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Introductions to Nietzsche
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    2012. Books Received July 2012. Philosophy, Vol. 87, Issue. 03, p. 467.

    Ikuta, Jennie C. 2017. “Nothing is really equal”: On the compatibility of Nietzsche's egalitarian ethics and anti-democratic politics. Constellations, Vol. 24, Issue. 3, p. 339.

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Friedrich Nietzsche (1844–1900) is one of the most important philosophers of the last two hundred years, whose writings, both published and unpublished, have had a formative influence on virtually all aspects of modern culture. This volume offers introductory essays on all of Nietzsche's completed works and also his unpublished notebooks. The essays address such topics as his criticism of morality and Christianity, his doctrines of the will to power and the eternal recurrence, his perspectivism, his theories of tragedy and nihilism and his thoughts on ancient and modern culture. Written by internationally recognized scholars, they provide the interested reader with an up-to-date and authoritative overview of the thought of this fascinating figure.


'… a valuable introduction to key ideas, problems, and works, and will serve as a useful companion to students and scholars using other editions.'

Michael White Source: Year's Work in Modern Language Studies

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  • Chapter 1 - Nietzsche: Writings from the early notebooks
    pp 17-43
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    This chapter considers three topics that preoccupied Friedrich Nietzsche during the years when he was thinking about, and writing, The Birth of Tragedy and, in one way or another, during most of the rest of the 1870s: the philosophy of Arthur Schopenhauer, the music of Richard Wagner, and the importance of ancient Greek art and civilisation for a renaissance of German culture. The chapter discusses a few specific issues relevant both to Nietzsche's notes and to his published works in order to indicate the various ways in which each kind of writing can cast light on the other. The notes are divided into three sub-periods, corresponding, roughly, with his writing The Birth of Tragedy, the Untimely Meditations and Human, All Too Human. Nietzsche's notes of the time reveal his increasing interest in philosophical problems of metaphysics and epistemology as well as in the history of Greek philosophy.
  • Chapter 2 - Nietzsche: The Birth of Tragedy
    pp 44-66
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    The Birth of Tragedy was one of the last and most distinguished contributions to a Central European debate about the ills of modern society. The argument in the Friedrich Nietzsche's text falls into roughly three parts. The first part describes the origin of tragedy in ancient Greece as the outcome of a struggle between two forces, principles, or drives. The second part of Nietzsche's text describes how the balance is upset by the arrival of a new force, principle, or drive, which Nietzsche associated with Socrates. The final part of the text describes the modern state of crisis in which they are being forced to realize the limits of the Socratic culture and the high price they have had to pay for it. As Nietzsche himself points out in the introduction to the second edition, The Birth of Tragedy is a work of Romanticism.
  • Chapter 3 - Nietzsche: Untimely Meditations
    pp 67-90
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    Individually and collectively, the four untimely meditations are unquestionably among Friedrich Nietzsche's most widely neglected works. The Untimely Meditations contain important, early discussions of such essential Nietzschean subjects as the relationship between life, art and philosophy; the character and cultivation of the true self; education (and its vital erotic dimension), and the difference between genuine wisdom and mere knowledge (or science). The enormous difference between a genuine and a merely popular culture was a theme very close to Nietzsche's heart during the early Basel period and is explored. The Untimely Meditations are, however, just as important for what they praise as for what they reject, even though, as one have now had several occasions to note, much of this same praise was also a means for distancing, and thereby separating the author of these paeans from certain powerful influences and stimuli.
  • Chapter 4 - Nietzsche: Human, All Too Human
    pp 91-111
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    Human, All Too Human marked Friedrich Nietzsche's transition from the philologist and cultural critic he had been into the kind of philosopher and writer he came to be. Nietzsche had long yearned, and continued to yearn throughout his productive life, for a higher humanity with a worth great enough to warrant the affirmation of life even in the absence of any transcendently supplied meaning. The publication of Human, All Too Human completed Nietzsche's estrangement from his erstwhile scholarly profession, from which he officially retired shortly thereafter. The expression Nietzsche adopted to characterize the kind of thinker and human being he conceived himself to have become, or at any rate to have been on the way to becoming, at the time of Human, All Too Human is that which he features in its subtitle: 'free spirit', Freigeist.
  • Chapter 5 - Nietzsche: Daybreak
    pp 112-136
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    The widespread pedagogic practice of treating Friedrich Nietzsche as a figure of nineteenth-century philosophy, along with Hegel and Karl Marx, actually does considerable violence to the real intellectual history of Germany. Evidence of Nietzsche's classical training and his admiration of classical civilization abounds throughout Daybreak. This chapter introduces some of the main themes of German Materialism. The central theme of Daybreak is its attack on morality. In Human, All Too Human, the work preceding Daybreak, Nietzsche began a long effort to free morality from the metaphysical world to which Immanuel Kant and Arthur Schopenhauer had connected it. Daybreak suggests that they are of two types: first, a certain picture of human agents as free and morally responsible and second, false beliefs (or superstitions) that explain the moral regard with which ancient practices and customs were regarded and that function as causal presuppositions of people's moral feelings in the present.
  • Chapter 6 - Nietzsche: The Gay Science
    pp 137-151
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    The Gay Science is a prime example of what is often called Friedrich Nietzsche's 'aphoristic' style. In his earlier works, Nietzsche had moved gradually towards this style. The Gay Science marks a decisive step beyond the books that came before it because it introduces two of what were to become Nietzsche's best-known themes, the Death of God and the Eternal Recurrence. Nietzsche has been thought by some people to have had a brutal and ruthless attitude to the world; sometimes, perhaps, he wished that he had. Nietzsche recognizes that his own Birth of Tragedy had been full of the Schopenhauerian spirit. The truths of Nietzsche's own philosophy, which discredit the metaphysical world, can destructively lead to nihilism if they come to be accepted. In The Gay Science he stresses the importance of a law of agreement, which regulates people's thoughts and provides intellectual security.
  • Chapter 7 - Nietzsche: Thus Spoke Zarathustra
    pp 152-177
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    Thus Spoke Zarathustra (TSZ) is often reported to be Friedrich Nietzsche's popular and most read book, but the fact that the book is so unusual and often hermetic has made for wildly different sorts of reception. In traditional philosophical terms, Nietzsche stresses that one can start going wrong when they become captured by the picture of revealing reality, the truth, beneath appearances, in mere opinions. Zarathustra leaves his cave to revisit the human world because he wants both to prophesy and help hasten the advent of something like a new attempt on the part of mankind, a post beyond or over the human aspiration. TSZ is somehow to be addressed to the source of whatever longing, striving, desire gives life a direction, inspires sacrifice and dedication. Zarathustra stresses that good and evil, any life-orienting normative distinctions, are hardly everlasting; rather they must overcome themselves out of themselves again and again.
  • Chapter 8 - Nietzsche: Beyond Good and Evil
    pp 178-198
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    Beyond Good and Evil (BGE) is often considered to be one of Friedrich Nietzsche's greatest books. Nietzsche's life is the story of a man who from the beginning of his adult life, until the sudden and catastrophic end of his productive period, was confronted with embarrassing and humiliating experiences. This chapter looks more closely at some aspects of BGE itself. In order to appreciate the distinctive approach which Nietzsche favors in BGE in his dealings with what he calls modernity, it might be worthwhile to say a few words about his more general outlook. The chapter discusses the origin and the meaning of philosophical values such as truth, the religious practice of establishing and enforcing specific values such as faith, piety, and love of man, and the motives and mechanisms involved in the cultivation of moral values such as pity, fairness, and willingness to help each other.
  • Chapter 9 - Nietzsche: On the Genealogy of Morality
    pp 199-214
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    On the Genealogy of Morality belongs to the late period of Friedrich Nietzsche's writings. For Nietzsche, morality represents a system of errors that one have incorporated into the basic ways of thinking, feeling and living; it is the great symbol of the profound ignorance of ourselves and the world. Nietzsche's polemic challenges the assumptions of standard genealogies. One of the most important events in Western history occurs when the slaves revolt against the masters' form of valuation. Western morality has historically been a struggle between elements that derive from a basic form of valuation derived from 'masters' and one derived from 'slaves'. The sense of 'guilt' has evolved through several momentous and fateful events in history. Nietzsche's political thinking remains a source of difficulty, even embarrassment, because it fails to accord with the standard liberal ways of thinking about politics which have prevailed in the last 200 and more years.
  • Chapter 10 - Nietzsche: The Anti-Christ, Ecce Homo, Twilight of the Idols
    pp 215-239
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    The Anti-Christ is Friedrich Nietzsche's longest sustained discussion of a single topic since the mid 1870s, when he wrote the four Untimely Meditations. In Ecce Homo, Nietzsche presents his life as a species of artistry, in several senses. In each of these senses, Nietzsche portrays himself as the poet of his life, and hence as one who has become who he is. The chapter discusses two of the circumstances of Nietzsche's life that make it most distinctively his, namely Christianity and Richard Wagner. Twilight of the Idols is devoted to the uncovering and diagnosis of decadence, both as cause (suffering) and as effect (idealism). The chapter shows how the idea of becoming 'who one is' runs through all of Nietzsche's final works, and shows how it rounds off a line of thought that characterizes his maturity as a whole.
  • Chapter 11 - Nietzsche: Writings from the late notebooks
    pp 240-263
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    This chapter discusses the history of the complete and reliable German texts, their origin and the way they were handed down to us, as well as the way the present selection has been made. It indicates some of the basic lines of argumentation and some of the philosophical import of these texts. The present selection of texts is based on the new edition by Giorgio Colli and Mazzino Montinari (the KGW). The KGW numbers manuscripts chronologically within each part and, in turn, numbers the texts within each manuscript chronologically. The expression 'will to power' was presumably modelled on Arthur Schopenhauer's 'will to life', to which Friedrich Nietzsche's concept was meant to be the counterpart. The chapter also discusses the Nietzsche's reinterpretation of basic phenomena of human existence in terms of life and focuses on two topics. One is cognition, the other religion and morality.
Select bibliography
Works by Nietzsche from Cambridge University Press
Ansell-Pearson, KeithOn the Genealogy of MoralityCambridge University Press 2006
Bittner, RüdigerWritings from the Late NotebooksCambridge University Press 2003
Breazeale, DanielUntimely MeditationsCambridge University Press 1997
Clark, MaudemarieLeiter, BrianDaybreak: Thoughts on the Prejudices of MoralityCambridge University Press 1997
Geuss, RaymondNehamas, AlexanderFriedrich Nietzsche: Writings from the Early NotebooksCambridge University Press 2009
Geuss, RaymondSpeirs, RonaldThe Birth of Tragedy and Other WritingsCambridge University Press 1999
Hollingdale, R. JHuman, All Too HumanCambridge University Press 1996
Horstmann, Rolf-PeterNorman, JudithBeyond Good and Evil: Prelude to a Philosophy of the FutureCambridge University Press 2002
Pippin, RobertThus Spoke Zarathustra: A Book for all and NoneCambridge University Press 2006
Ridley, AaronNorman, JudithThe Anti-Christ, Ecce Homo, Twilight of the Idols, and Other WritingsCambridge University Press 2005
Williams, BernardThe Gay Science: With a Prelude in German Rhymes and an Appendix of SongsNew YorkCambridge University Press 2001
Broad treatments of Nietzsche's philosophy
Ackermann, Robert JohnNietzsche: A Frenzied LookAmherstUniversity of Massachusetts Press 1990
Alderman, HaroldNietzsche's GiftAthensOhio University Press 1977
Allison, David BThe New Nietzsche: Contemporary Styles of InterpretationCambridge, MassMIT Press 1977
Allison, David BReading the New Nietzsche: The Birth of Tragedy, the Gay Science, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, and on the Genealogy of MoralsLanham, MdRowman & Littlefield 2001
Ansell-Pearson, KeithA Companion to NietzscheMalden, Mass.Blackwell Publishing 2006
Ansell-Pearson, KeithCaygill, HowardThe Fate of the New NietzscheAldershotAvebury 1993
Bataille, GeorgesOn NietzscheNew YorkParagon House 1992
Clark, MaudemarieNietzscheCraig, EdwardRoutledge Encyclopedia of PhilosophyNew YorkRoutledge 1998
Darby, W. T.Egyed, BélaJones, BenNietzsche and the Rhetoric of Nihilism: Essays on Interpretation, Language and PoliticsOttawaCarleton University Press 1989
Deleuze, GillesNietzsche and PhilosophyNew YorkColumbia University Press 1983
Fink, EugenNietzsche's PhilosophyLondonContinuum 2003
Gillespie, Michael AllenStrong, Tracy BNietzsche's New Seas: Explora-tions in Philosophy, Aesthetics, and PoliticsUniversity of Chicago Press 1988
Heidegger, MartinNietzscheFarrell Krell, DavidSan FranciscoHarper & Row 1982
Hollingdale, R. J.NietzscheLondonRoutledge & Kegan Paul 1965
Jaspers, KarlNietzsche: An Introduction to the Understanding of His Philosophical ActivityBaltimoreJohns Hopkins University Press 1997
Kaufmann, Walter ArnoldNietzsche: Philosopher, Psychologist, AntichristPrinceton University Press 1975
Magnus, BerndMarie Higgins, KathleenThe Cambridge Companion to NietzscheCambridge University Press 1996
Montinari, MazzinoReading NietzscheUrbanaUniversity of Illinois Press 2003
Müller-Lauter, WolfgangNietzsche: His Philosophy of Contradictions and the Contradictions of His PhilosophyUrbanaUniversity of Illinois Press 1999
Nehamas, AlexanderNietzsche, Life as LiteratureCambridge, MassHarvard University Press 1985
Pasley, MalcolmNietzsche, Imagery and Thought: A Collection of EssaysLondonMethuen 1978
Richardson, JohnNietzsche's New DarwinismOxford University Press 2004
Richardson, JohnLeiter, BrianNietzscheOxford University Press 2001
Schacht, RichardNietzscheLondonRoutledge & Kegan Paul 1983
Schacht, RichardMaking Sense of Nietzsche: Reflections Timely and UntimelyUrbanaUniversity of Illinois Press 1995
Schutte, OfeliaBeyond Nihilism: Nietzsche without MasksUniversity of Chicago Press 1984
Sedgwick, Peter RNietzsche: A Critical ReaderOxfordBlackwell 1995
Solomon, Robert CNietzsche: A Collection of Critical EssaysUniversity of Notre Dame Press 1980
Solomon, Robert CMarie Higgins, KathleenWhat Nietzsche Really SaidNew YorkSchocken Books 2000
Solomon, Robert CMarie Higgins, KathleenReading NietzscheNew YorkOxford University Press 1988
Stambaugh, JoanThe Other NietzscheAlbanyState University of New York Press 1994
Staten, HenryNietzsche's VoiceIthaca, N.Y.Cornell University Press 1990
Stern, J. P.NietzscheGlasgowFontana/Collins 1978
Tanner, MichaelNietzsche: A Very Short IntroductionOxford University Press 1994
White, AlanWithin Nietzsche's LabyrinthNew YorkRoutledge 1990
Yovel, YirmiyahuNietzsche as Affirmative Thinker: Papers Presented at the Fifth Jerusalem Philosophical Encounter, April 1983DordrechtKluwer Academic Publishers 1986
Zupančič, AlenkaThe Shortest Shadow. Nietzsche's Philosophy of the TwoCambridge, MassMIT Press 2003


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