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The Birth of Tragedy

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Friedrich Nietzsche’s The Birth of Tragedy out of the Spirit of Music was published in 1872. In 1869, at the age of 24, he had been appointed a professor of classical philology at the University of Basel, a remarkable position for one of his age, and the book was his first significant publication. It did little, however, to help his reputation as a scholar; his views were controversial and aroused strong criticism in some quarters, while his deliberate espousal of the cause of the composer Richard Wagner was, to say the least, unhelpful. Nietzsche later revised his views on Wagner and re-issued The Birth of Tragedy in 1886 under the title The Birth of Tragedy, or Hellenism and Pessimism, introducing it with An Attempt at a Self-Criticism. The present reading includes this last, his 1871 Preface to Richard Wagner and the original book itself, with its famous discussion of the Apollonian and Dionysian in Greek tragedy.
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