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Basic Writings of Nietzsche

4.04 of 5 stars 4.04  ·  rating details  ·  2,074 ratings  ·  69 reviews
Introduction by Peter Gay
Translated and edited by Walter Kaufmann
Commentary by Martin Heidegger, Albert Camus, and Gilles Deleuze

One hundred years after his death, Friedrich Nietzsche remains the most influential philosopher of the modern era. Basic Writings of Nietzsche gathers the complete texts of five of Nietzsche’s most important works, from his first book to his las
Paperback, Modern Library Edition, 862 pages
Published November 28th 2000 by Random House, Inc. (first published 1967)
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The main thing to emphasize is the convenience of this edition for students and scholars. It looks to me like one might have some issues with Kaufmann's translation, especially as regards "Beyond Good and Evil;" I prefer literal translations myself, and he seems to be on the mark with "The Birth of Tragedy."

What you get here is indispensable - if you're going to do serious work, or make a serious attempt to understand Nietzsche, you probably need "The Birth of Tragedy," "The Genealogy of Morals,
Erik Graff
Nov 03, 2011 Erik Graff rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Erik by: Janny Marie Willis
Shelves: philosophy
I had already read some of the texts in this collection prior to finding this affordable Modern Library Giant. Having been into Nietzsche for some three years or so already, and being seduced into Kaufmann's style of translation, I was trying to assemble everything, preferably in hardcover.

Nietzsche, like Plato, is a philosopher kids can read with profit. Of course, not being familiar with the historical and cultural contexts out of which they wrote, one can go quite wrong in one's interpretatio
2/10/2013 - "When you look into the abyss, the abyss looks into you" wrote Nietzsche. I thought I was spiritually strong enough to peer with impunity through the hole Nietzsche tore open in the veil of the abyss - that somehow the abyss would not notice me glancing into it, would leave me alone. Now, more than one year after completing this anthology (and Thus Spake Zarathustra) I understand that these books don't leave a serious reader unchanged. While on one level I approached them seriously, ...more
Vanja Antonijevic
Jul 20, 2009 Vanja Antonijevic rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: philosophically inclined and open-minded
First, a note about the collection itself. It includes Nietzsche’s: “The Birth of Tragedy”, “Beyond Good and Evil”, “On the Genealogy of Morals”, “Case of Wagner”, and “Ecce Homo”. These are all excellent books, and the first three may serve as excellent introductions and general surveys of Nietzsche, especially the second and third in the list.

Also, there is a miscellaneous collection of sections from other books, notes, and letters.

For those that want to read more Nietzsche, the perfect comp
Steven Belanger
"God is dead" is not SOLELY about God, or religion. Discuss.

What can one say? An ingenious compendium by a man who was a genius, who was head of a department of philosophy of a world-renowned university at 24, misunderstood (and mistranslated and mistreated) in his own lifetime, who knew he would be misunderstood, mistranslated and mistreated in his own lifetime, who became discouraged, depressed, spent too much time alone, got syphilis from sleeping with prostitutes, died in an asylum with the
Jee Koh
This book collects together "The Birth of Tragedy," "Beyond Good and Evil," "On the Genealogy of Morals," "The Case of Wagner," "Ecce Homo" as well as seventy-five aphorisms from "Human, All-Too-Human," "Mixed Opinions and Maxims," "The Wanderer and His Shadow," "The Dawn," and "The Gay Science."

Why these writings inspire me:

1. He is a philosopher but he is also a writer; in fact, the two in him are indistinguishable.

2. He loves what is noble, instead of what is good; he hates what is contempti
Michael Suire
What an extraordinary compendium of writings. Walter Kaufmann selects Nietzsche's most important works and makes this philosopher's thought easy to grasp by adding insightful introductions and footnotes. Although it does not include all of Nietzsche's works, hence the "basic", it contains sufficient material to understand what the philosopher's message and ruminations were, from the philological "The Birth of Tragedy" to the incredible (and in my opinion his best work) "Beyond Good and Evil",fro ...more
Jennifer Boyce
I'm not going to lie, this book got a little long. I was really into the writing at the beginning, but by the end I had begun to lose interest. Despite that though, this was still an enjoyable classic and I'm glad that I read it.

Karan Gupta
Nietzsche is a well known name. But I had little idea what I was getting into when I had chosen this book in the flipkart liquidation sale. Since I had heard the name quite a few times and since the book was coming dirt cheap, I decided to go ahead with it. Picked it up more than a year later, though.

Nietzsche's works are probably the second blatantly philosophical work that I have read; the first being Aurelius' "Meditations". Nietzsche's proved to be an agitating philosophy. He is possibly mor
Jacob Aitken

I finished The Basic Works of Nietzsche (ed. Kaufmann) the other day. It was a running project for about seven years. Love him or hate him, it is one of those classics of the Western canon that must be dealt with, or at least acknowledged. Nietzsche was one of the few philosophers who could actually write.


I had fun reading this.


A full review is impossible at this stage. I read the book a couple hundred pages a time for over seven years. I simply don't have the whole narrative in my mind, t
It would be impossible to give an actual review to this book. The profundity of all that it contains simply defies any attempt at a concise interpretation. Therefore, I will simply make a minor comment on the edition itself.

This project of this book is invaluable. The scope, depth, and insight provided by the editors and Kaufmann himself are of inestimable importance. It is easy to get lost, even the most robust of readers, in such a compendium, and I thank the editors of this volume for providi
Great Odens
I found Nietzsche's writings challenging, his perspective was a particularly negative, one that I found difficult to relate with; at first.

To understand his perspective clearly, one must first understand Friedrich Nietzsche. He was a tortured soul, one who had many crippling ailments and unlucky failures in life, love and wealth, ultimately leading to his deterioration and institutionalization. However through his failures he saw the ultimate beauty within the nature of man and the fullness one
Germany after its victory in the Franco-Prussian war of 1870 - 1871 entered its expansive age. Rapid industrialization combined with unification allowed it to become a leader in many industrial and scientific fields (Einstein came out of this). It was a time of the heroic music of Wagner. Within this context of hubris and expansion a young 20 something Nietzsche imagined a Greek heroic culture as a societal ideal. Following that, his morality for nations (races) and individuals became the law of ...more
pp686-687: Nietzche on Buddhism. And Women and War. To inspire the read... . . :)

First Buddha

"One cannot get rid of anything, one cannot get over anything, one cannot repel anything-everything hurts. Men and things obtrude too closely; experiences strike one too deeply; memory becomes a festering wound. Sickness itself is a kind of resentiment".

"Against all this the sick person has only one great remedy: I call it Russian fatalism, that fatalism without revolt which is exemplified by a Russian s
Steve Keane
Sep 15, 2007 Steve Keane added it
Recommends it for: Everyone
I recommend all of Nietzsche's works, especially the Walter Kaufmann translations. Kaufmann was born in Germany and moved to the U.S. as a young adult so he understood German and American culture from the insider's perspective. He became a philosopher in his own right so he understands Nietzsche from that perspective, as well. He gathered the majority of Nietzsche's writings into 2 volumes, The Portable Nietzsche and The Basic Writings.

Nietzsche is always provocative, especially when you strongl
Allen Dark
Walter Kaufmann's translation is good (my impression is that German is a hard language to translate into English). This has to be one of the most important books ever written and no serious reader or thinker should fail to read it. Nietzsche was a genius and he sees right through an awful lot as though he had X-ray vision, but he is a bit of a hair-shirt at times and the reader has to not get emotional with him.
Duncan Mandel

Introduction by Peter Gay
Translated and edited by Walter Kaufmann
Commentary by Martin Heidegger, Albert Camus, and Gilles Deleuze

One hundred years after his death, Friedrich Nietzsche remains the most influential philosopher of the modern era. Basic Writings of Nietzsche gathers the complete tex...

Jun 22, 2007 Eric rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: cocky bastards
Nietzsche is nothing if not provocative. And you've got to read this stuff with a critical mind to it - if you're just trying to accept it all you'll get angry pretty quick. But Nietzsche is pretty much trying to break down the ways in which acceptance and complacence were institutionalized by European culture - and continue to be.

But you've got the whole range here - The Birth of Tragedy is young Nietzsche at his most careful, but still a cocky bastard. At the other end of the spectrum, and
I have always found Nietzsche's work to be brilliant - even where it is desolating. He was surely brilliant in his wrestling with moral philosophy, religion and the place of inherited values. The "new atheists" (read Dawkins and Hitchens) with their absurd arguments from silence and irrational meanderings should learn from Neitzsche. Here was a man with a moral conscience that didn't simply want to punish powerful clerics by pointing out their human flaws. Instead, he struggled deeply with the d ...more
Jan 08, 2013 Dave marked it as to-read
SUMMARY: One hundred years after his death, Friedrich Nietzsche remains the most influential philosopher of the modern era. Basic Writings of Nietzsche gathers the complete texts of five of Nietzsche's most important works, from his first book to his last: The Birth of Tragedy; Beyond Good and Evil; On the Genealogy of Morals; The Case of Wagner; and Ecce Homo. Edited and translated by the great Nietzsche scholar Walter Kaufmann, this volume provides a definitive guide to the full range of Nietz ...more
His thoughts on the primordial nature of music are simply brilliant.

Overall, the 'Basic Writings of Nietzsche' is better than the 'Portable Nietzsche'. Why? First, and most importantly, these works are (thank the Fates!) indexed. The introductions to the works are too terse, as in the 'Portable Nietzsche', but in a cheap edition it is about what one should expect. Ignore the 75 Aphorisms. It is always better to read Nietzsche complete. The 'Commentary' consists of snippets from three interpreters: Heidegger, Camus, and Deleuze. Better to read them comple
Walter Kaufman is amazing.
Nietzsche was one of the first philosophers I ever read and has become my fave. This book logically starts at Attempt at Self-Criticism and The Birth of Tragedy and closes with Why I am a Destiny and closing commentary by Deleuze, Camus and others. It's heady and like most philosophy and the language is pure 18th century, I have to read it through 'in coats', like paint, but it's worthwhile. If you've been curious about Nietzsche or you want to revisit an old friend, this is the one for the book ...more
It’s pretty dense reading, especially for us non-philosophy types, but easily within the grasp of a dedicated effort. The translation seems solid and there are plenty of footnotes for context and perspective. I've always identified with Nietzsche from the tidbits I'd read here and there, but this was an excellent place to properly start, with several of his major works. As far as philosophers go, I think Nietzsche was one of the most brilliant, most brave, and most talented writers among them.
Colin Brown
Read and barely comprehended.
Has "On the Genealogy of Morals" - Paradoxically, this is Nietzsche's most unusual work in that it is linear, systematically analytic, and very much a (I hate to use the word) conventionally-presented thesis, in stark contrast to his modus operandi which is seemingly non-linear, perhaps scattered aphoristic writing. Regardless, a brilliant analysis of morality, it's evolution (according to N.), religion, master/herd mentality, etc...
I got this book just before Christmas, and fired through it in just a few days.

As with most of Kaufmann's translations (interpretations) of Nietzsche, this book is rife with expository information and background and foreground essays on the work and its relation to Nietzsche's philosophy, how N. was influenced in each by those before him, and how each work influenced those after him. Fascinating.
If you're looking to have your mind blown apart by the most controversial and influential philosopher of all time, then this book is for you. On the Genealogy of Morals and Beyond Good and Evil outline many of Nietzsche's ideas and concepts and I recommend reading these first. This book is a must for anyone looking to delve into the world of existential philosophy.
Jennifer Johnson
I finally finished this for class last week, and there are few books I'm more proud to have read. I'll try to write more about it later, but if you have any interest in Nietzsche, this is a great place to start. As philosophy goes, it's highly readable, and Nietzsche's work has been influential in a wide variety of realms. Absolutely fascinating.
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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 Anti-Christ The Gay Science: with a Prelude in Rhymes and an Appendix of Songs

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“In fact, however, Nietzsche’s very first book, The Birth, constitutes a declaration of independence from Schopenhauer: while Nietzsche admires him for honestly facing up to the terrors of existence, Nietzsche himself celebrates Greek tragedy as a superior alternative to Schopenhauer’s “Buddhistic negation of the will.” From tragedy Nietzsche learns that one can affirm life as sublime, beautiful, and joyous in spite of all suffering and cruelty.” 0 likes
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