Customer Reviews


125 Reviews
5 star:
 (81)
4 star:
 (15)
3 star:
 (12)
2 star:
 (9)
1 star:
 (8)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


126 of 130 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Talk about translations!
I only want to say one thing here, and I say it primarily because I already love this work. This is the translation to buy. Everyone seems to adore Kaufmann, but the truth is he's much more obtuse and difficult to read (and I don't believe it's necessary, as some may say). Hollingdale gets it right. I'll defend myself with one example from a class I took, where...
Published on May 8, 2003

versus
39 of 46 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars outdated translation
This translation is quite old (now public domain) and riddled with substantial errors. Have a look at the Kaufmann translation instead and spend a few extra bucks -- the book will make far more sense if you do! More enjoyable, too...
Published on January 27, 2003 by Eric Crawford


‹ Previous | 1 213 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

126 of 130 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Talk about translations!, May 8, 2003
By A Customer
I only want to say one thing here, and I say it primarily because I already love this work. This is the translation to buy. Everyone seems to adore Kaufmann, but the truth is he's much more obtuse and difficult to read (and I don't believe it's necessary, as some may say). Hollingdale gets it right. I'll defend myself with one example from a class I took, where Kaufmann's translation was the required text. I had read both translations (cover-to-cover), and sold my copy of Kaufmann's translation, keeping only my Hollingdale. So, needless to say, I wasn't about to buy Kaufmann again, and went to class with Hollingdale. Slowly, but surely, as the other students read bits of the translation I had, or heard when I spoke pieces aloud, they overwhelmingly agreed with me: Hollingdale is simply more clear, more beautiful, more powerful (less academic, shall we say, which is pure Nietzsche). Ok, over and out, enjoy.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


183 of 198 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Review for the non-philosopher, November 4, 2000
By 
Andy Gill (Dorset, England) - See all my reviews
There seem to be plenty of reviews debating the philosophical principles of Nietszche and the statements he makes, so, for the non-philosophy students present (i.e. ME) I'll rate it for the layman.
`TSZ' is very longwinded, and as the introduction states, filled with `excess', but that does not make it a bad book. Every sentence is imbued with its own iconic poetry, and, philosophy aside, the metaphors and similes alone make this book worth reading. It is clear that Nietszche, or perhaps his translator, had a mind better suited to creative expression than most philosophers, or indeed today's authors, and it is in this that lies the book's real strength. Through its use of imagery it not only makes an interesting, inspirational, conjectural read (apart from a few really boring parts that seemed written only to slow down the pace), it makes its message easy to understand and backs it up with surrealistic examples. Whereas sometimes in philosophy, the use of allegory can confuse the issue (More's `Utopia' - mockery of idealism, framework for perfect society, or rambling tale?), in `Zarathustra' the reader, no matter whether they are new to the field or not, cannot fail to discern the message that Man is not a goal but a bridge, a rope over an abyss. As philosophy, and as literature, it succeeds in conveying its point, setting up a platform for discussion or merely to digest individually. Admittedly, some refuse to read Nietszche because of his view of women (`shallow waters'), and because of how his ideas for the Superman allegedly inspired Hitler's Aryan vision for the world, but such people deprive themselves of an interesting viewpoint that defines the meaning of life in human rather than spiritual terms.
One potential problem for the newcomer to philosophy is the storyline. For a man remembered for the statement `God is dead', Nietszche obviously drew inspiration from the Bible, for Zarathustra is strongly reminiscent of Jesus, recruiting disciples and disappearing into the wilderness with a frequency that Bigfoot would be proud of. The problem with an allegorical tale is the reader's propensity for bringing western narrative expectations to it - `Zarathustra' is a text-book, not a story, but sometimes you do find yourself waiting for the climax, the big show-down, the cinematic denouement. So long as you remember that it is philosophy, not a novel, and so long as you appreciate each segment as an expressive point and not part of a conventional plot, there should be no troubles. I'll leave you with a sample of Nietzsche's verbal wizardry:
`It is the stillest words which bring the storm. Thoughts that come on doves' feet guide the world.'
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


117 of 138 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most important books of the last century, October 26, 1999
By A Customer
Friedrich Nietzsche was a "failure" in his time. He was branded a nihilist and heretic and his works dismissed as the ramblings of a mad man. After the Great War many philosophers such as Heidegger resurected the works of Nietzsche and Kierkegaard (to name a few) and studied them with greater admiration. We should be thankful that the works of such an imaginative genius such as Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche was called into the spotlight. Nietzsche constructed one of the most original and radical philosophies in all its history, as challenging to everyday life as Karl Marx. His ideas still send shockwaves through the Christian community because so much of what he says is blatantly obvious and true. Most people dismiss Nietzsche's slogan that "God is dead", but in this work Nietzsche truly refines this statement and incorporates brilliant ideas about living for the Earth, striving to become Der Ubermensch and the path to release from Christianities chains. The main theme of this book is that which Nietzshce will probably be best remembered for, but for all the wrong reasons. Nietzsche's vision of the "Superman" (der Ubermensch) was an idea that his sister, in co-operation with Hitler, twisted to begin the Nazi experiments for the Superrace. The Superman is at the centre of this book and Nietzsche gives a perfect description of his vision and furthermore what it will incorporate and help to abolish. It soon becomes clear that Nietzsche's Superman is far different from Hitler's, furthermore because it is not as brutal and inhumane and lastly because it centres around completely different principals: HItler wanted a physical Superman, but Nietzsche's Superman would be MENTALLY strong rather than purely physically. THe language in this book is amazing. Whether Walter Kauffman's translation has buttered it up or not is beyond my capacity to comment on, but the poetry (not prose) that Nietzsche uses is comparible to the likes of Shakespeare. The ammount of metaphors that Nietzsche draws is immense, and he beautifully illustrates all his main points without a single drawing. This is a brilliant masterpiece, whether you agree with every point that Nietzsche makes (and few do) you will still be able to appreciate the beautiful poetry. And still, how ever much you may disagree, this book is thought provoking and seems to shake your entire world upside down. It is far more preferal to Anton Scanzor LaVey "interpretation" of the Nietzschean philosophy in "the Satanic Bible" and is a must-read!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


37 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tale of an Ubermensch, September 30, 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Thus Spake Zarathustra (Dover Thrift Editions) (Paperback)
Nietzsche's Thus Spoke Zarathustra is probably his most famous work as well as being the work least popular among readers. This is probably partially because it is written in fictional form. Zarathustra is well designed to frustrate twentieth century philosophy of the analytic tradition, which seeks conceptual clarity at the expense of rhetorical form, indeed often insisting on the separation between a concept and the vehicle of its expression. Moreover, the utilization of the work by the Nazi war effort did little to improve the books reception in the Anglo-American world.
The book is philosophically interesting, in part because it does employ literary tropes and genres to philosophical effect. Zarathustra makes frequent use of parody, particularly of the Platonic dialogues and the New Testament. This strategy immediately places Zarathustra on a par with Socrates and Christ--and as a clear alternative to them. The erudite allusions to works spanning the Western philosophical and literary traditions also play a philosophical role, for they both reveal Nietzsche's construct of the tradition he inherited and flag points at which he views it as problematic.
Much of the book consists of Zarathustra's speeches on philosophical themes. These often obscure the plotline of the book. The book does involve a plot, however, which includes sections in which Zarathustra is "off-stage," in private reflection, and some in which he seems extremely distressed about the way his teaching and his life are going. Zarathustra attempts to instruct the crowds and the occasional higher man that he encounters in the book; but his most important teaching is his education of the reader, accomplished through demonstrative means. Zarathustra teaches by showing.
Zarathustra stands in he tradition of the German Bildungsroman, in which a character's development toward spiritual maturity is chronicled. Zarathustra can be seen as a paradigm for the modern, spiritually sensitive individual, one who grapples with nihilism, the contemporary crisis in values in the wake of the collapse of the Christian worldview that assigned humanity a clear place in the world.
In the popular imagination, Nietzsche's idea of the Ubermensch is one of his most memorable and significant ideals. However, the concept of the Ubermensch is actually discussed little in the book. The topic is the theme of the first speech in "Zarathustra's Prologue," which he presents to a crowd gathered for a circus. The audience interprets Zarathustra as a circus barker and the speech as an introduction to a performance by a tightrope walker. The concept is mentioned recurrently in Part I as something of a refrain to Zarathustra's speeches. But the word Ubermensch rarely occurs after that.
Additionally, the notion of the Ubermensch is presented in more imagistic than explanatory terms. The Ubermensch, according to Zarathustra, is continually experimental, willing to risk all for the enhancement of humanity. The Ubermensch aspires to greatness, but Zarathustra does not formulate any more specific characterization of what constitutes the enhancement of humanity or greatness. He does, however, contrast the Ubermensch to the last man, the human type whose sole desire is personal comfort and happiness. Such a person is the "last man" quite literally, incapable of the desire that is required to create beyond oneself in any form, including that of having children.
Zarathustra's opening speech, besides proposing the Ubermensch as the ideal for humanity also places emphasis on this world as opposed to any future world. In particular, Zarathustra urges that human beings reassess the value of their own bodies, indeed their embodiment. For too long, dreaming of the afterlife, Western humanity has treated the body as a source of sin and error. Zarathustra, in contrast, insists that the body is the ground of all meaning and knowledge, and that health and strength should be recognized and sought as virtues.
Another prominent theme in Zarathustra is its emphasis on the relative importance of will. In part, this emphasis follows Schopenhauer in claiming that will is more fundamental to human beings than knowledge. However, Nietzsche stresses the will's attempt to enhance its power, whereas he views Schopenhauer as placing greater stress on the will's efforts at self preservation. Nietzsche's famous conception of will to power makes one of its few published appearances in Zarathustra.
Much of the plot of Zarathustra concerns his efforts to formulate his idea of eternal recurrence. At times, the idea possesses him in the form of visions and dreams. At others, he seems reluctant to state it categorically or to accept its implications. During a particularly despairing moment, he shudders at the implication of his doctrine that "the rabble," the petty people who comprise most of the human race, will also recur. The fact that Zarathustra objects to the recurrence of the rabble is indicative of Nietzsche's elitism. Consistently, Nietzsche and Zarathustra contend that human beings are not equal. Nietzsche objects to the democratic movements of his era in favor of more aristocratic forms of social organization that would place control in the hands of the talented, of necessity, not the majority.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


39 of 46 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars outdated translation, January 27, 2003
By 
Eric Crawford (California, USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Thus Spake Zarathustra (Dover Thrift Editions) (Paperback)
This translation is quite old (now public domain) and riddled with substantial errors. Have a look at the Kaufmann translation instead and spend a few extra bucks -- the book will make far more sense if you do! More enjoyable, too...
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Bargain Basement Quality, December 23, 2008
This review is from: Thus Spake Zarathustra (Hardcover)
This book is a cheap knock-off of a classic text. No translator. No editor. No indication that the book is an authoritative resource for serious readers of Nietzsche. Don't be fooled by the price, because you really get what you pay for in this case: a very poor quality book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A chilling forecast of what we have become!, January 25, 2005
By 
Steven Phillips (Ada, OK United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Thus Spake Zarathustra (Dover Thrift Editions) (Paperback)
Nietzsche advocates social change in order for humankind to rise above its present deplorable condition. He says that God is dead and is no longer a model for moral leadership. He counsels us that redirecting our focus from the unknowable to the knowable will guide us towards the journey to humankind's next incarnation - the Superman. In order to begin this evolutionary journey we will first have to experience a great revulsion at the current human condition. In this "hour of great contempt" we will deny all of our previous, favorable conceptions concerning happiness, reason, virtue, justice, sympathy, and sin. Instead, we will embrace over-going, down-going, despisers, earth-worshipers, seekers of practical knowledge, workers, inventors, true virtue, altruists, achievers, and free spirits.

Nietzsche believes that all of the present, negative social trends will culminate in the most contemptible of all beings - the last man - who is no longer capable of despising himself. This last man will live in a condition which he has helped create of fear, false happiness, pleasure-seeking, working as a pastime, over-concern for the feelings of others, egalitarianism, and cleverness without wisdom. Further, once the last man evolves, the social environment that has created him (and he has also, reflexively, created this environment) will be somewhat permanent because it will tend to absorb all differences of opinion, merge them into a consensus, and reflect them back into society through an opinion-shaping filter of egalitarianism voiced in politically correct terms. In a moment of irony, the crowd called-out to the sage, Zarathustra, to "make us into these last men."

It is arguable that the last man is alive and well in contemporary society, and that the intellectual, social, and regional diversities which once generated the rich and vibrant hues of the American canvas are being replaced with a drab, homogeniety of sterile sameness. Nietzsche feels that the ultimate, inevitable revulsion against and overthrow of the kingdom of the last man will give rise to its polar opposite - the spiritually elevating, authentic world of the Superman.

The author has an almost compelling thesis, however, his bipolar construct ranging from the last man to the Superman seems to minimize the fact that objective reality represents only a small group of choices from an infinite pool of alternatives. The world will not long march to the tune of a single drummer, be he the last man or Superman, because of how unchanging human nature is constituted. A first constant of human nature seems to be that we are well aware of our own situation, but only remotely aware of others' concerns. A second constant seems to be that we will, on the average, tend to maximize our chances for immediate personal benefit over chances for potentially greater long-term gain. Therefore, we will, on balance, tend to act in ways which maximize our own short-term self-interest. We probably always have and likely always will. If history is any guide to the future, attempts to reshape the world modelled after the vision of a Superman (or even the last man) will be morphed to unrecognizable dimensions by the unfolding, collective self-interest of individuals in the day-to-day process of following their own, personal stars.

Although I feel that Nietzsche's prescribed alternatives are distortions of reality through oversimplification, misdirection, and projection to a whole from a subset, his work is a highly-influential, excellent read.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pregnant With Ideas, July 30, 2005
By 
This review is from: Thus Spake Zarathustra (Dover Thrift Editions) (Paperback)
This is cleary a work of passion from a philosopher who said "yes" to life. What a wealth of ideas Nietzsche presents, from a man with an excessively intense mind. Philosophical, poetic, psychological, and sociological all juxposized into a amazing free flowing work of fiction from a philosopher and self proclaimed psychologist. Nietzsche had a torn yet brilliant mind, due to his excessive solitude and health problems.

I have read this book three times and I never read a book more then once. One must read this book several times because all the ideas and insights crammed into such a short book. TSZ is Nietzsche at his best.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


73 of 94 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Apply It To Your Life, October 2, 2000
Nietzsche's "Thus Spoke Zarathustra" is often referred to as one of the most influential works of our century, which he wrote in the latter part of the nineteenth century. I've read numerous critiques, analysis, and interpretations from scholars on "Thus Spoke..." Understanding Friedrich, his life, and his constant pains, give some insight into what may have underlined his beliefs. I think to best understand "Thus Spoke..." a person should read it at least twice. I believe a reader can take many of the themes and metaphors and apply them to his or her belief system, or personal philosophy. We all perceive things in different ways, and we can take what we want out of this work. Individuality, and the constant question and resistance to organized institutions is what I like to take from "Thus Spoke Zarathustra" as Zarathustra walks along the mountains, trails, hills, and towns, in his quest to think for himself and tell others of his thoughts. The style is direct and the many exclamation points give Nietzsche's points a "shout!" Nietzsche notes the importance of individuality and the dangers of becoming one of the lemming-like sheep that follow the herd, whether it be nationalism, religious zealotry, or the unquestioning acceptance of basic societal norms. Nietzsche rakes Christianity and organized religion over the coals, with knockout punch after knockout punch. Another theme I take from "Thus Spoke..." is that one person's vice is another's virtue, and we should focus on ourselves and what we believe in, and not spend time attempting to have others accept our ways, and certainly now want them to accept us. We should simply do our "own-thing." One person's goals and values can be, and often are, abhorrent to another person.
There is certainly much more to his works, and any person can go deeper than myself, because I read non-fiction primarily. If a person reads this when they are in their late teens or early twenties, perhaps it can help them reinforce who they are. Anyone can benefit from "Thus Spoke Zarathustra" if they allow themselves the opportunity.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Kindle version needs some work, October 1, 2010
There's nothing I can really add to the number of reviews for Thus Spake Zarathustra. It's an amazing book and I probably need to read it again to digest it properly. However, the Kindle free version is strangely formatted. It has a weird left alignment, offsetting the text, along with two blank lines in between each paragraph. I know, I shouldn't complain about the quality of a free book, but it bothered me. Still, don't let it put you off downloading this book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 213 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

Thus Spake Zarathustra (Dover Thrift Editions)
Thus Spake Zarathustra (Dover Thrift Editions) by Friedrich Nietzsche (Paperback - January 5, 1999)
$5.00 $4.50
In Stock
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Search these reviews only
Rate and Discover Movies
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.