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Beyond Good and Evil (Penguin Classics) Paperback – April 29, 2003


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Product Details

  • Series: Penguin Classics
  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; Reissue edition (April 29, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 014044923X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140449235
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (93 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #27,490 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: German --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From the Inside Flap

Represents Nietzsche's attempt to sum up his philosophy. In nine parts the book is designed to give the reader a comprehensive idea of Nietzche's thought and style. With an inclusive index of subjects and persons. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Customer Reviews

To give you a taste of why this book is worth reading, I will leave you with one of my very favorite passages of Nietzsche.
D. Roberts
_Beyond Good and Evil_ was Nietzsche's seventh book written after his _Thus Spoke Zarathustra_ and is an attempt to systematize his philosophy.
New Age of Barbarism
Less the truthfulness of their concepts than this underlying will to power motivates the self-deceptively put "will to truth".
Samuel T. Goldberg

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

187 of 199 people found the following review helpful By A. Lowry on September 4, 2003
Format: Paperback
N. doesn't need my sales pitch, but anyway ...
First, if you're going to buy BG&E, go ahead & get the Modern Library "Basic Writings" in paperback---not a volume of snippets, but the complete text of N.'s two best books, BG&E and On the Genealogy of Morals, & some other works, for scarcely more than BG&E alone. If you don't like one book, try the other. N. says the same thing from different angles in his last 4 or 5 books. Anything after Zarathustra, except for Ecce Homo, is a good place to start.
Second, despite reading a translation, don't forget that N. is a clever, funny, & devilishly smart writer. Freud said no one before N. ever had as much self-knowledge. Read him with a sense of ironic humor. Too often N. is treated as some heavy thundering German, when if there's one thing that drove him up the wall, it was heavy thundering Germans.
Third, forgive his attitude problems about women. N.'s dad died when he was a kid; his mom & aunts raised him, got on his last nerve, & gave him a bad attitude towards women. Which, regrettably, was not exactly uncommon in the 19th c. BG&E includes his acknowledgement that his misogyny is a bedrock level of stupidity that he can't escape.
Fourth, if you're a Christian, there's a lot of N. that won't be acceptable to you. But learn what you can. A lot of so-called "Christianity" strongly resembles the "slave morality" that he describes.
This is an amazing book that I haven't even tried to describe, the book that made philosophy come alive for me with N.'s comment that, when wondering where the hell some metaphysician's notions came from, one should ask what morality the notions are aiming at. The book is full of great insights from a brilliant man. Read this, then the Genealogy, then Twilight of the Idols.
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78 of 83 people found the following review helpful By Lucius Schoenbaum on April 11, 2006
Format: Paperback
If you're new to Nietzsche, let me give you a quick overview I could have used when I started out. All philosophy aside, Nietzsche was, very long story short, basically a very smart guy who lived in Europe during the 19th century and who due to illness retired at the age of 35 from his university post as a professor (NOT of philosophy), with a cool six-year pension. He spent the next ten years of his life basically walking around in the mountains, and writing highly unorthodox and creative books that I guess you could call philosophy because that's what everyone calls them. I like the phrase "psychology of philosophy", but nothing could possibly sum it all up. And of course, after that he went nuts. Or more precisely, ten years later, in January of 1889, while his publisher was preparing the first editions of some of the four or five (marvelous, intricate, very widely studied) books he pumped out over the course of the previous year, he lost control of his mind, and a few months later, he was picked up at his mountain cottage, or whatever it was, and taken back to Germany and compassionately placed in an asylum by his family. And he died ten years later...but that's enough for an overview.

In your approach, take everybody's advice with a grain of salt. He's a very personal writer, who deserves a very personal read. You can start anywhere you want, but Nietzsche is like a christmas tree that you can just keep reaching under and pull out more presents that have your name on the tag, so don't ever walk away feeling like you've earned the I've-read-Nietzsche badge. His more literary stuff is in The Gay Science and in Thus Spoke Zarathustra. This one, Beyond Good and Evil, is incredibly good and should be read. My personal favorite is Ecce Homo because it's so odd and outrageous.
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57 of 60 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 14, 1999
Format: Paperback
"Beyond Good And Evil" was written immediately after Nietzsche's "Thus Spoke Zarathustra" and contains none of its elaborate metaphors and imagery. "Zarathustra" was literature compared to this book. This is mature Nietzsche, the philosopher, at his most witty, most serious, and most perpetually devastating.
All of the classic Nietzsche themes are present here; most notably and consummately the Will To Power. Chapter 4 consists of 122 razor-edged aphorisms, each only one or two sentences in length, which slice through the skin of human ulterior motive and the flesh of psychology, right down to the bones of mankind. Other chapters deal with the prejudices of philosophers, history of morals, people and nations, religion and "free-spirits" with the same healthy scepticism.
Nietzsche never entangles the reader in nets of abstract philosophical systems or lengthy and boring dissertation as most philosophers are compelled to do. "Beyond Good And Evil" is always to the point and the density of the language is far outweighed by the prolific content and profundity of thought. What at first glance may seem to be lead is revealed as pure gold with a scratch to the surface. For the uninitiated reader, all it takes is a little patience, (and perhaps, occasionally, a dictionary!) to unlock the books undeniable value for those "philosophers of the future" to whom "Beyond Good And Evil" is dedicated.
Nietzsche went on to outline his philosophy further in other truly great books, but "Beyond Good And Evil" represents a pinnacle in his work and is the best introduction to his philosophy. Nietzsche challenges his readers; he does not command but bids us to take a look through different eyes, and then to view ourselves, our wise men, and the world. And, above all, enquire.
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