- Series: Cambridge Texts in the History of Philosophy
- Paperback: 430 pages
- Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 2 edition (November 13, 1996)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0521567041
- ISBN-13: 978-0521567046
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 94 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #349,242 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Nietzsche: Human, All Too Human: A Book for Free Spirits (Cambridge Texts in the History of Philosophy) 2nd Edition
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Subtitled "A Book for Free Spirits", this text marked a new "positivism" and scepticism for Nietzsche with which he challenged his previous metaphysical and psychological assumptions. It remains one of the fundamental works for an understanding of his thought.
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First, there is an old translation for the same book, by Hellen Zimmerman published in 1909. Zimmern’s translation is in public domain and can be freely downloaded from hkshp.org. Zimmern’s translation is surely old but it is a decent translation. She took the original texts and then translated them into simple and clear English, even if certain terminologies are out of date. On the other hand, Hollingdale’s style is quiet different as he did not change much the order of original text. This means that sometimes it is more difficult to understand his translations than directly to read from the original German texts. I strongly believe that Hollingdale adopted or used Zimmern’s book as a reference, which could be easy verified from comparing both books. There is not mentioning or crediting given to Zimmer’s book at all in Hollingdale’s book.
Second, this book and Zimmern’s both have the same mistakes and some of them are great enough to totally change what Nietzsche wanted to express. The reason I write this piece is just remind the reader to be cautious in reading this book and to avoid being misled by it. Below are three examples which can back up my comments :
In page 7 line 18
Original text : In sich ein Sieg verrat - ein Sieg?
Zimmern : Which betrays a victory, a Victory?
Hollingdale: Which betrays that a victory has been won , a victory?
Problem : verraten does mean “betray “ in English ,but sich verraten means “reveal”. Nietzsche mean a victory is revealed, not that a victory has been betrayed. Zimmerns made a mistake 115 years ago, then Hollingdale made the same mistakes 80 years after.
2. In page 8 line 5.
Original text: Tauwinde all Art gehen über ihn weg.
Zimmerm: Mild breeze of all kind pass over him.
Hollingdale.: Warm breeze of all kind blow across him.
Problem : Tau is a kind of rope, while Winde is a pural form of “Wind” which when translated to English means winch or reel. Tauwinde has nothing to do with wind at all. Nietzsche was using a metaphor to mean what has confined him is now gone. He was not mentioning someone that was enjoying a warm breeze. Again, Hollingdale made SAME mistake as Zimmern 80 years before him.
3. In page 19. Article 16.
Original text: Die Philosphen pflegen sich vor Das Leben und die Erfahrung-
Zimmern: Translated”pflegen” as tend to (tendency).
Hollingdale: Treated “pflegen” as “to be accustomed to”, which follows Zimmerm’s translation of “ to tend to”.
Problem: Pflegen means TO TAKE CARE OF or to tend (but not containing the meaning of intend to) in English. There is no semantic similarities between the German word Pflegen or the phrase “TO BE ACCUSTOMED TO” as Hollingdale interpreted. So therefore what he elaborated in the whole translation in the article 16 becomes totally dubious and very misleading.
As philosophy, this is an early work, and some of the observations and conclusions are glib and shallow, but it's fun to plow thru it and figure out how Nietzsche's brane worked at an early age.
I recommend this book if you're ornery enough to tackle it and figure it out.
First, kudos to Cambridge University Press for its the Texts in the History of Philosophy series with its objective of increasing access to important but lesser known philosophical works. This series promises to be an excellent resource for students of philosophy. This edition of Human all too Human is a helpful and accessible compilation of some of Nietzsche's lesser known writings. While translation is always a challenging and often a contentious issue, Hollingdale appears to have achieved an appropriate mix of readability and literalness - he is effective in maintaining the poetic feel of Nietzsche's prose. One minor criticism of this edition is the small font, while probably necessary to keep the text to a single volume; it can make reading less comfortable.
With regard to the work itself, Human all too Human is often seen by scholars as a transitional work in Nietzsche thought. And, has tended to be overlooked in English for reasons of accessibility (limited translations) and perception (not seen to add to his latter corpus). For example, Walter Kaufman the great post WWII popularizer of Nietzsche did not choose to translate these texts.
While clearly the themes evidenced in Human all too Human are further developed in Nietzsche's later work, I believe the text has its own inherent value. Though somewhat more nuanced and less polemical than his more mature work, it provides wonderful insight into his views on a plethora of subjects, religion, art, epistemology, psychology, sociology and culture. It is also a treasure trove of ideas that are further developed by subsequent thinkers such Freud, Jung and Heidegger etc. Overall, it is a brilliant, insightful and wide-ranging text - highly recommended for all students of modern philosophy.