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Thus Spoke Zarathustra: A Book for All and None (Modern Library) Hardcover – September 19, 1995


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Thus Spoke Zarathustra: A Book for All and None (Modern Library) + Basic Writings of Nietzsche (Modern Library)
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Product Details

  • Series: Modern Library
  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Modern Library (September 19, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679601759
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679601753
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 1 x 5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #186,456 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: German

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Customer Reviews

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I've noticed that numerous readers recommend reading the book a second time.
Jason Bagley
Before an extensive, in-depth review about this work, I give here a short synopsis of the German genius philosopher's most important work.
alaskadoggie
Think hard about this being a "book for all and none," think very hard.
"monkey-in-disguise"

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

66 of 68 people found the following review helpful By Jason Bagley on February 8, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
To start off with, the Walter Kaufmann translation is by now well known to be probably the authoritative edition of Zarathustra (although the excerpts I've read from the Del Caro Cambridge Texts edition seems to be perhaps a more beautiful style). One of the reasons I originally picked up this edition was because the only translations available over the web were the droning and pedantic Thomas Common versions which are not only dull but muddled. Walter Kaufmann's translation gives a degree of clarity that far surpasses the Common translation, cannot speak to all the differences (however large or small) between it and the Del Caro version.

The book isn't particularly long, but Nietzsche fills it with metaphors and parables in addition to simple narrative and merriment. This is one of the challenges of the book: you're forced to figure out what is meaningful from what isn't and on top of that what each metaphor means. Nietzsche has never been in the habit of going into intricate detail or clarifying what he's saying to the same degree as some other thinkers, and although the book is a stylistic masterpiece (with narrative deliberately done in a biblical style and herein lies one of the advantages over the Common translation, namely that Common translated everything to mimic the King James version with an overabundance of "thees" "thous" and "ests") the philosophy is at times difficult to comprehend. Again, it's not difficult in the sense that the Critique of Pure Reason is difficult, or at least not nearly to the same degree, it is difficult because it is at times cryptic.

Additionally, I've seen a lot of reviews suggesting reading Nietzsche just for the pithy phrases or the beauty of the work.
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29 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Kleevis Siveelk on October 10, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This is one of those books filled with those ideas that you've thought all your life but few have the courage to admit, even to themselves.

Nietzsche takes a brutally honest look at human nature including the uglier things. He rightly shows no mercy towards clergy and the morality of self negation and pity. All is done in a beautiful, poetic style.

The moral of the story is to be above the masses, to go above your limits and to enjoy yourself while doing it. Its a positive philosophy that if implemented can make someone that rare person who rises above the herd and makes their short time on this earth worth it.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By "monkey-in-disguise" on October 18, 2003
Format: Hardcover
The only other western philosophical text as importnat as this book is Plato's "Republic." We have once again arrived at the cross-roads of Heraclitus v/s Paramendides. I wouldn't recommended jumping into it without a good knowledge of the Western philosophical traditon and religious traditions. (Zarathutra himself calls learning ALL this backround information "the spirit of the camel" or first taking on the burden of knowledge before going about anything else. To not take on this "burden of knowledge" is the main flaw of most Nietzsche critics and mis-understanders.) Also, Nietzsche was an anti-systemic philosopher so it demands to be viewed/critiqued in a different way than traditional philosophy. To begin to grasp Nietzsche's "Zarathustra" I would to recommend first reading his earlier works starting with a couple of short essays. The first one is "Truth and Lie in a Non-Moral Sense" which is about human language, logic and the all-too-human need for these "lies." The other essay is "Homer's Contest" which reveals his legacy as starting from the early Greek tradition.
Some important things to know about this book to avoid the common misinterpretation that Nietzsche is just a Atheist/Nihilist with a superiority complex:
-pay very close attention to his critque of mind/body dualsism and what he proposes otherwise.
-The "Overman" is a conception that only looks toward the future. Later in the book Zarathustra supercedes the "Overman" idea with the cyclical concept of "Eternal Recourence." Even Zarathustra himself has a hard time confronting this view of life and existence. Also, don't make the mistake that eternal reccourence is just a "telos," it is not.
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30 of 36 people found the following review helpful By isala on December 18, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This book does not have any easy answers. It is not the purpose of the book. The purpose of the book is to make the reader think for themselves. I find the book a comforting read - it gives hope and meaning to everyone that is dissatisfied with the answers given by organized religion, political parties, or just the usual howling mobs of sheep that think that just because they are members of a group they are wolves.

Nietzsche probably understood suffering and loss better than most, but he also understood hope better than most. True spiritual strength does not come from religious dogma or membership of a group. It comes from within, we all have it. For Nietzsche the only eternal truth is that we should always work for our betterment. We need no God or Leader to tell us what to do. In the end Nietzsche wants us to reject even him - he cannot tell us what we should do!

It can be said that horrible crimes have been committed in Nietzsche's name, but can we ignore that even more horrible crimes have been committed in God's or Allah's name? Or in the guise of "the common good" so favoured by our politicians?
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