Ecce Homo (book)

Ecce Homo (book)

Infobox Book
name =Ecce Homo: How One Becomes What One Is
title_orig =Ecce homo. Wie man wird, was man ist.
translator =R.J. Hollingdale

image_caption =Cover of the 1908 Insel edition designed by Henry van de Velde.
author =Friedrich Nietzsche
illustrator =
cover_artist =
country =Germany
language =German
series =
subject =
genre =philosophy, autobiography
publisher =
release_date =1888
english_release_date =
media_type =Paperback, hardcover
pages =144 (2005 Penguin Classics ed.)
isbn =ISBN 978-0140445152 (2005 Penguin Classics ed.)
preceded_by =The Anti-christ (1888)
followed_by =Nietzsche Contra Wagner (1888)
:"For other uses of Ecce Homo, see Ecce Homo (disambiguation)"

"Ecce Homo: How One Becomes What One Is" ("Ecce homo. Wie man wird, was man ist") is the title of the last original book written by philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche before his final years of insanity that spanned until his death in 1900. It was written in 1888 and was not published until 1908.

According to one of Nietzsche's most prominent English translators, Walter Kaufmann, the book offers "Nietzsche's own interpretation of his development, his works, and his significance" (Kaufmann 1967: 201). The book contains several chapters with self-laudatory titles, such as "Why I Am So Wise", "Why I Am So Clever", "Why I Write Such Good Books", and "Why I Am a Destiny". In many ways, "Ecce Homo" is a quintessential reflection of Nietzsche's work as a philosopher, writer, and thinker.Within this work, Nietzsche is self-consciously striving to present a new image of the philosopher and of himself, for example, a philosopher "who is not an Alexandrian academic nor an Apollonian sage, but Dionysian" (Kaufmann 1967: 202). On these grounds, Kaufmann considers "Ecce Homo" a literary work comparable in its artistry to Van Gogh's paintings. Just as Socrates was presented in Plato's "Apology" as the wisest of men precisely because he freely admitted to his own ignorance, Nietzsche argues that he is a great philosopher because of the scorn he has suffered during his life. Nietzsche insists that his suffering is not noble but tragic and proclaims the goodness of everything that has happened to him (including his father's early death and his near-blindness — an example of "amor fati"). In this regard, the wording of his title was not meant to draw parallels with the Christ, but suggest a contrast, that Nietzsche truly is "a man." Nietzsche's point is that to be "a man" alone is to be more than Christ.

One of the main purposes of "Ecce Homo" was to offer Nietzsche's own perspective on his work as a philosopher and human being. He wrote: "Under these circumstances I have a duty against which my habits, even more the pride of my instincts, revolt at bottom—namely, to say: "Hear me! For I am such and such a person. Above all, do not mistake me for someone else!" Throughout the course of the book, he expounds – in the characteristically hyperbolic style found in his later period (1886–1888) –upon his life as a child, his tastes as an individual, and his vision for humanity. He gives reviews and insights about his various works, including: "The Birth of Tragedy", "The Untimely Meditations", "Human, All-Too-Human", "The Dawn", "The Gay Science", "Thus Spoke Zarathustra", "Beyond Good and Evil", "On the Genealogy of Morality", "Twilight of the Idols", and "The Case of Wagner". The last chapter of "Ecce Homo", entitled "Why I Am a Destiny", is primarily concerned with reiterating Nietzsche's thoughts on Christianity, corroborating Christianity's decadence and his ideas as to uncovering Christian morality.


Kaufmann, Walter 1967 "Editor's Introduction" in "On the Genealogy of Morals (translated by Walter Kaufmann and R.J. Hollingdale) and Ecce Homo (translated by Walter Kaufmann), edited by Walter Kaufmann. 201-209. New York: Vintage.

External links

*gutenberg|no=7202|name=Ecce homo, Wie man wird, was man ist (In original German)
* [ "Ecce homo" in English]

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