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The Gay Science (1882)

by Friedrich Nietzsche

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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3,299254,092 (4.23)11
This edition includes a modern introduction and a list of suggested further reading. "God is dead," Friedrich Nietzsche unflinchingly declared in this famous work of philosophy. It is one of the boldest statements ever made, and garnered far-reaching, strong reactions. In addition to being the book containing the words that shook the world, The Gay Science includes Nietzsche's arguments on ethics and knowledge. It is no wonder The Gay Science is known in some circles by the title The Joyful Wisdom.… (more)

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English (17)  Spanish (3)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  Catalan (1)  Dutch (1)  French (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (25)
Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
you don't know you need this but u do ( )
  Louisasbookclub | Jun 30, 2024 |
Nietzsche considered this "the most personal of all my books." It includes many aphorisms the denote themes central to his work; notably the proclamation of the death of God is in this book. Along with Also Sprach Zarathustra, this is among his most poetic works. ( )
  jwhenderson | Jun 5, 2022 |
Switched from Kaufmann to Common trans. Prefer Common. ( )
  fiveheads | Feb 12, 2022 |
For believe me! — the secret for harvesting from existence the greatest fruitfulness and the greatest enjoyment is: to live dangerously! Build your cities on the slopes of Vesuvius! Send your ships into uncharted seas! Live at war with your peers and yourselves! Be robbers and conquerors as long as you cannot be rulers and possessors, you seekers of knowledge! Soon the age will be past when you could be content to live hidden in forests like shy deer!

While this wasn't my point of departure into Theory, though it should've been. Ideas bubbled and grew fecund in my youthful soul. Pints of Carlsburg and shit food from Hardees nourshed my wretched body, but it was Nietzsche's frisson which propelled me forward. ( )
  jonfaith | Feb 22, 2019 |
This work is where most of Nietzsche's ideas begin. The poetry was unexpected, even though poetry is "the gay science". I routinely reflect on La Rochefoucauld's Maxims, and The Gay Science follows a similar structure. Based on my own reading, I also see elements of Voltaire's style. La Rochefoucauld's influence on Nietzsche has been acknowledged by numerous scholars, such as Brendan Donnellan, but also to Voltaire. Writing in the New Republic, Jacob Soll includes Nietzsche as an extension of Voltaire in terms of the critique of religion, which interestingly extends into a critique of socialism. (In the Marxian tradition, religion is the "opiate of the masses".) Borrowing from Mortimer Adler, my approach to reading Nietzsche is to read it myself, and later to look toward critiques of his work, so I am pleased that my connections between La Rochefoucauld and Voltaire do not stray from the mark. Nevertheless, my comparison was based purely on Voltaire's Dictionnaire philosophique and La Rochefoucauld's Maxims, rather than an in-depth study of either. In many ways, Nietzsche sets out the work as a dictionary of his ideas, not so much in the style of aphorisms, but certainly as a form of developing his own ideas in the style of a list of definitions, ideas, critiques, and polemics. Having said that, Nietzsche points out so many things that remain relevant today, including working for the sake of work, the "non-voluntariness in forming opinions" in academia, and even Rousseau's idea (apparently Nietzsche disliked Rousseau's work) of experience being "dearly bought and hardly worth the cost", nationalism, and the idea that science is not rational but merely a form of metaphysics where we attempt to measure things that are for the most part immeasurable, just to name a few. I also noticed echoes of Nietzsche in the work of Anton Chekhov and Albert Camus. But to return to Jacob Soll, who suggests that, in the US, the Enlightenment has been more or less abandoned, provides an interesting counter-point to what routinely appears in political debates in Australia. For example, the Enlightenment is often reified as the benchmark for all things good, yet, much like the US, there seems to be a disconnect with the great thinkers of the Enlightenment. (Soll, in effect, includes Nietzsche as an extension of the Enlightenment heavy-weights.) What this indicates to me is a weakness in my own understanding based on the glossed-over ideas of the Enlightenment that are too often taken-for-granted. I need to read much more and not just the philosophers, and Nietzsche points out Charles Darwin and Herbert Spencer (that "pedantic Englishman") as worthy of further critique. Rather than suggesting we do what the social sciences try to do now by emulating the natural sciences, Nietzsche suggests we should, in effect, refer to the social sciences as "the unnatural sciences". Which brings me to an interesting observation. The Delphic Oracle's motto, "Know thyself" is based on the idea that knowledge (as Nietzsche suggests) is simply about attaching something we do not know to something we already know. So rather than seeking to understand, we seek to know. This subtle yet powerful difference seems to link to the Dionysian approach that Nietzsche develops in his later works. In many ways, it is also a critique of the natural sciences, especially Newton ("If I have seen further it is by standing on the sholders [sic] of giants"). In the current era, everything must be measured or it is not valued (and to quote Galileo, "Measure what is measurable, and make measurable what is not so" - see also the Canadian designer, Bruce Mau). Nietzsche provides one of the best critiques of these ideas, and in ways I would never have dreamt of in a lifetime of thinking. He also has his usual go at Aristotle, Socrates, the Stoics, yet seems to agree with Epicurus, and introduces Zarathustra, but I think I have only seen the tip of the iceberg. I intend to read Thus Spoke Zarathustra for my next Nietzsche reading, but I can only imagine how much I am missing as I have not the complete grasp (is it even possible?) of the many influences that Nietzsche draws on. It would seem logical that to read Nietzsche, one might begin at the beginning and work through in chronological order. Then again, I would have lost so much had I read this book early on, as many of Nietzsche's ideas remain largely undeveloped, at least in terms of how he converses with the reader. Interestingly, Nietzsche suggests that we only know something when we are able to discuss it. But this is simply the herd instinct monopolising our intellect. If we seek rather to understand than to "know", we may well not be able to communicate it at all. I think this is what Nietzsche captures best in this work, and I would hazard a guess that his poems pick up on this theme, and his epilogue (mirrored in the final poem) invites us to "dance". It doesn't matter if you do not understand the Minstrel, but the more you can hear the music and the melody, so much better can you... dance. I can dance! ( )
1 vote madepercy | Jun 10, 2018 |
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» Add other authors (43 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Friedrich Nietzscheprimary authorall editionscalculated
Figal, GünterAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
González Blanco, PedroTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Greco, CharoForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Greco, CharoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Groot, GerTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Groot, GerForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hawinkels, PéTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hill, R. KevinTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kaufmann, WalterTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Munch, EdvardCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ramírez, SergioCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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First words
Wagt's mit meiner Kost, ihr Esser!
(Take a chance and try my fare)
God is dead.
Morality is herd instinct in the individual.
The Christian resolution to find the world ugly and bad has made the world ugly and bad.
To find everything profound - that is an inconvenient trait. It makes one strain one's eyes all the time, and in the end one finds more than one might have wished.
We are always in our own company.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (3)

This edition includes a modern introduction and a list of suggested further reading. "God is dead," Friedrich Nietzsche unflinchingly declared in this famous work of philosophy. It is one of the boldest statements ever made, and garnered far-reaching, strong reactions. In addition to being the book containing the words that shook the world, The Gay Science includes Nietzsche's arguments on ethics and knowledge. It is no wonder The Gay Science is known in some circles by the title The Joyful Wisdom.

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Book description
Nell’agosto del 1881, in Engadina, «6000 piedi al di là dell’uomo e del tempo», Nietzsche ebbe la folgorazione dell’«eterno ritorno», il vero mistero filosofico della sua vita. Ed è di questo periodo l’elaborazione della Gaia scienza, libro che «rivela da cento segni la prossimità di qualcosa di incomparabile». Qui lo stile di Nietzsche sembra raggiungere la sua perfezione: all’implacabile spirito indagatore, a cui già si dovevano Umano, troppo umano e Aurora, si associa ora quello spirito della danza che attendeva di presentarsi nella figura di Zarathustra. Così la scienza diventa «gaia», e già nel titolo si offre il richiamo a «quella unità di ‘cantore’, ‘cavaliere’ e ‘spirito libero’ che differenzia quella meravigliosa e precoce civiltà dei Provenzali da tutte le civiltà equivoche». E insieme ora si afferma definitivamente in Nietzsche quella «riabilitazione dell’apparenza» che segnerà l’ultima fase del suo pensiero.
Tutte le tensioni laceranti che sfoceranno nella follia sono già presenti in queste pagine, ma ancora sovranamente dominate. Sicché per un lettore che voglia avvicinarsi all’opera di Nietzsche, forse questo è il libro più consigliabile: muovendosi fra le sue pagine ripercorrerà quel labirinto che Nietzsche è stato.
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