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The Birth Of Tragedy Is One Of The Seminal Philosophical Works Of The Modern Period The Theories Developed In This Relatively Short Text Have Had A Profound Influence On The Philosophy, Literature, Music And Politics Of The Twentieth Century This Edition Presents A New Translation By Ronald Speirs And An Introduction By Raymond Geuss That Sets The Work In Its Historical And Philosophical Context The Volume Also Includes Two Essays On Related Topics That Nietzsche Wrote During The Same Period


10 thoughts on “The Birth of Tragedy and Other Writings

  1. says:

    This was my first exposure to Nietzsche I really enjoyed it He really scared me with his preface written 16 years after original publication He claimed his book was poorly written and developed I thoroughly enjoyed it though I didn t read the other 2 short writings, but I read all of The Birth of Tragedy The timing is perfect Greek tragedy is fresh in my mind from my Greek course in the fall, and I m just about to teach Greek tragedy in my World Lit class When I read the very first page, I thought, What Then I re read it and it suddenly clicked After that, I was completely absorbed by his writing.I ve fallen in love with the concept he has coined metaphysical solace I also have ideas abounding about Angel as Greek Tragedy.


  2. says:

    Certainly not a historiographical account of tragedy, nor a purely philological or philosophical work on the topic, Nietzsche s essay on the birth of tragedy takes a unique approximation.Rather than making a single argumentative point or grounding a univocal thesis, Nietzsche weaves a complicated tapestry of images It is only at the very end of the essay that one recognises the final result the German Geist As it may well have happened in Greek theatre, after a magnificent representation, characters lose their mask to reveal real actors below Here, the characters that Nietzsche draws are the Hellenes, and the subjacent actor is the German Volk and its genius It s difficult not to feel somewhat betrayed by the title, as one discovers that the real protagonists here are Wagner, Schopenhauer and Kant, instead of Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides.Still, Nietzsche s beautiful contribution to literature on the tragic through the dialectical opposition of the Dionysiac and the Apolline constitutes undoubtedly a work of genius.


  3. says:

    A genuinely meta physical exposition of art manifested by art that knows itself as such.


  4. says:

    Before I start the review, I just want to say that it felt great to read Nietzsche after a long time Birth of Tragedy, written in 1871, is Nietzsche s first book, that I think should have been titled Rebirth of Tragedy It is also a critic of reason, the scientific, the theoretic, and the Socratic and is an ode to music, specifically Wagner Nietzsche wants humanity to be united again and break away from the concept of individualization For this to happen, the Apollonian and the Dionysian have to merge which he thinks can be found in folk songs, tragedy, tragic myth, and Wagnerian symphonies He believes that the Germans are igniting a new art form that comes from the womb of the Dionysian and appears in images from the Apollonian He considers music to be the highest form of art as it can encompass something beyond worldly appearances a hidden reality In the world of images, music appears as Will inherently unaesthetic, though it is not Will Music does not need lyrics and images though it can tolerate them The lyric poet requires passion to have the Will appear in music The listener of this music feels a metaphysical solace an elevated omniscience and ability to penetrate to the interior of things Nietzsche also makes use of the philosophical concepts from Schopenhauer and Schiller, which would be a precursor for reading this book.


  5. says:

    The Greeks, Nietzsche argues, were in the period of their greatest achievements thoroughly pessimistic but found in artistic creativity the only possible justification for existence An interesting premise, to say the least art and its creation the reason for living Anyway, as a result of this belief they produced Greek tragedy, what many consider the noblest affirmation of human life Nietzsche goes on to argue that the later development of Greek culture, particularly the influence of Socrates and Euripides, was not, as so many modern classicists have maintained, the high point of Greek achievement, but a significant decline, the onset of a sickness from which the world is still suffering a significant symptom of which is our preoccupation with morality, especially Christian morality and our faith in scientific scholarship I find so much within his writing that I can contradict but I nevertheless respect his writing and find it well worth the time.


  6. says:

    The Birth of Tragedy was Nietzsche s first published book, and it shows It is passionate, flamboyant, and highly creative, but it lacks structure His arguments are not always well supported particularly his conjectures about ancient Greek music but his core ideas still come alive The Apolline Dionysian dichotomy is a powerful distinction, and one that still reverberates the tension between mythology theology and science is alive and well and his aesthetic critique of music is fascinating But I m not sure how all these ideas hang together The book reads a bit like a very good first draft, like something with a lot of potential but which is ultimately unrefined It reads like a youthful first attempt, which is what it was.


  7. says:

    I repeat I find it an impossible book today I declare that it is badly written, clumsy, embarrassing, with a rage for imagery and confused in its imagery, emotional, here and there sugary to the point of effeminacy, uneven in pace, lacing the will to logical cleanliness, very convinced and therefore too arrogant to prove its assertions, mistrustful even of the propriety of proving things, a book for the initiated, music for those who baptised in the name of music, who, from the very beginning, are linked to one another by shared, rare experiences of art, a sign by which blood relations in artibus could recognise one another an arrogant and wildly enthusiastic book which, from the outset, shuts itself off from the profane vulgus of the educated even than from the common people , how also one which, as its effect proved and continues to prove, knows well enough how to seek out its fellow enthusiasts and to entice them on to new, secret paths and places to dance An Attempt at Self Criticism__________Introduction Raymond Geuss life in the modern world lacks a kind of unity, coherence, and meaningfulness that life in previous societies possessed Modern individuals have developed their talents and powers in an overspecialised, one sided way their lives and personalities are fragmented, not integrated, and they lack the ability to identify with their society in a natural way and play the roles assigned to them in the world wholeheartedly.As Nietzsche himself points out in the introduction to the second edition, The Birth of Tragedy is a work of Romanticism It is concerned with the description of a highly idealised past which is analysed so as to highlight its contrast with and superiority to the modern world.Archaic Greek society, Nitzsche claims, is different from and superior to the modern world because archaic Greece was an artistic culture, whereas modern culture is centred on cognition science and morality.The truth about himself which Oedipus pursues so keenly throughout most of the play, is utterly intolerable to him when he attains it that is why he blinds himself That knowledge itself is, as Nietzsche puts it, an enormous offence against nature which nature itself will avenge is the basic mythic truth which tragedy transmits and Oedipus instantiates This is what makes tragedy literally incomprehensible to the optimistic Socrates with his faith in knowledge.__________ feels himself to be a god, now moves in such ecstasy and sublimity as once he saw the gods move in his dreams no longer an artist, he has become a work of art all nature s artistic power reveals itself here, amidst shivers of intoxication, to the highest, most blissful satisfaction 1 Both have gazed into the true essence of things, they have acquired knowledge and they find action repulsive, for their actions can do nothing to change the eternal essence of things they regard it as laughable or shameful that they should be expected to set to rights a world so out of joint Knowledge kills action action requires one to be shrouded in a veil of illusion this is the lesson of Hamlet it is not reflection, it is true knowledge, insight into the terrible truth, which outweighs every motive for action, both in the case of Hamlet and in that of Dionysiac man Now no solace has any effect, there is longing for a world beyond death, beyond the gods themselves 7 Why should the artist be obliged to accommodate himself to a force which is strong only by virtue of its numbers And if his talent and intentions make him feel superior to each individual spectator, why should he feel respect for the joint expression of all these inferior capabilities than for the most talented individual spectator 11 Almost every age and stage of culture has attempted at some point to free itself, with deep feelings of anger, from the Greeks, because, in comparison with them, all one s own achievements, although apparently completely original and quire sincerely admired, suddenly seemed to lose colour and life and to shrivel into an unsuccessful copy or even a caricature Thus people feel shame and fear in the face of the Greeks unless there be one individual who reveres truth above all else and is therefore able to admit even this truth to himself that the Greeks are the chariot drivers who hold the reins of our culture, and every other culture, in their hands 15 One only needs to examine closely and in person these patrons with their untiring cries of Beauty Beauty , and ask oneself if they give the impression of being Nature s most favoured children, of having been nurtured and cosseted in the womb of the beautiful, or whether they are not in fact seeking a deceitful cover for their own coarseness, or an aesthetic pretext for their own sober sided, impoverished sensibility 19 he felt himself elevated to a kind of omniscience as if he could dive down into the most delicate secrets of unconscious stirrings 22 On the other hand, there are those whom nature has equipped with nobler and delicate faculties 22 I know that I must now lead the friend who is following these arguments sympathetically to a high place of lonely contemplation where he will have but a few companions, and I call out to encourage him that we must hold fast fo our radiant leaders, the Greeks 23


  8. says:

    SPOILERS As a young man Nietzsche had shown great academic mastery of proven himself to be very academically gifted in philology and the Greek classics His talents earned him a professorship at the University of Basel while still in his mid twenties Because of this, and because his talents were applauded by many of the prominent academics at UB, the publication of this book was highly anticipated However when it was finally published, no one knew what to make of it It wasn t clear if this was supposed to be a philosophical work, a literary criticism, or an analysis of culture The fact that this work doesn t follow syllogistic reasoning, and often goes against the historical critical method which the academics had become and still are so accustomed, this book went right over their heads And, He wasn t unaware of how it may be perceived, as he asked the first chapter if people would know what he was attempting to do in this book.Being the first of many works, this in no way is his greatest, but upon reading it, the reader will see some of the ideas which Nietzsche refines in later works in their infancy, and also some of which he abandons But after having read this book now in two translations, for a total of three times, I can honestly say, that reading this book becomes a lot easier if one knows what to be on the lookout for if one doesn t it tends to go over one s head also, and takes a few reads to know what is it that he s talking about For this reason if you are interested in reading this book I will give you a few tools which will increase the probability of you getting the most out of this book.Fist There are 4 things to keep in mind 1 German culture copied the Greek culture in very high esteem to the point that much of Greek literature was made a part of German education Nietzsche sought to answer the question of what had made the Greeks great, and given them the worthiness of emulation to those who look ed upon them from the outside.2 Do not rake your head over some of the ideas if they don t make sense to you right away as they will make sense if you choose to read some of his other works.3 Because this book does not follow a method of syllogistic reasoning, ask yourself what questions aside from the overt is he trying to answer.4 Ask yourselves, if you have read his other works, how the ideas you come across in this book show up in later works.Secondly, the following are a few things about some of the concepts in this book to consider as you read this book.1.Apollo represents the individualistic, calculating, and rational Apollonian element in man which gives shape to things and makes itself manifest, and makes itself known in Dreams Art Poetry Imagination i.e daydreams2.Dionysus Is the collective He represents that which can t be put into words, and though the Dionysian element is equated to the orgiastic and Dionysus is called the god of intoxication and wine it is only because the impact the Dionysian has on the whole being of man, not should not be understood merely to exist in a visceral reaction which a person may have with a singular aspect of their being The Dionysian is manifest, and makes itself known in Music Dance Theatre drama3.Unity Though it has been said to me by others that unity is gained through the triumph of the Dionysian over the Apollonian, I believe that he is proposing of a balance that it is about the interplay of these two forces Also, do not think of these forces as definite structure, but simply categories for interpreting they are not static, and do not have a monopoly in any situation, though one may be dominant than the other it is about the interplay which you should seek to understand Also, the Apollonian and the Dionysian forces are not the only ones at play, only the major one s he focuses on 4.Reality Both the Apollonian and the Dionysian are veils draped over reality, but they are the only way in which we can come to understand it The better we understand our experience of these elements the better we can come to understand what reality may be.5.Titans Olympians, and Prometheus The Greek gods, in general, are representative of the nature of the Greeks, and are just as flawed as they are The Titans, pursued pleasure they tricked each other, had mad affairs, raped humans, etc but when the war between the Olympians and Titans ended, and the Olympians won out, a hierarchy developed among the gods Apollo and Dionysus are Olympians Prometheus, was a Titan, but he gave man the knowledge of fire, and therefore man no longer lived in constant fear of the elements, and as such was not in constant need of the gods For this reason Prometheus was punished for his crime A few things about Prometheus Prometheus paid for the redemption of man with his crime and was condemned by the gods Nietzsche replaces the myth of the original sin, with the promethean myth6.The Chorus is the part of the play where the actors, in a way, are in dialogue with the audience, and if the part is played right by the actor, the actor is seen as a representative of Dionysus speaking directly to the audience The purpose of the chorus is to show the audience that whatever the dilemma may be, there isn t only one situation 7.The Ideal spectator comes ready to enjoy the play and have an experience Ideally, they are made to feel smarter than the characters on stage.8.The Opera is the worst kind of drama It subordinates music to an idealized story with flowery characters who are shown to have ideal personalities The music is cut up to create novel aesthetic effects in the audience It has no understanding of life or tragedy It is a perversion of what drama is supposed to be As a note, keep in mind that Nietzsche thinks that modern music also isn t what music is supposed to be as it relies merely on the excitation of emotions or memory.9.Pre Socratic Poets Were the masters of tragedy They had the capacity to dream, and to imagine worlds and values that their heroes possessed, and shared those dreams with the spectators of their plays10.Post Socratic poets were mainly masters of comedy which is the child of tragedy and had no understanding of what tragedy really was They used tragedy and irony to represent the lives of common people for comedic effect Drama and theatre became a mirror in which the audience could see themselves and instead of true art, comedy seeks novelty by which to produce novel effects in the audience it has in essence, subordinated itself to the crowd.11.Socrates marks a shift in western thought, and introduces the method for inquiry and rational self reflection into western culture Many cults of rationality would spring up after him, and they would all emphasize the importance of rationality and logic above everything else Also keep these things in mind Socrates hated tragedy he thought it was irrational and not indicative of reality Socratic mentality falsely assumes that everything can be analyzed Socratic enquiry begins in optimism and ends in pessimism The Socratic method rips the cultural roots from under one who uses the method for inquiry12.The Theoretical Man is the modern child of the Socratic He too believes that everything can be analyzed, and his methods also begin in Socratic optimism and end in pessimism He has reduced the Apollonian to merely the logical, and the Dionysian to the emotional Overall this was an enjoyable book, and even though, as previously stated, this is nowhere near as impactful as some of his other works, I really do recommend that you take the time to read it if you can I hope you find these tools to be helpful if you dochokengtitik

    titikchokengs I have a Nietzsche blog on Tumblr which you can check out for a bunch of quotes and such if you d like


  9. says:

    Music is the direct copy of our metaphysical world, of our will A loyal audience of the healing cathartic power of music and art of the Greek tragedies to the universal and eternal abysmal human sufferings and the instincts of ressentiment of slave morality brought by the Christianity, Nietzsche proclaimed in his book that he is an anti christ Nietzsche disgust the slave morality along with the ingrained feel of indebtedness brought by the Christianity An avid art lover, Nietzsche claims that art makes life bearable The essence of human life, according to Nietzsche, is not morality, but rather art Only Dionysian art, and the will to power of the healthy nobles, is the eternality Socratic rationality, according to Nietzsche, is ruining our temporary release from the eternal sufferings of the essence of human existence While the introduction of Christianity, the slave revolt, started the endless feel of guilt and debt and ressentiment More importantly, like a cognitive scientist and psychologist, Nietzsche disproves the Socratic rationality but rather first tries to figure out the workings of neurological and biological configurations and transformations of human beings before the attempts to understand the outside objective world The word by word translation of the birth of tragedy Die Geburt der Trag die aus dem Geiste der Musik is probably the birth of tragedy from the spirit of music For Nietzsche, music is the immediate idea of the eternal life BT, p.79, 80 A famous nihilist, Nietzsche probably find a soothing and healing power inside the all embracing power of music, a direct copy of our metaphysical world and our will What, when seen through the prism of life, is the meaning of morality..art, and not morality is the true metaphysical activity of man BTchokengkoma

    titikchokeng8 As spectators of operas and tragedies, individuals find themselves to be than a tiny little bit of themselves alone, but together in the endless sea of human sufferings whereby the terrible is tamed by artistic means, and the comical, whereby disgust at absurdity is discharged by artistic means BT, p.130 Music is our brain s Narcotic, a healthier one than religion, against our repulsive thoughts about our existence Euripides reduced the role of music in the mere conversational drama and Socrates is searching for the truth and reason For Nietzsche, their efforts are in the wrong direction, rationality would only dilute individual s ability to live temporarily harmoniously with oneself and one s life sufferings Only art, and most importantly, music, or the art form of Tragedy specifically that of Wagner s, we found a balance of the two greatest soothing artistic power Apollonian and Dionysian Apollo is the image maker or sculptor, beauty is his element, eternal youth his companion BTchokengkoma

    titikchokeng120 and imageless art of Dionysos While music is a direct copy of the will itself, and only music could represent metaphysical in relation to all that is physical in the world BTchokengkoma

    titikchokeng77 He contends that the plastic art of Apollo overcome individuals suffering by the glorification of eternity of youth and beauty together with Dionysian art wins over the fear of the reality of eternal suffering Nietzsche inherited Schopenhauer s idea that music is the expression of human will and the essence of everything Second derivatives of music are poetry and drama which remains merely on the noumenal field of appearances of Apollonian art There is no eternal truth, according to Nietzsche, only Dionysis is the eternality As an advocate of life my instinct invented for itself a fundamentally opposed doctrine and counter evaluation of life, a purely artistic one, an anti Christian one..for who know the true name of the Antichrist by the name of a Greek God I called it Dionysiac BTchokengkoma

    titikchokeng9 Nietzsche argues that artistic instincts are anti christ in itself, and also life s healing instincts as well to break from the guilt, sin, sinfulness and other sickness of ressentiment brought by the Christianity The rise of the Christian god as the maximum god that has been attained thus far therefore also brought a maximum of feelings of guilt GM, p.62, 1 2 Nietzsche talked a lot about human instincts and the direction of the discharge of those instincts All instincts that do not discharge themselves outwardly turn themselves inwards this is what I call the internalizing of man thus first grows in man that which he later calls his soul GM, p.57, 1 3 Morality is a secret human instinct, according to Nietzsche, to human self annihilation, a will to negate life Therefore Nietzsche argues life s essence is not morality, but a purely artistic one, which equals to anti Christianity The people were victorious or the slaves , or the mob , or the herd , or whatever you like to call them if this happened through the Jews..everything is jewifying or christifying or mobidying as we watch GM, p 18, 12 20 Therefore two kinds of people, according to Nietzsche, the healthy and the sick, who are the nobles and the slaves There is, though, a middle ground between the two, that is the priest Though, according to Nietzsche, the priest also belong to the sick, for He must be sick himself, he must be related to the sick and short changed from the ground up in order to understand them GM, p.90, 14 15 Nobility developed from master morality, it s an expression of the domination and rule over others, the will to power Hostility, cruelty, pleasure in persecution, in assault, in change, in destruction all of that turning itself against the possessors of such instincts that is the origin of bad conscience GM, p.57, 12 13 The counterforce of the noble and healthy will to power, is the struggle against our own natural instincts, which is exactly what Christianity advocated, is the bad conscience and also slave morality the slave revolt in morality begins when ressentiment itself becomes creative and gives birth to values whereas all noble morality grows out of a triumphant yes saying to oneself, from the outset slave morality says no to an outside , to a different , to a not self GM, p.19, 4 8 Ressentiment is the creation of an imagined scapegoat when individuals produce a sense of hostility in order to make oneself free from blame and frustration Ressentiment is sickness, explosive in manner The slave morality created ressentiment where it defines the powerful and healthy qualities of the nobles as evil and its own contrasting qualities as good The slaves use this as a defense mechanism to avoid to address and to overcome their own flaws The ego created an scapegoat of one s own weaknesses and frustration and disgust toward oneself While the healthy and the nobles are those who continue the self overcoming and who likely focus on artistic and dionysian works the privilege of the few resounded in the face of the old lie slogan of ressentiment, the privilege of the majority, in the face of the will to lowering, to debasement, to leveling, to the downward and evening ward of man GM, p.32, 13 19 For Nietzsche, democracy along with Christianity has the same debasing and sick impulse to make all equal, to make all slaves This movement of slave revolt, organized by the priest, killed the creative Dionysian element of the nobility and made the all sick and diseased slavery herd become one Obsurdly, Christianity is the herd or the slave s will to power In their will to power, or the unifying force to make all equal to make all slaves, the noble s will, the music, the Dionysian art, the only true heal to the human sufferings, are stifled Nietzsche seems unconsciously calling for the coming of overman, or supermen, Ubermensch, someone like Napoleon, to change the domination of slave revolt.


  10. says:

    Good edition with a great introduction and two very helpful complementary essays by Nietzsche himself Didn t much enjoy the main text, though.