The Birth of Tragedy (Oxford World's Classics) and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Buy New
  • List Price: $10.95
  • Save: $1.09 (10%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Only 3 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by
Gift-wrap available.
Add to Cart
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

The Birth of Tragedy (Oxford World's Classics) Paperback – August 1, 2008

See all 2 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
"Please retry"
"Please retry"
$5.99 $3.00

Frequently Bought Together

The Birth of Tragedy (Oxford World's Classics) + Bacchae
Price for both: $16.90

Buy the selected items together
  • Bacchae $7.04

Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought


Hero Quick Promo
Browse in Books with Buzz and explore more details on selected titles, including the current pick, "The Good Girl" by Mary Kubica.

Product Details

  • Series: Oxford World's Classics
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (August 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199540144
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199540143
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #77,489 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Douglas Smith is a Lecturer in French at the University College, Dublin.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
5 star
4 star
3 star
2 star
1 star
See all 48 customer reviews
This book is a great read and answers so many questions and thoughts.
R. Schwartz
The Birth of Tragedy Out of the Spirit of Music by Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche This is a wonderful work of one of the great philosophical thinkers.
Li Zhang
I had to get it for class, it was a very interesting book to read especially in a class setting.
Jonelle Dunkley

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

51 of 59 people found the following review helpful By Chrys Coulter on January 13, 2000
Format: Paperback
Since the only other review is fairly obtuse about this book, it seems necessary to write another. If you consider yourself a creative entity, an artist, a musician, a filmmaker, a writer; then this book should be required reading. It describes two opposing "forces", Apollo and Dionysus, who are in perpetual conflict. From this conflict, all great art is born.

It is a dialectic, Thesis meets Antithesis to beget Synthesis.

The real point is though, after reading the book, you look for these opposing forces in everyday life and find them everywhere. Man and woman, religion and science, good and evil (for rudimentary examples). After reading the book it was apparent how much of this world is constructed out of, and centered on, opposition. It's like Matt Modine's helmet in Full Metal Jacket, man is a creature with inherent duality.

The Birth of Tragedy touches on something so essential and instinctually true to our existence that it can only vaguely be explained in words. Nietszche knows this and presents the concept as eloquently and clearly as it allows. It is up to the reader to take this knowledge as a starting point and explore deeper into their own individual experience and perspective.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 30, 2000
Format: Paperback
In this work, Nietzsche theorizes that Greek tragedy was built upon the wedding of two principles, which he associated with the deities Apollo and Dionysius. The Apollonian principle, in keeping with the characteristics of the sun god Apollo, is the principle of order, static beauty and clear boundaries. The Dionysian principle, in contrast, is the principle of frenzy, excess, and the collapse of boundaries.
These principles offered perspectives on the position of the individual human being, but perspectives that were radically opposed to one another. The Appollonian principle conceived the individual as sufficiently separate from the rest of reality to be able to contemplate it dispassionately. The Dionysian principle, however, presents reality as a tumultuous flux in which individuality is overwhelmed by the dynamics of a living whole. Nietzsche believed that a balance of these principals is essential if one is both to recognize the challenge to one's sense of meaning posed by individual vulnerability and to recognize the solution, which depends on one's sense of oneness with a larger reality. Greek tragedy, as he saw it, confronted the issue of life's meaning by merging the perspectives of the two principles.
The themes of Greek tragedy concerned the worst case scenario from an Apollonian point of view--the devastation of vulnerable individuals. Scholarship had concluded that the chanting of the chorus was the first form of Athenian tragedy. Nietzsche interpreted the effect of the chorus as the initiation of a Dionysian experience on the part of the audience. Captivated by music, audience members abandoned their usual sense of themselves as isolated individuals and felt themselves instead to be part of a larger, frenzied whole.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Augustus Caesar, Ph.D. on January 16, 2004
Format: Paperback
"The Birth of Tragedy" (1872) was Nietzsche's first published work, and what a work it is. Taking as its point of departure the origins and eventual death of tragedy in ancient Greece, this book shouldn't be taken as a literal meditation on Greek tragedy. Instead, Nietzsche uses his discussion of this art form to analyse trends he saw in the Germany of the early-1870s and to examine the similarities between the Hellenic world and the world of Bismarckian Germany.
He begins with an explanation of the dual Apollonian and Dionysian tendencies in art. The Apollonian, based on illusion, form, and restrained aesthetic contemplation, is contrasted with the Dionysian, which is characterized by a visceral, ecstatic, transcendental state. To Nietzsche, Greek tragedy was the only art form which was able to merge these two conflicting aesthetics into a successful union. He likens the operas of his then-hero, Richard Wagner, to the tragic drama of ancient Greece, and suggests that this similarity should be a cause of hope for the renewal of the "German spirit."
Crazy? Of course. Nietzsche was not a man noted for his intellectual restraint, and his associative thinking is never wilder or more disputable than in "The Birth of Tragedy." It is this very wildness which would later lead the philosopher to all but disown this book.
But "The Birth of Tragedy" is more than far-fetched theorizing--it is also a penetrating gaze into the destructive side of pure reason and the sunny optimism of the Enlightenment, which Nietzsche posits as being embodied in ancient Greece in the form of Socrates, whose withering, anti-aesthetic thinking Nietzsche finds deadening and repugnant.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Leonardo Russomanno on July 26, 1999
Format: Paperback
There is no denying Nietzsche's genius. But there is denying mine. I found this book very hard to follow. It is not a book to stop and scrutinize every line. One must know a fair bit about Greek mythology to follow it adequately. His thoughts on Socrates compared to the Dionysian is very compelling. If anyone who has read this book wishes to share what they understood, please e-mail me.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Customer Images

Most Recent Customer Reviews


What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?