The Gay Science (The Joyful Wisdom) is one of Nietzsche’s greatest books. His wonderfully fertile mind roams over mankind, his thoughts, his emotions, his behaviour and his weaknesses with remarkable clarity, with insight – but also with humour!
In this work are 383 separate paragraphs, some short, some long, but all singular observations – the epitome of his famous aphoristic style. ‘Morality is the herd instinct in the individual.’ ‘The world is overfull of beautiful things, but it is nevertheless poor, very poor, in beautiful moments.’ Being intellectual, he declares, is not equivalent to ‘taking things seriously’: why not laugh while thinking!
When should one be an Epicurean and when a Stoic? Nietzsche may be best known for Thus Spoke Zarathustra (The Gay Science was published in 1882, a year before Zarathustra, and actually contains its opening paragraph!) but with its potpourri of comments, some wild, some sharp, some rather odd, it is totally different in tone. The Gay Science represents the Friedrich Nietzsche one would want to meet.
All of the 77 poems included by Nietzsche in The Gay Science have been placed at the end of the main text, to be enjoyed by dedicated Nietzscheans.
The aphorisms and poems are persuasively read by Michael Lunts.