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212 of 218 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Indispensible collection of Nietzsche's Writings
This book is the best collection of Nietzsche's writings. Kaufmann's translation is incomparable; it has energy, wit; its language is a delight. In other translations Nietzsche comes off as much more ponderous.
The Birth of Tragedy is a good place to start for knowledge of the early Nietzsche and is an indispensible book for understanding what came later. The...
Published on November 25, 1999 by booklover

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0 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars ?
I didn't like this book at all. I found the writing ponderous, the writer pompous. I thought it was intellectual twaddle, but I'm glad I finally had a taste of Nietzshe after having listened to people who worship the man for years.
Published 4 months ago by Phyllis Le Chat


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212 of 218 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Indispensible collection of Nietzsche's Writings, November 25, 1999
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This book is the best collection of Nietzsche's writings. Kaufmann's translation is incomparable; it has energy, wit; its language is a delight. In other translations Nietzsche comes off as much more ponderous.
The Birth of Tragedy is a good place to start for knowledge of the early Nietzsche and is an indispensible book for understanding what came later. The Genelogy of Morals is the least aphoristic of Nietzsche's writings and provides an extended treatment of Nietzsche's famous and infamous views on morality, especially Christian morality. Beyond Good and Evil is aphoristic brilliance containing many of Nietzsche's most famous ideas.
The one thing that would make this book perfect is the addition of Kaufmann's translation of the Gay Science.
For those interested in Nietzsche there is no better place to start than this book.
Nietzsche like Plato and unlike most philosophers really knew how to write. His writing is brilliant, original, and his style has no peer. Kaufmann produces English that is without peer in his translation of Nietzsche's works.
Whether you love him or hate him, exposure to Nietzsche can be a life-changing experience.
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151 of 159 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Good Place to Start, July 31, 2001
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This review is from: Basic Writings of Nietzsche (Modern Library Classics) (Paperback)
The first work of Philosophy I slogged through was Nietzsche's Beyond Good and Evil, in a standalone edition translated by Kaufman. I suppose that is as good a place to start as any. The most important thing that this volume highlights is how easily anything Niezsche said can be so easily taken out of context and abused by anyone who so chooses. For example, his "blond beast" is quite literally a lion, and not an Aryan Superman.
Work by work analysis:
The Birth of Tragedy -- Only attempt this as your first Nietzsche book if you already have a good understanding of how Greek Tragedy works. At the very least, you should have read Aeschylus' Prometheus Bound, Sophocles' Theban Plays, some Euripides, Aristophanes' The Clouds, Plato's Apology, and if possible, Aristotle's Poetics. Also, as Kaufman makes clear, the last ten sections, about Wagner, should be taken with a shakerful of salt.
The Aphorisms -- It is very easy to take these gems especially out of context. However tempting it is to browse them for a few good quotes, I strongly urge you against it. They are, however, very helpful when Nietzsche refers to them.
Beyond Good and Evil -- This is as good a place as any to start your exploration of Nietzsche. The problem is, even though it is supposed to be a more straightforward approach at communicating the message found in Zarathustra, this is still written very pithily. The prose is very joyful, poetic, and requires thought. Then again, if you weren't willing to commit some thought to Nietzsche, then it's not worth picking up Nietzsche.
On The Geneology of Morals -- A sequel to BG&E. I don't suggest starting here. The prose is more straightforward than BG&E, he is attemting polemic in essay form. Yet still, it is still a voice in your head, consipring with you, coaxing you toward understanding. Here, the prose style of BG&E becomes apparent.
The Case of Wagner -- This is a good shakerful of thought to take the last ten sections of Birth of Tragedy. In fact, this is a good shakerful of thought to take all of Nietzsche's work. I read this with only the very barest background on Wagner, that is I've heard one Aria from The Ring (Three minutes of Brunhilde), The Flight of the Valkeries (I still see tanks), and I know somewhere, Vahalla burns down. Still, the work makes sense. Stylistically, this work is absolutely amazing. It's very relaxed and informal, again, conversational. Nietzsche doesn't even sound angry, but just wants to clear the air a litte, almost naively.
Ecce Homo -- This would seem like a very pretentious work. It is not. He comes off almost modestly here. This too, clears the air of all that is rotten about what has been said about him. It is as if he had guessed what evil things would be said about him.
Oh yes, and if it seems like I wrote this assuming that you already ordered the work, I have.
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37 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Companion to *The Portable Nietzsche*, August 11, 2005
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This review is from: Basic Writings of Nietzsche (Modern Library Classics) (Paperback)
In any edited text, one needs to be cautious of the editor's biases and potential heavy-handedness (e.g. intentional omissions). In *Basic Writings of Nietzsche,* the editor, Walter Kaufmann, has selected five of Nietzsche's volumes (*The Birth of Tragedy,* *Beyond Good and Evil,* *On the Genealogy of Morals,* *The Case of Wagner,* and *Ecce Homo*) which touch on aspects of Nietzsche's overall trajectory. Also included are selections from *Human, All-Too Human,* *Mixed Opinions and Maxims,* *The Wanderer and His Shadow,* *The Dawn,* and *The Gay Science.*

Kaufmann is not ashamed to refer the reader to his own works on Nietzsche, especially *Nietzsche: Philosopher, Psychologist, Antichrist* and his edited *The Portable Nietzsche*, which contains the full-texts of *Thus Spoke Zarathustra,* *Twilight of the Idols,* *The Anti-Christ,* *Nietzsche Contra Wagner,* and miscellaneous, yet relevant shorter excerpts, essays, and letters.

Together, these two edited collections offer the reader a full-scope introduction to the life, thought, and writings of Friedrich Nietzsche, a genuine master of criticism and insight.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jenseits von Gut und Bose, October 14, 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Basic Writings of Nietzsche (Modern Library Classics) (Paperback)
This is very simply an extraordinary book. Some of Nietzsche's best writings are included in this book, all translated by Walter Kaufmann - Kaufmann being, of course, one of the greatest scholars of German literature (and Nietzsche in particular) of the twentieth century.
The translation seemed very good to me, and I've enjoyed Kaufmann's translations before - particularly his book "Goethe's Faust" is one of the best poetic translations I've ever read.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As a general introduction to Nietzsche's works, March 21, 2002
By 
eric garrett (Evansville, Indiana) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Basic Writings of Nietzsche (Modern Library Classics) (Paperback)
My purpose is to advise new readers of Nietzsche to trust W. Kaufmann's handling of Nietzsche's works. Apart from Hollandale, few good English translations of N's works would exist were it not for W.K.
It is not essential to agree with all of W.K's interpretations of N. in order to refer to the present work as an important introduction and overview. As W.K. will himself advise you, there is no substitute for reading the original works of N., but some definite value can be made from taking W.K's interpretations and applying them as a counterpoint to your own investigations.
Consider your encounter with N. as a process. W.K. is an important part of engaging N's unique mind and extraordinary outputs in the English language.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An essential core of Nietzsche's thought, January 26, 2003
This review is from: Basic Writings of Nietzsche (Modern Library Classics) (Paperback)
An excellent collection of Nietzsche's works. His philosophy marked the major turning point of philosophy, away from inflexible, rational, absolute truth. His ideas are not the most rigorously developed, but he paved the way for far more devastating refutations in the form of Heidegger and Wittgenstein. He could most rightly be said to be to philosophy what Darwin was to science.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Flashes of Genius, October 22, 2006
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This review is from: Basic Writings of Nietzsche (Modern Library Classics) (Paperback)
I picked up this book to get a feel for Nietzsche and have reviewed several commentaries on the other works available on or translated from Nietzsche. For those of you who are not intimately familiar with his work, let me summarize what I've learned:

From a modern point of view, Nietzsche is racist, sexist, anti-religious (including Jews, Christians/Catholics, etc.), and sometimes even anti-German. Given this concise but inflammatory list, you can imagine why very few people get over their critical anger and stop to figure out if there's anything worthwhile left in his work. If you can come to terms with the fact that much of this attitude is a relic of his times (pre WWII Germany) and skim by this material without getting hostile to his body of work as a whole, there is a lot of valuable insight in his works.

To this book specifically, Kaufmann is well regarded as one of the best translators of Nietzsche's work, derived particularly from his fluency in both German and English. As a native German speaker, he understands all the subtle aspects of Nietzsche's artistic writing style. When Kaufmann translates this into English, he remains extremely fluent but is willing to translate the subtexts plainly, to the benefit of readers who might not otherwise understand those subtexts.

To be fair Kaufmann is also criticized (by some) as a mediocre philosopher who showed unrestrained favor to Nietzsche, going so far as to attack Nietzsche's critics both with his reviews and his power in the philosophical community. While this opinion of Kaufmann may or may not be true, this book relies primarily on Kaufmann's translation and not his commentary, making the concern largely moot.

With a fair mind, Nietzsche's writings make a few major philosophical contributions:
-The greatest is certainly his master-slave framework of morality including the philosophical term/concept ressentiment. See wikipedia for an overview.
-Nietzsche offers an interesting commentary on art and decadence which I believe is enlightening though poorly communicated.
-He also makes some characterizations of "the masses," their desires, and their leaders (embodied in priests of the church). Especially when generalized/taken out of its anti-Christian framework, this discussion is an interesting perspective on what "the masses" really want and how their leaders operate. When we replace "the priest" with any modern populist, I found the comments especially relevant even today.
-No doubt there are others, but these have struck me particularly.

In summary, Nietzsche's work contains a number of very powerful ideas, often lost in the soup of controversial and inaccurate comments. If you try to analyze Nietzsche's concepts as complete units, they will come out as dated and consequently of little modern value. If you are willing **and able** to read Nietzsche for his flashes of genius, many of the elements of his work are timeless and should be integrated into your understanding of philosophy and "truth" -- and if you read Nietzsche, you'll realize that this is put in quotes for a very specific reason.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential Nietzsche, December 26, 2002
By 
R. Kastl (Lone Tree, CO, USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Basic Writings of Nietzsche (Modern Library Classics) (Paperback)
If one has studied Nietzsche long, one will often find themselves with individual copies of each of Nietzsche's works. The Basic Writings of Nietzsche becomes indispensible in that it contains many of the essential writings of Nietzsche in a single tome.
As one reviewer stated, it would have been much better had The Gay Science been included, but that means I have to only carry 3 books now (Basic Writings of Nietzsche, Portable Nietzsche, and the Gay Science) instead of the usual 10-15.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great introduction to Nietzsche's writings, December 1, 2008
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This review is from: Basic Writings of Nietzsche (Modern Library Classics) (Paperback)
I have read Nietzsche's other translations and I admit this is by far the best one I have found. People are critical about his aphoristic style but that's what I liked the most about "Beyond good and evil". The book starts with Birth of tragedy. I havent yet finished the book; I have read a few chapters in this book and I can say that
"Beyond good and evil" and "Geneology of morals" are gems. I found "Birth of tragedy" a bit abstract. I have heard about Nietzsche's relationship with Wagner and I am looking forward to start "The case of Wagner".
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Near-Flawless Compendium of Nietzsche's Work, May 22, 2006
By 
Jonathan S. "Jonathan_S" (California, United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Basic Writings of Nietzsche (Modern Library Classics) (Paperback)
Nietzsche is really more than a philosopher. His writings blend concise poetry, historical exploration, powerful philosophy and skeptical analysis. All these elements are linked together into vigorous rants, just focused enough to be academic while free-flowing enough to be enjoyable. In a mere 100 pages, he can change the way you think about the history of man, while squeezing in wit along the way. Nietzsche wasn't a perfect writer; he was sometimes too grandiose, with recurrent tones of mysogyny. But I'd nonetheless recommend Nietzsche to almost anyone, and I'd recommend this book as a starting point.

Of the included works, Beyond Good and Evil and it's companion, On the Genealogy of Morals, are the centerpiece. They contain his basic world view. Ecce Homo is another good inclusion; though it's rather cryptic, it represents his parting words. Decoding some of the symbolism may be difficult (and prone to interpretation), but you'll be rewarded with a cemented viewpoint from all angles on who Nietzsche was- and more importantly, what he wasn't.

The Birth of Tragedy and The Case of Wagner are somewhat peripheral to the philosophy Nietzsche is known for. But since Nietzsche's writings are varied, inclusion of some of his "side-interest" writing helps new readers form a complete picture. This edition of the book is well translated, and the marginal notes throughout make it relatively accessable to those unfamiliar with German philosophy. Also, Peter Gay immediately takes on the inevitable accusations of racism, shedding light on why average people should allow themselves to enjoy Nietzsche books.

All this book is missing, as an essential primer, is "Thus Spake Zarathustra". Zarathustra has some conceptual crossover with Beyond Good and Evil, but it's simply the perfect starting point for his work- certainly far superior to "The Birth of Tragedy" in that respect. Between this book and Zarathustra, you'd have enough Nietzsche to keep you thinking for a very, very long time.
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Basic Writings of Nietzsche (Modern Library Classics)
Basic Writings of Nietzsche (Modern Library Classics) by Friedrich Nietzsche (Paperback - November 28, 2000)
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