‘Michael Hulse’s translation of this extraordinary work feels absolutely fresh and true.’ Ruth Padel
A new translation of a seminal work by poet and acclaimed translator of W.G. Sebald, Goethe, Rilke, Herta Müller and Elfriede Jelinek.
In Thus Spake Zarathustra, Nietzsche’s infamous protagonist sets off on a grand and noble quest to find meaning in a secular world and to live joyfully alongside the knowledge of death. In this new translation by Michael Hulse – the first in English by a poet – Zarathustra is revealed in all his bold and ironic splendour as a man who prizes self worth above all else as a moral code to live by. Radical, uncategorisable, contradictory and often humorous, Thus Spake Zarathustra is a grand celebration of human existence by one of the most influential thinkers of the past two centuries.
‘It is often said that poetry is what is lost in translation. Given that Michael Hulse is both a major poet and one of the great translators of German literature, it is not surprising that he has done full justice to Thus Spake Zarathustra’. Raymond Tallis
‘A crystalline translation of a work that many regard as Nietzsche’s greatest, yet whose elusively extravagant style has often baffled, indeed repelled, Anglophones. The poet Michael Hulse renders the complexity of Nietzsche’s prose-poem – its dramatic claims, its mystical power, and its philosophical richness – in spellbinding language.’ Simon May
‘As in his poetry, all the words feel new-minted and authentic, full of energy and understanding. As Zarathustra says, “The self is always listening and seeking”: reading this version of his story is like seeing the colours of an Old Master for the first time.’ Ruth Padel
Friedrich Nietzsche was born in 1844 in Röcken (Saxony), Germany. He studied classical philology at the universities of Bonn and Leipzig and in 1869 was appointed to the chair of classical philology at the University of Basel, Switzerland. Ill health led him to resign his professorship ten years later. His works include The Birth of Tragedy, Beyond Good and Evil, On the Genealogy of Morals, The Case of Wagner, Twilight of the Idols, The Antichrist, Nietzsche contra Wagner and Ecce Homo. Thus Spake Zarathustra, a work of philosophical fiction, was written in four parts and published in German between 1883 and 1885 as Also sprach Zarathustra. The work is incomplete, according to Nietzsche’s original plan, but it is the first thorough statement of Nietzsche’s mature philosophy and the masterpiece of his career. It received little attention during his lifetime, but its influence since his death has been considerable in the arts as well as philosophy. Nietzsche died in 1900.
Michael Hulse is a poet, translator and critic. He has won numerous awards for his poetry and his 2013 collection, Half-Life, was chosen as a Book of the Year in the Australian Book Review. He has translated many works from the German, including titles by Goethe, Rilke and W. G. Sebald. His translations have been shortlisted for every major translation award, including the PEN Translation Prize (US), the Aristeion Translation Prize and the Schlegel-Tieck Prize. A professor emeritus of Warwick University, he taught poetry and comparative literature there from 2002 until his retirement in 2020.
Joanna Kavenna is the author of several works of fiction and non-fiction including The Ice Museum, Inglorious, The Birth of Love, A Field Guide to Reality and Zed. Her short stories and essays have appeared in the New Yorker, the LRB, the New Scientist, the Guardian and the New York Times, amongst other publications. In 2008 she won the Orange Prize for New Writing, and in 2013 she was named as one of Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists.