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The Untimely Meditations (Thoughts Out of Season Parts I and II) Paperback – January 1, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: German --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Book Description

The four early essays in Untimely Meditations are key documents for understanding the development of Nietzsche's thought and clearly anticipate many of his later writings. They deal with such broad topics as the relationship between popular and genuine culture, strategies for cultural reform, the task of philosophy, t he nature of education, and the relationship between art, science and life. This new edition presents R. J. Hollingdale's translation of the essays and a new introduction by Daniel Breazeale, who places them in their historical context and discusses their significance for Nietzsche's philosophy. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 174 pages
  • Publisher: Digireads.com (January 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1420934554
  • ISBN-13: 978-1420934557
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #739,846 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By A Customer on September 21, 2000
Format: Paperback
Nietzsche wrote "David Strauss, the Confessor and the Writer" in 1873, the first of his Unfashionable Observations, at the behest of Richard Wagner. David Strauss was an eminent theologian, whose The Life of Jesus Critically Examined (1864) had had a tremendous impact due to its demystification of Jesus' life. Strauss had contended that the supernatural claims made about the historical Jesus could be explained in terms of the particular needs of his community. Although Strauss defends Christianity for it's moral ideals, his demythologizing of Jesus appealed to Nietzsche.
Nevertheless, Wagner had been publicly denounced by Strauss in 1865 for having persuaded Ludwig II to fire a musician rival. Not one to forget an assault, Wagner encouraged Nietzsche to read Strauss' recent The Old and the New Faith (1872), which advocated the rejection of the Christian faith in favor of a Darwinian, materialistic and patriotic worldview. Wagner described the book to Nietzsche as extremely superficial, and Nietzsche agreed with Wagner's opinion, despite the similarity of his own views to Strauss' perspective on religion.
This Unfashionable Observation, accordingly, was Nietzsche's attempt to avenge Wagner by attacking Strauss' recent book. In fact, the essay is at least as much an argumentative attack on Strauss as on his book, for Nietzsche identifies Strauss as a cultural "Philistine" and exemplar of pseudoculture. The resulting essay appears extremely intemperate, although erudite, filled with references to many of Nietzsche's scholarly contemporaries. The climax is a literary tour de force, in which Nietzsche cites a litany of malapropisms from Strauss, interspersed with his own barbed comments.
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Format: Paperback
Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (1844-1900) was a German philosopher, cultural critic, and poet. This volume actually contains four of Nietzsche’s smaller books: on David Strauss (1873); “On the Uses and Disadvantages of History for Life” (1874); on Schopenhauer (1874); and on Richard Wagner (1876).

He suggests, “there is a degree of sleeplessness, of rumination, of the historical sense, which is harmful and ultimately fatal to the living thing, whether this living thing be a man or a people or a culture… the unhistorical and the historical are necessary in equal measure for the health of an individual, or a people and of a culture.” (Pg. 62-63)

He states, “If you are to venture to interpret the past you can do so only out of the fullest exertion of the vigor of the present… history is written by the experienced… He who has not experienced greater and more exalted things than others will not know how to interpret the great and exalted things of the past…” (Pg. 94)

He states, “The only critique of a philosophy that is possible … trying to see whether one can live in accordance with it, has never been taught at universities: all that has ever been taught is a critique of words by means of other words… what a mockery of education in philosophy!” (Pg. 187)

Not one of Nietzsche’s “major works,” this book will nevertheless be of keen interest to those interested in his philosophy.
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In these high-brow comments on `The Old Faith and the New' by David Strauss, Richard Wagner, Arthur Schopenhauer and `The Use and Abuse of History', one can see already in the bud some of the main (sometimes unacceptable) ideas on art, science, Darwin, Hegel, religion or history which Nietzsche developed in his later works.

Wagner, art
In his lyrical comments on Richard Wagner and his music (`a high level of sacred feeling that our mind unconsciously wanders to the glistening ice-and-snow-peaks of the Alps'), Nietzsche overestimates grossly the influence of art on society: `it is quite impossible to reinstate the art of drama in its purest and highest form without effecting changes everywhere in the customs of people, in the State, in education and in social intercourse.'

Anti-science, history
Nietzsche stigmatizes unacceptably scientists as a slave caste. For him, people should never ask: Wherefore? Whither? or Whence?
He is shocked by the demand for history to be a science, because `to be scientifically studied, is to be destroyed.' `History is necessary above all to the man of action and power who fights a great fight and needs examples and comforters.'

Schopenhauer, Darwin, Hegel, religion
For Schopenhauer, his comments are limited to such banalities as `Schopenhauer knew that one must guess the painter in order to understand the picture.' Or, `Schopenhauer's man voluntarily takes upon himself the pain of telling the truth.' There is absolutely nothing about Schopenhauer's philosophy.
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The timeliness of these essays belies the political radicalism they express. Taken with his later works, especially

Beyond Good and Evil and the Genealogy of Morals, one catches the man with his ideological 'pants-down'.

--These essays contain in clearest definition, his project of revaluation, and there is no better 'clarification' of

what George Brandes named "aristocratic radicalism" than as it appears here, standing against the currents

of the timely and 'all-too-human' with a vision of what is to come: in all its danger, banality and glory. This is

the aurora before the great battle for Noontide, a Ragnarok for mediocrity and everything socialist.
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