Thus Spake Zarathustra

Also sprach Zarathustra

Thus Spoke Zarathustra: A Book for All and None (German: Also sprach Zarathustra: Ein Buch für Alle und Keinen, also translated as Thus Spake Zarathustra) is a philosophical novel by German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, composed in four parts between 1883 and 1885 and published between 1883 and 1891. Much of the work deals with ideas such as the “eternal recurrence of the same”, the parable on the “death of God”, and the “prophecy” of the Übermensch, which were first introduced in The Gay Science. (Wikipedia)

Text from this book:

1. The Child With the Mirror Thereupon Zarathustra went back into the mountains again and to the solitude of his cave and withdrew from human beings: waiting like a sower who has cast forth his seed. But his soul became full of impatience and desire for those whom he loved: for he still had a great deal to give them. This indeed is what is hardest: out of love to close the open hand and to preserve one’s modesty as a bestower.
Thus months and years passed by for the lonely one; but his wisdom grew and caused him pain with its fullness.
One morning, however, he awoke well before dawn of morning, lay on his pallet for a long time in thought, and spoke at last to his heart:
‘Why was I so frightened in my dream that I awoke? Did a child not come to me carrying a mirror?
‘ “O Zarathustra”–the child said to me–“Look at yourself in the mirror!”
‘But when I looked in the mirror I cried out, and my heart was shaken: for it was not myself that I saw there, but a Devil’s grimace and mocking laughter.
‘Verily, all too well do I understand the dream’s omen and admonition: my teaching is in danger, and weeds would be called wheat!
‘My enemies have grown powerful and have distorted the image of my teaching, such that my dearest ones must be ashamed of the gifts I have given them.
‘My friends are lost to me; the hour has come for me to seek my lost ones!’–
With these words Zarathustra sprang up, but not like one who is anxious and gasps for air, but rather like a seer and singer who is overtaken by the spirit. Amazed, his eagle and his serpent looked upon him: for like dawn of morning an imminent happiness lay upon his countenance.


zarathustra back coverA tremendously influential philosophical work of the late nineteenth century, Thus Spake Zarathustra is also a literary masterpiece by one of the most important thinkers of modern times. In it, the ancient Persian religious leader Zarathustra (or Zoroaster) serves as the voice for Friedrich Nietzsche’s views, which include the introduction of the controversial doctrine of the Übermensch, or “superman.”Although later perverted by Nazi propagandists, the Übermensch was conceived by Nietzsche to designate the ultimate goal of human existence as the achievement of greatness of will and being. He was convinced that the individual, instead of resigning himself to the weakness of being human and worshipping perfection only possible in the next world (at least in the Christian view), should try to perfect himself during his earthly existence, and transcend the limitations of conventional morality. By doing so, the Übermensch would emerge victorious, standing in stark contrast to “the last man” — an uncreative conformist and complacent hedonist who embodies Nietzsche’s critique of modern civilization, morality, and the Christian religion.Written in a passionate, quasi-biblical style, Thus Spake Zarathustra is daring in form and filled with provocative, thought-provoking concepts. Today, the work is regarded as a forerunner of modern existentialist thought, a book that has provoked and stimulated students of philosophy and literature for more than 100 years.

Thus spoke Zarathustra is the classic full text work by Friedrich Nietzsche. The book is considered among his most well-known and important works. The book is a dense and esoteric treatise on philosophy and philosophy, featuring as a fictionalized prophet descending from his recluse to mankind, Zarathustra. Thus spoke Zarathustra also contains the famous dictum “God is dead”

The profoundest book there is, born from the innermost richness of truth, an inexhaustible well into which no bucket descends without coming up with gold and goodness.’

zarathustra back cover2First published between 1883 and 1891, this philosophical novel is written in a distinct and original style which combines dialogue with verse. It established Nietzsche as a bold and original thinker; a reputation that would only be enhanced by later works such as Beyond Good and Evil. Thus Spoke Zarathustra has several recurring themes, placing the main character – the creator of one of the first monotheistic faiths – in a story which deals with ideas such as the “eternal recurrence of the same”, the parable on the “death of God”, and the “prophecy” of the Übermensch. This combination proved potent in philosophic circles, with the text passionately discussed in academic circles to this day.

Thus Spoke Zarathustra (1885) was Nietzsche’s own favourite among all his books and has proved to be his most popular, having sold millions of copies in many different languages. In it he addresses the problem of how to live a fulfilling life in a world without meaning, in the aftermath of ‘the death of God’. Nietzsche’s solution lies in the idea of eternal recurrence which he calls ‘the highest formula of affirmation that can ever be attained’. A successful engagement with this profoundly Dionysian idea enables us to choose clearly among the myriad possibilities that existence offers, and thereby to affirm every moment of our lives with others on this ‘sacred’ earth.

zarathustra back cover3Thus Spoke Zarathustra: A Book for Everyone and No One

Friedrich NIETZSCHE (1844 – 1900), translated by Thomas COMMON (1850 – 1919)

Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (1844–1900) was a nineteenth-century German philosopher. He wrote critical texts on religion, morality, contemporary culture, philosophy and science, using a distinctive German language style and displaying a fondness for aphorism. Nietzsche’s influence remains substantial within and beyond philosophy, notably in existentialism and postmodernism.

Thus Spake Zarathustra (Also sprach Zarathustra), is a work composed in four parts between 1883 and 1885. Much of the work deals with ideas such as the “eternal recurrence of the same”, the parable on the “death of God”, and the “prophecy” of the Overman, which were first introduced in The Gay Science. Described by Nietzsche himself as “the deepest ever written”, the book is a dense and esoteric treatise on philosophy and morality, featuring as protagonist a fictionalized Zarathustra. A central irony of the text is that the style of the Bible is used by Nietzsche to present ideas of his which fundamentally oppose Judaeo-Christian morality and tradition.


Reading Thus Spake Zarathustra

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