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The Birth of Tragedy


The Birth of Tragedy created a furore on its first publication in 1871; it has since become one of the seminal books of European culture.

Dedicated to Richard Wagner, The Birth of Tragedy is rich in Nietzsche's current enthusiasms for Greek literature and especially tragedy, for Schopenhauer and Wagner's Tristan und Isolde. Its central vision is the idea that 'only as an aesthetic phenomenon are existence and the world justified'. Making his celebrated distinction between the Apolline and the Dionysiac spirit, Nietzsche presses us to consider why it is that we derive pleasure from tragic art, and what is the relationship between our experiences of suffering in life and in art. The Birth of Tragedy was his first book. Occasionally flawed and impetuous in argument, it is nonetheless a triumph of passionate energy and insight.

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