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The Portable Nietzsche

4.18  ·  Rating Details  ·  7,166 Ratings  ·  143 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 Nietzsc
Paperback, 692 pages
Published December 1st 1994 by Penguin Classics (first published 1954)
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130th out of 687 books — 2,111 voters

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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Erik Graff
Feb 11, 2016 Erik Graff rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Jee Koh
Aug 19, 2009 Jee Koh rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 31, 2011 Matt rated it it was amazing
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
Rabbit {Paint me like one of your 19th century gothic heroines!}
I found his philosophy really fascinating.

He garnered a lot of controversy especially with the concept of the Übermensch. Which talks, from my understanding, about the superiority of the human race in the future. Some people and movements source this with the justification of eugenics, but I'm not too clear on Nietzsche views on eugenics.

In the Übermensch philosophy there is the often quoted and mostly misunderstood "God is dead." which pissed off a lot of Christians.

So Nietzsche was and is a v
Vanja Antonijevic
Jul 20, 2009 Vanja Antonijevic rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 24, 2007 Denis rated it it was ok
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.
Dec 12, 2012 Vanessa rated it it was ok
It's like reading the ramblings of a mental patient
Nov 23, 2008 Danny rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 08, 2008 Christian rated it liked it
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 really liked it
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
Mirek Kukla
Jul 15, 2012 Mirek Kukla rated it liked it
“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
Nov 16, 2008 Dylan rated it really liked it
Recommended to Dylan by: Brent
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
Mar 29, 2011 Michael rated it really liked it
Shelves: nietzsche
"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
Jun 24, 2007 James rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 26, 2008 Chris rated it liked it
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
Nov 24, 2009 Bradley rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 16, 2010 Guy M rated it it was amazing
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.
Jan 03, 2016 Nick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In a sentence: He's significantly more positive than I had initially thought.

(But still kinda grumpy.)
Brent McCulley
Nov 04, 2014 Brent McCulley rated it it was amazing
Shelves: philosophy, favorites
I have previously read, and also own, all of the complete Nietzsche texts included in this companion, but the notes and letters included in "The Portable Nietzsche" are a great way to really peak into the mind of the great existentialist of the 19th century. Also, the main reason I purchased this is simply because the Kauffman translations are invaluable.
Apr 25, 2015 Theron rated it liked it
Shelves: philosophy
-So far I've just read "The Anti-Christ" from this anthology.

-Just finished the essay "Truth and Lie in an Extra Moral Sense"
Jan 02, 2015 Cody rated it it was ok
I found this book at Mr. K's on the cheap, and the jacket indicated that the translator/compiler of this volume was trying to create a brief but thorough and complete overview of Nietzsche's works; it sounded perfect for a first delve into such a writer. The volume includes Thus spoke Zarathustra, Nietzsche Contra Wagner, Twilight of the Idols, The Antichrist, and various notes and letters Nietzsche wrote that were not all necessarily intended by him to be published. I kind of see Nietzsche as t ...more
Sep 20, 2015 Zari added it
Shelves: philosophy
"What then is truth? A mobile army of metaphors, metonyms, and anthropomorphisms -- in short, a sum of human relations, which have been enhanced, transposed, and embellished poetically and rhetorically, and which after long use seem firm, canonical, and obligatory to a people: truths are illusions about which one has forgotten that is what they are; metaphors which are worn out and without sensuous power; coins which have lost their pictures and now matter only as metal, no longer as coins.
We st
Jun 24, 2014 J rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I've already rated the larger components of this book (Twilight of the Idols, The Antichrist, and Thus Spoke Zarathustra) separately. Instead, I'd just like to complement Walter Kaufmann and The Viking Portable Library for providing such an excellent compilation at such an affordable price. What I've saved in shipping is nearly the price of two other books, and the inclusion of relevant fragments of Nietzsche's other works, as well as a letter to his sister, the fragment of his critique of Schop ...more
Apr 20, 2012 Matt rated it it was amazing
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.
Jun 26, 2009 Matthew rated it liked it
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.
Oct 13, 2014 Max rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
An offensively awful cherry-picking of out-of-context and, more egregiously, boring excerpts from a great but ideologically tainted philosopher. The editor, Walter Kaufmann, has excised anything that would potentially link Nietzsche to 20th century fascism, which, awkwardly enough, is most of Nietzsche. Instead we get a university wit who gently quipped about Christianity, loved the Jewish community, and thought Germanic nationalism ridiculous. This is not just a poor anthology, this is a blatan ...more
John Tipper
Dec 28, 2015 John Tipper rated it it was amazing
I had read many of Nietzsche's writings as an undergraduate but thought it would be interesting to return to him and see how I view him the second time around. This is a long, dense book, containing the bulk of his philosophy. I concentrated on the allegory Thus Spoke Zarathustra, which is mock biblical in many respects--Zarathustra goes into the wilderness to contemplate, has disciples, speaks in parables, poetry and commandments. All the standard Nietzschean themes are here: atheism, the overm ...more
John Morgan
Apr 01, 2015 John Morgan rated it it was amazing
This still remains the best one-volume introduction to Nietzsche that has been produced in English to date. Although Walter Kaufmann's scholarship and Nietzsche translations have long since been superseded by better versions (the recent Cambridge and Stanford editions prominent among them), they remain eminently readable, and the range of Nietzsche's work that is covered here, from his early to his late work (and you get the complete texts of "Zarathustra," "The Antichrist," "Twilight of the Ido ...more
Bill FromPA
Apr 21, 2015 Bill FromPA marked it as partially-read  ·  review of another edition
Thus Spoke Zarathustra seems on the surface a work of Orientalism: the protagonist is a Persian prophet, the setting desert, mountains, oases, and marketplaces, the supporting players include a soothsayer, dancing girls, and camels, figs and lamb are eaten.

Why this fancy dress? In his previous books Nietzsche was content to speak in the voice of a thoroughly modern 19th century scholar and thinker. Are these robes and this antique-inflected speech meant to impress us with the wisdom and power of
Aug 05, 2010 Spoust1 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: existentialism
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
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Kaufmann translations 10 35 Sep 18, 2012 04:41PM  
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  • A Kierkegaard Anthology
  • Either/Or, Part I (Kierkegaard's Writings, Volume 3)
  • Selected Letters, 1913-1965
  • What Nietzsche Really Said
  • A Mencken Chrestomathy
  • Nietzsche and Philosophy (European Perspectives)
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  • Nietzsche: A Philosophical Biography
  • Pushkin: A Biography
  • My Lai 4: A Report on the Massacre and Its Aftermath
  • The Collected Dialogues
  • The Empiricists: Locke: Concerning Human Understanding; Berkeley: Principles of Human Knowledge & 3 Dialogues; Hume: Concerning Human Understanding & Concerning Natural Religion
  • Nietzsche, Volumes 3&4: The Will to Power as Knowledge and as Metaphysics & Nihilism
  • Monsieur Proust
  • Swimming with Giants: My Encounters with Whales, Dolphins and Seals
  • The Mojo Collection: The Ultimate Music Companion
  • New Poems of Emily Dickinson
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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“Sensuality often hastens the "Growth of Love" so much that the roots remain weak and are easily torn up.” 103 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.” 37 likes
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