Saturday, April 18, 2009

Dry and Boring?

If you think that Nietzsche is "dry and boring" , I have one piece of advice...change your translator. I strongly recomend Walter Kaufmann. In my opinion he is the only translator that truly understood Nitezsche. If you learned of Nietzsche in school, you may wonder why you have never heard of Kaufmann, the answer I think is twofold.

On the one hand Kaufmann attacked other translators, always giving specific reasons for doing so. Now this upset may translators, many of whom were also professors. Now how does a professor pick which translator he likes best? More often than not, he learns from the one who taught him, who learned from the one who taght him..etc, etc, etc. In fact many professors have a negitive opinion of Kaufmann, but if pressed will either become angry or simply be unable to give a good reason why.

Which leads me to my second point...Did your professor want you to think? or just think like he/she does? Nietzsche, if not fluffed off as being a wierdo, or worse an anarchistic (ok so he was a little weird, but never an anarchist), has many things to say, and few have ever said them better.

In the words of Walter Kaufmann, " Meanwhile it is the individual reader whom he (Nietzsche) addresses. And he does not want to be read as an arsenal of arguments for or against something, nor even for a point of view. He challenges the reader not so much to agree or disagree as to grow".

If you have an open mind and want to be challanged, try 'Nietzsche' The Viking Portable Library...translated by Walter Kaufmann. It is fun to read and will not only change your prospective on Nietzsche and his writings, but may change how you look at yourself.

1 comment:

  1. Okay there! Since I probably read the Nietzche that was NOT Kaufmann...I will certainly have to check this out!

    You are such a wise lady to even think of just how authors and translators can make such a difference...most people don't even think about that...great points Kathy!