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on 6 July 2014
Nietzsche is generally considered a "difficult" philosopher for various reasons, and this perception is quite accurate. Indeed, he would have agreed enthusiastically, as he believed that any worthwhile new idea must be struggled with in order to be truly understood. Moreover, there is all the political fog created by the misunderstanding and misuse of his term "Uebermensch" (misleadingly translated as "superman") and his condemnation of Christian ethics. Add to these considerations his somewhat grandiose, poetic, riddling style and the fact that he wrote in 19th-century German, and it's far from easy for modern English-speakers to see what he was driving at. Yet in fact Nietzsche was a surprisingly kind, sensitive soul who felt compelled to confront the great issues of his time head on. (Of course, the opportunity to contradict and confuse his academic rivals was also welcome). Darwin's Theory of Evolution seems to have been an important stimulant, although Nietzsche's insanity, which began in 1889, must have prevented him from being aware of Freud's equally influential and controversial ideas. (Although for a fascinating fictional speculation, see When Nietzsche Wept (P.S.)).Hence the preoccupation with "the death of God" and related moral themes. Without God, moral absolutes vanish; and evolution tells us that everything changes - presumably including morality. It's helpful to remember that Nietzsche was a philologist (a scholar of Greek and Roman language and literature, and hence history) before he took up philosophy. That gave his thought an unusually wide historical context, and he often complained that contemporary philosophers assumed that late 19th-century German bourgeois humanity was representative of the species as a whole. Ignore the soup-strainer moustache and look carefully at the face behind it, and you may find Nietzsche more approachable.

R.J.Hollingdale, who became famous for his sensitive translations of Nietzsche's books, has packed their essential flavour and many of their most important thoughts into less than 300 pages. Most of the book comprises selected passages from Hollingdale's own translations, which make Nietzsche's famously complex prose relatively easy to understand. (Always remembering that Nietzsche himself did not want or expect anyone to read his books quickly or without considerable effort). A brief Introduction, which serves only to explain the book's approach, is followed by a Preface which explains in Nietzsche's own words how he wanted his books to be read. The rest of the book is divided into three Parts, corresponding very roughly to Nietzsche's early, intermediate, and later thought. The book ends with a Postscript made up of assorted maxims and definitions, and a short bibliography (dating to 1977, when the book was first published). There is no index. The front cover, however, shows a brooding, romantic mountain scene from a painting by Caspar David Friedrich, which surely reflects Nietzsche's love of the open and especially desolate mountain regions.
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on 2 September 2008
If you've never read Nietzsche before this is a good place to start. R.J. Hollingdale makes a judicious selection from Nietzsche's corpus as befitting one who spent a lifetime devoted to rehabilitating this great thinker for the English speaking world. There is something about Hollingdale's translations that are evocative of the spiritual depths in Nietzsche's prose which turn that prose into a sort of poetry. Nietzsche's perceptions are conveyed here with exceptional lucidity. I read this book nearly twenty years ago and still recall passages from it. This is philosophy you can get your teeth into.
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on 22 January 2002
I read this book, and also 'Twilight of the Idols' and 'The Antichrist' by the same author, in the early 1980's as a teenager. Tellingly, I can vividly remember the experience to this day which was as thrilling as it was difficult. His polemical prose aginst Christianity is a master class in how to create devastation on the printed page. I also remember finding many parts very opaque and requiring very deliberate reading to begin to understand.
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on 28 October 2011
If you have ever had the slightest curiosity about Nietzsche this would make an excellent starting point. Hollingdale makes a selection from his own superb translations that, as he explains in his introduction, have been ordered for maximum benefit of the reader. What you will make of this is anybody's guess. Some perhaps will run to the hills and avoid any book with Nietzsche's name on it forever but others will have the pleasure of looking further and further into the works of one of the most fascinating people that ever lived.

This is a far easier approach to Nietzsche than trying to read, say, Thus Spake Zarathustra. As good (and essential)as TSZ is it's unlikely to give a great deal of insight into its author if read without the backstory. But whatever happens do read Hollingdale's excellent introduction, in the final two and a half pages he succeeds in giving an overview of Nietzsche that seems to have eluded many an academic.
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on 11 January 2016
great product as described, great service, fast delivery. would recommend highly A+++
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on 4 November 2014
Good quality book,prompt delivery,would recommend seller
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on 18 February 2014
I bought this book through my interest in Wagner, and his relationship with the philosopher. There's not a great deal about Wagner in the selection, which is understandable. But as I tried to read other sections I had to ask who Nietzsche was writing for, was anyone taking any notice of him, or trying to alter their lives because of his writings? Which led me to wonder about the point of philosophy, is it simply for academics to bat ideas from one to another with little relevance to everyday life? I fully intend to go back and try harder to understand, but it's not easy. Awarding only two stars is no reflection on what I am sure is an excellent book, merely a personal reaction.
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on 26 March 2015
GOOD.
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on 12 March 2015
Nietzsche was a philosopher who couldn't write very well. Schopenhauer was a natural, superb writer who happened to write about philosophy. I know which I prefer to read.
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on 3 September 2005
As long as one is still young, one tries to philosophize. One guesses the delirium which philosophy has produced, one dreams of copying it and of carrying it further. The youth likes itself in the trick of the heights; with a thinker youth loves the tightrope walker; in Nietzsche they loved his poses, his mystic clownery; really a summit fun fair ... " wrote Emile Cioran.
But nowadays with Nietzsche one has his problems. Maximum embarrassingly had been how Nazi-leaders misinterpreted and misused Nietzsche for their race theories, veiled by Richard Wagner's melodramatic style.
If one takes his gossip of the "Superhuman" [Übermensch], nevertheless, as the psychoanalytic classified attempt, to know himself as gotten sick in need of care (fallen ill with Syphilis) between sister and mother, rescueless wedged, and therefore, as a counterbalance, get lost in the daydream to be a new Dionysos or a Greek God (at first mockingly, then in the final stage schizophrenic megalomaniac), - then his efforts seem to be "human, all too-human".
"What does not kill me, will make me stronger ... " he tried to persuade himself euphorically, in fear to have a lack of courage. The treating physicians probably did not tell him (regarding the prudishness of that time) the shocking truth of the irreparable gravity of his illness.
"Philosophy is a kind of revenge versus reality ... " he wrote full energy, high-spirited. One dreams to have a power, which one does not possess in the reality. Nietzsche's writings are a sort of compensation of a frustrated human being, writings like a battle-cry, tattooed deep in the soul, hoping to get managed a departure into success.
The only germ of a flaming up love relationship - namely to Lou Salome (later companion of Rainer Maria Rilke and at the same time famous first female psychoanalyst in the circle of Freud) - this only germ, rich in chances of an erotic self-realization, was trampled down by the heavy envy and jealousy of his frigates-like sister and his mother.
Aged twenty, however, he had used a experimental way, practicing his sort of sexuality, which seemed at first sight easy and more cheap, in the final effect has been full of pain: "There are two things, a genuine man wants: danger and play. Therefore, he wants the woman, as the most dangerous toy ... " he noted in juvenile carelessness. He himself reported to the doctors in Leipzig and Jena, who should treat him against his Syphilis infection, that he had practiced brothel visits 1865 in Cologne and 1866 in Leipzig.
Indeed, he struck already in 1865 in Trieste by the fact that he, weeping, embraced a horse (hit by a coachman) and then broke down. The actually heavy outbreak of the illness is dated by doctors on 1888. Nietzsche's note "The degree and kind of a person's sexuality reaches up into the topmost summit of his spirit ... " oscillates on this background ambiguously of course with a maybe unintentional double-sense. Certain is, that only the final phase of his writing (ecce homo) is to be considered as intellectually clouded.
Yet we have the duty to weigh with necessary care the writings before 1888. But even as a heavy nursing-destitute he still produced some special diamonds of written language: "If you look for a long time into an abyss, the abyss afterwards also looks into you inside ... "; "He who has a goal to live for, is able to endure almost everything ... " or: "There are servile souls, which propel the appreciation for given benefactions so far, that they strangle themselves with the snare of gratitude ... " That means evidently, that he only rather sullenly will have submitted himself under the over-protection, coming from his sister and mother. Nevertheless, no superhuman-power could help him to escape their claws.
On the other hand, maybe just by the distance to an everyday life Nietzsche was able to focus the society in such a cool manner - and to daydream completely undisturbed a total free self-reliant human being. This ideal type is a little bit shaped like Nietzsche himself: The "Superhuman" is a strong-minded and unbound philosopher, but sometimes the cautious and shy philologist Nietzsche is shining through.
On the one we remember the popular Nietzsche-slogan "God is dead", then, on the other hand, we feel, that his origin from a priest's family has not passed - and we even suppose, that the negative posture towards the religion and the minister's family, are finally only the two sides of the one and same coin.
Though - the religious criticism of Nietzsche is not to understand only psychologically as an opposition against his family background (11 forefathers on the paternal side were ministers): To see denominations critically has been the intellectual behaviour of that time. Nature science, Kant, Descartes: they shocked the church authorities of that days.
Nietzsche's mocking remark "Madness of single persons is something rare, but the madness of groups, parties, crowds seems to be the rule ... " qualifies his personal fate (syphilis) nearly not as bad as the ("healthy") foolishness of the masses - especially, if one considers, what the German history planned to bring up ...
And because he wrote (and his power-mad sister Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche has forgotten to censure and to extinguish that during the posthumous publication of his writings:) "He who thinks a lot, is not suitable for a party man; too soon he thinks through the party throughout ... " - because he wrote this, it is not to be accepted seriously, that he could have live in harmony with a National Socialist party.
Also he brought on paper: "I mistrust all dogmatics and systematic and avoid to contact them. The will to a system is a lack of righteousness." And, elsewhere: "Convictions are more dangerous enemies of the truth than lies." Or (without ever having heard an O-tone of Goebbels or Hitler, Nietzsche formulated timeless brilliantly): "With a very loud voice in the neck one is nearly unable to think fine things."
"The most valuable examinations are found latest, but the most valuable examinations are the methods " - Nietzsche wrote. Indeed: if one did not take Zarathustra's words as instructions for war lords or other dubious idols, but, in the contrary, classifies this work as a brilliant, highly ironical effort to use language creatively, Nietzsche's books would have a fair chance to survive. Maybe his ability to describe psychological subjects will live longer than some of his philosophical disputes. The collection of R.J. Hollingdale (he died 2001) is a very good chance, to proof Nietzsche's message ...
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