The Portable Nietzsche
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The Portable Nietzsche

4.17 of 5 stars 4.17  ·  rating details  ·  5,590 ratings  ·  122 reviews
The works of Friedrich Nietzsche have fascinated readers around the world ever since the publication of his first book more than a hundred years ago. As Walter Kaufmann, one of the world’s leading authorities on Nietzsche, notes in his introduction, “Few writers in any age were so full of ideas,” and few writers have been so consistently misinterpreted. The Portable Nietzs...more
Paperback, 692 pages
Published January 27th 1977 by Penguin Books (first published 1954)
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Jee Koh
Just finished reading "Thus Spoke Zarathustra," this weird hybrid of philosophy, biography, myth and poetry. The cross-breeding (or -bleeding) of genres makes the book sound like a monstrous plant from a hothouse or an alchemical tome from a monastery. It is not. It is a book conceived while striding over mountains. It is best read in the open air, as I did, much of it, in Central Park, American elms arching above the Literary Walk to form the vaulted ceiling of a cathedral.

From one perspective...more
Matt
Mar 31, 2011 Matt rated it 5 of 5 stars Recommends it for: people of all faiths
Recommended to Matt by: My brother
What does not destroy me, makes me stronger. Also, God is dead. The Portable Nietzsche is a collection of Friedrich Nietzsche's books. I was familiar with Nietzsche's blasphemous assertion before picking up the book. I was not aware of the fact that, according to Nietzsche, we killed God. He died of his pity for us. Nietzsche explains that christianity's emphasis on suffering, sin, and afterlife put it in opposition to life itself. Der Ubermann (The Overman) is Nietzsche's ideal, a final post-th...more
Erik Graff
Nov 08, 2013 Erik Graff rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Erik by: Edward Erickson
Shelves: philosophy
My first two years at Grinnell College were conflicted. I was genuinely interested in study, but felt morally compelled to devote considerable time to political work and to the study of such subjects as history and political science which contributed to doing it intelligently. Then, having been at loggerheads with the DesPlaines draft board for some time for resistance, I was notified that proceedings against me were soon to begin.

Paying my own way through school, the prospect of being pulled fr...more
Christian
Nietzsche is brilliant but not a fun or easy read. He, like many philosophers wrote essays on topics and not stories. I will argue that Zarathrustra while containing some interesting thoughts was a boring read. I am very interested by the man and his philosophical views but despise the style of essay that he wrote in.
Dustyn Hessie
Nov 14, 2011 Dustyn Hessie rated it 4 of 5 stars Recommends it for: Thinkers
Recommended to Dustyn by: The Essential Foucault
I identify more with liberals than I do conservatives - Nietzsche has not changed that! And that is exactly what makes Nietzsche so essential.

This compendium of thought is more for the avid thinker than the casual reader. God forbid the casual reader get too casual! I'm sure glad Foucault said: "I am Nietzschean," because if he hadn't I probably never would have picked any of this psychotic philosopher's material up. Ideas! Ideas! Ideas!

Zarathustra truly puts Nietzschean philosophy in flight. T...more
Mirek Kukla
Review
“The Portable Nietzsche” is a hefty collection of Nietzsche’s writings, with a bit of commentary on the translator’s part. This compilation contains three entire works: “Twilight of the Idols,” “The Antichrist,” and “Thus Spoke Zarathustra,” as well as a number of selections from his other works. The range here is certainly quite comprehensive, and gives you a good idea of what Nietzsche’s all about.

Well, what is Nietzsche all about? Sometimes, it’s hard to say. While I think I left with a...more
Vanja Antonijevic
This book is a great complement to "Basic Writings of Nietzche". The other book should be read first, however.

Please refer to my other review on Nietzche (as I do not have enough room to copy it) for a more complete analysis.

There were some additional points I wish to cover:

1. Nietzsche is very difficult to understand, and has hence been the most misinterpreted philosopher of all time.

The belief that he was a Nazi, that he is an anti-semite, and misinterpretations and misuse of his overman/sup...more
Dylan
Nov 16, 2008 Dylan rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Dylan by: Brent
Shelves: books-i-own
my main observation: Nietzsche's philosophy is extremely difficult to encapsulate. i definitely know what people mean now when they say he has no system, although i saw ever-so-many teasing hints at one!

other thoughts:
*eternal recurrence?! what's up with that?

*my reservations about his antipathy toward "equality" and his embrace of hierarchy were never completely resolved, but, based on Zarathustra, i'm relatively sure that they are primarily intended as motivational devices with benevolent in...more
Michael
"Toward a psychology of the artist. If there is to be art, if there is to be any aesthetic doing and seeing, one physiological condition is indispensable: frenzy. Frenzy must first have enhanced the excitability of the whole machine; else there is no art. All kinds of frenzy, however diversely conditioned, have the strength to accomplish this: above all, the frenzy of sexual excitement, this most ancient and original form of frenzy. Also the frenzy that follows all great cravings, all strong aff...more
James
Jun 24, 2007 James rated it 5 of 5 stars Recommends it for: Anyone, philosophers
Shelves: recently-read
For the most part, Nietzsche is not at all the philosopher that people think he is. He was the first relativist and "the last metaphysician" according to Heidegger. In many ways, Nietzsche finally said what was always implicit in Western philosophy - that truth and knowledge were simply a matter of concensus and control, and that freedom was the privelege of the rare few who could descend from the heights of man's "truth" and create their own values. His philosophy was not the sinister precursor...more
Danny
I picked this book up years ago in a secondhand bookstore because it had the full text of Thus Spoke Zarathustra. Little did I know I'd just bought the best introduction to Nietzsche that I've come across to date.

This contains excerpts and several full texts which span Nietzsche's entire writing career, which gives the person reading him for the first time a vastly more comprehensive feel for his philosophy than can be had from some other Nietzsche collections which are mostly a hodge-podge of...more
Chris
Whoa. Slave mentality. Survival of the fittest. God is dead. Hitler was inspired by his views, but Nietzsche does push you to think critically of your own beliefs and why people believe the things they do. The book is pretty dry though, so take these quotes of all you need to know of Nietzsche.

Here are some of my favorite Nietzsche quotes:
1) "What does not kill me makes me stronger."
2) "The vanity of others runs counter to our taste only when it runs counter to our vanity."
3) "There are no fact...more
Bradley
Definitely one of the greatest philosophers in the Western Tradition. Set the stage for just about every political, or philosophical trend in the 20th century. From his misinterpretation by the Nazi's (he was not an anti-semite) to his inspiration of deconstruction, post-modern thought, and just about every subsequent thought in the continental tradition besides Marxism, this book is a must for anyone who wants to begin to understand how to live life. Probably the greatest psychologist that has...more
Guy M
Considering the fact that Kaufmann is an exemplary Nietzsche scholar, the commentary here is sorely disappointing; though I suppose this can be attributed to the nature of the compilation itself. Otherwise, this is a great place to go for most of Nietzsche's thought wrapped into one volume. The inclusion of his magnificently insightful notebooks and lesser known, albeit incredibly significant pieces ("Truth and Lie in an Extramoral Sense", etc) make this worthy as well.
Denis
I didn't finish it. Life is too short. His mother should have made him go play outside.

Last night I couldn't sleep. I went to the porch and had a smoke. A hare came zipping across my driveway and around the corner of the house. My cat spotted it, jumped off the window sill and rushed to the storm door where he bumped his head against the still closed window. Had Nietzsche been there he would have laughed, too, I just know it.
Matt
A good, concise introduction to Nietzsche and his philosophy, from a commentator who actually understands his frequently misinterpreted writings. It's not hard to see why he has had such an influence on modern and post-modern philosophy. Essential reading for anybody with philosophical aptitude.
Matthew
Wow this guy is twisted, but has a lot of good perspectives. He's a kind of high colonic for certain superstitions and emotional constipation. Maybe an over-correction but sometimes thats what a species needs.
Jaylene
Feb 12, 2011 Jaylene is currently reading it
A lot more interesting than I thought it would be and not at all what I had been led to think Nietzsche was like.
Vanessa
It's like reading the ramblings of a mental patient
Spoust1
Walter Kaufmann is the man responsible for Nietzsche studies in the English speaking world, and the collection he edited of Nietzsche's writings is outstanding. The book has several complete works: "Thus Spoke Zarathustra," Nietzsche's opus about the philosopher-king character Zarathustra; "Antichrist" and "Twilight of the Idols," both shorter, more mature works; "Ecce Homo," Nietzsche's exceedingly narcissistic study on himself; and "Nietzsche Contra Wagner," which is self-explanatory. The book...more
Greg
This is a nice pocket-sized collection of Nietzsche's writings, the range of which spans most of his productive life. I think it's been in print for decades at this point. Included are the complete texts of Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Twilight of the Idols, The Antichrist, and Nietzsche Contra Wagner, all of which Kaufmann considers to be representative of Nietzsche's thought. Also included are numerous selections from his other books, as well as select letters and other fragments from his notebooks...more
Paul Schulzetenberg
There's a lot to review here. To start with, there's the original writing by Nietzsche, including four complete works many excerpts from his other works and letters. There's also the translation from German to English, and the curatorial choices of inclusion, both by Kaufmann. This is a great cohesive package. Having started from nothing before reading this volume, I now feel like I have a strong overview of Nietzsche. That's saying a lot for a single volume.

This volume begins with quotes and le...more
Bruce
Published about fifty years ago and coordinated by the Nietzsche scholar, Walter Kaufmann, this is an excellent introduction to the philosopher and his writings. It contains four works in their entirety: Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Twilight of the Idols, The Antichrist, and Nietzsche Contra Wagner. In addition, Kaufman has included portions of many of Nietzsche’s other works. The commentary is helpful; Nietzsche does not really present a formal and structured philosophy so much as philosophical obse...more
David
Without exploring the depths and meanings of Nietzsche's philosophy, I will keep this review succinct. This was my introduction to the writings of Nietzsche, and I found it to be profoundly insightful, witty, clever, eloquent; and at times obtuse, long-winded, and cynical; but undeniably brilliant. Nietzsche explores a vast array of topics, from war and friendship to Christianity and his seeming infatuation with dance.

Editor and translator Walter Kaufmann also provides an excellent preface and i...more
Joe
Comment:

Buy this for the four complete works: Zarathustra, Twilight, Antichrist, and the work on Wagner - everything else is almost worthless. Kaufmann's translations are very good - but the idea that you can throw together whatever snippets you want of Nietzsche! Well, let's be charitable and say that was the publishers Idea. Another problem, and this is a calamity if you intend to study the four complete works, there is no index to any of them. Absurd! Also, the brief prefaces are not anything...more
Alex K.
Apr 07, 2007 Alex K. rated it 5 of 5 stars Recommends it for: Thinkers
Shelves: always-reading
This is a great overview of Nietzsche and his views on the world and society. It includes some of the more important pieces of his writing, while also including some pieces of letters and minor writing. It is a good book which you can just flip around and read different passages and ponder what he meant, and how it was applied throughout history.

Some of the writing shows its dating of course. Nietzsche is obessessed with the Greeks of classical times. He always seems to complain about the newly...more
Philip
He says some interesting things in the short quotes part of the book. Overall though the tone and subject matters of much of his writings in this book makes him sound like a whiny teenage philosopher that has some issues with females. The book "Thus Spoke Zathura" raises some interesting points and is done in a such a tone that makes it seem authoritative on the issues, but it lacks enough logical development to reach those conclusions. Maybe it is because some of these ideas are much more devel...more
Edward Moran
The Antichrist(in this anthology) is the best book on Christ I've ever read. Christ as he was without all the embellishments of his followers.
Veach Glines
What a wonderful thinker - what a bad self-editor. Translation from German must be hard when philosophy is the subject. Nietzsche made it harder by using words that held dual meanings. Like saying: Crossing the stream of consciousness without a paddle will cause your imaginary boots to fill up with...

And the translator has to decide how to say what has been written because the imaginary boots MAY be read as: boots in your imagination; or imagined boots; or mentally fabricated footwear; or (you g...more
Andrew Russell
The collection is wonderful and amongst all the translations I've come across Walter Kaufmann's translations have always been my favorite.

My only complaint about the book is that it is selections from various works rather than the complete works. I've read in other Nietzsche translations and collections that Kaufmann did not originally give much care to these particular works and that may thus be why he only provided selections. With that in mind I'd recommend this book as a good overview or in...more
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Kaufmann translations 10 28 Sep 18, 2012 04:41PM  
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1938
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

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“Sensuality often hastens the "Growth of Love" so much that the roots remain weak and are easily torn up.” 86 likes
“God is dead, but considering the state the species man is in, there will perhaps be caves, for ages yet, in which his shadow will be shown.” 33 likes
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