Nietzsche's first published book, The Birth of Tragedy is a compelling argument for the necessity of art in life
This landmark work of criticism is fuelled by Nietzsche's enthusiasms for Greek tragedy, the philosophy of Schopenhauer and the music of Wagner, to whom the book was dedicated. Nietzsche outlined a distinction between two central forces in art: the Apolline, representing beauty and order, and the Dionysiac, a primal or ecstatic reaction to the sublime. He believed the combination of these states produced the highest forms of music and tragic drama, which not only reveal the truth about suffering in life, but also provide a consolation for it. Impassioned and exhilarating in its conviction, The Birth of Tragedy has become a key text in European culture.
Translated by Shaun Whiteside
Edited by Michael Tanner