This substantial expansion includes a fifth book and an appendix of songs. It was described by Nietzsche as "the most personal of all [his] books", and contains more poems than any of his other works. The book's title, in the original German and in translation, uses a phrase that was well-known at the time in many European cultures and had specific meaning. It was also used in deliberately inverted form, by Thomas Carlyle in " the dismal science ", to criticize the emerging discipline of economics by comparison with poetry. The book's title was first translated into English as The Joyful Wisdom , but The Gay Science has become the common translation since Walter Kaufmann 's version in the s.
Nietzsche and the Madman
The Gay Science - Wikipedia
For many years, Nietzsche studies in the English-speaking world were populated by comprehensive interpretations that focused on concepts, such as the will to power, the overman, and the eternal return, that were thought to be central to Nietzsche's philosophical project. Although Langer's work is a welcome addition to the secondary literature for its comprehensive, section-by-section approach to GS , her overly narrow focus on the contents of the individual aphorisms to the exclusion of broader reflections on the complex genesis of the text, the role the text plays in Nietzsche's free-spirit project, and the potential relationship of the text to his larger oeuvre compromises the depth and quality of her commentary. Langer begins by situating her efforts within the existing literature on GS , of which there is surprisingly little. This is in contrast to David Allison,  who holds that GS is in fact a chaotic series of disconnected aphorisms. On this debate, Langer and Higgins are certainly right. Nietzsche's aphoristic works might give the appearance of a collection of random, contradictory thoughts on a variety of topics, but as Marco Brusotti has effectively shown,  a careful reader will quickly detect consistent and re-occurring themes that Nietzsche consciously develops as the text unfolds.
The Gay Science: With a Prelude in German Rhymes and an Appendix of Songs
These notes were contributed by members of the GradeSaver community. This science is not gay at all. There's nothing joyful about Nietzsche's writings, especially when the reader considers the personal nature of the texts. These are the private musings of a madman, an image Nietzsche even admits to in his famous closing, "the parable of the madman.
Rating: Would you not throw yourself down and gnash your teeth and curse the demon who spoke thus? Or have you once experienced a tremendous moment when you would have answered him: 'You are a god and never have I heard anything more divine. The eternal hourglass of existence is turned over again and again—and you with it, speck of dust! Or how well disposed would you have to become to yourself and to life to crave nothing more fervently than this ultimate eternal confirmation and seal?