Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Gay Science: with a Prelude in Rhymes and an Appendix of Songs” as Want to Read:
The Gay Science: with a Prelude in Rhymes and an Appendix of Songs
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Gay Science: with a Prelude in Rhymes and an Appendix of Songs

4.24  ·  Rating Details  ·  8,109 Ratings  ·  238 Reviews
Nietzsche called The Gay Science "the most personal of all my books." It was here that he first proclaimed the death of God -- to which a large part of the book is devoted -- and his doctrine of the eternal recurrence.

Walter Kaufmann's commentary, with its many quotations from previously untranslated letters, brings to life Nietzsche as a human being and illuminates his ph
Mass Market Paperback, Vintage Books, 398 pages
Published January 12th 1974 by Random House (first published 1882)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Gay Science, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Gay Science

Being and Time by Martin HeideggerCritique of Pure Reason by Immanuel KantThus Spoke Zarathustra by Friedrich NietzscheThe Republic by PlatoPhenomenology of Spirit by Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
Best Philosophy Book
52nd out of 675 books — 874 voters
The Invention of Religion by Alexander DrakeThe Portable Nietzsche by Friedrich NietzscheThe Invention of Christianity by Alexander DrakeThe Jesus Mysteries by Timothy FrekeBeyond Good and Evil by Friedrich Nietzsche
Atheism: Most Profund Works on Disbelief
11th out of 90 books — 60 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Zawn Villines
Jan 19, 2011 Zawn Villines rated it really liked it
Shelves: philosophy
If you read Nietzsche while not in the midst of some variety of emo existential crisis, Nietzsche is hilarious and insightful. If, however, you choose to read Nietzsche in high school in order to be counter-culture, odds are good Nietzsche will temporarily turn you into a horrible, pompous ass. Nietzsche is the first philosopher I ever read; I stole The Gay Science from my cousin's book shelf when I was nine because I wanted to read "what smart people read." Ever since then, Nietzsche and I have ...more
Jul 15, 2013 Emma rated it really liked it
What makes us heroic? - confronting simultaneously our supreme suffering and our supreme hope. - Nietzsche, The Gay Science

Aphorisms! Tons of 'em! All in a seemingly random miscellaneous structure. Important epistemological questions are asked, profound observations are made and Nietzsche's key themes are introduced.

The aphorisms are anywhere from one sentence to several paragraphs in length and each has a title and number, with the original German on the opposite page. They kinda feel off-the-
May 30, 2015 Jonfaith rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Seemita Pooja
Recommended to Jonfaith by: see
Shelves: theory
For believe me! — the secret for harvesting from existence the greatest fruitfulness and the greatest enjoyment is: to live dangerously! Build your cities on the slopes of Vesuvius! Send your ships into uncharted seas! Live at war with your peers and yourselves! Be robbers and conquerors as long as you cannot be rulers and possessors, you seekers of knowledge! Soon the age will be past when you could be content to live hidden in forests like shy deer!

While this wasn't my point of departure into
Dec 28, 2010 Martin rated it it was amazing
"What, if some day or night a demon were to steal after you in your loneliest loneliness and say to you:
"This life as you now live it and have lived it, you will have to live once more and innumerable times more; and there will be nothing new in it, but every pain and every joy and every thought and sigh and everything unutterably small or great in your life will have to return to you, all in the same succession and sequence—even this spider and this moonlight between the trees, and even this m
Jul 09, 2008 Summer rated it it was amazing
Epic Nietzsche. My favorite Nietzsche text (and Nietzsche is my most favorite thinking creature of all time, so this means a lot) - somehow managing to be provocative, meditative, accessible, and entertaining in one stroke! One of those rare books that you can actually pick up, flip to any page, and read, without wondering all that much about what came before. I utilized many ideas presented in this book as jumping off points in my master's thesis, and were it not for the constrictions of time, ...more
Marts  (Thinker)
The Joyful Wisdom or the Gay Science, is to me, a bit different from the other Nietzsche books I've read. The general philosophies of the writer are present yet the volume creates in the reader a sense of power, fulfilment, achievement... Upon all he postulates are reasons to overcome such and conquer.

Here he also presents his philosophy, 'God is Dead', as stated in section 108:
After Buddha was dead, people
showed his shadow for centuries afterwards in a
cave,—an immense frightful shadow. God is d

So far in my philosophical venture into the works of Friedrich Nietzsche, I have read both this work and his Beyond Good and Evil. However, while I gave Beyond Good and Evil 3 stars, I feel that this is a better work academically and so give it the higher 4 star rating. In this The Gay Science, many of Nietzsche's key ideas come together in a much clearer manner, and it is easier to understand his views on concepts I feel he lacks more ignorance (religions for instance).

The title of this work st
Dec 30, 2013 David marked it as eventually-read
Nov 10, 2011 Mike rated it it was amazing
Another book that doesn't need a review and probably shouldn't be reviewed by anyone today (one wonders if Nietzsche would look at the terrain of the world today and wonder if his "free spirits" and "philosophers the day after tomorrow" would ever arrive), but here it is! We didn't read this back in the seminar I took in college, focusing more on his other "major" works. But I think I like this one best of all, not only for its levity and joy, but because it contains kernels of all of his major ...more
Gilgamesh  Nabeel
Oct 23, 2014 Gilgamesh Nabeel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
هو أول كتاب متكامل أقرأه لنيتشه، فقد قرأت في السابق كتابا عن فلسفته بصورة عامّة وقد رأيت في الكثير من التحامل وقلّة الحياديّة. في هذا الكتاب عشقت أشعار نيتشه وعباراته القصيرة بشكل يفوق ما وجدته في نثره، أراه يبرع في التعبير عن أفكاره بإيجاز وإقتضاب.

يناقش الكتاب الفلسفات المختلفة كهيغل وكانط وأبيقور وغيرها من مدارس الفلسفة اليونانيّة، يتكلّم عن الموسيقى، عن فاغنر وروسّيني وغيرهم، عن اللغة الألمانية وإسم الشعب الألماني، عن الفن في كثير من المواضع، عن الممثّلين والنساء واليهود. يناقش إغتراب المفكّ

This is one of those very-hard-to-categorize books. Poor Fred really did go to the outer limits of what could be possible, what can be thought, how far humans could go morally, aesthetically, etc.

Forget the stoned, peach fuzz'd, wild-eyed undergrad or high school kid with bad breath who reads this stuff all day and thinks he's a nascent ubermensch.

Nietzsche's the real deal and this is one of the books that sort of shows him stretching himself as far as he can. It's actually almost kind of a
May 01, 2008 Catherine rated it liked it
While certain parts of this book are overtly misogynistic and anti-Semitic, I appreciate some of his writings on artistic creation and seeking knowledge. The best part of my experience with this book was the looks I would get from other people while I was reading it on the train. People don't quite know what to do with someone who reads Nietzsche in his or her spare time.
John Hamer
Mar 07, 2013 John Hamer rated it it was amazing
I go back to this book again and again, but I've yet to plumb its depths or exhaust its riches. You don't read Nietzsche the way the pious read holy books; you read him the way tired undergraduates drink Red Bull. Reading Nietzsche is like taking a bolt of lightning to the head; it's like a bucket of ice cold water to the face first thing in the morning. Nietzsche forces you to wake up and think. He can make you mad sometimes. Really mad. He can make you laugh out loud. And he can make you cry.
Sam K
Aug 27, 2012 Sam K rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
آه يا نيتشه العظيم! بلا إذعان أو أمل يكتب دون حماسة : ''إنكم لا تعرفون إطلاقا ما يتفق لكم أن تعيشوه، تهرولون كما لو أن الوجود أسكركم، وإن سقطتم أسفل السلم من حين لآخر. لكن أعضاءكم تبقى سالمة بفضل سكركم، جد واهنة هي عضلاتكم وجد معتمة هي رأسكم لكي تحسوا مثلنا بصلابة هذه الدرجات !! أن نحيا، بالنسبة لنا هو في غاية المخاطرة: فنحن من زجاج ـ وويل لنا عند أدنى صدمة! سقطة واحدة وتكون نهاية كل شيء''.
Jun 19, 2015 Asmaa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
العلم المرح هو مجموعه من الخواطر التي حاول نيتشه بلوفها كما فعل من قبل في هكذا تكلم زرادشت ، وربما الفارق ان هكذا تكلم زرادشت قد اصتبغ بنوع من القداسه حين يرويها نيشته علي عكس الافكار التي تأخذ طابه النصائح او الخواطر المنتقاه هنا ، رغم ان جميعها يناقش الحياه بشكل عام من حساسيه مفرطه للفلسفه او بؤس الحياه او حتي الخرافي ورجل الدين، فان نيتشه بذل مجهود في اكتشاف اسرار الاخرين حين يملكون مقدارا من السعاد وحين يملكون نفس القدر من التعاسه ، عند شعورهم بالحب وافتقارهم اليه وهروبهم حتي منه عندما يشعرو ...more
Aug 31, 2007 Kit rated it it was amazing
Shelves: recentlyread
5 stars, but only if you skip the poetry.
Pierre E. Loignon
Après le sobre et abrasif « Humain...trop humain » que Nietzsche dicte à Peter Gast au cours des sombres jours qui suivent sa rupture avec son idole Wagner et au cours desquels il est particulièrement atteint par le mal qui le rongera désormais, l’espérance d’une rémission a bien fini par se faire sentir et, de son esprit convalescent, l’« Aurore » fragile a surgie avec légèreté, esquissant d’une manière encore indéterminée de sublimes possibilités à développer.
Et nous voilà soudain devant « Le
Nov 09, 2011 David rated it it was ok
Rather than laying out a point and following it with arguments and counter arguments, Nietzsche makes declarations about the world and leaves you to argue for or against him. Even though this book is full of intentional contradictions it does cause the reader to think more about the world around them. However it fails to make a point. Normal philosophy desires to find a conclusion, and from this conclusion the reader is left to think about what was said, but this book only says things to think a ...more
Mar 14, 2008 Jake rated it it was amazing
I read this book during slack time in medic school—probably not the wisest choice, but I did manage to convince a few hecklers to read it and to give it a try. They all reported good results with the few sections they read.

The book, to me, serves as a revaluation of how one could live his life—the invention of a pesudo Zorba the Buddha: completely in love with life, fascinated that he exists at all, yet completely happy to accept that he can only know Life in relation to his own Life.

It is, howe
Mar 26, 2009 Dan rated it liked it
Shelves: philosophy
A book of aphorisms and short passages, most of them less than a page long, commenting on a number of things including: philosophy, art, morality, religion and psychology. Includes the earliest appearances of two ideas associated with Nietzsche’s philosophy: the death of God and the doctrine of the Eternal Return (the notion that everything that happens, happens again and again in the exactly the same way, to infinity).
Nov 24, 2007 Nick rated it it was amazing
Nietzsche at his best- his most fun, probing, quoteable, lucid, and aphoristic book(if my memory serves me well), and among the least psychotic- any pretentious and self-important 19-year old ought to love this book, the silly mustache notwithstanding. When they get older, though they'll be a bit embarrassed, they should continue to love it; after all, there's quite a bit to be said for being self-important and 19.
Rosa Ramôa
Jun 26, 2015 Rosa Ramôa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"A Vida não me Desapontou

Não, a vida não me desapontou! Pelo contrário, todos os anos a acho melhor, mais desejável, mais misteriosa... desde o dia em que vejo a mim a grande libertadora, a ideia de que a vida podia ser experiência para aqueles que procuram saber, e não dever, fatalidade, duplicidade!... Quanto ao próprio conhecimento, seja ele para outros aquilo que quiser, um leito de repouso, ou o caminho para um leito de repouso, ou distracção ou vagabundagem, para mim é um mundo de perigos,
Dec 16, 2012 Christopher rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have a spent a year studying this book and after all that effort I feel at once that I know less and that my life has been enriched - interesting; not unlike reading Kierkegaard and his pseudonyms. If you want the challenge of reading a difficult book rich in ideas, filled with images, and vibrant in its lust for life - then, read this book.
Kyle van Oosterum
Jun 14, 2015 Kyle van Oosterum rated it really liked it
Nietzsche's excess is a forgivable fault since it is balanced out by his wisdom. "The Gay Science" is overflowing with a staggering 383 aphorisms, some tainted by a maudlin tone and others teeming with joyfulness. He discusses multifarious issues and thoughts reflectively and intimately.

His prologue is composed of some highly personal poems and it all escalates from there. To Nietzsche, all moral sentiments and ideas are hogwash and he blatantly claims: "Morality is the herd-instinct in the indi
Oct 08, 2014 Thrixy rated it it was amazing
The Gay Science mirrors the preoccupation of Nietzsche’s brilliant mind. It is unquestionably his most personal work. Nietzsche covered religion, art, speech, feminism, politics, heresy, witchcraft, sex, pain, writing and all of which can be related to his other books and letters.

The premise is densely written and not so gay after all. It has to be chewed over and over before it can be digested. Some passages left me bewildered, even after second or third reading. And each time I re-read those p
Gilgamesh Nabeel
Feb 06, 2015 Gilgamesh Nabeel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy

هو أول كتاب متكامل أقرأه لنيتشه، فقد قرأت في السابق كتابا عن فلسفته بصورة عامّة وقد رأيت في الكثير من التحامل وقلّة الحياديّة. في هذا الكتاب عشقت أشعار نيتشه وعباراته القصيرة بشكل يفوق ما وجدته في نثره، أراه يبرع في التعبير عن أفكاره بإيجاز وإقتضاب.

يناقش الكتاب الفلسفات المختلفة كهيغل وكانط وأبيقور وغيرها من مدارس الفلسفة اليونانيّة، يتكلّم عن الموسيقى، عن فاغنر وروسّيني وغيرهم، عن اللغة الألمانية وإسم الشعب الألماني، عن الفن في كثير من المواضع، عن الممثّلين والنساء واليهود. يناقش إغتراب المفكّ
Oct 06, 2008 Mr. rated it it was amazing
Nietzsche's Die Froliche Wissenschaft may be a great and brilliant book precisely because it is impossible to say exactly what it is about. On the one hand, we are given the Nietzsche who repudiates the assumptions of Christian morality and German Nationalism, as well as the familiar Nietzsche who rejects dogmatism and rationalism, but we are also given an unusual Nietzsche who discusses the tremendous potential of the theoretical and physical sciences. There are also profound discussions on wom ...more
Joseph Sverker
This is no doubt a brilliant book by a brilliant thinker. It is very obvious that Nietzsche does not like neither Plato, nor Christianity in this book, as if that would be any news. He stands for quite a unique brand of atheism though since he is able to criticize the "mainstream" atheist who simply thinks that s/he does not believe in God, but is not aware of the heritage of Christianity that that person is still following. Nietzsche takes the utilitarians as an example. Why is it a virtue with ...more
Jan 05, 2014 Chris rated it really liked it
My view of Nietzche’s thinking rose considerably after reading “The Gay Science.” It is a much better work than “Twilight of the Idols” because Nietzsche actually constructs his own vision of an ideal morality, rather than merely attempting to destroy the Christian vision. Nietzsche’s vivid metaphors make the book as gripping as philosophy can be: “We have left the land and have embarked. We have burned our bridges behind us—indeed, we have gone father and destroyed the land behind us. Now, litt ...more
Nate Markham
May 31, 2012 Nate Markham rated it it was amazing
Reading this book makes you feel like Indiana Jones on an adventure in the remains of a half burned ancient library. This seemed to be written for his readers, it is full of aside comments, inside jokes, and personal references to his own life, namely his sadness over a recent lost love and friendship. He said it is his most personal book. I don't think it is his best work, but it might be my favorite... I read the Cambridge translation not the Kaufman as shown here.

He uses allusion to tie in th
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Goodreads Librari...: Issues with ASIN: B004WLCM1S 5 28 Apr 10, 2013 12:15PM  
حکمت شادان 1 27 Jan 10, 2009 01:11PM  
  • Nietzsche and Philosophy (European Perspectives)
  • Nietzsche: Philosopher, Psychologist, Antichrist
  • Spurs: Nietzsche's Styles/Eperons: Les Styles de Nietzsche
  • Fear and Trembling/Repetition (Kierkegaard's Writings, Volume 6)
  • Poetry, Language, Thought
  • On Nietzsche
  • Introduction to the Reading of Hegel: Lectures on the Phenomenology of Spirit
  • Phenomenology of Spirit
  • Culture and Value
  • Practical Philosophy
  • Cartesian Meditations: An Introduction to Phenomenology
  • The World as Will and Representation, Vol 1
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
More about Friedrich Nietzsche...

Share This Book

“What, if some day or night a demon were to steal after you into your loneliest loneliness and say to you: 'This life as you now live it and have lived it, you will have to live once more and innumerable times more' ... Would you not throw yourself down and gnash your teeth and curse the demon who spoke thus? Or have you once experienced a tremendous moment when you would have answered him: 'You are a god and never have I heard anything more divine.” 1256 likes
“Love, too, has to be learned.” 100 likes
More quotes…