Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Horstmann, Rolf-Peter. Review of Friedrich Nietzsche, WRITINGS FROM THE EARLY NOTEBOOKS. NDPR (December 2009).

Nietzsche, Friedrich. Writings from the Early Notebooks. Ed. Raymond Geuss and Alexander Nehamas. Trans. Ladislaus Löb. Cambridge: CUP, 2009.

As the title of the volume suggests, the texts it contains are a selection. They come from the vast amount of notes -- almost half of the historical critical edition of his works is filled with them -- that Nietzsche wrote down throughout his life in many notebooks. Some of these notes are just a couple of words whereas others are of considerable length, sometimes filling several pages. They contain remarks and reflections on topics that aroused his intellectual curiosity, covering just about every conceivable field of human life ranging from contemporary politics and cultural history to art and aesthetic phenomena and above all to almost all domains of philosophy both theoretical and practical. The roughly 240 pages of notes in the volume are from the period between 1869 and 1879. That they represent a very exclusive selection is documented by the fact that the notes from this period in the historical critical edition cover around 1400 pages. This raises a question about the principles and the criteria of selection. Unfortunately, neither the editors nor the translator explicitly address this question. However, I have the impression that the guiding thread for the selection was the general relevance of the material selected for what Alexander Nehamas in his introduction tells us about Nietzsche's preoccupations and main interests during that period. This impression is not just based on the notes chosen. It also suggests itself indirectly because of the inclusion of three texts discussed quite thoroughly in the introduction, two of which are normally not considered to be notes but fall under the rubric of unpublished writings (On the Pathos of Truth and On Truth and Lie in an Extra-Moral Sense), while the third (On Schopenhauer) is from an earlier period. However that may be, the resulting collection is very convincing and informative. . . .

Read the whole review here:

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