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Thus Spoke Zarathustra by Friedrich…
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Thus Spoke Zarathustra (1885)

by Friedrich Nietzsche

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
7,80053430 (3.9)90
  1. 60
    The Anti-Christ by Friedrich Nietzsche (YagamiLight)
  2. 20
    The elements of metaphysics : being a guide for lectures and private use by Paul Deussen (galacticus)
    galacticus: Deussen was a lifelong friend of Nietzsche. They were students at Gymnasium; both earned Philology degrees; both became professors; but more importantly, both were students of Schopenhauer.
  3. 10
    Sartor Resartus and On Heroes and Hero Worship by Thomas Carlyle (slickdpdx)
    slickdpdx: It is as if Carlyle willed Nietzsche into being.
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English (39)  Dutch (4)  French (3)  Spanish (3)  Portuguese (1)  Swedish (1)  German (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (53)
Showing 1-5 of 39 (next | show all)
First book recommended by my Jr. High History teacher. It was good to know it's out there. ( )
  Ra.Aiyana | Sep 1, 2014 |
I find it very difficult to rate or assess--or even make much sense of--this book. Reading it I often thought to myself it was little wonder Nietzsche ended his life in an insane asylum. I don't know that I can say I really "liked" it (three stars) or found it "OK" (two stars on Goodreads) but I just can't say I had a "meh" reaction or hated it--I did find it worthwhile a read--thought-provoking and even beautiful in parts.

It's not what I expected. I'd heard various things about Nietzsche. That he was Ayn Rand on steroids. That he was a seminal philosopher and this his most important (or just infamous?) work. That he is the "Godfather of Fascism." I can't say I saw any of those things in this work. Whatever you might think of Ayn Rand's arguments, she does have them, even in her novels--indeed, it's what many readers complain about in her speechifying. Whatever I might think of Plato or Kant or Rousseau, or find difficult or abstruse, I do recognize they are presenting reasoned logical arguments for their positions worthy of philosophy. Nietzsche is different, or at least Thus Spake Zarathustra is. It's famously full of aphorisms--that is strikingly stated views we're supposed to take on faith so to speak--as in sacred texts. Indeed, the style very deliberately echoes the rhythms and rhetoric of scripture. Zarathustra is the character and mouthpiece for a philosophy presented through speeches, parables and stories--such as what happens when he's bitten by a snake--but not really through reasoned argument. To my mind that takes it out of the realm of philosophy and makes this more akin to Lao-Tzu's Tao Te Ching than Plato's Republic.

And I admit, for all the notorious calls for the "Superman" and references to a "will to power" I found it hard to see the roots of fascism here--unless you really, really twist things. In contrast it was easy to see the roots of the totalitarian left in Plato's Republic and Rousseau's Social Contract. Maybe it's just that given we're much more sympathetic to the totalitarian left in America (I had several Marxist professors) I'm much more alive to the implications in works that tend that way. But I could see Nietzsche's call for the Superman as a call to aspire to the best in ourselves--I didn't detect anything racist or particularly Darwinian in it. Similarly I could see the "will to power" as more ambitious striving than a call for domination. Nor did I find anything anti-semitic in its thrust--Nietzsche seems an equal opportunity iconoclast. I do resonate a bit with his message about religion presenting a "slave" mentality. That's one of the things I find most disturbing about religion, besides its basis in the supernatural. That the call of religion above all is for unquestioning obedience, and every time I see a reference to God using "He" in uppercase I'm reminded of and am disturbed by that.

But then the assessment above means assuming I read Nietzsche right, and I'm by no means sure about that on a first read, and am doubtful I'd go in for seconds. He's certainly an interesting if disturbing thinker. ( )
1 vote LisaMaria_C | Apr 21, 2014 |
I have at all times written my writings with my whole heart and soul: I do not know what purely intellectual problems are.There is a great deal of Nietzsche that I agree with, and hoards with which I vehemently do not. I've been accumulating quotes of his for five years now, quotes whose inherent lack of context made me like him more than I do now. I still love many of his phrases as much as I did before, but if we ever met, we would not like each other at all.

Despite that muddle, I am grateful that I came across his words while I was younger and in the full throes of depression, cynicism, and a frighteningly homicidal brand of solipsism. I didn't know the definition of that last word back then, but I was in desperate need of something both horribly dismal and blindingly bright, a joy that did not require avoidance of despair but looked it full in the face. The often contextualized and paraphrased Nietzsche with atheism, nihilism, and yet fierce and glorious fervor for the future seemed perfect back then.

To some extent, he's still perfect, but only in bits and pieces. The call for solitude and individualism is as refreshing as ever, the atheism is still in line with my sensibilities, and the breathtaking vaults and shuddering descents carried my heart along with them. However. While I did indeed run across his cry for the Superman, even going so far as to take to heart his 'Man is something that shall be over come,' I paid as much mind to his Superman as concerned my younger self's view of the world and the people in it as utterly worthless. Not until this reading did I fully realize Nietzsche's meaning; being as interested in social justice and, well, female as I am, there was little chance of me passing up all that elitism (and classism?) and condemnation of empathy and rapier dashes of virulent misogyny.

It's strange, though. Perhaps it is a sign of just how much time I spent mooning after Nietzsche, back when I took him in small doses, but I am especially conscious of the time period in which he wrote this. His decrying of the "mob" echoes my own views regarding oppressive ideologies, and I have to wonder how much of his rampant condemnation of popular mentality fell upon the people rather than the ideas they lived by. As for his abysmal portrayal of women, who knows what a healthy dose of feminism and exposure to such awesome thinkers as [a:Simone de Beauvoir|5548|Simone de Beauvoir|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/authors/1382722690p2/5548.jpg], [a:Hannah Arendt|12806|Hannah Arendt|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/authors/1222711954p2/12806.jpg], and so many others would have accomplished. Probably gotten rid of his 'creator's pregnancy' conceit (if you're going to slander, Nietzsche, back off from the ridiculously disproportionate appropriation please), if nothing else. Also, there is the matter of his one serious attempt at heterosexual love having been rejected right around the time of composition of this piece. It doesn't excuse him at all, but it does explain his vitriol some.

All of that above is wishful thinking, of course, but seeing as this is the enigmatic rhapsodizer on the subject of wishful thinking, it's more than merited. For all of Nietzsche's aggravating inegalitarianism, he captured the rapid fire oscillation between top of the world and descent into hell so perfectly, so utterly, and then crafted with it a raison d'être both deathly serious and blissfully rapturous. There's no small amount of nihilism in his dismissal of everything solid, everyone stationary, everything decrepit and outdated and finally after long last proved false, but there's a spitfire life to it that laughs at self-serving pandering and loves chaotic progress that I myself cannot forbear from adoring and making my own.'This - is now my way: where is yours?' Thus I answered those who asked me 'the way'. For the way - does not exist!I shall keep this in mind, Nietzsche, if nothing else. Not all of what your Zarathustra spoke rings true to me, but you are one of the few who favored freedom over advice. For that, I am in your debt.I am of today and of the has-been (he said then); but there is something in me that is of tomorrow and of the day-after-tomorrow and of the shall-be.

P.S. This particular edition was great. I have no clue about the quality of the translation, but the introduction and endnotes, endnotes that included all those untranslateable bits with as much explanation as possible, were indispensable. ( )
  Korrick | Feb 26, 2014 |
Thus Spoke Zarathustra (1883-1885) is one of the greatest achievements in the history of philosophical literature and Nietzsche's most complete and captivating doctrine of the overcoming of man by the superman, the idea that humanity must be elevated beyond itself by the noble genius gifted with the highest level of the will to power, a passionate creator who transcends the crowd and its common morality to achieve a higher state of existence. The fictional philosophical prophet Zarathustra is Nietzsche's ideal superman, a sort of heroic messiah who wanders the mountains in search of a deeper meaning for existence, both within himself in profound solitude and within his metaphorical companions gathered along his journey. It is a highly involving and mystical work of vigorous poetic insight further investigating Nietzsche's ideas of eternal recurrence, the death of God, and the superman.
  AMD3075 | Feb 24, 2014 |
How do you overcome your life? Perhaps by reading Schopenhauer or better yet by reading Friedrich Nietzsche. Thus Spoke Zarathustra is Nietzsche as poet philosopher. The titular character and protagonist of the book, Zarathustra, is portrayed in the chapter "Thousand and One Goals" as "the creator" (p 58). Through his travels and speeches and especially his introspective monologues we experience discourse on the nature of knowledge (gnosis), spirit, language, judgement and consciousness. This is a work that expounds some of Nietzsche's key ideas such as "eternal recurrence" and the "death of god". The latter represents a shift in the grounding of morality as Nietzsche rejects the traditional view the morality comes from God above. Instead replacing this view with a morality based in the existence of the individual, thus making Nietzsche a precursor if not one of the founders of existentialist philosophy.
The mythic poetical style of this work mark its literary quality and make it read like a spiritual work. It also has an aphoristic quality that permeates Nietzsche's writing. While it is a difficult book to read the questions it raises make it worth the effort of those interested in a more literary approach to philosophy. ( )
1 vote jwhenderson | May 25, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (233 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Nietzsche, Friedrichprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hollingdale, R. J.Editor and Translatormain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kaufmann, Walter ArnoldTranslator and Prefacemain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Marsman, HendrikEditor and Translatormain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Parkes, GrahamEditor and Translatormain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Carbonell, ManuelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cowan, MarianneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Endt, P.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nikanor TeratologenTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
If there are any persons who contest a received opinion...let us thank them for it, open our minds to listen to them, and rejoice that there is someone to do for us what we otherwise ought, if we have any regard for either the certainty or the vitality of our convictions, to do with much greater labor for ourselves. - John Stuart Mill, On Liberty
Dedication
First words
When Zarathustra was thirty years old he left his home and the lake and went into the mountains.
Quotations
But thus do I counsel you, my friends: distrust all in whom the impulse to punish is powerful!
"When the truth has triumphed for once, he has asked what great lie has fought for it."
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Book description
Nietzsche's most overtly lyrical work, in which ideas including the death of God and the eternal recurrence of the same events (both seen in their earlier stages in The Gay Science) are placed in the mouth of a wandering anti-prophet. Technically incomplete; the fourth book was originally intended as an intermezzo.
Haiku summary
Man's a bridge between
Animal and superman.
I've a big moustache.

(Carnophile)
God is dead. Now what?
Check out related volumes.
Like this one, and this.

(Carnophile)

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140441182, Paperback)

Nietzsche was one of the most revolutionary and subversive thinkers in Western philosophy, and "Thus Spoke Zarathustra" remains his most famous and influential work. It describes how the ancient Persian prophet Zarathustra descends from his solitude in the mountains to tell the world that God is dead and that the Superman, the human embodiment of divinity, is his successor. With blazing intensity and poetic brilliance, Nietzsche argues that the meaning of existence is not to be found in religious pieties or meek submission, but in an all-powerful life force: passionate, chaotic & free.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:42:17 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

Translated from the German by R.J. Hollingdale.

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