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The Birth Of Tragedy

by Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche, Trans. By Ian C. Johnston

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Book Description
A remarkable 19th-century work of philosophy. Nietzsche discusses history of the Greek tragedy and comments on the intellectual conflict between the Dionysian and the Apollonian. He asserts that life always involves an eternal struggle between the right and the wrong. The Birth of Tragedy is one of the greatest works of criticism ever written.

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Whatever might have been be the basis for this dubious book, it must have been a question of the utmost importance and charm, as well as a deeply personal one. Testimony to that effect is the time in which it arose (in spite of which it arose), that disturbing era of the Franco-Prussian war of 1870-71. While the thunderclap of the Battle of Worth was reverberating across Europe, the meditative lover of enigmas whose lot it was to father this book sat somewhere in a corner of the Alps, extremely reflective and perplexed (thus simultaneously very distressed and carefree) and wrote down his thoughts concerning the Greeks, the kernel of that odd and difficult book to which this later preface (or postscript) should be dedicated. Please Note: This book is easy to read in true text, not scanned images that can sometimes be difficult to decipher. The Microsoft eBook has a contents page linked to the chapter headings for easy navigation. The Adobe eBook has bookmarks at chapter headings and is printable up to two full copies per year. Both versions are text searchable.

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The Birth of Tragedy (1872) was Nietzsche's first book. Its youthful faults were exposed by Nietzsche in the brilliant "Attempt at a Self-Criticism" which he added to the new edition of 1886. But the book, whatever its excesses, remains one of the most relevant statements on tragedy ever penned. It exploded the conception of Greek culture that was prevalent down through the Victorian era, and it sounded themes developed in the twentieth century by classicists, existentialists, psychoanalysts, and others.

The Case of Wagner (1888) was one Nietzsche's last books, and his wittiest. In attitude and style it is diametrically opposed to The Birth of Tragedy. Both works transcend their ostensible subjects and deal with art and culture, as well as the problems of the modern age generally.

Each book in itself gives us an inadequate idea of its author; together, they furnish a striking image of Nietzsche's thought. The distinguished new translations by Walter Kaufmann superbly reflect in English Nietzsche's idiom and the vitality of his style. Professor Kaufmann has also furnished running footnote commentaries, relevant passages from Nietzsche's correspondence, a bibliography, and, for the first time in any edition, an extensive index to each book.



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