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Daybreak: Thoughts on the Prejudices of Morality (Cambridge Texts in the History of Philosophy) Hardcover – November 13, 1997

ISBN-13: 978-0521590501 ISBN-10: 0521590507 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 1st edition (November 13, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521590507
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521590501
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,497,380 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English, German (translation) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

Daybreak marks the arrival of Nietzsche's 'mature' philosophy and is indispensable for an understanding of his critique of morality and 'revaluation of all values'. This volume presents the distinguished translation by R. J. Hollingdale, with a new introduction that argues for a dramatic change in Nietzsche's views from Human, All too Human to Daybreak, and shows how this change, in turn, presages the main themes of Nietzsche's later and better-known works such as On the Genealogy of Morality. The edition is completed by a chronology, notes and a guide to further reading.

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Customer Reviews

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James Pruett
Nietzsche is not for the faint-hearted, but those with a strong stomach who are estranged by much of Nietzsche's later shouting, should read this wonderful book.
david 1234
As with the extraordinary previous work -- Human, All Too Human -- Nietzsche writes in a manner that strongly suggests a very rich series of debate openings.
Dennis M. Clark

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

59 of 61 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 30, 2000
Format: Paperback
Daybreak: Thoughts On Moral Prejudices (1881) goes further than Human All Too Human in elaborating Nietzsche's critique of Christian morality. It is perhaps also more masterful than the earlier work in its artful use of aphoristic juxtaposition to engage the reader in his or her own reflections. Indeed, Nietzsche seems bent on conveying a particular type of experience in thinking to his readers, much more than he is concerned in persuading his readers to adopt any particular point of view.
Nietzsche criticized the Christian moral world view on a number of grounds that he was to develop further in his later works. His basic case rests on psychological analyses of the motivations and effects that stem from the adoption of the Christian moral perspective. In this respect, Daybreak typifies Nietzsche's ad hominem approach to morality. Nietzsche asks primarily, "What kind of person would be inclined to adopt this perspective?" and "What impact does this perspective have on the way in which its adherent develops and lives?"
Nietzsche argues that the concepts that Christianity uses to analyze moral experience--especially sin and the afterlife--are entirely imaginary and psychologically pernicious. These categories deprecate human experience, making its significance appear more vile than it actually is. Painting reality in a morbid light, Christian moral concepts motivate Christians to adopt somewhat paranoid and hostile attitudes toward their own behavior and that of others. Convinced of their own sinfulness and worthiness of eternal damnation, Christians are driven to seek spiritual reassurance at tremendous costs in terms of their own mental health and their relationships to others.
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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Dennis M. Clark on July 3, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Daybreak is for readers that want to experience the tremendous efforts that Nietzsche undertook to overcome his training and experiences as an educator and to discover and create his own voice. As with the extraordinary previous work -- Human, All Too Human -- Nietzsche writes in a manner that strongly suggests a very rich series of debate openings. He aims to stimulate, provoke, and establish a literary forum to air his overflowing wealth of ideas, questions, doubts, intuitions. Daybreak, like other works by this incredible writer, is meant for slow readers. You don't just simply sit down and read it from cover to cover like an entertaining best seller. Every other page will contain a notion that will either delight, mystify, irritate, or -- best of all -- provide one of those wonderful ah-hah experiences that only happen when you are immersed in serious thought. It's best to take your time with one section after another and seriously ponder what he is saying, because Nietzsche builds a very startling view of human existence that cannot be appreciated by a quick reading.
As emphasized in the extremely well-written introduction by the editors (who do a great job in setting Daybreak in its context among other works by Nietzsche), the main subject of the book is a critique of morality -- what does it really mean to humans when we try to strip it down to its essentials and challenge the many conventions of custom. Nietzsche does not simply treat morality as an interesting subject for a pleasant intellectual dialogue, but rather makes it clear that he is in deadly earnest about how fundamentally important it is, and how our attitudes about it create ourselves and our world.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By James Pruett on July 14, 2002
Format: Paperback
In Nietzsche's Daybreak we see the beginnings of Nietzsche's complete and exhaustive interrogation of morality with its link to suffering. As with all of N's books, there are real gems here. His tone is calm and sedate, not shrill and inflated as in later works, such as the Anti-Christ or Twilight of the Idols. And it begins with a commencement to undermine our faith in morality. This is a recurrent them of Nietzsche's, who critics have said, gave the criminal back his conscience.
Some important points contained in the book include his linking of animal behavior and human morality and comments about the suffering and its consequent blame that become keys to his later works. Also worth mentioning are his comments in 205, Of the people of Israel. Read this section. It is prophetic. Nietzsche saw the Jewish problem in Germany as critical to the coming century. That he became associated with anti-Semitism has been unfair and a travesty.
Daybreak is a great primer for Nietzsche's later, more systemic, works such as Genealogy of Morals and Beyond Good and Evil. Many of his later ideas are interrogated here, in some intances, the arguments are even better articulated.
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Anton Dolinsky on November 23, 2004
Format: Paperback
Well, Nietzsche is one of those dudes you don't just read and then put away--no, you have a relationship with Fred your whole life. You go through ups where you think he's a brilliant... sage, you go through downs where you think he's a brilliant... child. Etcetera--thinking that he's brilliant is about the only constancy in the experience of returning to his writings again and again. You think you understand him, you think a bit more, you think you don't understand him... you think a bit more, then you think you understand him again. So it goes.

Right now, I know for sure that I do not understand: Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Beyond Good and Evil, Ecce Homo, Nietzsche Contra Wagner, Birth of Tragedy. And I find The Gay Science too frivolous for me. Again, at the moment... not for all time.

Nietzsche overwhelms me in any large quantity. But these little aphorisms and prose poems in Daybreak are just perfect. They concern the relationships between morality, art, religion, tradition, custom, nationality, society, the individual, history, politics, lies, truth, human motives, and a bunch of other stuff too. Nietzsche knows what he's about: he'll never give you compartmentalized insight. Nietzsche never would have, and never did, write a book just about Aesthetics, or a book just about Morality, or a book just about Sociology. No, he was always aware of the holistic connection between these scholastically divided FACETS of the human condition. Maybe that's my hint to you for enjoying him more.

Daybreak reads like one of those old-style table of contents where they would put little chapter summaries underneath each line...
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