Ecce Homo: How to Become What You Are Paperback – Sep 27 2009
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About the Author
Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (1844-1900), was a nineteenth-century German philosopher and classical philologist. He wrote critical texts on religion, morailty, contemporary culture, philosophy, and science, using a distinctive German language style and displaying a fondness for metaphor and aphorism.
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Nietzsche on his role:
«Overcoming ideals is my craft. One has deprived reality of its value, its meaning, its truthfulness, to precisely the extent to which one has mendaciously invented an ideal world. The "true world" and the "apparent world" - that means the mendaciously invented world and reality.
The lie of the ideal has so far been the curse on reality; on account of it, mankind itself has become mendacious and false down to its most fundamental instincts - to the point of worshipping the opposite values of those which alone would guarantee its health, its future, the lofty right to its future."
On active thinkers vs. reactive scholars:
"A counsel of prudence and self-defence is to react as rarely as possible, and to avoid situations and relationships that would condemn one to suspend one's freedom and initiative and to become merely reactive.
As a parable I choose association with books. Scholars who at bottom do little nowadays but thumb books ultimately lose entirely their capacity to think for themselves. When they don't thumb, they don't think. They respond to a stimulus (a thought they have read) whenever they think, they do nothing but react. Scholars spend all of their energies on criticism of what others have thought - they themselves no longer think."
On his book the Birth of Tragedy:
"Taken up with some degree of neutrality, The Birth of Tragedy smells offensively Hegelian, and the cadaverous odour of Schopenhauer sticks only to a few formulas.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Nietzsche stresses the all important influence of Schopenhauer in his life: `I very earnestly denied my `will to life' at the time when I first read Schopenhauer.'
His preferred authors are H. Heine, Byron, Stendhal, P. Loti, P. Mérimée, A. France and G. de Maupassant. In music, he likes Rossini, Chopin, Schütz, Haendel, Liszt, Bizet and Bach.
A true immoralist
A true immoralist confirms a double negation; first, of the so-called supreme, good, benevolent and beneficent man, and secondly, of the altruistic Christian morality.
He calls for `a revaluation of all values'. Concepts like God, soul, virtue, sin and eternal life are mere imaginings and lies prompted by the bad instincts of sick natures. All the problems of politics, social organization and education have been falsified because one mistook the most harmful men for great men.
Blindness to Christianity is the crime par excellence, the crime against life. Its morality is vampirism. It is the most malignant form of the will to lie. It is a gruesome fact that anti-nature received the highest honors and was fixed over humanity as law and categorical imperative. It invented a `soul' to ruin the body. The Bible is a product of the will to suppress the truth. Its saints are slanderers of the world and violators of man.
But, F. Nietzsche remains a fundamental optimist, because men strive for the forbidden. Therefore, his philosophy will triumph one day, because that what was forbidden has always been the truth. Dionysus will be stronger than the doctrine of the Crucified.
This book is a good introduction to the raging style, the reasoning with a hammer, the main themes, the Homeric battles and the `immoral' obsessions of a fascinating, integer, but in some aspects, controversial philosopher with a too egoistic agenda for mankind.
A must read for all Friedrich Nietzsche fans and lovers of Western philosophy.
The biggest change Large adopted was to use the second person singular pronoun much more for the German "Man." Thus, for "Wie man wird, was man ist," the famous subtitle of the little volume, we do not get the more traditional translation with the impersonal "one," as in Hollingdale's rendition "How One Becomes What One Is," but the much more interesting and simple "How To Become What You Are."
The effect is remarkable when it is dispersed across the entire book. It is an entirely different--and I think more interesting--experience of reading.
Though some crucial things are lost (and every version, Kaufmann's especially does this), Large's translation, I think, benefits in the end for being so very bold. Hollingdale saves some key words better perhaps than Large, who interprets them more, it could be said--and interprets them precisely by going back to the roots of the German words, which should not in itself be seen as an act of fidelity to the source text's meaning, as is so often taken to be the case in philosophical translations of German (though this allows you, the reader, to reinterpret them more easily). But it should be noted that Large is *much* more close to the sentence structure than Hollingdale, which, in Nietzsche, as well as in most German and French, is often much much more crucial than we think it is (just pick up Barbara Harlow's unbelievably horrible rendering of Derrida's *Spurs*, which absolutely decimates this fact about Derrida's text, if you want a good example of what this produces: a translation that is nearly unreadable and extremely misleading at times).
Usually, though, any of these deviations with respect to the accepted translation as represented by Kaufmann and Hollingdale is done with a lot of thought on Large's part--it is only thus that it could be so bold in the first place. Take, for example, his refusal to leave Nietzsche's "Ressentiment" in the French--that is, translate it by "resentment:" at its first appearance he appends a note, saying
The standard English translation "ressentiment," characterizes it as a loan-word from the French, but Nietzsche spells it with an initial capital [this is true in fact always, mj], stressing that he considers it to have been successfully adopted into the German language (which gives all nouns initial capitals)--by contrast with "décadence," [another frequent word that is French in origin], for instance.
-Note to page 13, p. 101.
Few would have the guts, I think, to do this to such a well known and oft quoted concept, but Large both does it and shows that it is right.
The fundamental boldness of this translation, though, lies in that basic gesture I am circling around above, which uses "you" instead of "one." Why this is so bold is that it fundamentally increases the danger of intimacy, of the cancellation of distance--which anyone who knows Nietzsche will tell you is absolutely crucial to him (cf. the famous passages on the "pathos of distance" in the Genealogy). Not only does it increase the danger for us, but also for Nietzsche himself: if it is true that this book is Nietzsche telling himself his life--the various "you's" in the text, which can be interpreted as Nietzsche somewhat referring to himself, show how constantly the pressure is there to maintain some coherence, to will the relation of himself into some economy, some shape, and yet at the same time not have it collapse into self-identification. Giving us some sense of this danger might, by itself, be Large's translation's greatest triumph.
"I have never given any attention to the concept of god, not even as a child. Perhaps I was never childish enough for it?"
"The concept of 'The Beyond' the real world invented as to deprive value from the only world in which one exists."
"God is a crude answer, a piece of indelicacy against us thinkers."