Beyond Good and Evil

By Friedrich Nietzsche

Page 22

For the
indignant man, and he who perpetually tears and lacerates himself with
his own teeth (or, in place of himself, the world, God, or society),
may indeed, morally speaking, stand higher than the laughing and
self-satisfied satyr, but in every other sense he is the more ordinary,
more indifferent, and less instructive case. And no one is such a LIAR
as the indignant man.

27. It is difficult to be understood, especially when one thinks and
lives gangasrotogati [Footnote: Like the river Ganges: presto.] among
those only who think and live otherwise--namely, kurmagati [Footnote:
Like the tortoise: lento.], or at best "froglike," mandeikagati
[Footnote: Like the frog: staccato.] (I do everything to be "difficultly
understood" myself!)--and one should be heartily grateful for the
good will to some refinement of interpretation. As regards "the good
friends," however, who are always too easy-going, and think that as
friends they have a right to ease, one does well at the very first to
grant them a play-ground and romping-place for misunderstanding--one can
thus laugh still; or get rid of them altogether, these good friends--and
laugh then also!

28. What is most difficult to render from one language into another
is the TEMPO of its style, which has its basis in the character of the
race, or to speak more physiologically, in the average TEMPO of the
assimilation of its nutriment. There are honestly meant translations,
which, as involuntary vulgarizations, are almost falsifications of the
original, merely because its lively and merry TEMPO (which overleaps and
obviates all dangers in word and expression) could not also be
rendered. A German is almost incapacitated for PRESTO in his language;
consequently also, as may be reasonably inferred, for many of the most
delightful and daring NUANCES of free, free-spirited thought. And just
as the buffoon and satyr are foreign to him in body and conscience,
so Aristophanes and Petronius are untranslatable for him. Everything
ponderous, viscous, and pompously clumsy, all long-winded and wearying
species of style, are developed in profuse variety among Germans--pardon
me for stating the fact that even Goethe's prose, in its mixture of
stiffness and elegance, is no exception, as a reflection of the "good
old time" to which it belongs, and as an expression of German taste at a
time when there was still a "German taste," which was a rococo-taste
in moribus et artibus. Lessing is an exception, owing to his histrionic
nature, which understood much, and was versed in many things; he who was
not the translator of Bayle to no purpose, who took refuge willingly in
the shadow of Diderot and Voltaire, and still more willingly among the

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