The Birth of Tragedy Out of the Spirit of Music
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

The Birth of Tragedy Out of the Spirit of Music

3.96 of 5 stars 3.96  ·  rating details  ·  5,214 ratings  ·  154 reviews
Translated by Ian C. Johnston The Birth of Tragedy (Die Geburt der Tragodie aus dem Geiste der Musik, 1872) is a 19th Century work of philosophy by Friedrich Nietzsche. The full title translates as The Birth of Tragedy from the Spirit of Music. It was reissued in 1886 as The Birth of Tragedy, Or: Hellenism and Pessimism (Die Geburt der Tragödie, Oder: Griechentum und Pessi...more
Kindle Edition
Published (first published 1876)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Riku Sayuj

Apollo Vs Dionysus: A Darwinian Drama

Nietzsche never struck me as a real philosopher. He was too much the story-teller.

This is probably his most a-philosophical (?) work. But it is my favorite. It was the most accessible to me and it was the most relevant of his works. It helped me form my own convictions. It was universal and yet not choke full of platitudes. It was forceful but not descending into loud (almost incomprehensible) invectives. (you know which works I subtly allude to)

'Birth of Tra...more
Friedrich Nietzsche's The Birth of Tragedy

In Helen Morales' introduction to Tim Whitmarsh's fine new translation of Leucippe and Clitophon ,

written by the Alexandrian Greek Achilles Tatius in the 2nd century CE, she mentions that Nietzsche condemned the ancient Greek novels as a final sign of the degeneration of Greek literary art. I had forgotten all about that, so I thumbed through Die Geburt der Tragödie to find what he said in context and was pul...more

The Birth of Tragedy is by far the better written and useful of the three works by Friedrich Nietzsche that I have so far read. Thus proving that when he is not angrily ranting about religion and morality, that Nietzsche does have important points to make about humanity. That is not to say that Nietzsche does not have his own pointed comments about religion in this narrative argument that he creates, more that these comments are superseded by the other arguments created by Nietzsche.

In the fore...more
‘Only as an aesthetic phenomenon that existence and the world are eternally justified.’

In The Birth of Tragedy, Nietzsche’s first book, he describes what he believes are the two central forces in art and how they merged to form Greek tragedy. The two forces are the Dionysian and the Apolline. The Dionysian is wild, formless and is associated with music, the will and breaking through cultural norms. The Apolline deals with sculpture, dreams, poetry, restraint and the individual.

The ancient Gree...more
This is less a review than ponderings and comments after having finished the book.

Could it legitimately be argued that, as in Western culture individualism is increasingly valued, the necessity for Dionysian communal frenzy becomes increasingly imperative for psychological wholeness? Hence, for example, all those phenomena of “mob” emotion - sporting events, militant nationalism, partisan politics and political polarization, any group identifications.

Nietzsche’s vision and argument, while derive...more
Rowland Bismark
As The Birth of Tragedy was Nietzsche's first published book, it is a rather awkwardly written representation of his early ideas. Nietzsche lamented as much in a supplementary preface, which he wrote fifteen years later in 1886. The older Nietzsche looks back, as we all do, with embarrassment on his younger self. He writes, "Today I find it an impossible book: I consider it badly written, ponderous, embarrassing, image-mad and image-confused, sentimental, in places saccharine to the point of ef...more
The author, who certainly knew his Greek history, argues that early classical Greek tragedies (i.e. written by Aeschylus and Sophocles) demonstrated an heroic effort to understand and affirm human suffering and existence in a meaningless world. Greek culture was a blend between the Apollonian and the Dionysian. Apollo, the sun god, sought to bring order, meaning, and form to the harsh world people saw around them. Dionysus, the god of wine, sought to immerse people in the immediate changing worl...more
Very interesting insights. His reading of tragedy is absolutely superb, although I think there is a little irony in conceptualising the dinoyesian. I like that he privileged music above other forms; it seems intuitively true. I also think this whole 'hatred of rationality' shite is... well, shit. If you read him carefully, he's saying that the best art has an unmixable mix of the 2 forces. I think that he's saying it's impossible to be either 'completely', or if you are, art loses out. He was ab...more
The great revelation, which I spent 3/4 of the book trying to figure out, finally came through somewhere along chapter 21 onwards. Despite that being said, I believe that the mentioned 3/4 of the book was perhaps entirely necessary for my understanding to develop up to that point, and so no criticism would be relevant in that claim.
Reading what Nietzsche had to say about the role of art in life made me come to several epiphanies of my own; that life is tragic; that tragedy is truth (what he refe...more
Andrew Sydlik
I had planned on reading Nietzsche's entire ouevre, in chronological order of being written, since mostly I had read excerpts or quotes of his, or read other people's writings about him rather than by him. However, that plan got shot down when I found how hard it was to find his books in used book stores.

This work, his first major work, is not purely philosophy. As if anything he ever wrote really was - but this is really more historical/art criticism about Greek tragedy, not the human tragedy h...more
Almost 20 years ago, I took a course with the University of California-Berkeley Extension on the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche, surely one of the most influential thinkers from the 19th century. The class read all or parts of most of his works, including his first book, "The Birth of Tragedy." Although his ideas have influenced me and been reflected in the writings of other philosophers, social critics, and writers of fiction I have read, I had taken on since then only a couple of his books...more
David Fulmer
The Birth of Tragedy, the first book written by towering nineteenth century philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, presents a highly individualistic and aesthetically sophisticated interpretation of Attic Tragedy, the Greek plays of Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides which have long occupied an artistic peak of world culture. Nietzsche adopts the spirit of the Greeks, who had a god or goddess for every thing and every idea, and assigns parts of Greek Tragedy to the Greek gods Apollo and Dionysus. Apol...more
John Ryan
This was certainly an interesting piece. Nietzsche covers a variety of topics, and his writing is magnificent. Nietzshe emphasizes the importance of aesthetics throughout the work. For example, music is described as the thing-in-itself, and all events which occur are phenomena. In a Greek tragic play, the music is the thing-in-itself, and the events which occur are phenomena. Nietzsche also refers to music as "the universal", in that all people understand music - music evokes emotions in people...more
Chris Comis
Good old Nietzsche. Or, not so good old Nietzsche! I dare anyone to try spelling his name without having to look at it on paper-- it's impossible. Anyway, the book was pretty much a bombastic and pretentious attempt to justify Hellenistic culture, as understood through the lenses of the "Germanic spirit," as he liked to label his approach to Aryanism. Very racially motivated in its political aspirations, and also very pagan in its look at the underlying metaphysics of tragedy. Nietzsche despised...more
Prvo Ničeovo delo, mnogo kritikovano od strane 'stručne javnosti' u vreme kada je objavljeno a i on se kasnije samokritički osvrnuo na njega, pre svega zbog toga što u vreme pisanja još nije raskrstio sa Šopenhaureom i Kantom a čak se i Luter pominje u pozitivnom kontekstu iako su sva trojica u kasnijim njegovim delima oštro kritikovani.
Uprkos svim manama, veoma vredna knjiga koja uspostavlja originalnu dihotomiju apolonsko-dionisko, svet vidi opravdanim jedino kao estetski fenomen i tako na sa...more
It's more than just craft meets inspiration or something trite. The language is also very colorful in a way that his later work usually isn't. Perhaps his insights are way off base, but what do I know about greek tragedy? I just remember being captivated by the glowing quality of the words and the rush of ideas. You get a sense of a young philosopher utterly engaged by aesthetic and ideological worlds. Besides, he isn't making claims about real history rooted in time and actual peoples and event...more
Ali Balighi
زایش تراژدی از روح موسیقی نام اولین کتاب نیچه استکه در سال 1872 خطاب به واگنر نوشته شده.توجه ویژه نیچه در این اثر رو به موسیقی از دیونیزوس دارد و در آن مدعی این مطلب است تراژدی زاده‌ی دیونیزوس و آپولون یا هنرهای قابل دیدن می‌باشد. در اولین قدم نیچه سعی دارد دیدگاه‌های خود را از شوپنهاور جدا تلقی کند و در این اقدام بوداگرایی شوپنهاور را نقض میکند و استدلال می‌کند زندگی ارزش زندگی کردن را با تمام سختی‌هایش دارد. در کنار مطالبی از این دست، برای شخص خودم ژرف اندیشی نیچه در زمینه اسطوره گرایی و رابطه...more
Recipe for "The Birth of Tragedy":

1. Add one part speculative psychological inquiry into the deepest recesses of Hellenic consciousness.
2. Stir in some rousing and thought-provoking anti-Socratic and anti-Euripidean invective.
3. Season with a pinch of ecstatically Dionysiac rhetoric.
4. If necessary, add more speculative psychological inquiry to taste.
5. Beat vigorously until mixture produces an unqualified dithyrambic adoration of Richard Wagner.
6. Let stand until properly matured.

Serves 1.
Good first work by the man who will go on to define the discourse of the twentieth century. The kernels of his later ideas are present here in raw form. The metaphysics offered are artistically provided if not compelling. Nietzsche's version of the derivation and source of great art are worth reading, especially as they inform a Nietzsche reader as to the standards he will set for himself in his later works.
Music exists in the realm beyond language, and so allows us to rise beyond consciousness and experience our connection to the Primordial Unity. Music is superior to all other arts in that it does not represent a phenomenon, but rather the "world will" itself.

Science cannot explain the mysteries of the universe, he writes, and thanks to the work of Kant and Schopenhauer, we must now recognize this fact.

Music is a key concept for Nietzsche, as is in its highest degree a universal language. Humani...more
A great introduction to Nietzsche. If you want to understand him at all, you have to understand the tension and balance between the Apollonian and Dionysian forces and this is where he clearly explains that dynamic. This is the book that started my love affair with all things Nietzsche.
Just some reflection about the text:

The Greek god Dionysus reminds us of the tragedy pulsating at the background of our lives. That no matter how beautiful, grand, systematic our life is, no matter how we seize control over our fate and lead it to our desired destination, and no matter how we pray perhaps to any god to put everything into order, Dionysus is always there, he is an opposing force that at a glimpse can put everything into ashes, he is an earthquake that can strike foundations to c...more
If you are a dork, it's really fun to read this book and then apply everything he says to hardcore. Try it. It's like Dark Side of the Moon plus The Wizard of Oz.
Jeremy Allan
What Nietzsche has to say is so much more interesting than what other people have to say about Nietzsche.
I've read Kanye West quotes that were more insightful than this.
Sheldon L
Fabulous explication of the origins of tragedy by Nietzsche. In his first book, he discusses the importance of the blending between Dionysian energies and Apollinian energies in creating art - namely, the tragedy.

Then he traces how Socratic thought through Euripides attempts to make the tragedy intelligible to the regular Joe by removing the irrational aspects (Dionysian) and making the tragedy have a rational unfurling.
By bringing the spectator on the stage, Socrates and Euripides effectually n...more
Seif Salama
This read isIndispensable for getting a grasp on the arts and entertainments of the past few millennia, including that recent upsurge of Dionysian ecstatics we call rock music, and its many offspring.

If you consider yourself a creative entity, an artist, a musician, a filmmaker, a writer; then this book should be required reading. It describes two opposing "forces", Apollo and Dionysus, who are in perpetual conflict. From this conflict, all great art is born.

It is a dialectic, Thesis meets Antit...more
Nicolas Baygert
Il paraît bien ardu de projeter quelques lignes en guise de « review » au sujet de la Naissance de la tragédie, tant son contenu, dense et divinatoire, divulgue les soubassements architectoniques d’une pensée nietzschéenne presque à l’état d’ébullition. Premier ouvrage publié de Nietzsche, il s’avère nécessaire d’y retourner cycliquement, tant celui-ci fait office de véritable mode d’emploi pour tout le reste. Pour la peine, le style, encore empreint d’une emphase philologique, y est plus didact...more
tran I. Johnston 2008, 85 pages

I'm not adequately familiar with Greek tragedy or Wagner's storylines to fully commit to what Nietzsche seems to see in them here, and while I see a validity in his assessment of the Appollo/Dionysus escapism/realism establishment/anarchist binary relationship (echoing Schopenhauer whom he namechecks), just as I found when reading(/misreading?) Hegel, this relationship, like the latter's dialectic, isn't quite as opposite or sequential and balancing into its propos...more
Gustavo Enrique  Ortiz Clavijo
Cuando uno se enfrenta con Nietzsche, se limita a ver una lectura contra la autoridad, de afuera, de la realidad, pero nunca a enfrentar las autoridades internas de uno-
El nacimiento de la tragedia nos menta la madre a nosotros, hablando de la cultura griega, porque por encima de detallar la concepción estética del mundo y la función del arte, discute con uno, sobre la forma de ver el mundo, de cómo abofeteamos nuestras posibilidades al negarnos a ser escindidos, a desdoblarse y mirarse a uno, s...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Critique of Judgment
  • Introductory Lectures on Aesthetics
  • The World as Will and Representation, Vol 2
  • Nietzsche, Volumes One and Two
  • Nietzsche and Philosophy (European Perspectives)
  • Poetics
  • Either/Or: A Fragment of Life
  • Fragments
  • Gorgias
  • Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus
  • Truth and Method
  • Minima Moralia
  • On the Aesthetic Education of Man
  • The Greeks and the Irrational
Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (1844–1900) was a German philosopher of the late 19th century who challenged the foundations of Christianity and traditional morality. He was interested in the enhancement of individual and cultural health, and believed in life, creativity, power, and the realities of the world we live in, rather than those situated in a world beyond. Central to his philosophy is the id...more
More about Friedrich Nietzsche...
Thus Spoke Zarathustra Beyond Good and Evil On the Genealogy of Morals/Ecce Homo The Gay Science: with a Prelude in Rhymes and an Appendix of Songs The Anti-Christ

Share This Book

“Christianity was from the beginning, essentially and fundamentally, life's nausea and disgust with life, merely concealed behind, masked by, dressed up as, faith in "another" or "better" life.” 18 likes
“Suppose a human being has thus put his ear, as it were, to the heart chamber of the world will and felt the roaring desire for existence pouring from there into all the veins of the world, as a thundering current or as the gentlest brook, dissolving into a mist—how could he fail to break suddenly? How could he endure to perceive the echo of innumerable shouts of pleasure and woe in the "wide space of the world night," enclosed in the wretched glass capsule of the human individual, without inexorably fleeing toward his primordial home, as he hears this shepherd's dance of metaphysics? But if such a work could nevertheless be perceived as a whole, without denial of individual existence; if such a creation could be created without smashing its creator—whence do we take the solution of such a contradiction?” 16 likes
More quotes…