Thus Spake Zarathustra: A Book for All and None

By Friedrich Nietzsche

Page 219

HAPPINESS? I strive after my WORK!

Well! The lion hath come, my children are nigh, Zarathustra hath grown
ripe, mine hour hath come:--

This is MY morning, MY day beginneth: ARISE NOW, ARISE, THOU GREAT

Thus spake Zarathustra and left his cave, glowing and strong, like a
morning sun coming out of gloomy mountains.



I have had some opportunities of studying the conditions under which
Nietzsche is read in Germany, France, and England, and I have found
that, in each of these countries, students of his philosophy, as if
actuated by precisely similar motives and desires, and misled by the
same mistaken tactics on the part of most publishers, all proceed in the
same happy-go-lucky style when "taking him up." They have had it said to
them that he wrote without any system, and they very naturally conclude
that it does not matter in the least whether they begin with his first,
third, or last book, provided they can obtain a few vague ideas as to
what his leading and most sensational principles were.

Now, it is clear that the book with the most mysterious, startling, or
suggestive title, will always stand the best chance of being purchased
by those who have no other criteria to guide them in their choice
than the aspect of a title-page; and this explains why "Thus Spake
Zarathustra" is almost always the first and often the only one of
Nietzsche's books that falls into the hands of the uninitiated.

The title suggests all kinds of mysteries; a glance at the
chapter-headings quickly confirms the suspicions already aroused,
and the sub-title: "A Book for All and None", generally succeeds in
dissipating the last doubts the prospective purchaser may entertain
concerning his fitness for the book or its fitness for him. And what

"Thus Spake Zarathustra" is taken home; the reader, who perchance may
know no more concerning Nietzsche than a magazine article has told him,
tries to read it and, understanding less than half he reads, probably
never gets further than the second or third part,--and then only to feel
convinced that Nietzsche himself was "rather hazy" as to what he was
talking about. Such chapters as "The Child with the Mirror", "In the
Happy Isles", "The Grave-Song," "Immaculate Perception," "The Stillest
Hour", "The Seven Seals", and many others, are almost utterly devoid of
meaning to all those who do not know something of Nietzsche's life, his
aims and his friendships.

As a matter of fact, "Thus Spake Zarathustra", though it is
unquestionably Nietzsche's opus magnum, is by no means the first of
Nietzsche's works that

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