The Gay Science (Dover Philosophical Classics) Paperback – 1 Nov 2006
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"ÝThis book¨ mirrors all of Nietzsche's thought and could be related in hundreds of ways to his other books, his notes, and his letters. And yet it is complete in itself. For it is a work of art."
-- Walter Kaufmann in the Introduction
"[This book] mirrors all of Nietzsche's thought and could be related in hundreds of ways to his other books, his notes, and his letters. And yet it is complete in itself. For it is a work of art."
-- Walter Kaufmann in the Introduction --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.
From the Inside Flap
Nietzsche called The Gay Science "the most personal of all my books." It was here that he first proclaimed the death of God -- to which a large part of the book is devoted -- and his doctrine of the eternal recurrence.
Walter Kaufmann's commentary, with its many quotations from previously untranslated letters, brings to life Nietzsche as a human being and illuminates his philosophy. The book contains some of Nietzsche's most sustained discussions of art and morality, knowledge and truth, the intellectual conscience and the origin of logic.
Most of the book was written just before Thus Spoke Zarathustra, the last part five years later, after Beyond Good and Evil. We encounter Zarathustra in these pages as well as many of Nietzsche's most interesting philosophical ideas and the largest collection of his own poetry that he himself ever published.
Walter Kaufmann's English versions of Nietzsche represent one of the major translation enterprises of our time. He is the first philosopher to have translated Nietzsche's major works, and never before has a single translator given us so much of Nietzsche. --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
However, whilst his writings are the easiest to read, they are also the hardest to truly understand - and most of the time this is completely intentional.
The result of this is that people dip into his works and come away believing that they fully understand Nietzsche's philosophy, when in reality they have allowed snippets of insight to snowball in entirely the wrong directions, resulting in gross misinterpretations. Look up the case of Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb for the most extreme example of this.
Unfortunately, the only way to truly understand the development of Nietzsche's thought is to study all his works, beginning with the Birth of Tragedy and ending with Ecce Homo (and possibly The Will to Power, providing it is understood in context). It is also necessary to have a good background knowledge of antique philosophy and more recent 'influences' such as Spinoza, Kant, Hegel & Schopenhauer. Only in this way is it possible to ever come close to the true meaning behind these works.
However, Nietzsche's work is prolific - and most people will have neither the time nor the inclination to undertake this kind of project. Therefore, it is advisable to at least read a couple of introductory texts before diving into a book like this.
Science and its mechanic view point is severely castigated as a partial view. It built a world on belief just as religion had done previously. An ascendancy to God as he details Newton scurrying to assemble a new scaffolding to reach the heights.
The only true reality resided in the emotions within the body and these were denigrated by religion and science, so they appeared instead in sensual music and the written word, but never allowed full reign as the noise emitted was drowned in objective interpretation rather than inhabiting the moment.
This book allows the pagan to explore the world behind the facade to the Dyonisian thrill lying under the performed charade. It has no system, all the insights are built from extended aphorisms and verse, but climbs into various crescendo's, revealing the paucity of everyday life, that makes a reader pause and smile or go nooooooo and creates a shake of the head.
Take the Time to dip in, you will not find a ready made suit, you have to create you own bespoke one from the cloth he has provided.
The best way to get acquainted with Nietzsche is to read him direct:
The Greatest Weight. -"What, if some day or night, a demon were to steal after you into your loneliest loneliness and say to you: "This life as you now live it and have lived it, you will have to live once more and innumerable times more; and there will be nothing new in it, but every pain and every joy and every thought and sigh and everything unutterably small or great in your life will have to return to you, all in the same succession and sequence - even this spider and this moonlight between the trees, and even this moment and myself. The eternal hourglass of existence is turned upside down again and again - and you with it, speck of dust!
-Would you not throw yourself down and gnash your teeth and curse the demon who spoke thus? Or have you once experienced a tremendous moment when you would have answered him: "You are a god, and never had I heard anything more divine!" If this thought were to gain possession of you it would change you as you are, or perhaps crush you. The question in each and everything, "Do you desire this once more and innumerable times more?", would lie upon your actions as the greatest weight. Or how well disposed you would have to become to yourself and to life to crave nothing more fervently than this ultimate eternal conformation and seal? (book IV: 341)
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Kaufmann certainly makes it easier to read than other translators. The poetry is brilliant too.Published 9 months ago by John Hurst
I cannot review the actual book as it was bought for my son who is doing a degree in Philosophy. However, the book was brand new, well packaged, and arrived very quickly.Published on 7 Jan. 2010 by Mrs. J. Goodyear
Nietzsche's place in the history of philosophy
Nietzsche was the first disciple of Schopenhauer, but where the latter turned into a pessimist, Nietzsche became an optimist... Read more
Of course this work is fantastic. It's Nietzsche, Nietzsche at his most insightful and delightful. However, whoever is responsible for that monstrous cover needs to be expelled... Read morePublished on 14 Feb. 2004 by Max James Lewy
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