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Thus Spoke Zarathustra: A Book for Everyone and Nobody (Oxford World's Classics) Paperback – January 15, 2009

4.9 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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About the Author

Nietzsche has been proclaimed the seminal figure of modern philosophy as well as one of the most creative and critically influential geniuses in the history of secular thought.

Graham Parkes is the author of Composing the Soul: Reaches of Nietzsche's Psychology (Chicago, 1994), and the editor of Nietzsche and Asian Thought (Chicago, 1991). He is joint editor, with Steve Odin, of The Blackwell Source Book iin Japanese Philosophy (2005).
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Product Details

  • Series: Oxford World's Classics
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (January 15, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199537097
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199537099
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 0.7 x 5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #80,094 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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This is a good, straightforward and fairly literal translation, with helpful notes -- not too many, but useful. I much prefer it to the work of Walter Kaufmann which has for a long time been standard fare for university reading. Walter was better than the Nazified edition with the author's sister to speak for him. But there is a great deal of self-important nonsense by Mr. Kaufmann in his edition. Here we have a fine translation that may well become the new university standard, at least it is for me.
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I believe Nietzsche saw his "Zarathurstra" as his magnum opus, the artistic-expressive summary of his beliefs.

It is a wonderful book, and anyone who has read his other works will find that "Zarathustra" really does synthesize and summarize those other works.

The challenge with "Zarathustra" and Nietzsche's other works, is the depth and breadth of his experience and scholarship. The more I read his works, the more I realize I miss...and to some degree must miss! I have a limited background in Classical studies, but not to the extent Nietzsche did. As another for-instance - I do not speak or read French or Italian, and so I can only analytically understand Nietzsche's statements about the cadences of those languages, and their connection to their local habitats, and the way they both reflect and influence their speakers' demeanors. Oh well! Something to shoot for, for me, I guess, to learn Spanish and French....and, German?!

This is a very good translation with good end-notes. There are some references I think the translator missed, but that's ok.
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Format: Paperback
“Hold your highest hopes holy,” says Nietzsche in one breath, and “God is dead” in another. For Nietzsche the creator God is forever gone. But the God that represents man’s highest hopes and aspirations remains very much alive.

What Nietzsche’s Zarathustra fears most is that creator-man will die along with his creator-God, leaving nothing but “the last man” who has transformed himself into a mere component of an orderly industrial machine. The last man “makes all things small,” including himself. He no longer aspires to create something great, but only to play his tiny part in the machine. The last man enjoys his entertainment, but he wants to make sure it too remains small and superficial. “He's careful that his entertainment never takes hold of him.”

When duty makes man small, as it does in an industrial society that asks him to become a gear in a vast machine, man must cast a “holy no” in the face of duty. Creating freedom is the first step of all creativity. In the past man put “thou shalt” in his holiest place. “Now he must find frenzy and willfulness in his holiest place.” Creativity demands saying no to the duty that makes man small, and then “a new beginning, a first movement, a holy yes-saying.”

“If you can’t be the holy men of insight, at least be its warriors, the vehicles and harbingers of its holiness.” Nietzsche envisions a new religion where all the piety and reverence we had once directed to the unknown God is directed to a God of insight. He wants us to retain all the evangelical fervor we have lavished on the gospel, but now directed toward a new gospel of creative searching.

What is most praiseworthy is what is most difficult. The next step on the path to greatness is the one that leads uphill. You will invariably seem eccentric.
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Format: Paperback
One of the more interesting things about Nietzche is that, as a philosopher, his ideas were always changing - yet popular culture remembers him chiefly as a nihilist. It is in Thus Spoke Zarathustra that he proposes an answer to questions of meaninglessness and devaluation; The Superman. He also touches on eternal recurrence, but only briefly, and only as a means to further justify the Superman. I liked the loose-narrative format of the book - much easier to digest than a pure dissertation, and Nietzsche seems an apt writer of prose. The book itself is a bit on the lengthy side, and feels lengthier still do to excessive reiteration - Nietzche often repeats the same ideas, or explores them multiple times, in different ways. although the work is imbued with eloquence and poetry throughout, it appears that much has been lost in translation. I read the Penguin Classics edition, translated by R.J. Hollingdale, and although the author/translator has written about fifty or so notes on the translation, clever puns and word-plays remain untranslatable - the nuances in language make reading a German copy desirable...if you speak German.
This is definitely not a one-or two sitting book, and warrants a thorough read and proper digestion. Many of the passages require that you read and re-read them to fully comprehend what Zarathustra is saying - much is clear but much is spoken in parable and metaphor. This is all precisely what the author intended...
I can recommend this book over Beyond Good and Evil, especially as an introduction to Nietzche, as Beyond Good and Evil is probably too self-referencing for the casual reader, but if you can read both, they are good companion-pieces. If you have the time to commit to it, Nietzche's masterpiece is a great read and a call to arms for those willing to command their ultimate will and become Supermen.

- Nietzche at his most optimistic -
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