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Beyond Good and Evil (Penguin Classics) Paperback – April 29, 2003
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Original Language: German --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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First, if you're going to buy BG&E, go ahead & get the Modern Library "Basic Writings" in paperback---not a volume of snippets, but the complete text of N.'s two best books, BG&E and On the Genealogy of Morals, & some other works, for scarcely more than BG&E alone. If you don't like one book, try the other. N. says the same thing from different angles in his last 4 or 5 books. Anything after Zarathustra, except for Ecce Homo, is a good place to start.
Second, despite reading a translation, don't forget that N. is a clever, funny, & devilishly smart writer. Freud said no one before N. ever had as much self-knowledge. Read him with a sense of ironic humor. Too often N. is treated as some heavy thundering German, when if there's one thing that drove him up the wall, it was heavy thundering Germans.
Third, forgive his attitude problems about women. N.'s dad died when he was a kid; his mom & aunts raised him, got on his last nerve, & gave him a bad attitude towards women. Which, regrettably, was not exactly uncommon in the 19th c. BG&E includes his acknowledgement that his misogyny is a bedrock level of stupidity that he can't escape.
Fourth, if you're a Christian, there's a lot of N. that won't be acceptable to you. But learn what you can. A lot of so-called "Christianity" strongly resembles the "slave morality" that he describes.
This is an amazing book that I haven't even tried to describe, the book that made philosophy come alive for me with N.'s comment that, when wondering where the hell some metaphysician's notions came from, one should ask what morality the notions are aiming at. The book is full of great insights from a brilliant man. Read this, then the Genealogy, then Twilight of the Idols.
In your approach, take everybody's advice with a grain of salt. He's a very personal writer, who deserves a very personal read. You can start anywhere you want, but Nietzsche is like a christmas tree that you can just keep reaching under and pull out more presents that have your name on the tag, so don't ever walk away feeling like you've earned the I've-read-Nietzsche badge. His more literary stuff is in The Gay Science and in Thus Spoke Zarathustra. This one, Beyond Good and Evil, is incredibly good and should be read. My personal favorite is Ecce Homo because it's so odd and outrageous.Read more ›
All of the classic Nietzsche themes are present here; most notably and consummately the Will To Power. Chapter 4 consists of 122 razor-edged aphorisms, each only one or two sentences in length, which slice through the skin of human ulterior motive and the flesh of psychology, right down to the bones of mankind. Other chapters deal with the prejudices of philosophers, history of morals, people and nations, religion and "free-spirits" with the same healthy scepticism.
Nietzsche never entangles the reader in nets of abstract philosophical systems or lengthy and boring dissertation as most philosophers are compelled to do. "Beyond Good And Evil" is always to the point and the density of the language is far outweighed by the prolific content and profundity of thought. What at first glance may seem to be lead is revealed as pure gold with a scratch to the surface. For the uninitiated reader, all it takes is a little patience, (and perhaps, occasionally, a dictionary!) to unlock the books undeniable value for those "philosophers of the future" to whom "Beyond Good And Evil" is dedicated.
Nietzsche went on to outline his philosophy further in other truly great books, but "Beyond Good And Evil" represents a pinnacle in his work and is the best introduction to his philosophy. Nietzsche challenges his readers; he does not command but bids us to take a look through different eyes, and then to view ourselves, our wise men, and the world. And, above all, enquire.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Niezsche's philosophy is brilliant, but the format of this book need to be improved.Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
This was a reread for me. I couldn't find my old edition so I ordered this new one. An interesting look from a nihilists point of view.Published 5 months ago by Harold King
it took awhile for me to finally finish this book just because it is a very slow read. a lot of information to take in.Published 7 months ago by Kristina Roberts
I used this book for an intro to philosophy course, but the readings were so good that I had to hold onto it for my own personal library.Published 8 months ago by JD