Saturday, April 13, 2024

Third reading: D.W. Buffa on Friedrich Nietzsche's "Thus Spoke Zarathustra"

D.W. Buffa's latest novel is Lunatic Carnival, the tenth legal thriller involving the defense attorney Joseph Antonelli. He has also published a series that attempts to trace the movement of western thought from ancient Athens, in Helen; the end of the Roman Empire, in Julian's Laughter; the Renaissance, in The Autobiography of Niccolo Machiavelli; and, most recently, America in the twentieth century, in Neumann's Last Concert.

Buffa writes a monthly review for the Campaign for the American Reader that we're calling "Third Reading." Buffa explains. "I was reading something and realized that it was probably the third time that I knew it well enough to write something about it. The first is when I read it when I was in college or in my twenties, the second, however many years later, when I wanted to see if it was as good as I remembered, and the third when I knew I was going to have to write about it."

Buffa's "Third Reading" of Friedrich Nietzsche's Thus Spoke Zarathustra begins:
When someone told Friedrich Nietzsche that he had not understood a single word of Zarathustra, Nietzsche replied that “this was perfectly in order: having understood six sentences from it - that is, to have really experienced them - would raise one to a higher level of existence than ‘modern’ men could attain.” It was no better with those who claimed they understood what he had written. “Whoever thought he had understood something of me, had made up something out of me after his own image.” Nietzsche did not expect to be understood. “The time for me hasn’t come yet: some are born posthumously.” The confidence that he would eventually be understood was, at least in part, based on how he could write. After reading him, he insisted, “One simply can no longer endure other books, least of all philosophical works.” The right reader, someone “related to me in the height of his aspiration will experience veritable ecstasies of learning: for I have come from heights that no bird has ever reached in flight, I know abysses into which no foot ever strayed.”

What had Nietzsche learned from the heights he had reached and the depths he had explored? What had he written that no one then living could understand? That Europe, that is to say, the West, was being destroyed by....[read on]
Visit D.W. Buffa's website.

Third reading: The Great Gatsby

Third reading: Brave New World.

Third reading: Lord Jim.

Third reading: Death in the Afternoon.

Third Reading: Parade's End.

Third Reading: The Idiot.

Third Reading: The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.

Third Reading: The Scarlet Letter.

Third Reading: Justine.

Third Reading: Patriotic Gore.

Third reading: Anna Karenina.

Third reading: The Charterhouse of Parma.

Third Reading: Emile.

Third Reading: War and Peace.

Third Reading: The Sorrows of Young Werther.

Third Reading: Bread and Wine.

Third Reading: “The Crisis of the Mind” and A Man Without Qualities.

Third reading: Eugene Onegin.

Third Reading: The Collected Works of Thomas Babington Macaulay.

Third Reading: The Europeans.

Third Reading: The House of Mirth and The Writing of Fiction.

Third Reading: Doctor Faustus.

Third Reading: the reading list of John F. Kennedy.

Third Reading: Jorge Luis Borges.

Third Reading: History of the Peloponnesian War.

Third Reading: Mansfield Park.

Third Reading: To Each His Own.

Third Reading: A Passage To India.

Third Reading: Seven Pillars of Wisdom.

Third Reading: The Letters of T.E. Lawrence.

Third Reading: All The King’s Men.

Third Reading: The Roman History of Ammianus Marcellinus.

Third Reading: Naguib Mahfouz’s novels of ancient Egypt.

Third Reading: Main Street.

Third Reading: Theodore H. White's The Making of the President series, part I.

Third Reading: Theodore H. White's The Making of the President series, part II.

Third Reading: Zarathustra.

--Marshal Zeringue