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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Recommending not to begin with Zarathustra
I would like to advise new readers of Nietzsche to not read Zaruthustra until you have read a number of his other works. The book is cryptic, metaphoric, and employs heavy symbolism that will be easily misinterpreted by those who have not invested in Nietzsche's thinking.
Better to begin with Genealogy of Morals, or even Beyond Good and Evil (which recounts...
Published on March 21 2002 by eric garrett

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3.0 out of 5 stars Nietzsche went way overboard with this one...
As usual, Nietzsche tries to "bend trees" with his self-will run riot. This is a classic however in the Nietzcheian sense, in that the reader must be careful not to fall into the common "thought-traps" and be lulled into thinking that one knows everything that the writings try to whisper into ones ears. God is not necessarily dead, but if we are to...
Published on July 23 1998 by Mitchell Flintlock


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Recommending not to begin with Zarathustra, March 21 2002
By 
eric garrett (Evansville, Indiana) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Thus Spake Zarathustra (Paperback)
I would like to advise new readers of Nietzsche to not read Zaruthustra until you have read a number of his other works. The book is cryptic, metaphoric, and employs heavy symbolism that will be easily misinterpreted by those who have not invested in Nietzsche's thinking.
Better to begin with Genealogy of Morals, or even Beyond Good and Evil (which recounts Zarathustra, but is more accessible), or Kaufmann's "Philosopher, Psychologist, Anti-Christ," or begin from the beginning with Birth of Tragedy and follow the chronology of his writings. A quick introduction to the style and nature of Nietzsche can be had through his Untimely Meditations, or the Gay Science.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding, Sept. 1 2003
By A Customer
Quality and clarity have always been the hallmarks of the Penguin series, and they extend to this one also. Unlike the other translations, dense with tedious bombast and medieval suffixes, the Hollingdale translation is focused and one couldnt ask for a more keen choice of words. With this superb translation I could at least concentrate on the philosophy, rather than trying to decipher the difficult language. While reading this, the words danced rather than gravitated, making reading this book all the more enjoyable.
As for the content and Nietszche's philosophy, it was intelligent and convincing. However one mustn't take this book literally. The transformation to Ubermensch is figuratively speaking, so is "dancing" and "laughter". In the context of this book one might interpret them as symbols of liberation and ascention. To best explain this one might take a scientist as an example. At first, the scientist burdens himself with study of the discoveries of his predecessors, in which he resembles a camel (1st transformation). After his vigorous study he must assert himself and his independence from others, in which he resembles a lion (2nd transformation). And thirdly, he must develop a distnctive personal style which will distinguish him from the others, in which he becomes like a child (3d transformation). In the 3d and final stage he is liberated from any signs of struggle, giving freedom to his spirit.
However engaging Nietzsche's philosophy is, it is at times vague and sadly laconic, e.g. his account on the battle of the virtues was not expanded enough and didn't explain what one might do when those battled for supremacy. Also, some might find his philosophy callous and ruthless, as it persuades leaving the helpless behind for the sake of the ascention of few. Ruthless it may be, but accurate and very relevant. In addition, some might find it especially offensive and absurd as it sorns mercy and pity. Regardless of this aspect of it, I would say this book is permeated with the influence of Enlightenment: striving to improvement and liberation. It is slightly atheistic which will deter fervent believers in god, but the atheistic thread is so subtle it would idiotic to sacrifice Nietzsche's philosphy for religious principles. Overall, an outstandingly written book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Talk about translations!, May 8 2003
By A Customer
I only want to say one thing here, and I say it primarily because I already love this work. This is the translation to buy. Everyone seems to adore Kaufmann, but the truth is he's much more obtuse and difficult to read (and I don't believe it's necessary, as some may say). Hollingdale gets it right. I'll defend myself with one example from a class I took, where Kaufmann's translation was the required text. I had read both translations (cover-to-cover), and sold my copy of Kaufmann's translation, keeping only my Hollingdale. So, needless to say, I wasn't about to buy Kaufmann again, and went to class with Hollingdale. Slowly, but surely, as the other students read bits of the translation I had, or heard when I spoke pieces aloud, they overwhelmingly agreed with me: Hollingdale is simply more clear, more beautiful, more powerful (less academic, shall we say, which is pure Nietzsche). Ok, over and out, enjoy.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The "New" Repulic., Oct. 18 2003
The only other western philosophical text as importnat as this book is Plato's "Republic." We have once again arrived at the cross-roads of Heraclitus v/s Paramendides. I wouldn't recommended jumping into it without a good knowledge of the Western philosophical traditon and religious traditions. (Zarathutra himself calls learning ALL this backround information "the spirit of the camel" or first taking on the burden of knowledge before going about anything else. To not take on this "burden of knowledge" is the main flaw of most Nietzsche critics and mis-understanders.) Also, Nietzsche was an anti-systemic philosopher so it demands to be viewed/critiqued in a different way than traditional philosophy. To begin to grasp Nietzsche's "Zarathustra" I would to recommend first reading his earlier works starting with a couple of short essays. The first one is "Truth and Lie in a Non-Moral Sense" which is about human language, logic and the all-too-human need for these "lies." The other essay is "Homer's Contest" which reveals his legacy as starting from the early Greek tradition.
Some important things to know about this book to avoid the common misinterpretation that Nietzsche is just a Atheist/Nihilist with a superiority complex:
-pay very close attention to his critque of mind/body dualsism and what he proposes otherwise.
-The "Overman" is a conception that only looks toward the future. Later in the book Zarathustra supercedes the "Overman" idea with the cyclical concept of "Eternal Recourence." Even Zarathustra himself has a hard time confronting this view of life and existence. Also, don't make the mistake that eternal reccourence is just a "telos," it is not. Zarathutra speaks in parables not absolutes.
-One of Nietzsche's most favorite authors was Emerson (who also used the name "Zarathutra" in his some of his writings) and their ideas/project have mainy similarities.
-The idea of the world/life not being worthy without a metaphysical world behind it is exactaly what Nietzsche was aimed at overcoming.
-Don't over-simplify will-to-Power as will-to-Overpower.
-Think hard about this being a "book for all and none," think very hard.
-Plato's "Sun" is replaced with "sun" of the Self. This "sun" is the "dancing star." For some odd reason, I see few people mention the signifcance of Self-love in "Zarathustra." This is KEY in understanding where Nietzsche is going/taking us.
-Nietzsche isn't worldly political like the Republic, instead he symbolically speaks of the battle of modern human soul in political terms.
As far as translations go, I prefer Kaufmann over Holingdale because he pays more attetntion to the nuances of Nitezsche's word play. But I would recommend reading more than one translation and getting the best out of all of them.
I also would recommend getting some familiarity with the symbols of alchemy and other mystery traditions. Just as Nietzsche turns Plato's "Theory of the Line" and "Allegory of the Cave" upside-down, he also turns these "mystery" symbols inside-out. No longer is it a connection with anything "beyond" the world that makes it valuable. Instead,It becomes conections with body and the world. "The mind is a herald of the body." For example, consider the "ouroboros" as a symbol of "Eternal Recurrence." In some sense, Zarathutra was very much a prophet of holism as opposed to strict dualism. Carl Jung's 1,500+ page incomplete study of "Zarathura" is a testement to the richness of Zarathustra's symbolism.

If you can catch a deep enough glance, this book will change your life. And if you keep re-reading it, it will keep on changing your life.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, June 29 2002
This review is from: Thus Spoke Zarathustra (Paperback)
Nietzsche's Thus Spake Zarathustra is Nietzsche's only fictional piece to ever have been created. With prose that speaks more eloquently than the "word of God" does through his followers, Nietzsche reveals his philosophy (or rather masks it partially) through the story of Zarathustra. TSZ reads more like an epic than a modern novel and thereby, I would maintain, raises it far above the fiction pieces by Ayn Rand (whose heroes seem to lack a personality with any sort of complexity) and perhaps, not as far above, some works of Dostoevsky and Sartre. I too, would recommend at least reading Beyond Good and Evil before taking up TSZ, for Nietzsche, as I alluded to above, was one for masks and encryption in his philosophizing. However there shall be no worries in taking that extra step in understanding Nietzsche, as his non-fiction books are written with the same fiery passion and eloquence that pervades TSZ to the very end.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The perfect summary of Nietzsche's philosohy, and an enterteining read at that, Nov. 14 2010
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This review is from: Thus Spake Zarathustra (Paperback)
Hi there!

Despite being pretty hard to understand to newcomers, this is my favorite Nietzshe book so far. Unlike Beyond good and evil, which is extremely difficult stuff unless you are already familiar with Shopenhauer, Kant, Plato and various others philosophers, Zarathustra can be easily understood if you are familiar with Nietzshe's main ideas. The notes included at the end help understands the most obscure parts. Most of the book is written as a satire of the bible, meaning you will follow the adventures of Zarathustra as he encounters various persons, and Nietzshe's ideas are represented by those interactions. You will discover concepts of the will to power, the overman (or superman), the worth of solitude, transcendance, opinions on other system such as christianity or socialism, and a lot of other interesting stuff. Althought I disagree with Nietzshe's vision of women (of course) and his portrayal of pity and charity, I still like to discover the thoughts of great thinkers like him, not to mention that his ideas of transcendence and self growth are pretty neat.

definitely recommended, along with The antichrist and twilight of the idols.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Dec 11 2002
By 
shirf (Voorhees, NJ United States) - See all my reviews
And god gave us Nietzsche! Or did he? One of the first discoveries of Nietzsche's main character, Zarathustra, in this fictional work is the revelation(or lack thereof) that God does not exist. An excellent description of Nietzsche's life is provided at the beginning of this translation, along with the traditional editor's notes. If you skip parts of this work, do NOT skip the notes about his life. To connect with Zarathustra, you must know the author. The ever-present references to Nausea hint at Nietzsche's numerous illnesses. The constant references to sleep parallel his insomnia etc etc.
Philosophically, Nietzsche is labelled a nihilist by some. Zarathustra is Nietzsche's giving up or "going under" as the book describes it, so in a sense, this may be correct. Zarathustra renounces how the world has lived, and as a hermit, he finds himself and what the world means to him. Without God, who is destroyed by his pity for man, the world means everything to Zarathustra. This life is all he has to live, and he spreads his teachings for hope that one day man will "go over" or rise above, man as it existed 100 years ago, or for that matter, even today. His journey reminds me of a drawn out Fight Club a few centuries old. As Zarathustra drags his theoretical feet through an almost biblical writing style(used in mockery), the reasoning behind Nietzsche's Godlessness take form aside from God's pity for man. He takes a look at preachers of the spirit and how much they're missing in life. Proclaiming that the spirit and body are one and connected as an earthly concept he mocks the preachers of the body and their constant babblings of the "after-life" and a higher spirit while the earthly life is full of suffering. Sometimes going a bit far and portraying the apparent antagonists as a bit over the top, Nietzsche's main character can distance himself from the reader if taken verbatim. Zarathustra does not believe in current society or power and for good reason; what earthly ground do they stand upon? One apparent enigma I remember quite well was Zarathustra's distaste for the wise man. One tends to assume that Zarathustra is poking fun at the reader, you have a choice to drop the book now if you're following it as an instruction book and you've just become his "higher man". Carry on, and you'll find later that this is not an end(consequently neither is Nietzsche, see postmodernism). The term "going under" is really what the entire philosophy is about. I got quite a bit out of the puzzling writing style. It denies convention, as seen in the philosophy and religion of the time, its foothold on society, and without any sort of convention nothing holds up too well to Nietzsche's barrage of destruction within Zarathustra's mind. Simplified, my thoughts are that this constant questioning of ideals and beliefs are what brought on later ideas like Deconstruction in works of Derrida and other authors of similar beliefs. Reading this, it's strange to see where the hell Freud is coming from as far as Nietzsche's works go. Sex is downplayed in Thus Spoke Zarathustra. It's viewed almost as casual as going to the bathroom and reading a newspaper. The ideas presented by Zarathustra are often intriguing and help to solidify the reader's opinion on a topic one way or another.
As far as writing style, this story is written like the bible. Obviously, it mocks the bible in almost every way, from the dated vocabulary to the stories of animals and silly symbolism. The ridiculous songs and poems poke fun at related portions of the bible. The setting is even pseudo-biblical. I found it somewhat hard at times to get Nietzsche's point out of some of the more muddled passages, and I had to continue on to find later that he'd repeat something a different way and I'd eventually grasp it. While, a progression(or regression depending upon your viewpoint), I feel Zarathustra's journey forward looks backward often, and some of the necessary introductory pieces didn't appeal to me much, as I felt I've already "gone under" these traditions of good and evil.
This is a necessary read for anyone even somewhat interested in philosophy. Depending upon how familiar you are with works by later authors it might be a bit boring and repetative. As much praise as I give for it, the work doesn't go without flaw. Obvious in Zarathustra is a certain contempt for everything currently around him and an outwardly destructive nature to an extent that isn't directly militant, but it reflects someone shunned by a society and falls to subjectivity at certain points. One or two sections struck me as very sexist and I dismissed them as a result of the time period and Nietzsche's lonliness in life. Shining through where unwanted at times is Nietzsche's praise of solitude and on a much lower level his illness. It leaves the reader unconvinced in specific passages and opens questions of bias(not to say this isn't a biased work).
Overall, 4/5 stars. A necessary, excellent read. It's a tough read and you'll have to go over a few passages more than once to grab the meaning, but you'll come out with a clear idea of where you stand on some of the issues and maybe a new view on society's conventions.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A brief comment, Oct. 6 2002
By 
I just had a brief comment to make on TSZ, which, although not my usual sort of reading in philosophy, I still enjoyed and found thought-provoking in many ways.
My philosophical interests are mainly in 20th-century analytical philosophy and the philosophy of science, but I've read a few books here and there specifically about Nietzsche and his philosophy, and although I sometimes wonder if the exhortatory, highly personal and idiosyncratic, and epigrammatic (not to mention contradictory) approach to expressing his ideas that Nietzsche takes in Zarathustra really does justice to them, there is no doubt the book strikes a responsive chord in readers in a way that none of his other typically more academic-sounding books have.
I will say, however, that I do agree with a couple of the things he says in the book. I liked the parts where Zarathustra says that "Man has killed God with his indifference," and also, on a more sociological note, "It is not that our institutions are no good anymore; it is we who are no longer any good for our institutions." I can sort of relate to those sentiments, at least, and whether one agrees with many of Zarathustra's statements or not (and actually, despite my reservations about the book's style and presentation, I found I often agreed with what Zarathustra says) the book certainly stands as one of the most dramatic, visionary, and uniquely personal philosophical works ever written.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A philosophical classic that must be read., May 22 2002
By 
Patrick A. Hunt (Philadelphia, Pa United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Though I don`t necessarily agree with Neitzsche's philosophy, he has always stood out as a brilliant mind.
Zarathustra is a character that captures his spirit and stimulates your thoughts. On a long journey from the forest to civilization and back again, Neitzsche shows through Zarathustra's thinking and actions many profound thoughts and ideas very new at the time of it`s printing (and some that are still not thought of). Zarathustra takes us on a journey that resembles Jesus in the bible; finding followers and teaching them, though his teachings are often very unholy. Neitzsche's later work sums it up well (The Anti-Christ).

"God is dead" and man has killed him, spoke Zarathustra. Do I agree with all of his ideas? Of course not. Do I think it was a good book? I had never come across as interesting a philosophy until Ayn Rand's "Anthem" preaching Objectivism.
This is definitely a good read to open up your mind and to read from an Objectivist's point of view.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Don't Read this Book! It May Upset Your Applecart!, April 7 2002
I remember the first time my eighth grade teacher scratched a list out on the chalkboard of authors we should never read. Who do you suppose topped the list? Why, Fred Neitzsche (we're on first names after all those years). Just to be clear, I went to Catholic school. I doubt there are many secular private or public schools that care enough about what students are reading to worry about banning any authors, let alone something as powerful as Neitzsche. (I presume they're more interested in banning books that refer to nipples, racial name-calling, or popular drugs.)
Buy this book now, and buy it in a hard cover edition (like this one). This, contrary to what other reviewers suggest, should be your very first Nietzsche. It is a powerful, allegorical tale that will sweep you in with its powerful tone and ideas. Don't be afraid if you come away confused and unsettled. Just read it again and again. Take it with you everywhere. When you go to class, keep it on your desk in full view. Quote from it all of your school writing projects.
The truth is, your gut will tell you the man is right about so many things. You can later worry about how Zarathustra plays upon ideas from classic Greek philosophy, or how silly it is to think that Nietzsche's work led to the racist thinking of Germany's National Socialist movement.
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