“Man is something that shall be overcome. Man is a rope, tied between beast and overman — a rope over an abyss. What is great in man is that he is a bridge and not an end.”
NIETZSCHE, Friedrich Thus Spake Zarathustra. A Book for All and None. London: H. Henry and Co Ltd., 1896.
Large 8vo., original dark green cloth, title and author lettered in gilt to upper cover; embossed art nouveau floral decoration corner pieces stamped to upper board; replicated to spine; outer edges untrimmed; black endpapers; pp. [vii], vi-xxiii, [vii], 488, [viii, ads]; outer edge a little darkened, internally a few very small pencil markings, else clean, the boards a little bumped, spine expertly reattached along the upper hinge, and reinforced to lower, due to the weight of the text block; endpapers a little chipped to edges; spine a touch faded, with some small chips to head and foot. Scarce in the original cloth.
First edition in English, published as Volume 8 in The Works of Friedrich Nietzsche.
Also Sprach Zarathustra was originally published in Germany by Schmeitzner between 1883 and 1885. The English edition did not appear until ten years later, when it was translated by Alexander Tilleas part of a set of Nietzsche's works in English. Attempts to complete the series, however, faltered, and ultimately never came to fruition. Later attempts were not completed until the early 20th century, when the complete works appeared under the editorial guidance of Oscar Levy.
The Henry and Co. edition is therefore rather scarce. Printed in Leipzig, the publishers were a rather new, and woefully underfinanced imprint selected by C.G. Naumann and Nietzsche's cousin, Dr. Richard Oehler, over the protests of the English translators. As a conseqeuence, after publishing this book, followed by The Case of Wagner in 1896, the firm went bankrupt, leaving The Dawn of Day and The Genealogy of Morals yet to be published.
Written in the form of a prose narrative, and based on the Persian prophet Zoroaster, Nietzsche's philosophy is relayed through a series of speeches. It is in this work that Nietzsche made his famous (and often misconstrued) claim, "God is dead", along with his most influential philosophical ideas, such as those of the Übermensch (“superman”) and the “will to power.”
Nietzsche said of his favourite work: "With Zarathustra I believe I have brought the German language to its culmination. After Luther and Goethe there was still a third step to be made." Later, in the preface to Ecce Homo he continued: "I have given mankind the greatest present that has ever been made to it so far. This book, with a voice bridging centuries, is not only the highest book there is, the book that is truly characterized by the air of the heights—the whole fact of man lies beneath it at a tremendous distance—it is also the deepest, born out of the innermost wealth of truth, an inexhaustible well to which no pail descends without coming up again filled with gold and goodness."