It was with Human, All Too Human, first published in 1878, that Nietzsche developed the aphoristic style that so suited his challenging views and uncompromising style. The text is divided into three main sections: ‘Of the First and Last Things’, ‘History of the Moral Feelings’ and ‘The Religious Life’. But the style remains the same: he declares the subjects – dream and civilisation; private ethics and world ethics; gratitude and revenge; well-wishing; vanity – and then discusses them in a few sentences or sometimes in a longer passage. This style enables him to cover an extraordinarily wide range of topics as his fertile and lively mind wander over man in his element.
This audiobook also contains the two parts of volume II: ‘Miscellaneous Maxims’ and ‘The Wanderer and His Shadow’. These two collections are less well known – unjustly so, as they are packed with Nietzsche’s wonderfully uncompromising views and observation on a lucky dip of topics including debauchery, bach, danger in admiration, deception in love and dishonest praise.
Here is an example: ‘End and goal. Not every end is the goal. The end of a melody is not its goal, and yet if a melody has not reached its end, it has also not reached its goal. A parable.’
All in all, this 15-hour collection in an appropriately conversational reading by Michael Lunts is a fascinating, at times infuriating yet always entertaining discovery.