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The Gay Science: With a Prelude in Rhymes and an Appendix of Songs Mass Market Paperback – January 12, 1974
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-- Walter Kaufmann in the Introduction
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EDITED IN OCTOBER 2015: As of THIS date, you can get a Kindle version of the Kaufmann translation for 11.99. A bit pricey for a Kindle reissue, but still worth it (and it may come down sometimes). If you are not seeing that version on the page where you read this review, do another search in the Kindle department, just searching for "Kaufmann," nothing else, and you should find it; you may have to go through a few pages. Price and accessibility may change in the future, of course.
In The Gay Science, the infamous statement "God is dead" appears for the first time. The most important mention of this belief comes in the section called "The Madman." The madman in this section appears in the marketplace and makes the announcement "God is dead" to the scientific atheists who have gathered there. After the atheists merely laugh at him, the madman realizes that he has come too early, and he goes around to different towns singing funeral hymns during masses.
This parable suggests the inappropriateness of the popular characterization of Nietzsche as the hardened atheist who delights in nothing more than debunking other people's beliefs. Nevertheless, the perspective that Nietzsche proposes throughout The Gay Science is naturalistic and aesthetic, in opposition to traditional religious views. Indeed, many of the work's sections might be considered practical advice for the spiritually sensitive atheist who is concerned lest he or she return to old religious habits out of desperation.Read more ›
I must say that of the 4 other Nietzschian works I have read (BG&E, Geneology of Morals, BOT, and Antichrist) this is the best, most complete, and most enjoyable so far. This book showcases Nietzsche for what is probably his most noticable strength: his ability as a psychologist and sociologist. He seems to have a good understanding of the types of innate moves people possess and utilize in their respective environments. Probably his understanding of exatcly what that environment is, namely, his sense of objective reality, is what allows him to comment so precisely on human nature. True, he's an indefensibly offensive misogynist and war monger, and that notwhithstanding, many of his observations are still germane in this day and age, which suggests an accute sense of psychology and anthropology on his part; although naturally a bit dated. Of course, I believe that in modern America we tend to discount the utter sagacity of 19th century Europeans in their pragmatism. Perhaps Nietzsche just seems sagacious compared to the discourse of present day America. His comments on hegemony, or how the ruling class manipulates the masses into cooperation are great. Nietzsche's love of science and his comments on the silliness of self-proclaimed objective types is excellent too.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
OK. This book is weird. It more like a collection of Nietzsche's random thoughts and poems. But if you slog through it, you will be rewarded at the end. Read morePublished 26 days ago by Amazon Customer
I did like this book but i didn't really find that he was presenting arguments , it was more a compilation of personal thoughts. I found the reading pretty easy. Read morePublished 1 month ago by matthew am
I haven't read through this translation, yet. But I liked the introduction. Quite agree that Nietzsche in his own words is far more lucid that any treatment he gets from... Read morePublished 11 months ago by Kermit
Nietzsche is a great writer and this book exemplifies this fact. It is poetic and riddled with symbology that enables the reader to travel down a psycho-analylitic examination of... Read morePublished 13 months ago by Jonathan Rasmusson
Kaufmann's translation is the best I have found so far. He does a great justice to Niestzsche's poetry and style. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Mili