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Basic Writings of Nietzsche by Friedrich Nietzsche (Author), Peter Gay (Introduction), Walter Kaufmann (Translator)

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Basic Writings of Nietzsche by Friedrich Nietzsche (Author), Peter Gay (Introduction), Walter Kaufmann  (Translator)
   
  
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'Basic Writings of Nietzsche'
By Friedrich Nietzsche  (Author), Peter Gay (Introduction), Walter Kaufmann  (Translator)

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One hundred years after his death, Friedrich Nietzsche remains the most influential philosopher of the modern era. Basic Writings of Nietzsche gathers the complete texts of five of Nietzsche’s most important works, from his first book to his last: The Birth of Tragedy, Beyond Good and Evil, On the Genealogy of Morals, The Case of Wagner, and Ecce Homo. Edited and translated by the great Nietzsche scholar Walter Kaufmann, this volume also features seventy-five aphorisms, selections from Nietzsche’s correspondence, and variants from drafts for Ecce Homo. It is a definitive guide to the full range of Nietzsche’s thought.

'A better title for this book might be The Indispensable Writings of Nietzsche. Indeed, the six selections contained in Walter Kaufmann's volume are not only critical elements of Nietzsche's oeuvre, they are must-reads for any aspiring student of philosophy. Those coming to Nietzsche for the first time will be pleased to find three of his best-known works--The Birth of TragedyBeyond Good and Evil, and On the Genealogy of Morals--as well as a collection of 75 aphorisms drawn from Nietzsche's celebrated aphoristic work. In addition, there are two lesser known, but important, pieces in The Case of Wagner and Ecce Homo. Kaufmann's lucid and accurate translations have been the gold standard of Nietzsche scholarship since the 1950s, and this volume does not disappoint. Anyone who has slogged their way through the swamps of German philosophical writing---in Kant or Hegel or Heidegger--will find Nietzsche a refreshing and exhilarating change. The selections are well chosen, and a cover-to-cover read will aptly depict Nietzsche's philosophy. In this volume the reader will find many of Nietzsche's polemical (and frequently misunderstood) ratiocinations on Christianity, Socrates, Germany, and art. Here, too, are his seminal and unforgettable critiques of Western morality ("That lambs dislike great birds of prey does not seem strange: only it gives no ground for reproaching these birds of prey for bearing off little lambs"). For philosophical fireworks, Nietzsche can hardly be matched. His brazen defiance of intellectualism's conventions still rings in contemporary thought because he practiced philosophy with a hammer.'
 
(Eric de Place)

"Nietzsche is one of the few philosophers since Plato whom large numbers of intelligent people read for pleasure."

(Walter Kaufmann)

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One of the German philosophers of the thirteenth/nineteenth century who has exercised great influence upon the thought of the fourteenth/twentieth century, Nietzsche began his career with the study of philology at Basel. In 1872 he wrote The Birth of Tragedy about the dichotomy between what he called Apollonian and Dionysian modes of thought. This work has had many followers among fourteenth/twentieth century writers. In 1879, he retired from the university and began a period in which he wrote his most famous works including Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Beyond Good and Evil, and On the Genealogy ofMorals. Nietzsche was a very strong critic of contemporary culture and the Christianity of his time as he saw it practiced. He recognized the spiritual poverty around him and spoke of the "death of God." He believed that the only solution would be the coming of men who were beyond morality and the ordinary criteria of good and evil, who were what he called supermen. 

Nietzsche wrote in a highly poetical style especially in Thus Spoke Zarathustra and has exerted much influence in this century in both literary and philosophical circles. He had powerful intuitions while being at the same time possessed by an abnormal psychological condition so that he has been called by one contemporary traditional authority "an illuminated psychopath." Nevertheless, many consider him in fact to be one of the "prophets" of the thought patterns and the condition of human beings in the fourteenth/twentieth century, a singular thinker whose intuition allowed him to see the poverty of modem civilization and the spiritual degradation which modem man has suffered as a result of it. As far as the Islamic world is concerned, Nietzsche's influence can be seen in certain quarters especially in Muhammad Iqbal who refers to him often in his works as his main interlocutor from the West. 

(Seyyed Hossein Nasr)


Note: 'Great Books of the Western World' recommends 'Beyond Good and Evil' and 'On the Genealogy of Morality'.
 
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