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Ecce Homo by Friedrich Nietzsche – Book Review

Behold, Man! In this short book, which didn’t get finished because of Nietzsche’s mental collapse, the Antichrist himself gives a small biography of his life. Well, I say biography but it’s actually more of an introduction to his works and to him as a person. I do believe this is a great book of Nietzsche to start with since he gives a small introduction to every book of his and a little bit of background information.

            Many of the subjects which Nietzsche talked about in depth in his other books, touch the surface in this one. Amor fati, the love for fate, the Übermensch, the person who creates his/her own values, the eternal return; Nietzsche talks about these subjects quickly and hastily. This is not a book to go in depth in the ideas of Nietzsche, rather this book offers a framework in which you can place his thought.

            This book is also the book which the sister of Nietzsche bastardized and used to fuel the Nazis with ideological concepts. She rearranged certain parts and paragraphs, like those where Nietzsche isn’t very friendly towards Judaism, and used them to influence her position with the extreme right in Germany during the thirties.

            Nonetheless, this is definitely a must read for anyone wanting to start reading Nietzsche and not knowing where to begin. I first read Beyond Good and Evil and I regret not reading this book first. It has furthered my understanding of Nietzsche greatly and I’ll have to reread Beyond Good and Evil to fully understand it now.

            In this book you get more understanding in the relationship of Nietzsche with Richard Wagner and what Nietzsche saw in him. Nietzsche writes about the disappointment he felt with Wagner. Nietzsche saw in Wagner the true resurrection of the new German morale. He believed that what Wagner did with culture and music, he himself did in philosophy. But after hearing Wagner’s more Christian pieces, which he created later in his life, he lost faith in Wagner and broke off his relationship.

            You can read a bit into the soul of Nietzsche in this book. It is full of irony and sarcasm, which is a trademark of Nietzsche and sometimes it is hard to see if he is being serious or sarcastic or on the verge of mental collapse. The question Nietzsche asks himself at the end is if they have understood him. He is a hard philosopher to fully understand because he goes to the very fundaments of morality. It can be interpreted the wrong way very quickly. But this book gives insight. It brings understanding from dynamite himself. Behold Nietzsche! Hopefully we can understand.

By elenchusphilosophy

I'm a Philosophy student in Belgium, trying to talk and write about ideas of all kinds of sorts.

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