For a Kinder, Gentler Society
Ecce Homo, and The Antichrist
  • Friedrich Nietzsche
  • Translator: Thomas Wayne
Reviews Table of Contents Introduction «Back
Ecce Homo, and The Antichrist.
Sound Bite

Nietzsche at his provocative best. In these, two of his last works, he reviews the principle concepts of his earlier works and his struggle with himself, and delivers a sharp criticism of the Church (while not advocating the general abolition of Christianity), Wagner, and “modern man.”


About the Author

Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900), the influential German philosopher, shook 19th–c. Europe with concepts like the “superman" and the "will to power."

Thomas Wayne is an English Professor at Edison State College in Fort Myers, Florida. He has published two translations of Nietzsche's classics with Algora Publishing, as well as Hermann Hesse's much-loved Steppenwolf, followed by Goethe's Faust. His approach in translating these iconoclastic German powerhouses is to return the juice the authors originally intended, with all their the verve and dynamic energy. He brings alive the best of German literature for today's readers.

About the Book

Although Nietzsche completed both Ecce Homo and The Antichrist by the end of 1888, they were considered so inflammatory that they were published only years later, in 1895 and 1908, respectively....

Although Nietzsche completed both Ecce Homo and The Antichrist by the end of 1888, they were considered so inflammatory that they were published only years later, in 1895 and 1908, respectively. Both are products of Nietzsche's last creative year.

Yet Ecce Homo is relatively calm and tranquil, while The Antichrist is a jeremiad full of venom and vitriol. In Ecce Homo ("Behold the man") - the words used by Pilate when he presented Jesus to the Jews - Nietzsche presents us with an autobiographical tour de force, containing not only some of the finest, most incisive and instructive commentary on his own works, but also his singular comments on the "little things," which are, to him, "the fundamental affairs of life itself": nutrition, climate, locality, and recreation. His inclination to self-aggrandizement is offset by his comment, "I desire no 'believers,' I think I am too malicious even to believe in myself. I have no wish to be a saint, I would rather be a buffoon. Perhaps I am a buffoon."

The Antichrist is in fact one of the most devastating condemnations of Christianity ever; Nietzsche calls it "the one immortal blemish on mankind," the greatest sin possible against reality, against the spirit of the earth." Ever shocking, Nietzsche sets out to de-legitimize the entire ethical-moral value system which modern western civilization has inherited. His analysis of Jesus and Paul as superlative Jewish types and his portrait of Pontius Pilate as a superior Roman type are thought-provoking, to say the least.

Bibliography, Index.


Introduction

“Nietzsche is the most sarcastic son of a bitch ever to set foot on this earth. Just say that; then write whatever else you want, like he would.” — — So my friend Werner Timmermann tells me, with a gleam in his eye. He helped with my translation of Thus Spake Zarathustra, a four-year-long labor of love, so...

“Nietzsche is the most sarcastic son of a bitch ever to set foot on this earth. Just say that; then write whatever else you want, like he would.” — — So my friend Werner Timmermann tells me, with a gleam in his eye. He helped with my translation of Thus Spake Zarathustra, a four-year-long labor of love, so he knows what he is talking about. Zarathustra (1885) was Nietzsche’s magnum opus; everything before it was preparation, everything after it expatiation and elucidation.

But, for some, the question remains: Why Nietzsche? Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) was quite simply one of the most original and influential philosophers who ever lived; in addition, his writing style was brilliant, epigrammatic, idiosyncratic [“It is my ambition to say in ten sentences what everyone else says in a book — what everyone else does not say in a book.”] The language dances, prances, whirls and twirls; it ranges from ghetto-verbalizations and vulgarizations to high art, from lyricism to sardonicism, from satyr-play to passion play. No one really writes like Nietzsche, though the number of his stylistic apes and imitators is legion (especially in the ranks of academe). Nietzsche, by the way, had nothing but contempt for academics; he considered them sterile mediocrities, puffed-up frogs in need of a pinpricking. So much for professional philosophers and their “definitive” translations of Nietzsche; their footnotes are good and with one glaring exception (Zarathustra) their translations are even pretty good.

But pretty good is often not good enough when it comes to Nietzsche. In the new translations that comprise this volume, every sentence, every sentiment is prized: every ellipsis, every parenthesis, every italicized phrase and exclamation point is retained as a part and parcel of his literary notation, his philosophical-musical score, if you will. Rhythm and word choice are everything…

This brings us to a second question: Why The Antichrist and Ecce Homo? Two of this great German’s most germane offerings, they were among his last writings. Although he completed them both by the end of 1888, they were considered to be so inflammatory that they were published only years later, in 1895 and 1908, respectively. Both are products of Nietzsche’s last creative year. Yet Ecce Homo is relatively calm and tranquil, while The Antichrist is a jeremiad full of venom and vitriol. The latter is in fact one of the most devastating condemnations of Christianity ever; Nietzsche calls it “the one immortal blemish on mankind,” the greatest sin possible against reality, against the spirit of the earth. He goes on to say that “the first and last Christian died on the Cross.” His analysis of Jesus and Paul as superlative Jewish types and his portrait of Pontius Pilate as a superior Roman type are thought-provoking, to say the least. One is reminded of Swift’s remark from Gulliver’s Travels: “I cannot but conclude the bulk of your natives to be the most pernicious race of odious little vermin that nature ever suffered to crawl upon the surface of the earth.”

That being said, Swift’s satire influenced Nietzsche less than Voltaire’s skepticism and Schopenhauer’s pessimism — Voltaire, whose celebrated phrase with respect to Christianity was “Ecrasez l’infame!” (invoked at the end of Ecce Homo); and Schopenhauer, whose comment about religion served as the epigraph for H.L. Mencken’s early study of Nietzsche: “I shall be told, I suppose, that my philosophy is comfortless — because I speak the truth; and people prefer to believe that everything the Lord made is good. If you are one such, go to the priests, and leave philosophers in peace.”…


More Information

Friedrich Nietzsche's writing style was brilliant, epigrammatic, and idiosyncratic ["It is my ambition to say in ten sentences what everyone else says in a book - what everyone else does not say in a book"]. The language dances, prances, whirls and twirls; it ranges from ghetto-verbalizations and vulgarizations to high art, from lyricism to sardonicism, from satyr-play to passion play.

The vivacity of such language...

Friedrich Nietzsche's writing style was brilliant, epigrammatic, and idiosyncratic ["It is my ambition to say in ten sentences what everyone else says in a book - what everyone else does not say in a book"]. The language dances, prances, whirls and twirls; it ranges from ghetto-verbalizations and vulgarizations to high art, from lyricism to sardonicism, from satyr-play to passion play.

The vivacity of such language grows stale after decades; Thomas Wayne brings a contemporary interpretation to the slang and the name-slinging, rendering the works more accessible to today's reader.

In addition to updating the language, Wayne's translations are more faithful than any other, reproducing Nietzsche's hybrid, high-bred style - that style which encompasses the shrill, strident, sarcastic and bombastic as well as the eloquent, impassioned, refined and resplendent. This is Nietzsche without tears, without scholarly excuses or pretentious "improvements"; Nietzsche without shortcuts; better yet, Nietzsche straight.

ECCE HOMO: How One Becomes What One Is

and

THE ANTI-CHRIST: A Curse on Christianity

by Friedrich Nietzsche

220 pp
S: 0-87586-281-0

H: 0-87586-282-9

CQ09 CQ14

Available from Barnes & Noble or Amazon.com

About the Author:

Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900), the influential German philosopher, shook 19th-c. Europe with concepts like the "superman" and the "will to power." This new translations by Thomas Wayne is the first challenge to Walter Kaufmann's dated take on the nuanced language of this classic text.

About the Translator:

Thomas Wayne is an English Professor at Edison College in Fort Myers, Florida. His translation of Nietzsche's Zarathustra was published in 2003 by Algora.

Sound Bite

Nietzsche at his provocative best. In these, two of his last works, he reviews the principle concepts of his earlier works and his struggle with himself, and delivers a sharp criticism of the Church (while not advocating the general abolition of Christianity), Wagner, and "modern man."


Categories

Pages 184
Year: 2004
LC Classification: B3316.N54A3413
Dewey code: 193—dc22
BISAC: PHI007000
BISAC: PHI016000
Soft Cover
ISBN: 978-0-87586-281-1
Price: USD 22.95
Hard Cover
ISBN: 978-0-87586-282-8
Price: USD 29.95
Ebook
ISBN: 978-0-87586-283-5
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