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Also sprach Zarathustra

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Also sprach Zarathustra (Thus Spake Zarathustra) is a book started in 1885 by German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, that significantly influenced the modern world. It was originally written as four separate volumes over a period of several years. After Nietzsche's death, it has most usually been printed as a single volume.

It chronicles the wanderings and teachings of a philosopher, self-named Zarathustra after the founder of Zoroastrianism in ancient Persia. It uses a poetic, fictional form, often satirizing the New Testament, to explore many of Nietzsche's ideas.

Central to Zarathustra is the notion that human beings are a transitional form between apes and what Nietzsche called the ‹bermensch, literally "Over-person," usually translated as "Overman." The name is one of the many puns in the book and refers most clearly to the image of the sun coming over the horizon at dawn as well as the basic notion of overcoming.

Largely episodic, the stories Zarathustra can be read in any order. Zarathustra contains the famous statement, "God is dead."

Also sprach Zarathustra is also the title of a tone poem written by Richard Strauss in 1896, presumably after the title of the book. It was made famous in 1968 for its use in the film 2001: A Space Odyssey.

See also: ‹bermensch

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