Sunday, March 8, 2009
What are your favorite books by Nietzsche?
By reader demand, here's a new poll with which to have some fun. This one I'm quite curious to see the results.
Posted by Brian Leiter at 8:58 AM
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Within the next few years, I wouldn't be surprised to see Zarathustra rise markedly in rank owing to Parkes' wonderful Oxford UP translation (ISBN: 0199537097).
I'm curious if there's any way to see how much opinions varied on any given work. I put Zarathustra first, but I wouldn't be surprised if opinions on it diverged wildly.
Neil, click at the bottom of the result the icon for "show details" or something like that--then scroll down to ballott reports, and you can see the distribution of ranks.
Rob, I've not had a chance to examine the Parkes translation, but I doubt even one superior to Kaufmann's is going to have much effect. If folks starting writing books on Zarathustra, as they have on the Genealogy, that might change things.
Yes, I may be merely projecting my gratitude to Parkes for finally awakening me to an appreciation of TSZ approximating the superlatives Nietzsche himself showers upon it in Ecce Homo, instead of grudgingly relying on them at a tepid remove.
For whatever it's worth (not much), I ranked GM first (since it seems to me the most consummate, in a sui generis kind of way), closely followed by TSZ (which, despite its central importance to the "yea-saying" dimension of his thought, and like GM holds so much that remains unplumbed, I think could have been improved by some trimming), and then BGE (which, though it apparently gathers the widest breadth of his mature engagements with the philosophical tradition and of his mature critiques of modern culture, is marred, it seems to me, by recurring flirtations with the Falsification-Thesis in the first two chapters, rendering it a less than consummate work [I hope to be corrected on this point by the upcoming Clark/Dudrick book]). The rest I ranked in groups, by reverse chronology.
I hope others will share their rankings and the motivation behind them.
Ecce Homo and Twilight of the Idols are somewhat underrated, although I expected such results, though I'm very surprised to see The Will to Power at the very bottom. TI was my first choice.
I was sorry to not see _The Use and Abuse of History_ (or whatever it's called these days- sometimes "the advantages and disadvantages of history for life" or something.) It's small, but it's one of Nietzsche's books I've found most useful and interesting.
Matt: that essay is included in the Untimely Meditations. Rob: I put TSZ third (behind TI and BGE), mostly out of respect for the achievement -- we're all still figuring out how get hold of it. I put TI at #1 just because of its wonderful ratio of words to dynamite.
Thanks Charlie- I didn't know that. I'd read it, and only ever seen it, published on its own.
The Gay Science is the clearest, most comprehensive, and balanced presentation of his ideas. It is the culmination of his 'aphoristic' period and contains the seeds of all that followed.
My favourites would probably be BGE and Daybreak. I think GM is a very great book, but privileged by many academics for the form rather than content (although they often claim the opposite). I think TSZ is a noble failure. I think, as Nietzsche himself said, that Schopenhauer as Educator, whatever its strictly "philosophical" status, is indispensable for trying to really understand him.
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