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“Nietzsche wrote that he sought to find a way into the ancient world, and added, "I have perhaps found a new way." In this book, Ahern (Univ. of New Brunswick, Fredericton) follows Nietzsche's thread. He argues that the key to Nietzsche's aesthetics is his understanding of "Dionysian pessimism," which inspires tragic wisdom. He also points out that Nietzsche's philosophy is hard to grasp in rational categories because it is itself an expression of the same tragic wisdom that he describes in The Birth of Tragedy and elsewhere. . . . This is a scholarly work, written in a thoughtful, intelligent way. As part of the "Literature and Philosophy" series, it considers both literary and philosophical perspectives on Nietzsche. The author provides insight into "tragic wisdom" and explores its ramifications.”
—R. White, Choice
“The Smile of Tragedy is a valuable addition to the literature on Nietzsche. The book is clearly argued and well written, with an abundance of references to the primary sources seamlessly integrated into the text. Particularly impressive is the concise and sustained development of the exposition, the arc of which unfolds without loss of shape or focus.”
—Malcolm Bull, University of Oxford
Daniel R. Ahern is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of New Brunswick, Fredericton. He is the author of Nietzsche as Cultural Physician (Penn State, 1995).