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Thus Spake Zarathustra (Classics of World Literature)
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 15 April 2011
Previously I had read a bad translation of"Beyond Good and Evil" and thought Nietzsche rather obtuse and fanatical,but this work redeems him and makes him more accessible.The book is written in a mock biblical style and divided into 81 brief chapters which makes it easier to digest and use as a reference.I should also mention that the syntax used is of an archaic style and although it reads straight forwardly it may be confusing and irritating for some who would rather not make the effort.
The story concerns a Persian prophet his travels and philosophical musings and his search for the "higher man".It is set in some indeterminate past and at time takes on mythological qualities reminiscent of more ancient texts.
This is a fine book to read if you find yourself despairing of the mob mentality that prevails in society and it will give you plenty of encouragement and support to plough your own furrow in life.Although it is not hard to see how Nietzsche's writings could be used to fuel fanaticism ,to see it for this quality alone is to miss the overall message and it is more balanced than some would have you believe.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 25 April 2007
This is a lovely reprint of an old edition of zarathustra. A wonderful copy to read, but academics would do better to purchase the penguin classics version (Hollingdale trans.) principally because this edition has no bibliographical data.
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54 of 59 people found the following review helpful
on 24 January 2008
Before I start I should say that 'Thus Spake Zarathustra' is an excellent book. It sets forth the majority of Nietschze's views through the mouth of the prophet Zoroaster. The closest thing to a criticism I can levy is that his succeeding works like 'beyond good and evil' might be a bit more suitable if you're a philosophy student like me since they set forward his views a bit more bluntly (on the other hand why not read both). I would normally give it a happy five stars, however in this case I'm not reviewing just the book in general but rather this particular edition. The translator has littered the book with exagerated archaisms. What the intention of this was is a mystery to me but the effect is clear, the book is near to unreadable. Tacking -eth to the end of every verb and sprinkling in thous and thees isn't an improvement and I can hardly believe that it represents in any way the original German. Don't be tempted by the low price, you'll regret it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 23 June 2011
Nietzsche had brilliant insight into the practices of religious writings. He demonstrated pseudography by writing his ideas into the mouth of the prophet Zarathustra who is imagined to have lived in ancient Persian times. Some Bible scholars think that this technique was used by Jewish philosophers who placed their ideas into the mouth of Isaiah and Daniel. Bart Ehrman in 'Jesus Interrupted' wonders if extra sayings got added to Jesus sayings.
It seems to me that Nietzsche was hiding his revelations among alot of waffle. It takes a bit of scanning to find them. The main pearls he makes are
p5 It looks like God is dead
p12 There is no devil and no hell
p29 Too well do I know those godlike ones, they insist on being believed in, and that doubt is sin
p30 Body am I entirely and nothing more
p 34 Talking about someone who had committed a crime,'Evermore did he now see himself as the doer of one deed, madness I call this, the exception reversed itself to the rule in him
p73 Alas in our body dwelleth still all this delusion, alas much ignorance and error hath become embodied in us. Not only the rationality of millenniums but also their madness
p74 A man of knowledge must be able to love his enemies
p75 Dead are all the Gods
p79 Tares want to be called wheat
p82 God is a conjecture, God is a thought, it maketh all the straight crooked and all that standeth reel
p85 Man has enjoyed himself too little, that is our original sin, all great love surpasseth even forgiveness and pity
p93 Oh that ye might become weary of the word 'reward','retribution','punishment','righteous vengeance'
p98 and when they call themselves 'the good and just', forget not that for them to be Pharisees nothing is lacking but power
p113 Good and evil which would be everlasting, it doth not exist
p118 God filched a rib from me with which to make a girl, ye are laughable unto me ye present day men.
p126 For all Gods are part symbolisations, poet sophistications
p138 To transform everything into 'Thus would I have it' that only do I call redemption
p180 Especially did I find those who call themselves good the most poisonous flies, they sting in all innocence, they lie in all innocence
p189 With rope-ladders learned I to reach many a window with nimble legs did I climb high masts, to sit on high masts of perception seemed to me no small bliss
p198 There is much childishness in the old books of wisdom. Such ancient babbling still passeth for 'wisdom' because it is old however and smelleth mustily, therefore is it the more honoured, even mould ennobleth
p201 There standeth the boat, thither goeth it over, perhaps into vast nothingness- but who willeth to enter into this 'Perhaps'. None of you want to enter into the death boat. How should ye then be world weary ones, world weary ones, eager did I ever find you for the earth, amorous still of your own earth weariness
p205 Your marriage arranging; see that it be not a bad arranging. Ye have arranged too hastily, so there followeth therefrom -marriage breaking
p283 What hath hither to been the greatest sin here on earth, was it not the word of him who said,'woe unto them that laugh now'. Did he himself find no cause for laughter on the earth, then he sought badly. A child even findeth cause for it. He did not love sufficiently otherwise would he also have loved us, the laughing ones. But he hated and hooted us, wailing and gnashing did he promise us
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50 of 58 people found the following review helpful
on 6 May 1999
I hate to give Thus Spoke Zarathustra less than five stars in any form, but Common's translation is just unreadable. For a more readable (and better) translation use Kaufmann's version. Despite this, Zarathustra is Nietzsche's masterpiece and one of the greatest books of all time!
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on 29 June 2015
While its certainly a challenge to dim the vibrancy and insight of Nietzsche work, this translation certainly rises to the occasion.

Many key concepts in 'Thus Spoke Zarathustra' are marred by inexplicable translation errors.

For example Nietzsche's concept of the 'ubermensch' and the 'letze mensch' are rendered as "the superman" and "the ultimate man", whereas a more accurate translation is "the overman" and "the last man".

The last man and the overman represent polar opposite concepts in Nietzsche's view. The overman represents humanities highest potential, the meaning of the earth. an uncertain future that is to be achieved by an unerring commitment to transformation both personal and societal. By contrast the last man represents modern man in its most complacent and static form. A man of neither highs nor lows. A man of comfort, not chaos, a man who can no longer 'give birth to a dancing star'.

In the original text the intended difference between the last man and the overman is clear. "Ultimate man" confers a sense of "greatest" that is completely contrary to Nietzsche's original intention and makes the passages seem confused and ill defined.

While the genius of Nietzsche's work still shines through for the most part, one wonders how well R.J Hollingdale understood Nietzsche or German in some of the many inaccurate translations in this book.

I highly recommend this book to any lovers of philsophy and the human condition. However the Walter Kaufman translation is far superior. it avoids muddying Nietzsche original intent. It's unafraid to use direct translations of german words even if they sound less poetic, and as such retains the clarity of Nietzsche original sentiment
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 10 January 2013
This is the well known novel (and piece of music), philosophy-come propose poem by the German intellectual Nietzsche of 1882-1885. The book is a 306 page fictional repost, as it were, to two prevailing philosophies of the time being 'nihilism' and 'atheism'. If there is no God or afterlife and life is ultimately pointless can there be anything worth living for? Well along comes this guy from the mountains who has famously worked out that 'God is dead' and is armed philosophically with Nietzsche 's 3 atheist ideas being the goal to the 'superman', 'will to power ' and ideas regarding 'beyond good and evil'. He travels and meets life and people such as the higher man, volunteer beggar, convalescent, disciples, priests, drunk, soothsayer, scholars etc. The whole work is told and presented as an authoritative, real work of a much revered, revealed person who genuinely 'knows'. There are a lot of 'thou', 'unto', 'oh my brethren', 'ye ' and sentences of deep ideas. There are 80 short titled chapters in three books, allowing the reader to be able to quote passages authoritatively. It seems to me that the basic thrust is that though ultimately one's life is futile, you can enjoy yourself/struggle, aspire to being a part in the creation of a better humanity and make your own way without religion.

There is an arc to the basic story from mountain to people to doubts to home and finally awakening. This is really a remarkable book and very profound. I found time and again passages of great poignancy and depth. I can now understand on so many levels how religious texts can overtake people, and be used by the knowledgeable and (ir)religious for their own ends picking and choosing what suits. One of the most interesting ideas for me was the one regarding the guy being 'the servant to the last pope' - what to do if your religion has vanished and the people you serve are irrelevant? The work has been much analysed and commented on.

I could easily now list over 20 or so quotes but anyway here are a few:

Everywhere resoundeth the voice of those who preach death; and the earth is full of those to whom death hath to be preached. Or eternal life; it is all the same to me - if only they pass away quickly

Had he but remained in the wilderness, and far from the good and the just! Then, perhaps would he have learned to live, and love the earth- and laughter too.

Thus spake the devil unto me, once on a time: 'even God hath his hell: it is his love of man'. And lately did I hear him say these words 'God is dead: of his pity for man hath God died'.

For all things are baptized at the font of eternity, and beyond good and evil, good and evil themselves, however, are but fugitive shadows and damp afflictions and passing clouds.

And many such good inventions are there, that they are like woman's breast: useful at the same time, and pleasant.

There is also good taste in piety; this is at last said: away with such a God! Better to have no God, better to set up destiny on one's own account, better to be a fool, better to be God oneself!

Go out of the way of all such absolute ones! They are a poor sickly type, a populace-type: they look at this life with ill-will; they have an evil eye for this earth.

Finally I can certainly recommend this book. But certainly not for the story but more for the ideas, depth and I suppose the concepts of godless religion.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on 9 October 2011
In "Thus Spoke Zarathustra" Nietzsche takes us on the journey of a hermit, which is told in such an eccentric manner that one has to re-read the pages of this book a few times before we can discern a meaning. I oddly read this book as one of the first philosophical works for me to ever touch on, and I must say it set me on course to study more and more philosophy simply for it's releaving brilliance and feeling. To claim to understand Nietzsche completely would be nonsensical, rather I understood instead much of what he advocated, that people be individuals and that they live for their own happyness and to try and not have pity. He saw pity as the means to all of the evil in the world and the reason for all of mankinds problems and despair, instead he tried to go "beyond good and evil" with the aim of making a human being of such purity than all of mankinds problems would be removed. He was also like many of his time, somewhat of an elitist but not in the sense we have come to take it, also he was by no means a fascist as one review would like to claim. Instead he believed people of similar kinds and beliefs should form together as friends who loved each other in the truest form and who would fight for each other to the death. His main battle was against the melanchoy, and much of what he says is in metaphors and can be easily misunderstood which is why it's important to read this book for yourself, and to ignore the propoganda. Whether Nietzsche was correct or not, is rather of little important but what can be taken from reading this book is a mindset you shall find from nowhere else, it is a challenge to what we believe and more importantly one of the most joyful books I've ever touched my hands upon. For those who wish to go on an adventure of a read I would suggest it, it is not for the weak hearted or those who are quick to be frustrated by a hard read but if you can get over it's eccentricness (Which there is a little too much) it's simply brilliant. I'm not sure what else to say without ruining it a bit, for me with no knowledge of it beforehand it was simply amazing to just read and see what I could find. I suggest you stick away from the drudgery of these reviewers who are disliking it on personal means and instead, read something which is truly invidivudal and truly valuable in it's strikingness.

I hope this review if it does nothing else, urges someone on to give this book a go!
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The next time I buy a book of this kind, I shall make sure I get to read some of it first just to see what I am getting. This would seem to be possible to do after a quick glance at the web page. This book was recommended on a youtube video about Nietzsche - the video by Wes Cecil was great and he is a good lecturer on many topics in fact.Personally I find this book unreadable. I look for accessibility in reading matter so I can learn stuff in a straight forward manner. Maybe there are other translations which work better for the `casual` reader like me. The translation is of course critical, especially with works such as this I feel and further, I would suggest that really the only way to be able to experience the work as was intended is to read in the original language, and this goes for many works across many genres. Now there`s a challenge! Having some knowledge of German myself I know how much variation there is in the very feel of a language. Things are meant and perceived in unique ways to that language. Some things are untranslatable. So there is a great responsibility carried by the translator.

I have just started trying to read this book. If it gets any better I will update this review, otherwise you can guess the outcome.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 10 February 2015
In my opinion, anyone giving this fewer than 5 stars to this book is not to be taken seriously unless they are lamenting the ineptitude of this translation, in which case fewer is obligatory. This is an astounding book of the preeminent literary philosopher if assuredly NOT in its finest edition. For that, see elsewhere. But it is almost indisputable that Nietzsche is the greatest German stylist ever; I would argue (once surprising my boss, which surprised me) that he is, with Freud, Marx, Darwin one of the key 19th Century thinkers and a founder of the world we live now. This is the literary masterpiece of a literary philosopher: want to figure the famous Death of God, well it is here as is the germ of the Eternal Recurrence. One need not believe he is right any more than the great Alasdair McIntyre does to believe that the true intellectual question IS Aristotle or Nietzsche? Objectivity or Subjectivity? Against this chap, and this book is his piece de resistance, one has to see Derrida and his " there is nothing beyond text" as footling and badly written footling at that. A monument as great in Literature as it is in Philosophy. No matter that my own views are actually closer to Kant, after the great Friedrich everything else pales. And, as a bonus, this will add spice to your appreciation of the great Thomas Mann, no little prize. "Left a generation of scholars toiling in his wake" as H.J. Blackham notes of his first book. Well of COURSE he did; he is a genius. This is even better than that, 'The Birth of Tragedy.' Worth adding that Russell's travesty of him in the patchily brilliant 'The History of Western Philosophy' is so wilfully stupid it must be read. That Russell sets him against Buddha (!)demonstrates that Nietzsche really angered Bertie, stripping off the mask of fair-mindedness in what is a grotesque example of intellectual dishonesty. Worth reading as a piece of arrant sophistry.
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