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The Portable Nietzsche (1954)

de Friedrich Nietzsche

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The works of Friedrich Nietzsche have fascinated readers around the world ever since the publication of his first book more than a hundred years ago. As Walter Kaufmann, one of the world's leading authorities on Nietzsche, notes in his introduction, "Few writers in any age were so full of ideas," and few writers have been so consistently misinterpreted. The Portable Nietzsche includes Kaufmann's definitive translations of the complete and unabridged texts of Nietzsche's four major works: Twilight of the Idols, The Antichrist, Nietzsche Contra Wagner and Thus Spoke Zarathustra. In addition, Kaufmann brings together selections from his other books, notes, and letters, to give a full picture of Nietzsche's development, versatility, and inexhaustibility. "In this volume, one may very conveniently have a rich review of one of the most sensitive, passionate, and misunderstood writers in Western, or any, literature." --Newsweek… (mais)
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    Basic Writings of Nietzsche de Friedrich Nietzsche (detroitleprechaun)
    detroitleprechaun: Same great translator with full versions of more of Nietzsche's works
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Read this a long time ago. Vaguely recall it being ok and having a fair number of misgivings about the arguments being put forward. ( )
  reg_lt | Feb 7, 2020 |
my main observation: Nietzsche's philosophy is extremely difficult to encapsulate. i definitely know what people mean now when they say he has no system, although i saw ever-so-many teasing hints at one!

other thoughts:
*eternal recurrence?! what's up with that?

*my reservations about his antipathy toward "equality" and his embrace of hierarchy were never completely resolved, but, based on Zarathustra, i'm relatively sure that they are primarily intended as motivational devices with benevolent intent. i have an especially hard time sympathizing with his fawning admiration of the ancient Greeks, which is at odds with his equally strong dislike of "convictions". this utopian anti-egalitarian current rubs me the wrong way but doesn't completely turn me off. i'll reserve judgment for the moment.

*i found the Antichrist to be a relatively accessible critique of Christianity that is far more interesting than Dawkinsian (apologies) arguments. culture is just more interesting than science. ( )
1 vote dmac7 | Jun 14, 2013 |
This is a very good anthology of selections from Nietzsche by his best English translator. Never a systematic philosopher, Nietzsche is easily misunderstood and easy to appropriate dishonestly. He also happens to be one of the finer German prose stylists, so representing him well in English is a tough assignment. Walter Kaufman does a very good job.
  Muscogulus | Jul 29, 2012 |
Perhaps the most valuable part of this book is his crazed letters at the end. ( )
  psiakrew | Oct 6, 2010 |
This volume includes Thus Spake Zarathustra and the single most well-known, if not the most important, selection from Nietzsche, his famous "God is Dead" scene. Also sprach Zarathustra: Ein Buch für Alle und Keinen is a philosophical novel and is most unusual in topic, arrangement, and experimental style. Although this may be off-putting to some, in the hands of this master it is superb. The four parts includes Nietzsche's famous "death of God" parable but also some well-known passages such as the "eternal recurrence of the same," and the "prophecy" of the Overman, which were first introduced in The Gay Science.

"God is dead" (Gott ist tot) is widely-quoted. It first appears in Die fröhliche Wissenschaft, section 108 (New Struggles), in section 125 (The Madman), and for a third time in section 343 (The Meaning of our Cheerfulness). However, Zarathustra is most responsible for popularizing the phrase. The idea is stated in "The Madman" as follows:

God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it?

"God is dead" does not appear for Nietzsche to mean disbelieving in a literal God. He does not seem to even be addressing a popular misunderstanding of his literal words. He seems rather to be speculating on worthy ideas and who or what to rely on. In this sense, then, the European Protestant Christian God was certainly dead. Even more importantly, Nietzsche is not gloating and he recognizes the profound crisis into which the death of God plunges individuals and humanity. He states: "When one gives up the Christian faith, one pulls the right to Christian morality out from under one's feet. This morality is by no means self-evident." In light of Nietzsche's clarity, what guide to morality can be reliable during such a crisis? "The Madman" then must realize that individuals must create a self-sufficient system of values in the absence of a divine known or revealed order. We are truly alone which Nietzsche appreciates is a frightening predicament.

The death of God for Nietzsche will lead to a rejection of absolute values themselves--to the rejection of belief in an objective and universal moral law, binding upon all individuals. In this manner, the loss of an absolute basis for morality leads to nihilism. This nihilism is what Nietzsche worked to find a solution for by re-evaluating the foundations of human values. This meant, to Nietzsche, looking for foundations that went deeper than Christian values. He would find a basis in the "will to power" that he described as "the essence of reality." This foundation could only be an individual creative personal work. Most people are not up to the task.

Nietzsche believed that the majority of people did not recognize (or refused to acknowledge) this death out of the deepest-seated fear, avoidance, or angst. Therefore, when the death of God began to be widely acknowledged, people would despair and nihilism would become rampant. Nietzsche saw himself as a historical figure like Zarathustra, Socrates, or Jesus, providing only the general orientation to individuals who could overcome the impending European nihilism.
1 vote gmicksmith | Sep 3, 2009 |
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The works of Friedrich Nietzsche have fascinated readers around the world ever since the publication of his first book more than a hundred years ago. As Walter Kaufmann, one of the world's leading authorities on Nietzsche, notes in his introduction, "Few writers in any age were so full of ideas," and few writers have been so consistently misinterpreted. The Portable Nietzsche includes Kaufmann's definitive translations of the complete and unabridged texts of Nietzsche's four major works: Twilight of the Idols, The Antichrist, Nietzsche Contra Wagner and Thus Spoke Zarathustra. In addition, Kaufmann brings together selections from his other books, notes, and letters, to give a full picture of Nietzsche's development, versatility, and inexhaustibility. "In this volume, one may very conveniently have a rich review of one of the most sensitive, passionate, and misunderstood writers in Western, or any, literature." --Newsweek

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