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Nietzsche: Untimely Meditations (Cambridge Texts in the History of Philosophy) 2nd Edition

5.0 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0521585842
ISBN-10: 0521585848
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Editorial Reviews

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.

Language Notes

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

  • Paperback: 322 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 2 edition (November 13, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521585848
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521585842
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #199,096 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
To enter into the spirit of the book, you will have to take it up at the start of the day, not as a form of evening relaxation. And you must be prepared to be called to an entirely new way of life, profoundly different from the one you now lead. Nietzsche offers some of the most persuasive and exquisitely beautiful rhetoric ever crafted to compel minds to forsake pedestrian lives consecrated to sensual pleasure and devote themselves wholeheartedly to the pursuit of intellectual excellence.

“In his heart every man knows quite well that, being unique, he will be in the world only once and that no imaginable chance will for a second time gather together into a unity so strangely variegated an assortment as he is: he knows it but he hides it like a bad conscience—why? From fear of his neighbor, who demands conventionality and cloaks himself with it.”

One of most tragic aspects of life is that so many very intelligent men and women fail to develop into truly great intellects, and instead squander their intellectual energy on the concerns of the flesh. The herd of intellect-deniers, even when they don’t point guns at us and try to compel us to abandon our plans to bring our intellectual capacities to fruition, offer vast sums of money to tempt us away from intellectual flourishing into a path useful to the herd. For all but one in thousands, this is enough.

“There exists no more repulsive and desolate creature in the world than the man who has evaded his genius and who now looks furtively to left and right, behind him and all about him. ... He is wholly exterior, without kernel, a tattered, painted bag of clothes.”

Nietzsche has nothing but contempt for America and its mammon worshipping ways.
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These four "Meditations" deal with, as has been noted in other reviews, a very diverse number of topics. Primarily, however (and apart from the scattered passages of philosophical interest), they are criticisms, or more accurately explanations, of culture. Although they deal with issues such as sholarship, literature, science, art, and of course philosophy, the recurring theme in all four is culture. What it is, what kind of culture is desirable, how culture comes about, etc. These discussions are found in each of the Meditations, some more fragmentary than in others.

These are some of Nietzsche's early writings and they reflect that fact. They are similar to "The Birth of Tragedy" to certain degrees in style and in content. They are not fully or even primarily philosophical works. Nietzsche is here still under the influence of Richard Wagner and Arthur Schopenhauer and although it can be seen that he is breaking away from those influences (for instance, the Meditation on Schopenhauer does not focus on Schopenhauer's actual philosophy as a source of education for Nietzsche so much as Schopenhauer the man, and the Meditation on Richard Wagner is not as strong and unified as the other Meditations are and it does not present a wholly flattering picture of Wagner, dwelling as it does on his psychology - it's tenor is not always one entirely of approval) he has not really begun his philosophizing yet.

The other way they show how early on in Nietzsche's career they are is in the writing itself. While "The Birth of Tragedy" had technical issues even ignoring the philological and philosophical concerns (as amazing a work in aesthetics and culture as it was), these four works do as well.
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Format: Paperback
I consider Nietzsche to be the most honest, profound and relevant thinker available to those who are lost and nauseated in a godless, overly- democratised world. This is not to say that Nietzsche is without faults, and serious ones at that. Nevertheless, at his best he combines an honesty, seriousness and profoundity that are, in my view, unsurpassed.
With this in mind I would recommend to anyone who wishes to undertake a serious study of Nietzsche to begin with the Untimely Meditations, and particularly the essays on "History" and "Schopenhauer". These two works especially illustrate Nietzsche's obsessions, his character and his general orientation.
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