Nietzsche’s first two “Aphoristic” Works and His Introduction of “Perspectivism”

Menschliches, Allzumenschliches. Ein Buch für freie Geister,
Menschliches, Allzumenschliches, Anhang: Vermischte Meinungen und Sprüche

NIETZSCHE, Friedrich



Nietzsche’s first two “Aphoristic” Works and His Introduction of “Perspectivism”

NIETZSCHE, Friedrich. Menschliches, Allzumenschliches. Ein Buch für freie Geister (Human all too Human. A Book for Free Spirits). Chemnitz, Schmeitzner, 1878. TP + 1 leaf = Vorrende + 1 leaf = Inhalt + 1 leaf = Half Title + [3] – 377. Octavo. First Edition, First Issue, Schaberg 29.


NIETZSCHE, Friedrich. Menschliches, Allzumenschliches, Anhang: Vermischte Meinungen und Sprüche (Human, All Too Human A Supplement: Mixed Opinions and Maxims). Schmeitzner, Chemnitz, 1879. TP + [3]-163. Octavo. First Edition (Schaberg 31).

VOLUME 1: Only 489 copies of this first edition, first issue, as the remaining 511 of the original 1000 first edition copies were sold to E. W. Fritzsch in 1886 for use in a new edition with new title page and without the ads. Thus, this copy is extremely rare in any state.

This is the first book by Nietzsche where he is listed simply as Friedrich Nietzsche rather than as “prof.” In fact, Human, All Too Human constituted such a radical departure in style and content for Nietzsche that he first proposed to his publisher that it be released anonymously or with a pseudonym. Schmeitzner, however, would not allow it.

Reluctant to construct a philosophical “system,” and sensitive to the importance of style in philosophic writing, Nietzsche composed these works as a series of several hundred aphorisms, a departure from his style up to this point. Much of the work is devoted to what one might now call "psychoanalytical" insights into the nature of common human experience and the origins of our human valuations. At the time, serious inquiry into such things as the nature of dreams, the meaning of pity or the phenomenon of laughter had no place in the field of philosophy.

Human All Too Human also contains Nietzsche’s reflections upon cultural and psychological phenomena in reference to individuals' organic and physiological constitutions. The idea of power sporadically appears as an explanatory principle, but Nietzsche tends at this time to invoke hedonistic considerations of pleasure and pain in his explanations of cultural and psychological phenomena. It is here, too, that Nietzsche's famous epistemological "perspectivism" is first broached: the view that "truths" are nothing more than interpretations of reality, formed from different perspectives and more or less successful in their struggle against competing "truths."

Includes initial half title before the full title page and the “eere” correction, cut and pasted by Schmeitzner over “menon” (a non-word) to create “meere” (sea) on p290 aphorism 431, but lacking the rear advertisements.

VOLUME 2: There were approximately 350 copies of the first edition in the first issue state.

The present work was conceived as an addendum to the previous book and it continues Nietzsche’s incisive observations and evaluations on any number of topics, once again presented in the famous aphoristic style that characterizes these works of Nietzsche’s middle period, the works for “free spirits.”

Nietzsche saw this book so integrally as a continuation of the first Menschliches Allzumenschliches that he suggested to his publisher that it simply continue the pagination where the previous book had left off, though Schmeitzner persuaded him against the idea.

The philosopher’s presentation of his insights in what appears at first glance as a random assortment of loosely related fragments was a strategic decision. Even though he viewed his era as a decadent one, in which a unitary world-view was difficult if not impossible, and that the philosopher of his day could at best hope to illuminate a few spaces neglected in the great systems of the past, he was also writing in self-conscious defiance of the great systems, the works of Kant, Hegel and Spinoza, trying to retrieve the danger of real thought from the lethargy of thinking in which every question is already answered by reference to the system before it is even posed.

CONDITION: Contemporary ½ morocco binding with gilt lettering to restored spine. Decorative endpapers. Very good. This is a tight, very clean & beautiful copy.






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