NIETZSCHE, Friedrich. Thus Spake Zarathustra [LADY GREGORY’S COPY]


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A book for all and none. Translated by Alexander Tille. London: Fisher Unwin, 1899. Second edition. Octavo. Original blue cloth, spine and front cover lettered in gilt with roundels in blind, black endpapers, edges untrimmed. Lady Gregory’s copy with her distinctive bookplate on front pastedown. Cloth on spine worn, light toning and sporadic light spotting to contents. The binding is tight and the text clean throughout. A very good copy

It remains the most widely read of his works. Nietzsche wrote in his autobiography: “In my lifework, my Zarathustra holds a place apart. With it, I gave my fellow-men the greatest gift that has ever been bestowed upon them. This book, the voice of which speaks out across the ages, is not only the loftiest book on earth, literally the book of mountain air - the whole phenomenon, mankind, lies at an incalculable distance beneath it - but it is also the deepest book, born of the inmost abundance of truth; an inexhaustible well, into which no pitcher can be lowered without coming up again laden with gold and with goodness” (Ecce Homo, 1911, p. 5). Zarathustra was originally published in German in four parts between 1883 and 1885, with the first three volumes written in a frenzy of creativity, each lasting only ten days. Alexander Tille, the translator, served as Lecturer of German Literature at the University of Glasgow from 1890 to 1900, whereupon he returned to Germany due to disputes with students over the Boer War.

It is unlikely that Lady Gregory had much sympathy with Nietsche and his theories of the ‘superman’, but she may have wished to see what he had to say. The German philosopher may have been mentioned to her by her friend W.B. Yeats, who was interested in his views around this time.


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