Human, All-Too-Human: A Book for Free Spirits, Part 1 Complete Works, Volume Six

By Friedrich Nietzsche

Page 97

and laughter of the masses, is for him a
key to hidden treasures; for them, however, it is nothing _more_ than a
piece of old iron.


UNTRANSLATABLE.--It is neither the best nor the worst parts of a book
which are untranslatable.


AUTHORS' PARADOXES.--The so-called paradoxes of an author to which a
reader objects are often not in the author's book at all, but in the
reader's head.


WIT.--The wittiest authors produce a scarcely noticeable smile.


ANTITHESIS.--Antithesis is the narrow gate through which error is
fondest of sneaking to the truth.


THINKERS AS STYLISTS.--Most thinkers write badly, because they
communicate not only their thoughts, but also the thinking of them.


THOUGHTS IN POETRY.--The poet conveys his thoughts ceremoniously in the
vehicle of rhythm, usually because they are not able to go on foot.


THE SIN AGAINST THE READER'S INTELLECT.--When an author renounces his
talent in order merely to put himself on a level with the reader, he
commits the only deadly sin which the latter will never forgive, should
he notice anything of it. One may say everything that is bad about a
person, but in the manner _in which_ it is said one must know how to
revive his vanity anew.


THE LIMITS OF UPRIGHTNESS.--Even the most upright author lets fall a
word too much when he wishes to round off a period.


THE BEST AUTHOR,--The best author will be he who is ashamed to become


DRACONIAN LAW AGAINST AUTHORS.--One should regard authors as criminals
who only obtain acquittal or mercy in the rarest cases,--that would be
a remedy for books becoming too rife.


THE FOOLS OF MODERN CULTURE.--The fools of mediæval courts correspond
to our _feuilleton_ writers; they are the same kind of men,
semi-rational, witty, extravagant, foolish, sometimes there only for
the purpose of lessening the pathos of the outlook with fancies and
chatter, and of drowning with their clamour the far too deep and solemn
chimes of great events; they were formerly in the service of princes
and nobles, now they are in the service of parties (since a large
portion of the old obsequiousness in the intercourse of the people with
their prince still survives in party-feeling and party-discipline).
Modern literary men, however, are generally very similar to the
_feuilleton_ writers, they are the "fools of modern culture," whom
one judges more leniently when one does not regard them as fully
responsible beings. To look upon writing as a regular profession should
justly be regarded as a form of madness.


AFTER THE EXAMPLE OF THE GREEKS.--It is a great hindrance to knowledge
at present that, owing to centuries of exaggeration of feeling, all
words have become vague and inflated.

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Text Comparison with Homer and Classical Philology

Page 0
Kennedy, Translator, 1910] HOMER AND CLASSICAL PHILOLOGY.
Page 1
But, on the other hand, there is a boundless and infuriated hatred of philology wherever an ideal, as such, is feared, where the modern man falls down to worship himself, and where Hellenism is looked upon as a superseded and hence very insignificant point of view.
Page 2
From the circles upon whose help we must place the most implicit reliance--the artistic friends of antiquity, the warm supporters of Hellenic beauty and noble simplicity--we hear harsh voices crying out that it is precisely the philologists themselves who are the real opponents and destroyers of the ideals of antiquity.
Page 3
Let us talk as we will about the unattainability of this goal, and even designate the goal itself as an illogical pretension--the aspiration for it is very real; and I should like to try to make it clear by an example that the most significant steps of classical philology never lead away from the ideal antiquity, but to it; and that, just when people are speaking unwarrantably of the overthrow of sacred shrines, new and more worthy altars are being erected.
Page 4
When historical criticism has confidently seized upon this method of evaporating apparently concrete personalities, it is permissible to point to the first experiment as an important event in the history of sciences, without considering whether it was successful in this instance or not.
Page 5
It was believed that Homer's poem was passed from one generation to another _viva voce_, and faults were attributed to the improvising and at times forgetful bards.
Page 6
In this backward examination, we instinctively feel that away beyond Herodotus there lies a period in which an immense flood of great epics has been identified with the name of Homer.
Page 7
Impossible for it to be in the construction of the complete works, said one party, for this is far from faultless; but doubtless to be found in single songs: in the single pieces above all; not in the whole.
Page 8
By the misapplication of a tempting analogical inference, people had reached the point of applying in the domain of the intellect and artistic ideas that principle of greater individuality which is truly applicable only in the domain of the will.
Page 9
genius set upon their empty heads.
Page 10
The only path which leads back beyond the time of Pisistratus and helps us to elucidate the meaning of the name Homer, takes its way on the one hand through the reports which have reached us concerning Homer's birthplace: from which we see that, although his name is always associated with heroic epic poems, he is on the other hand no more referred to as the composer of the _Iliad_ and the _Odyssey_ than as the author of the _Thebais_ or any other cyclical epic.
Page 11
The infinite profusion of images and incidents in the Homeric epic must force us to admit that such a wide range of vision is next to impossible.
Page 12
It is not only probable that everything which was created in those times with conscious aesthetic insight, was infinitely inferior to the songs that sprang up naturally in the poet's mind and were written down with instinctive power: we can even take a step further.
Page 13
We everywhere find traces of the fact that philology has lived in company with poets, thinkers, and artists for the last hundred years: whence it has now come about that the heap of ashes formerly pointed to as classical philology is now turned into fruitful and even rich soil.
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Now, therefore, that I have enunciated my philological creed, I trust you will give me cause to hope that I shall no longer be a stranger among you: give me the assurance that in working with you towards this end I am worthily fulfilling the confidence with which the highest authorities of this community have honoured me.