Thus Spoke Zarathustra

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Thus Spoke Zarathustra: A Book for All and None
Also sprach Zarathustra. Ein Buch fur Alle und Keinen. In drei Theilen.jpg
Title page of the first three-book edition
Author Friedrich Nietzsche
Original titleAlso sprach Zarathustra: Ein Buch für Alle und Keinen
PublisherErnst Schmeitzner
Publication date
Media typePrint (Hardcover and Paperback)
Preceded by The Gay Science  
Followed by Beyond Good and Evil  
Text Thus Spoke Zarathustra: A Book for All and None at Wikisource

Thus Spoke Zarathustra: A Book for All and None (German : Also sprach Zarathustra: Ein Buch für Alle und Keinen), also translated as Thus Spake Zarathustra, is a work of philosophical fiction written by German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche between 1883 and 1885. The protagonist is nominally the historical Zoroaster, but, besides a handful of sentences, Nietzsche is not concerned with a specific resemblance. Much of the book purports to be what Zarathustra said, and it repeats the refrain, "Thus spoke Zarathustra."


The style of Zarathustra has facilitated varied and often incompatible ideas about what Zarathustra says. Zarathustra's "[e]xplanations and claims are almost always analogical and figurative." [1] Though there is no consensus with what Zarathustra means when he speaks, there is some consensus about that which he speaks. Zarathustra deals with ideas about the Übermensch , the death of God, the will to power, and eternal recurrence.

Zarathustra himself first appeared in Nietzsche's earlier book The Gay Science . Nietzsche has suggested that his Zarathustra is a tragedy and a parody and a polemic and the culmination of the German language. It was his favorite of his own books. He was aware, however, that readers might not understand it. This is possibly why he subtitled it A Book for All and None. However, as with the content as a whole, the subtitle has baffled many critics, and there is no consensus.

Zarathustra's themes and merits are continually disputed. It has nonetheless been hugely influential in various facets of culture.


Nietzsche wrote in Ecce Homo that the central idea of Zarathustra occurred to him by a "pyramidal block of stone" on the shores of Lake Silvaplana. Nietzsche-Stein 01.jpg
Nietzsche wrote in Ecce Homo that the central idea of Zarathustra occurred to him by a "pyramidal block of stone" on the shores of Lake Silvaplana.
Nietzsche's first note on the "eternal recurrence", written "at the beginning of August 1881 in Sils-Maria, 6000 ft above sea level and much higher above all human regards! -" Nachlass, notebook M III 1, p. 53. Nietzsche Ewige Wiederkunft.jpg
Nietzsche's first note on the "eternal recurrence", written "at the beginning of August 1881 in Sils-Maria, 6000 ft above sea level and much higher above all human regards! -" Nachlass, notebook M III 1, p. 53.

Nietzsche was born into, and largely remained within, the Bildungsbürgertum, a sort of highly cultivated middleclass. [2] By the time he was a teenager, he had been writing music and poetry. [3] [4] His aunt Rosalie gave him a biography of Alexander von Humboldt for his 15th birthday, and reading this inspired a love of learning "for its own sake". [5] The schools he attended, the books he read, and his general milieu fostered and inculcated his interests in Bildung, or self-development, a concept at least tangential to many in Zarathustra, and he worked extremely hard. He became an outstanding philologist almost accidentally, and he renounced his ideas about being an artist. As a philologist he became particularly sensitive to the transmissions and modifications of ideas, [6] which also bears relevance into Zarathustra. Nietzsche's growing distaste toward philology, however, was yoked with his growing taste toward philosophy. As a student, this yoke was his work with Diogenes Laertius. Even with that work he strongly opposed received opinion. With subsequent and properly philosophical work he continued to oppose received opinion. [7] His books leading up to Zarathustra have been described as nihilistic destruction. [7] Such nihilistic destruction combined with his increasing isolation and the rejection of his marriage proposals (to Lou Andreas-Salomé) and devastated him. [7] While he was working on Zarathustra he was walking very much. [7] The imagery of his walks mingled with his physical and emotional and intellectual pains and his prior decades of hard work. What "erupted" was Thus Spoke Zarathustra. [7]

Nietzsche has said that the central idea of Zarathustra is the eternal recurrence. He has also said that this central idea first occurred to him in August 1881: he was near a "pyramidal block of stone" while walking through the woods along the shores of Lake Silvaplana in the Upper Engadine, and he made a small note that read "6,000 feet beyond man and time."[ clarification needed ] [8]

A few weeks after meeting this idea, he paraphrased in a notebook something written by Friedrich von Hellwald about Zarathustra. [9] This paraphrase was developed into the beginning of Thus Spoke Zarathustra. [9]

A year and a half after making that paraphrase, Nietzsche was living in Rapallo. [9] Nietzsche claimed that the entire first part was conceived, and that Zarathustra himself "came over him", while walking. He was regularly walking "the magnificent road to Zoagli" and "the whole Bay of Santa Margherita". [10] He said in a letter that the entire first part "was conceived in the course of strenuous hiking: absolute certainty, as if every sentence were being called out to me". [10]

Nietzsche returned to "the sacred place" in the summer of 1883 and he "found" the second part". [9]

Nietzsche was in Nice the following winter and he "found" the third part. [9]

According to Nietzsche in Ecce Homo it was "scarcely one year for the entire work", and ten days each part. [9] More broadly, however, he said in a letter: "The whole of Zarathustra is an explosion of forces that have been accumulating for decades". [10]

In January 1884 Nietzsche had finished the third part and thought the book finished. [9] But by November he expected a fourth part to be finished by January. [9] He also mentioned a fifth and sixth part leading to Zarathustra's death, "or else he will give me no peace". [10] But after the fourth part was finished he called it "a fourth (and last) part of Zarathustra, a kind of sublime finale, which is not at all meant for the public". [10]

The first three parts were initially published individually and were first published together in a single volume in 1887.[ citation needed ] The fourth part was written in 1885 and kept private. [9] While Nietzsche retained mental capacity and was involved in the publication of his works, forty-five copies of the fourth part were printed at his own expense and distributed to his closest friends, to whom he expressed "a vehement desire never to have the Fourth Part made public". [9] In 1889, however, Nietzsche became significantly incapacitated. In March 1892 the four parts were published in a single volume. [9]


First part

The book begins with a prologue which sets up many of the themes that will be explored throughout the work. Zarathustra is introduced as a hermit who has lived ten years on a mountain with his two companions, an eagle and a serpent. One morning – inspired by the sun, which is happy only when it shines upon others – Zarathustra decides to return to the world and share his wisdom. Upon descending the mountain, he encounters a saint living in a forest, who spends his days praising God. Zarathustra marvels that the saint has not yet heard that "God is dead".

Arriving at the nearest town, Zarathustra addresses a crowd which has gathered to watch a tightrope walker. He tells them that mankind's goal must be to create something superior to itself – a new type of human, the Übermensch . All men, he says, must be prepared to will their own destruction in order to bring the Übermensch into being. The crowd greets this speech with scorn and mockery, and meanwhile the tightrope show begins. When the rope-dancer is halfway across, a clown comes up behind him, urging him to get out of the way. The clown then leaps over the rope-dancer, causing the latter to fall to his death. The crowd scatters; Zarathustra takes the corpse of the rope-dancer on his shoulders, carries it into the forest, and lays it in a hollow tree. He decides that from this point on, he will no longer attempt to speak to the masses, but only to a few chosen disciples.

There follows a series of discourses in which Zarathustra overturns many of the precepts of Christian morality. He gathers a group of disciples, but ultimately abandons them, saying that he will not return until they have disowned him.

Second part

Zarathustra retires to his mountain cave, and several years pass by. One night, he dreams that he looks into a mirror and sees the face of a devil instead of his own; he takes this as a sign that his doctrines are being distorted by his enemies, and joyfully descends the mountain to recover his lost disciples.

More discourses follow, which continue to develop the themes of the death of God and the rise of the Übermensch, and also introduce the concept of the will to power. There are hints, however, that Zarathustra is holding something back. A series of dreams and visions prompt him to reveal this secret teaching, but he cannot bring himself to do so. He withdraws from his disciples once more, in order to perfect himself.

Third part

While journeying home, Zarathustra is waylaid by the spirit of gravity, a dwarf-like creature which clings to his back and whispers taunts into his ear. Zarathustra at first becomes despondent, but then takes courage; he challenges the spirit to hear the "abysmal thought" which he has so far refrained from speaking. This is the doctrine of eternal recurrence. Time, says Zarathustra, is infinite, stretching both forward and backward into eternity. This means that everything that happens now must have happened before, and that every moment must continue to repeat itself eternally.

As he speaks, Zarathustra hears a dog howl in terror, and then he sees a new vision – a shepherd choking on a black serpent which has crept into his throat. At Zarathustra's urging, the shepherd bites the serpent's head off and spits it out. In that moment, the shepherd is transformed into a laughing, radiant being, something greater than human.

Zarathustra continues his journey, delivering more discourses inspired by his observations. Arriving at his mountain cave, he remains there for some time, reflecting on his mission. He is disgusted at humanity's pettiness, and despairs at the thought of the eternal recurrence of such an insignificant race. Eventually, however, he discovers his own longing for eternity, and sings a song in celebration of eternal return.

Fourth part

Zarathustra begins to grow old as he remains secluded in his cave. One day, he is visited by a soothsayer, who says that he has come to tempt Zarathustra to his final sin – compassion (mitleiden, which can also be translated "pity"). A loud cry of distress is heard, and the soothsayer tells Zarathustra that "the higher man" is calling to him. Zarathustra is alarmed, and rushes to the aid of the higher man.

Searching through his domain for the person who uttered the cry for help, Zarathustra encounters a series of characters representative of various aspects of humanity. He engages each of them in conversation, and ends by inviting each one to await his return in his cave. After a day's search, however, he is unable to find the higher man. Returning home, he hears the cry of distress once more, now coming from inside his own cave. He realises that all the people he has spoken to that day are collectively the higher man. Welcoming them to his home, he nevertheless tells them that they are not the men he has been waiting for; they are only the precursors of the Übermensch.

Zarathustra hosts a supper for his guests, which is enlivened by songs and arguments, and ends in the facetious worship of a donkey. The higher men thank Zarathustra for relieving them of their distress and teaching them to be content with life.

The following morning, outside his cave, Zarathustra encounters a lion and a flock of doves, which he interprets as a sign that those whom he calls his children are near. As the higher men emerge from the cave, the lion roars at them, causing them to cry out and flee. Their cry reminds Zarathustra of the soothsayer's prediction that he would be tempted into feeling compassion for the higher man. He declares that this is over, and that from this time forward he will think of nothing but his work.


Friedrich Nietzsche, Edvard Munch, 1906. Friederich Nietzsche.jpg
Friedrich Nietzsche, Edvard Munch, 1906.

Scholars have argued that "the worst possible way to understand Zarathustra is as a teacher of doctrines". [11] Nonetheless Thus Spoke Zarathustra "has contributed most to the public perception of Nietzsche as philosopher namely, as the teacher of the 'doctrines' of the will to power, the overman and the eternal return". [12]

Will to power

Nietzsche's thinking was significantly influenced by the thinking of Arthur Schopenhauer. Schopenhauer emphasised will, and particularly will to live. Nietzsche emphasised Wille zur Macht, or will to power.

Nietzsche was not a systematic philosopher and left much of what he wrote open to interpretation. Receptive fascists are said to have misinterpreted the will to power, having overlooked Nietzsche's distinction between Kraft ("force" or "strength") and Macht ("power" or "might"). [13]

Scholars have often had recourse to Nietzsche's notebooks, where will to power is described in ways such as "willing-to-become-stronger [Stärker-werden-wollen], willing growth". [14]


It is allegedly "well-known that as a term, Nietzsche’s Übermensch derives from Lucian of Samosata's hyperanthropos". [15] This hyperanthropos, or overhuman, appears in Lucian's Menippean satire Κατάπλους ἢ Τύραννος, usually translated Downward Journey or The Tyrant. This hyperanthropos is "imagined to be superior to others of 'lesser' station in this-worldly life and the same tyrant after his (comically unwilling) transport into the underworld". [15] Nietzsche celebrated Goethe as an actualisation of the Übermensch. [7]

Eternal recurrence

Nietzsche in the care of his sister in 1899. Some critics of Nietzsche have linked the eternal recurrence to encroaching madness. Sick Nietzsche, Hans Olde.jpg
Nietzsche in the care of his sister in 1899. Some critics of Nietzsche have linked the eternal recurrence to encroaching madness.

Nietzsche included some brief writings on eternal recurrence in his earlier book The Gay Science. Zarathustra also appeared in that book. In Thus Spoke Zarathustra, the eternal recurrence is, according to Nietzsche, the "fundamental idea of the work". [16]

Interpretations of the eternal recurrence have mostly revolved around cosmological and attitudinal and normative principles. [17]

As a cosmological principle, it has been supposed to mean that time is circular, that all things recur eternally. [17] A weak attempt at proof has been noted in Nietzsche's notebooks, and it is not clear to what extent, if at all, Nietzsche believed in the truth of it. [17] Critics have mostly dealt with the cosmological principle as a puzzle of why Nietzsche might have touted the idea.

As an attitudinal principle it has often been dealt with as a thought experiment, to see how one would react, or as a sort of ultimate expression of life-affirmation, as if one should desire eternal recurrence. [17]

As a normative principle, it has been thought of as a measure or standard, akin to a "moral rule". [17]

Criticism of religion

Nietzsche studied extensively and was very familiar with Schopenhauer and Christianity and Buddhism, each of which he considered nihilistic and "enemies to a healthy culture". [18] Thus Spoke Zarathustra can be understood as a "polemic" against these influences. [18]

Though Nietzsche "probably learned Sanskrit while at Leipzig from 1865 to 1868", [18] and "was probably one of the best read and most solidly grounded in Buddhism for his time among Europeans", [18] Nietzsche was writing when Eastern thought was only beginning to be acknowledged in the West, and Eastern thought was easily misconstrued. [18] Nietzsche's interpretations of Buddhism were coloured by his study of Schopenhauer, [18] and it is "clear that Nietzsche, as well as Schopenhauer, entertained inaccurate views of Buddhism". [18] An egregious example has been the idea of śūnyatā as "nothingness" rather than "emptiness". [18] "Perhaps the most serious misreading we find in Nietzsche's account of Buddhism was his inability to recognize that the Buddhist doctrine of emptiness was an initiatory stage leading to a reawakening". [18] Nietzsche dismissed Schopenhauer and Christianity and Buddhism as pessimistic and nihilistic, but, according to Benjamin A. Elman, "[w]hen understood on its own terms, Buddhism cannot be dismissed as pessimistic or nihilistic". [18] Moreover, answers which Nietzsche assembled to the questions he was asking, not only generally but also in Zarathustra, put him "very close to some basic doctrines found in Buddhism". [18] An example is when Zarathustra says that "the soul is only a word for something about the body". [18]


It has been often repeated in some way that Nietzsche takes with one hand what he gives with the other. Accordingly, interpreting what he wrote has been notoriously slippery. One of the most vexed points in discussions of Nietzsche has been whether or not he was a nihilist. [18] Though arguments have been made for either side, what is clear is that Nietzsche was at least interested in nihilism.

As far as nihilism touched other people, at least, metaphysical understandings of the world were progressively undermined until people could contend that "God is dead". [7] Without God, humanity was greatly devalued. [7] Without metaphysical or supernatural lenses, humans could be seen as animals with primitive drives which were or could be sublimated. [7] According to Hollingdale, this led to Nietzsche's ideas about the will to power. [7] Likewise, "Sublimated will to power was now the Ariadne's thread tracing the way out of the labyrinth of nihilism". [7]


"On Reading and Writing.
Of all that is written, I love only that which one writes with one's own blood."
Thus Spoke Zarathustra, The Complete Works of Friedrich Nietzsche, Volume VI, 1899, C. G. Naumann, Leipzig. Nietzsche - Zarathustra, 070.jpg
"On Reading and Writing.
Of all that is written, I love only that which one writes with one's own blood."
Thus Spoke Zarathustra, The Complete Works of Friedrich Nietzsche, Volume VI, 1899, C. G. Naumann, Leipzig.

The nature of the text is musical and operatic. [9] While working on it Nietzsche wrote "of his aim 'to become Wagner's heir'". [9] Nietzsche thought of it as akin to a symphony or opera. [9] "No lesser a symphonist than Gustav Mahler corroborates: 'His Zarathustra was born completely from the spirit of music, and is even "symphonically constructed"'". [9] Nietzsche

later draws special attention to "the tempo of Zarathustra's speeches" and their "delicate slowness"   "from an infinite fullness of light and depth of happiness drop falls after drop, word after word"  as well as the necessity of "hearing properly the tone that issues from his mouth, this halcyon tone". [9]

The length of paragraphs and the punctuation and the repetitions all enhance the musicality. [9]

The title is Thus Spoke Zarathustra. Much of the book is what Zarathustra said. What Zarathustra says

is throughout so highly parabolic, metaphorical, and aphoristic. Rather than state various claims about virtues and the present age and religion and aspirations, Zarathustra speaks about stars, animals, trees, tarantulas, dreams, and so forth. Explanations and claims are almost always analogical and figurative. [20]

Nietzsche would often appropriate masks and models to develop himself and his thoughts and ideas, and to find voices and names through which to communicate. [21] While writing Zarathustra, Nietzsche was particularly influenced by "the language of Luther and the poetic form of the Bible". [9] But Zarathustra also frequently alludes to or appropriates from Hölderlin's Hyperion and Goethe's Faust and Emerson's Essays, among other things. It is generally agreed that the sorcerer is based on Wagner and the soothsayer is based on Schopenhauer.

The original text contains a great deal of word-play. For instance, words beginning with über ('over, above') and unter ('down, below') are often paired to emphasise the contrast, which is not always possible to bring out in translation, except by coinages. An example is untergang (lit. 'down-going'), which is used in German to mean 'setting' (as in, of the sun), but also 'sinking', 'demise', 'downfall', or 'doom'. Nietzsche pairs this word with its opposite übergang ('over-going'), used to mean 'transition'. Another example is übermensch ('overman' or 'superman').


Nietzsche considered Thus Spoke Zarathustra his magnum opus , writing:

With [Thus Spoke Zarathustra] I have given mankind the greatest present that has ever been made to it so far. This book, with a voice bridging centuries, is not only the highest book there is, the book that is truly characterized by the air of the heights—the whole fact of man lies beneath it at a tremendous distance—it is also the deepest, born out of the innermost wealth of truth, an inexhaustible well to which no pail descends without coming up again filled with gold and goodness.

Ecce Homo , "Preface" §4, translated by W. Kaufmann

In a letter of February 1884, he wrote:

With Zarathustra I believe I have brought the German language to its culmination. After Luther and Goethe there was still a third step to be made. [9]

To this, Parkes has said: "Many scholars believe that Nietzsche managed to make that step". [9] But critical opinion varies extremely. The book is "a masterpiece of literature as well as philosophy" [9] and "in large part a failure". [20]

The style of the book, along with its ambiguity and paradoxical nature, has helped its eventual enthusiastic reception by the reading public, but has frustrated academic attempts at analysis (as Nietzsche may have intended). Thus Spoke Zarathustra remained unpopular as a topic for scholars (especially those in the Anglo-American analytic tradition) until the latter half of the 20th century brought widespread interest in Nietzsche and his unconventional style. [22]

The critic Harold Bloom criticized Thus Spoke Zarathustra in The Western Canon (1994), calling the book "a gorgeous disaster" and "unreadable." [23] Other commentators have suggested that Nietzsche's style is intentionally ironic for much of the book.




Text from Thus Spoke Zarathustra constitutes the Nietzsche memorial stone that was erected at Lake Sils in 1900, the year Nietzsche died.

Nietzsche memorial stone, Lake Sils. Nietzsche Gedenkstein Sils Chaste.jpg
Nietzsche memorial stone, Lake Sils.


19th century

20th century

  • Frederick Delius based his major choral-orchestral work A Mass of Life (1904–5) on texts from Thus Spoke Zarathustra. The work ends with a setting of "Zarathustra's Roundelay" which Delius had composed earlier, in 1898, as a separate work.
  • Carl Orff composed a three-movement setting of part of Nietzsche's text as a teenager, but this has remained unpublished.
  • The short score of the third symphony by Arnold Bax originally began with a quotation from Thus Spoke Zarathustra: "My wisdom became pregnant on lonely mountains; upon barren stones she brought forth her young."
  • Another setting of the roundelay is one of the songs of Lukas Foss's Time Cycle for soprano and orchestra.
  • Italian progressive rock band Museo Rosenbach released the album Zarathustra , with lyrics referring to the book.

21st century



Elisabeth Forster-Nietzsche (Nietzsche's sister) in 1910. Forster-Nietzsche controlled and influenced the reception of Nietzsche's work. Elisabeth Forster-Nietzsche, 1910.tif
Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche (Nietzsche's sister) in 1910. Forster-Nietzsche controlled and influenced the reception of Nietzsche's work.

In 1893, Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche returned to Germany from administrating a failed colony in Paraguay and took charge of Nietzsche's manuscripts. Nietzsche was by this point incapacitated. Förster-Nietzsche edited the manuscripts and invented false biographical information and fostered affiliations with the Nazis. The Nazis issued special editions of Zarathustra to soldiers.


"Thus Spoke Zarathustra" by Nietzsche, Parts I - III of the Kaufmann Translation, (1993) 97 minute Film with Subtitles by Ronald Gerard Smith. Distributed by Films for the Humanities and Sciences (2012 - 2019).

English translations

The first English translation of Zarathustra was published in 1896 by Alexander Tille.

Common (1909)

Thomas Common published a translation in 1909 which was based on Alexander Tille's earlier attempt. [27] Common wrote in the style of Shakespeare or the King James Version of the Bible.[ clarification needed ] Common's poetic interpretation of the text, which renders the title Thus Spake Zarathustra, received wide acclaim for its lambent portrayal.[ citation needed ] Common reasoned that because the original German was written in a pseudo-Luther-Biblical style, a pseudo-King-James-Biblical style would be fitting in the English translation.

Kaufmann's introduction to his own translation included a blistering critique of Common's version; he notes that in one instance, Common has taken the German "most evil" and rendered it "baddest", a particularly unfortunate error not merely for his having coined the term "baddest", but also because Nietzsche dedicated a third of The Genealogy of Morals to the difference between "bad" and "evil." [27] This and other errors led Kaufmann to wonder whether Common "had little German and less English." [27]

The German text available to Common was considerably flawed. [28]

From Zarathustra's Prologue:

The Superman is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: The Superman shall be the meaning of the earth!
I conjure you, my brethren, remain true to the earth, and believe not those who speak unto you of superearthly hopes! Poisoners are they, whether they know it or not.

Kaufmann (1954) and Hollingdale (1961)

The Common translation remained widely accepted until more critical translations, titled Thus Spoke Zarathustra, were published by Walter Kaufmann in 1954, [29] and R.J. Hollingdale in 1961, [30] which are considered to convey the German text more accurately than the Common version. The translations of Kaufmann and Hollingdale render the text in a far more familiar, less archaic, style of language, than that of Common. However, "deficiencies" have been noted. [31]

The German text from which Hollingdale and Kaufmann worked was untrue to Nietzsche's own work in some ways. [28] Martin criticizes Kaufmann for changing punctuation, altering literal and philosophical meanings, and dampening some of Nietzsche's more controversial metaphors. [28] Kaufmann's version, which has become the most widely available, features a translator's note suggesting that Nietzsche's text would have benefited from an editor; Martin suggests that Kaufmann "took it upon himself to become [Nietzsche's] editor." [28]

Kaufmann, from Zarathustra's Prologue:

The overman is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the overman shall be the meaning of the earth! I beseech you, my brothers, remain faithful to the earth, and do not believe those who speak to you of otherworldly hopes! Poison-mixers are they, whether they know it or not.

Hollingdale, from Zarathustra's Prologue:

The Superman is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the Superman shall be the meaning of the earth!
I entreat you, my brothers, remain true to the earth, and do not believe those who speak to you of superterrestrial hopes! They are poisoners, whether they know it or not.

Wayne (2003)

Thomas Wayne, an English Professor at Edison State College in Fort Myers, Florida, published a translation in 2003. The introduction by Roger W. Phillips, Ph.D., says "Wayne's close reading of the original text has exposed the deficiencies of earlier translations, preeminent among them that of the highly esteemed Walter Kaufmann", and gives several reasons.

Martin (2005)

Parkes (2005) and Del Caro (2006)

Graham Parkes describes his own 2005 translation as trying "above all to convey the musicality of the text." [32] In 2006, Cambridge University Press published a translation by Adrian Del Caro, edited by Robert Pippin.

Parkes, from Zarathustra's Prologue:

The Overhuman is the sense of the earth. May your will say: Let the Overhuman be the sense of the earth!
I beseech you, my brothers, stay true to the earth and do not believe those who talk of over-earthly hopes! They are poison-mixers, whether they know it or not.

Del Caro, from Zarathustra's Prologue:

The overman is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the overman shall be the meaning of the earth!
I beseech you, my brothers, remain faithful to the earth and do not believe those who speak to you of extraterrestrial hopes! They are mixers of poisons whether they know it or not.

Further reading

Selected editions

The book Thus Spoke Zarathustra with pictures by Lena Hades in German and Russian Buch Also sprach Zarathustra.jpg
The book Thus Spoke Zarathustra with pictures by Lena Hades in German and Russian



  • Also sprach Zarathustra, edited by Giorgio Colli and Mazzino Montinari. Munich: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag (study edition of the standard German Nietzsche edition).
  • Also sprach Zarathustra (bilingual ed.) (in German and Russian), with 20 oil paintings by Lena Hades. Moscow: Institute of Philosophy, Russian Academy of Sciences. 2004. ISBN   5-9540-0019-0.

Commentaries and introductions



See also

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The will to power is a concept in the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. The will to power describes what Nietzsche may have believed to be the main driving force in humans. However, the concept was never systematically defined in Nietzsche's work, leaving its interpretation open to debate. Usage of the term by Nietzsche can be summarized as self-determination, the concept of actualizing one's will onto one's self or one's surroundings, and coincides heavily with egoism.

<i>Also sprach Zarathustra</i> 1896 symphonic poem by Richard Strauss

Also sprach Zarathustra, Op. 30 is a tone poem by Richard Strauss, composed in 1896 and inspired by Friedrich Nietzsche's philosophical 1883–1885 novel Thus Spoke Zarathustra. The composer conducted its first performance on 27 November 1896 in Frankfurt. A typical performance lasts half an hour.

<i>The Gay Science</i> Book by Nietzsche

The Gay Science, sometimes incorrectly translated as The Joyful Wisdom or The Joyous Science, is a book by Friedrich Nietzsche published in 1882, and followed by a second edition in 1887 after the completion of Thus Spoke Zarathustra and Beyond Good and Evil. This substantial expansion includes the addition of a fifth book to the existing four books of The Gay Science, as well as an appendix of songs. It was described by Nietzsche as "the most personal of all my books", and contains more poems than any of his other works.

Zarathustra's Roundelay is a poem that figures as a central motif in the 1883-1885 book Thus Spoke Zarathustra by Friedrich Nietzsche. The roundelay first appears in "Chapter 59: The Second Dance-Song", as a psychological revelation that precedes "Chapter 60: The Seven Seals", a conclusion and affirmation of Zarathustra's middle-aged philosophical ventures. Then, in the second last chapter, "The Drunken Song", Zarathustra elaborates upon and explains his roundelay, revealing its connection to the Eternal Recurrence.

R. J. Hollingdale

Reginald John "R. J." Hollingdale was a British biographer and translator of German philosophy and literature, especially the works of Friedrich Nietzsche, Goethe, E. T. A. Hoffmann, G. C. Lichtenberg, and Schopenhauer.

This is a list of writings and other compositions by Friedrich Nietzsche.

Philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche Philosophical ideas of Friedrich Nietzsche

Friedrich Nietzsche (1844—1900) developed his philosophy during the late 19th century. He owed the awakening of his philosophical interest to reading Arthur Schopenhauer's Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung and said that Schopenhauer was one of the few thinkers that he respected, dedicating to him his essay Schopenhauer als Erzieher, published in 1874 as one of his Untimely Meditations.

<i>Twilight of the Idols</i> Book by Friedrich Nietzsche

Twilight of the Idols, or, How to Philosophize with a Hammer is a book by Friedrich Nietzsche, written in 1888, and published in 1889.

Amor fati is a Latin phrase that may be translated as "love of fate" or "love of one's fate". It is used to describe an attitude in which one sees everything that happens in one's life, including suffering and loss, as good or, at the very least, necessary.

The 19th-century philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche is known as a critic of Judeo-Christian morality and religions in general. One of the arguments he raised against the truthfulness of these doctrines is that they are based upon the concept of free will, which, in his opinion, does not exist.

"Faith in the Earth" is a concept referred to in the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche's mytho-poetic formulation of divinity, Thus Spoke Zarathustra. A complicated idea with many connotations within its central work, it is the process through which Nietzsche formalizes his idea of amor fati, and most broadly refers to treating the worldly with the same degree of spiritual worship and respect previously given to the divine. It is a related concept to the central idea of Eternal Recurrence that forms the main focus of the work.

Also sprach Zarathustra is the oil painting cycle by Lena Hades painted from 1995 to 1997 and inspired by Friedrich Nietzsche's philosophical novel of the same name. The painter created her first painting on December 1995 in Moscow. The Thus Spake Zarathustra cycle is a series of twenty-eight oil paintings made by the artist from 1995 to 1997 and thirty graphic works made in 2009. Twenty-four of the paintings depict so-called round-headed little men and their struggles in life. The remaining four depict Zarathustra himself, his eagle and serpent. Six paintings of the series were purchased by the Moscow Museum of Modern Art and by some important private collectors. The oil painting Also Sprach Zarathustra series was exhibited several times — including the exhibition at the Institute of Philosophy of the Russian Academy of Sciences in 1997 and at the First Moscow Biennale of contemporary art in 2005.




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