Human: All Too Human

Human: All Too Human

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by Friedrich Nietzsche
     
 

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Human, All Too Human: A Book for Free Spirits (German: Menschliches, Allzumenschliches: Ein Buch für freie Geister) is a book by 19th century philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, originally published in 1878. A second part, Assorted Opinions and Maxims (Vermischte Meinungen und Sprüche), was published in 1879, and a third part, The Wanderer and his Shadow (Der

Overview

Human, All Too Human: A Book for Free Spirits (German: Menschliches, Allzumenschliches: Ein Buch für freie Geister) is a book by 19th century philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, originally published in 1878. A second part, Assorted Opinions and Maxims (Vermischte Meinungen und Sprüche), was published in 1879, and a third part, The Wanderer and his Shadow (Der Wanderer und sein Schatten), followed in 1880.

The book is Nietzsche's first in the aphoristic style that would come to dominate his writings, discussing a variety of concepts in short paragraphs or sayings. Reflecting an admiration of Voltaire as a free thinker, but also a break in his friendship with composer Richard Wagner two years earlier, Nietzsche dedicated the original 1878 edition of Human, All Too Human “to the memory of Voltaire on the celebration of the anniversary of his death, May 30, 1778.” Instead of a preface, the first part originally included a quotation from Descartes’ Discourse on the Method. Nietzsche later republished all three parts as a two-volume edition in 1886, adding a preface to each volume, and removing the Descartes quote as well as the dedication to Voltaire.

Unlike his first book, The Birth of Tragedy, which was written in essay style, Human, All Too Human is a collection of aphorisms, a style which he would use in many of his subsequent works. The aphorisms of Human, All Too Human range from a few words to a few pages, but most are short paragaphs. The first installment’s 638 aphorisms are divided into nine sections by subject, and a short poem as an epilogue. The phrase itself appears in Aphorism 35 (originally conceived as the first aphorism) "when Nietszche observes that maxims about human nature can help in overcoming life's hard moments." Implicit also, is a drive to overcome what is human, all too human through understanding it, through philosophy. The second and third installments are an additional 408 and 350 aphorisms respectively.

The genre of the aphorism was already well established at this time - in the German tradition Nietzsche's most important predecessor was a figure of the Enlightenment, Georg Christoph Lichtenberg, whose writing Nietzsche greatly admired. Nietzsche's work is indebted also to Schopenhauer's, particularly his Aphorisms for Practical Wisdom, 1851. Above all is the "debt to the French tradition of the aphorism - for Nietzsche's work is a deliberate turn westward." Nietzsche cites the French aphorists Jean de La Bruyère and Prosper Merimée, and in Aphorism 221 celebrates Voltaire. At the beginning of the second section Nietzsche mentions La Rochefoucauld - named here as a model, the epitome of the aphorist - and it is known that Nietzsche had a copy of La Rochefoucauld's Sentences et maximes (1665) in his library. He had been reading it shortly before beginning to write Human, All Too Human, - on the train ride to Sorrento in fact. More than that of the other French aphorists mentioned, it is La Rochefoucauld's work that lies behind that of Nietzsche. Nietzsche's work however, " is unique; he covers a range of issues far greater than the social and psychological area of interest to La Rochefoucauld. To the cynicism typical of the genre, Nietzsche brings a new dimension by his combination of nihilistic energy with historical consciousness. Finally, he expands the genre to include not merely insights, but argument as well." The aphorism "allows for a loosely organised, shifting whole containing specific ideas but no iron-clad explanation for everything, - it constitutes the style that best represents his philosophy."

This book represents the beginning of Nietzsche's "middle period", with a break from German Romanticism and from Wagner and with a definite positivist slant. Reluctant to construct a systemic philosophy, this book comprises more a collection of debunkings of unwarranted assumptions than an interpretation and "contains the seeds of concepts crucial to Nietzsche's later philosophy, such as the need to transcend conventional Christian morality"; he uses his perspectivism and the idea of the will to power as explanatory devices, though the latter remains less developed than in his later thought.

Within his lifetime, prior to his mental breakdown in 1889, few of Nietzsche’s books sold particularly well, and Human, All Too Human was no exception. The first installment was originally printed in 1,000 copies in 1878, and sold only 120 of these, and still less than half of these by 1886 when it was resold as the complete two-volume set. Though his friendship with Richard Wagner was nearly over, Wagner actually received a signed copy, though he never read it, saying Nietzsche would thank him for this one day. It was first translated into English in 1909 by writer Helen Zimmern as part of a complete edition of Nietzsche’s books in English.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
2940015631616
Publisher:
Balefire Publishing
Publication date:
09/18/2012
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
400
File size:
159 KB

Meet the Author

Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (October 15, 1844 – August 25, 1900) was a German philosopher, poet, composer, cultural critic and classical philologist. He wrote critical texts on religion, morality, contemporary culture, philosophy and science, displaying a fondness for metaphor, irony and aphorism.

Nietzsche's key ideas include the death of God, the Übermensch, the eternal recurrence, the Apollonian and Dionysian dichotomy, perspectivism and the will to power. Central to his philosophy is the idea of "life-affirmation", which involves questioning of all doctrines that drain life's expansive energies, however socially prevalent and radical those views might be. His influence remains substantial within philosophy, notably in existentialism, post-modernism and post-structuralism, as well as outside it. His radical questioning of the value and objectivity of truth has been the focus of extensive commentary, especially in the continental tradition. Nietzsche has been called one of the masters of the "school of suspicion", alongside Karl Marx and Sigmund Freud.

Nietzsche began his career as a classical philologist before turning to philosophy. In 1869, at the age of 24 he was appointed to the Chair of Classical Philology at the University of Basel (the youngest individual to have held this position), but resigned in the summer of 1879 due to health problems that plagued him most of his life. In 1889 he suffered a collapse and a complete loss of his mental faculties. The breakdown has been ascribed to atypical general paralysis attributed to tertiary syphilis, but this diagnosis has since come into question. He lived his remaining years in the care of his mother until her death in 1897, then under the care of his sister until his death in 1900.

His sister Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche, acted as curator and editor of Nietzsche's manuscripts during his illness. She was married to a prominent German nationalist and antisemite, Bernhard Förster and she reworked some of Nietzsche's unpublished writings to fit her husband's ideology, often in ways contrary to Nietzsche's actual opinions which were strongly and explicitly opposed to antisemitism and nationalism (see Nietzsche's criticism of anti-Semitism and nationalism).

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Human, All Too Human 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 136 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"It really is.."
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Wispered to eachother about names for the small blue dragon
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She sighed.
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Walks in.
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Walks in and looks around then quickly climbs a tree and sits on a branch
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She looked for September with a sigh.
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Walks in
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Lays in the tall gras lookig at the clouds
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Walks in "do people still talk here?"
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Forgot to put that at the end of my name....
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Sighs softly.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What?