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Friedrich Nietzsche's most accessible and influential philosophical work, misquoted, misrepresented, brilliantly original and enormously influential, Thus Spoke Zarathustra is translated from the German by R.J. Hollingdale in Penguin Classics. Nietzsche was one of the most revolutionary and subversive thinkers in Western philosophy, and Thus Spoke Zarathustra remains his most famous and influential work. It describes how the ancient Persian prophet Zarathustra descends from his solitude in the mountains to tell the world that God is dead and that the Superman, the human embodiment of divinity, is his successor. Nietzsche's utterance 'God is dead', his insistence that the meaning of life is to be found in purely human terms, and his doctrine of the Superman and the will to power were all later seized upon and unrecognisably twisted by, among others, Nazi intellectuals. With blazing intensity and poetic brilliance, Nietzsche argues that the meaning of existence is not to be found in religious pieties or meek submission to authority, but in an all-powerful life force: passionate, chaotic and free. Frederich Nietzsche (1844-1900) became the chair of classical philology at Basel University at the age of 24 until his bad health forced him to retire in 1879. He divorced himself from society until his final collapse in 1899 when he became insane. A powerfully original thinker, Nietzsche's influence on subsequent writers, such as George Bernard Shaw, D.H. Lawrence, Thomas Mann and Jean-Paul Sartre, was considerable. If you enjoyed Thus Spoke Zarathustra you might like Nietzsche's Beyond Good and Evil, also available in Penguin Classics. 'Enigmatic, vatic, emphatic, passionate, often breathtakingly insightful, his works together make a unique statement in the literature of European ideas' A. C. Grayling
About the Author
The philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche was born in Prussia in 1844. After the death of his father, a Lutheran minister, Nietzsche was raised from the age of five by his mother in a household of women. In 1869 he was appointed Professor of Classical Philology at the University of Basel, where he taught until 1879 when poor health forced him to retire. He never recovered from a nervous breakdown in 1889 and died 11 years later. Known for saying that “god is dead,” Nietzsche propounded his metaphysical construct of the superiority of the disciplined individual (superman) living in the present over traditional values derived from Christianity and its emphasis on heavenly rewards. His ideas were appropriated by the Fascists, who turned his theories into social realities that he had never intended.
Walter Kaufmann was a philosopher and poet, as well as a renowned translator of Friedrich Nietzsche. His books include Nietzsche: Philosopher, Psychologist, Antichrist, From Shakespeare to Existentialism, and Existentialism: From Dostoevsky to Sartre. He was a Professor of Philosophy at Princeton University, where he taught after receiving his Ph.D. from Harvard in 1947 until his death in 1980. He held visiting appointments at many American and foreign universities, including Columbia, Cornell, Heidelberg, Jerusalem, and the Australian National University, and his books have been translated into Dutch, German, Italian, Japanese, and Spanish.