principle, with the wild and musically intoxicated 'Dyonisian' principle. He berates the 'naivity' of Homerian Epic, which for him is the epitomy of Apollonian art, and praises the Attic tragedies, with special reference to the Oedipus trilogy of Sophocles. He also praises Shakespeare as well as Bach and Beethoven, and, of course, his then friend Richard Wagner, to whom Nietzsche dedicates the book.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Existence and the world seem justified only as an aesthetic phenomenon, 3 May 2010
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Luc REYNAERT (Beernem, Belgium) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Birth of Tragedy: Out of the Spirit of Music (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
F. Nietzsche expresses in a raging and delirious style loudly his vision on life, through his interpretation of the Attic tragedy and its history. He exposes himself as an anti-rational, anti-scientific, amoral romanticist, for whom art is the only truly metaphysical activity of man.

Apollo v. Dionysus
The gods Apollo and Dionysus represent two completely antagonistic lifestyles.
The Apollinian one stands for measured restraint and freedom from wild emotions. It is based on the principium individuationis (the individual). Its main art form is sculpture; in literature the epic form (Homeros).
The Dionysian one stands for ecstasy, intoxication, orgiastic frenzy, sexual licentiousness, savage natural instincts. It is the life of the bearded satyr, a symbol of the sexual omnipotence of nature, of the abolition of the individual man. Its art form is music, song and dance; in literature, it is the poetry of an Archilochus with its cries of hatred and scorn, with his drunken outburst of desire.

Socrates
For Nietzsche, Socrates has the profound illusion that thought, using the thread of causality, can penetrate the deepest abyss of being. He is guided by the instinct of science, which for Nietzsche is a chain for humanity. Socrates stands for morality with its dictum: `knowledge is virtue; man sins only from ignorance; he who is virtuous is happy.' Socratism stands for morality, for `the anarchical dissolution of the instincts.'

The Attic tragedy
For Nietzsche, the Attic tragedy is born out of the Dionysian. It arose from the tragic chorus, the mirror image in which the Dionysian man contemplated himself. It was a chorus of natural beings who were (are) living ineradicably behind all civilization. It represents the rapture of the Dionysian state.
The choral parts gave birth to a dialogue. Drama began with the attempt to show the god in real. The earliest forms of the Greek tragedy had the sufferings of the tragic hero, Dionysus, (the agony of individuation) as sole theme.
The decline began with Sophocles who portrays complete characters and the Attic tragedy ended with Euripides, who draws prominent individual traits of character. Euripides is the exponent of the degenerate culture of Socratism and its morality. For him, `to be beautiful, everything must be conscious.'
Only after the spirit of science and its claim to universal validity is destroyed may we hope for a rebirth of tragedy.

Art, Hellenism and pessimism
The Hellene lost his Dionysian instincts. He became an individual confronted with the horror and absurdity of life. But art was (is) a saving sorceress. She alone knew (knows) how to turn the nauseous thoughts about life into the sublime which tamed the horrible and into the comic which discharged absurdity.

Of course, this book is not Nietzsche's best one. It constitutes a highly personal interpretation of the Greek tragedy. But, its overall vision of art as the savior and the solace of the ex-Dionysians will strongly appeal to many.
Not to be missed.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Important Philosophical Work, 28 Jun. 2009
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I. M. Knight (Huddersfield, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Birth of Tragedy: Out of the Spirit of Music (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
This is Nietzsche's first book and has become one of the most important in European philosophy. This powerful and very energetic work was inspired by the Greek tragedies and Nietzsche's passion for the music of Wagner. In 'The Birth of Tragedy' Nietzsche attempts to relate our pleasure for tragedy in art to our experiences of suffering in life.

This can be a very difficult book to read but is definitely one of the most important books of its genre. There is also a good introduction by Michael Tanner.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Birth of Tragedy: Out of the Spirit of Music, 20 Sept. 2011
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This review is from: The Birth of Tragedy: Out of the Spirit of Music (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
This is a small book with big ideas.

I had never read Nietzsche before and decided to read this book in conjunction with others I was reading for a talk I am giving.

Although his writing is convoluted at times, as I would expect from a philosopher, I was intrigued by what he was saying, particularly in the light of later psychoanalytic theorists, such as Freud,Lacan,Klein, Bion etc., since he seems to be working on ideas that would later become crystallized in psychoanalytic thinking and theory.

This, enabled me to shape what it was I wanted to say in my talk. I was also able to understand his thinking, not only theoretically, but also in the light of his illness, which would, later, have a profound effect on his work and his life.

I could relate also to his notion of art, and music in particular, as stimulus for experience of the sublime.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading for any serious student of the arts, 20 Nov. 2013
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This review is from: The Birth of Tragedy: Out of the Spirit of Music (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
Friedrich Nietzsche's 'The birth of tragedy: out of the spirit of music' raises the most profound questions about the nature art. Drawing from both Greek mythology and a deep knowledge of pre-Socratic Greek art Nietzsche attempts to account for the development and fate of Greek tragic theatre. It's a fascinating account that invites the reader to consider the contrasting artistic powers that find expression in different works of art. The text also suggests why every human is a consummate artist!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Well it's Nietzsche - and not one of his best, 12 Feb. 2013
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You have to be really interested in Nietzsche to enjoy this book - his style is rhetorical, paradoxical, digressive, sometimes contradictory, and difficult to understand without background knowledge. The primary theme is of the lost utopian age of Ancient Greek civilization at its peak, and the role of Greek tragedy in unifying the people in a way which transcended the gloom of mortality. How was this role to be filled in the modern era? By Wagner (whom Nietzsche subsequently despised.) The The second part of the title "out of the spirit of music" misleads. N places emphasis on the role of music in Greek tragedy, but not much is known about it, except the scale (see Sir James Jeans - Science and Music, still the authority,) and the fact that singing was homophonic (no harmonies - Aristotle.) Must have sounded rather different to Wagnerian opera. Nietzsche's fundamental theories are as mad as the man (final insanity through syphillis) - but there are some interesting ideas and quotations, and he has had a great influence on today's world, particularly through the Nazi's abuse of his philosophy, and also his influence on Freud, many of whose ideas he anticipates. N himself was violently opposed to anti-semitism.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Penguin Kindle version full of typos, 19 Mar. 2015
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The text itself is great, full of love for the Greek culture and myth, a real source of inspiration for people who believe in high and eternal art. But kindle version is full of typos - and it's in Penguin edition!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Incorrect Advertising, 1 Oct. 2014
This review is from: The Birth of Tragedy: Out of the Spirit of Music (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
Not the same edition as indicated-- penguin classics 1990s edition came instead; therefore 3/5 (moderate speed delivery)
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5.0 out of 5 stars birth of tragedy, 14 Jan. 2014
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This review is from: The Birth of Tragedy: Out of the Spirit of Music (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
i enjoyed it very much and the book was in excellent condition and I would recommend it to a friend
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The Birth of Tragedy: Out of the Spirit of Music (Penguin Classics)
The Birth of Tragedy: Out of the Spirit of Music (Penguin Classics) by Friedrich Nietzsche (Paperback - 27 May 1993)
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