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The Birth of Tragedy and Other Writings (History of Philosophy)

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  344 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
The Birth of Tragedy is one of the seminal philosophical works of the modern period. The theories developed in this relatively short text have had a profound influence on the philosophy, literature, music and politics of the twentieth century. This edition presents a new translation by Ronald Speirs and an introduction by Raymond Geuss that sets the work in its historical ...more
paperback, 204 pages
Published April 22nd 1999 by Cambridge University Press
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Apr 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mythology
This was my first exposure to Nietzsche. I really enjoyed it. He really scared me with his preface (written 16 years after original publication). He claimed his book was poorly written and developed. I thoroughly enjoyed it though. I didn't read the other 2 short writings, but I read all of "The Birth of Tragedy." The timing is perfect. Greek tragedy is fresh in my mind from my Greek course in the fall, and I'm just about to teach Greek tragedy in my World Lit class!
When I read the very first p
Fyza Jazra
Nov 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: philosophy
Before I start the review I just want to say that it felt great to finally read Nietzsche after a long time!

'Birth of Tragedy', written in 1871, is Nietzsche's first book, that I think should have been titled 'Rebirth of Tragedy'. It is also a critic of reason, the scientific, the theoretic, and the Socratic; and is an ode to music and specifically Wagner.

Nietzsche wants humanity to be united again and break away from the concept of individualization; and for this to happen, the Apollonian and
Theresa Leone Davidson
Aug 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing
The Greeks, Nietzsche argues, were in the period of their greatest achievements thoroughly pessimistic but found in artistic creativity the only possible justification for existence. An interesting premise, to say the least: art and its creation the reason for living. Anyway, as a result of this belief they produced Greek tragedy, what many consider the noblest affirmation of human life. Nietzsche goes on to argue that the later development of Greek culture, particularly the influence of Socrate ...more
Apr 17, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: philosophy, lit-crit
The Birth of Tragedy was Nietzsche's first published book, and it shows. It is passionate, flamboyant, and highly creative, but it lacks structure. His arguments are not always well supported (particularly his conjectures about ancient Greek music) but his core ideas still come alive. The Apolline-Dionysian dichotomy is a powerful distinction, and one that still reverberates; the tension between mythology/theology and science is alive and well; and his aesthetic critique of music is fascinating. ...more
Qasim Zafar
Mar 17, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: philosophy


As a young man Nietzsche had shown great academic mastery of proven himself to be very academically gifted in philology and the Greek classics. His talents earned him a professorship at the University of Basel while still in his mid-twenties. Because of this, and because his talents were applauded by many of the prominent academics at UB, the publication of this book was highly anticipated. However when it was finally published, no-one knew what to make of it. It wasn't clea
emily Ying
May 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
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Staci Wigton
Mar 05, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: academic-school
Nietzsche wrote this in attempt for cultural renewal in Germany which he saw as declining parallel to that of the classical Greeks. He and Marx agreed that Greek antiquity was the highest embodiment of art because it incorporated both Dionysian and Apollonian forces that illustrate the human condition. Dionysian is seen as both a creative and destructive force which Nietzsche highly esteems and believes culture advancement arises from, while Apollonian is more structuring and contemplative, refl ...more
Michel Poiccard
Mar 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
For those who first started to read Nietzsche with his later books like me, this first work would seem a bit contradictory by operating in the discourse of German Idealism and using dialectics as a thought paradigm. It was interesting for me when I encountered with acounts of Kant and Schopenhauer as people who launched an assault on western metaphysics, but then again Nietzsche was not untrue for it is clear that eventhough Kant's organon was still a metapysical and classisist study of metaphys ...more
Steven Rhodes
Dec 07, 2011 rated it it was ok
BORING AS FUCK; Not his best work by far, as he himself says:

"I repeat: I find it an impossible book today. I declare that it is badly written, clumsy, embarrassing, with a rage for imagery and confused in its imagery, emotional, here and there sugary to the point of effeminacy, uneven in pace, lacking the will to logical cleanliness, very convinced and therefore to arrogant to prove its assertions, mistrustful even of the propriety of proving things, a book for the arrogant and w
Early Nietzsche, not his best. The "Attempt at Self-Criticism" helps justify some absurd and extreme characterizations of Euripides and Sophocles, and to temper, despite his efforts to avoid it, the heavy dose of German Romanticism.

Ha ha ha I am an asshole. Got your attention? James and Cammy - when you in the NC?
Aug 06, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: classiclit
Okay, I never quite finished reading this book, but I still think about the parts that I have read a lot, like the idea of a Dionysian madness or the idea that tragedy is the reaction of human beings who have seen the Abyss. I really need to finish reading this book... (Clasic lit; 150+ pages)
Nigel Dawson
Apr 11, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: philosophy
The Birth of Tragedy is written in an over-the-top style and is nowhere nearly as well-written, engaging or as powerful as his later writings. Having said that, this book is invaluable for understanding Nietzschean thought as many of his most famous concepts find their genesis in these pages.
Mar 26, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those who are tormented with existential questions
This book has really changed my life. One needs a strong background in ancient greek philosophy to full understand this work.
Feb 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a strange book. I was supposedly required to read it because it held 'the seeds' of his later ideas, but I couldn't find any.
Neil Delaney
Jul 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Considering using this book together with the Gorgias as supplements to my intro to philosophy. Rereading. I remember really enjoying the book when I read it in our CIV course at Stanford.
Jan 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nietzsche, philosophy
One of two separate translations of this work I love.
Oct 02, 2007 added it
Ameena Higgins
he may have gone crazy at the end of his life, but the crazies are the genius'! you just gotta crack the codes they subtley encrypt..
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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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