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Basic Writings of Nietzsche

4.06  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,683 Ratings  ·  83 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
ebook, 832 pages
Published August 5th 2009 by Modern Library (first published 1967)
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Oct 17, 2009 Ashok rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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,
Feb 15, 2013 Caterina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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 it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 19, 2010 Steven Belanger rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"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
Erik Graff
Nov 03, 2011 Erik Graff rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Apr 23, 2015 Domhnall rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
This is an excellent edition of the key Nietzsche books, not too large to handle and carry comfortably, and with notes that are helpful and informative without interfering with enjoyment. It was challenging to read but well worth the effort. Nietzsche definitely becomes more and more accessible as one gets accustomed to his style and to his lines of thinking. There are both good and bad guides out there, including some that are not so much bad as evil on YouTube, but there is no substitute for r ...more
Jun 22, 2007 Eric rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jee Koh
Aug 13, 2009 Jee Koh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 20, 2011 Joanne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 04, 2014 Deborah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nietzsche: Ecce Homo (Behold the Man)

Mopsig means ‘boring’ sich mopsen = to be bored. Mops etymologically is related to the English ”mope.”

belly-shaking memory
Herr Bruno Meier has written a lengthy and weighty treatise in which I am solemnly denounced as an ‘enemy of our culture,’ besides being represented as a wily deceiver among those who are deceived.

In 1873, Wilamowitz replied with a sequel to his Zukunftsphilologie. The tenor of his reply may be gleaned from a remark near the end: I should
Michael Suire
May 31, 2014 Michael Suire rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
William Schram
This was a fantastic and enlightening book. Of course I had heard of Nietzsche, who hasn't in this day and age, but I have not had the pleasure of reading his works. Now I had heard of the Nazis, the nationalist whatever, the overarching philosophy of Nietzsche being the Will to Power, the Blond Beast and all of that, but I really wanted to see that sort of thing in context, which is what brought me to take this out of my local library.

Kaufmann's translation does quite the service to Nietzsche,
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.

Oct 25, 2015 Keith rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've read all of these books during my college years. Here are my comments as I re-read them in my, ahem, advanced age.

Beyond Good and Evil – *** Nietzsche is justly famous as a provocative and radical thinker. Although he dismisses evolution, I can’t help but think that his ideas would have benefited by the provocative and radical tenets of natural selection. His re-evaluation of values, which this book focuses on, is a necessary result of the discovery of evolution.

Nietzsche, however, emphasi
Brian Hoffstein
May 17, 2015 Brian Hoffstein rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For the first 680 pages I felt Nietzsche was just a cranky-derivative combination of Aristotle's idea of eudaimonia, Emerseon's notion of self-reliance, and Schopenhaur's general contemptuousness towards, well, everything that's not "nature" or "genius". It wasn't until I got to his (Nietzsche's) last publication - Ecce Homo: How One Becomes What One Is - that I got a real sense of exuberance and joy from this book. It was the most pleasant philosophical tour-de-force I've ever read. The 100 or ...more
Karan Gupta
Oct 09, 2014 Karan Gupta rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
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
Jun 29, 2013 Great Odens rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
David Olmsted
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
Jun 15, 2014 Katie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 03, 2016 Steve rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a hard book to read, there is nothing basic about these writings, however, it was also beautifully written. I can definitely see the influence Nietzsche had on Yukio Mishima, not just in terms of philosophy, but also in the downright literary, beautiful metaphors.
Nietzsche has a unique perspective, which although I still need to question if I even understand, has been an amazingly creative experience for me.
My only issue is with Nietzsche shameless sexism. It's weird how his philosoph
Allen Dark
May 08, 2014 Allen Dark rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
May 23, 2015 Michael rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The intellectual equivalent of having the rug pulled from under your feet. Dizzying, overwhelming, even nauseating. Attempts to take the rough edge off some of the darker elements of his writings won't do, buy nor will a reductionistic reading that paints Nietzsche a Nazi. His most excoriating text is after all preserved for small-minded Germans.
Allen Radtke
Jul 04, 2015 Allen Radtke rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have read many selections from this volume. Most recently, On The Genealogy of Morals. It is, to put it most simply, a brilliant polemic.
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
Brent McCulley
Feb 07, 2015 Brent McCulley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy, favorites
Kaufmann's translations are invaluable, as the material in this edition from four of Nietzsche's main works have been translated by Kaufmann from the original German from scratch. I have heretofore read all of the works included in this volume save "The Case of Wagner." My reviews of the other four works are on my Goodreads site for those who are curious. I read through Kaufmann's introduction and editor's notes, as well as Peter Gay's introduction, and lastly, the commentary by Heidegger,Camus, ...more
Paul Gorby
Jul 04, 2015 Paul Gorby rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A remarkable book full of remarkable ideas. Having finished I have immediately moved on to another collection of works by Nietzsche, his thought is simply addictive.
Christie Gribschaw
Nietzsche pulls at my heartstrings. One of my favorite philosophers.
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Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (1844–1900) is 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 ide ...more
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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.” 1 likes
“Virtue is knowledge; man sins only from ignorance; he who is virtuous is happy.” In these three basic forms of optimism lies the death of tragedy.” 1 likes
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