For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

Human, All Too Human: A Book for Free Spirits

by Nietzsche, Friedrich (1996)


This remarkable collection of almost 1,400 aphorisms was originally published in three instalments. The first (now Volume I) appeared in 1878, just before Nietzsche abandoned academic life, with a first supplement entitled The Assorted Opinions and Maxims following in 1879, and a second entitled The Wanderer and his Shadow a year later. In 1886 Nietzsche republished them together in a two-volume edition, with new prefaces to each volume. Both volumes are presented here in R. J. Hollingdale's distinguished translation (originally published in the series Cambridge Texts in German Philosophy) with a new introduction by Richard Schacht. In this wide-ranging work Nietzsche first employed his celebrated aphoristic style, so perfectly suited to his iconoclastic, penetrating and multi-faceted thought. Many themes of his later work make their initial appearance here, expressed with unforgettable liveliness and subtlety. Human, All Too Human well deserves its subtitle 'A Book for Free Spirits', and its original dedication to Voltaire, whose project of radical enlightenment here found a new champion.

Key Passage

— But must man­ners continue to go downhill for ever? It seems to me, rather, that man­ners are describing a curve and that we are approaching its nadir. Once society has grown more certain of its objectives and principles, so that they act constructively (whereas now the manners we have acquired, constructed as they were by circumstances that have ceased to exist, are being acquired and inherited ever more feebly), manners and deportment in social intercourse will necessarily be as natural and simple as these objectives and principles are. An improvement in the division of time and work, gymnastic exercise transformed into an accompaniment to leisure, a power of reflection augmented and grown more rigorous that bestows prudence and flexibility even upon the body, will bring all this with it. (p.118)


Nietzsche, Manners, Leisure, Morals


Nietzsche Citations

Links to Reference


Hollingdale, R. J.



How to contribute.