For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

The Gay Science: With a Prelude in Rhymes and an Appendix of Songs

by Nietzsche, Friedrich (2010)


Nietzsche called The Gay Science "the most personal of all my books." It was here that he first proclaimed the death of God—to which a large part of the book is devoted—and his doctrine of the eternal recurrence.Walter Kaufmann's commentary, with its many quotations from previously untranslated letters, brings to life Nietzsche as a human being and illuminates his philosophy. The book contains some of Nietzsche's most sustained discussions of art and morality, knowledge and truth, the intellectual conscience and the origin of logic.Most of the book was written just before Thus Spoke Zarathustra, the last part five years later, after Beyond Good and Evil. We encounter Zarathustra in these pages as well as many of Nietzsche's most interesting philosophical ideas and the largest collection of his own poetry that he himself ever published. Walter Kaufmann's English versions of Nietzsche represent one of the major translation enterprises of our time. He is the first philosopher to have translated Nietzsche's major works, and never before has a single translator given us so much of Nietzsche.

Key Passage

Our slow periods.- This is how all artists and people of "works” feel, the motherly human type: at every division of their lives, which are always divided by a work, they believe that they have reached their goal; they would always patiently accept death with the feeling, "now we are ripe for it." This is not the expression of weariness—rather of a certain autumnal sunniness and mildness that the work itself, the fact that the work has become ripe. always leaves behind in the author. Then the tempo of life slows down and becomes thick like honey—even to the point of long fermata, of the faith in the long fermata.  (p.337)


Nietzsche, Philosophy, Artist, Artistic Labour


Nietzsche Citations

Links to Reference


Kaufmann, W.



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