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The Twilight of the Idols or How to Philosophise with the Hammer

By: Friedrich Nietzsche

Twilight of the Idols, or, How to Philosophize with a Hammer is a book by Friedrich Nietzsche, written in 1888, and published in 1889. Twilight of the Idols was written in just over a week, between 26 August and 3 September 1888, while Nietzsche was on holiday in Sils Maria. As Nietzsche's fame and popularity were spreading both inside and outside Germany, he felt that he needed a text that would serve as a short introduction to his work. Nietzsche wrote about Twilight in a letter, “This style is my philosophy in a nutshell - radically up to criminal...” (Diese Schrift ist meine Philosophie in nuce — radikal bis zum Verbrechen…)” Turin, 20 October 1888. To Georg Brandes. Originally titled A Psychologist's Idleness, it was renamed Twilight of the Idols or, How to Philosophize with a Hammer.

Nietzsche criticizes German culture of the day as unsophisticated, decadent and nihilistic, and shoots some disapproving arrows at key French, British, and Italian cultural figures who represent similar tendencies. In contrast to all these alleged representatives of cultural "decadence", Nietzsche applauds Caesar, Napoleon, Goethe, Thucydides and the Sophists as healthier and stronger types. The book states the transvaluation of all values as Nietzsche's final and most important project, and gives a view of antiquity wherein the Romans for once take precedence over the ancient Greeks, albeit only in the field of literature.

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Nietzsche's writing spans philosophical polemics, poetry, cultural criticism, and fiction while displaying a fondness for aphorism and irony. Prominent elements of his philosophy include his radical c...

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