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." The book contains several chapters with ironic 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". Walter Kaufmann, in his biography Nietzsche: Philosopher, Psychologist, Antichrist noticed the internal parallels, in form and language, to Plato's "Apology" which documented the Trial of Socrates. In effect, Nietzsche was putting himself on trial with this work, and his sardonic judgments and chapter headings are mordant, mocking, self-deprecating, sly, and they turn this trial against his future accusers, distorters, and superficial judges.
Responding to the powerful myths and countermyths that had sprung up around Nietzsche, Kaufmann offered a patient, evenhanded account of his life and works, and of the uses and abuses to which subsequent generations had put his ideas. Without ignoring or downplaying the ugliness of many of Nietzsche's proclamations, he set them in the context of his work as a whole and of the counterexamples yielded by a responsible reading of his books. More positively, he presented Nietzsche's ideas about power as one of the great accomplishments of modern philosophy, arguing that his conception of the "will to power" was not a crude apology for ruthless self-assertion but must be linked to Nietzsche's equally profound ideas about sublimation. He also presented Nietzsche as a pioneer of modern psychology and argued that a key to understanding his overall philosophy is to see it as a reaction against Christianity.
Many scholars in the past half century have taken issue with some of Kaufmann's interpretations, but the book ranks as one of the most influential accounts ever written of any major Western thinker. Featuring a new foreword by Alexander Nehamas, this Princeton Classics edition of Nietzsche introduces a new generation of readers to one the most influential accounts ever written of any major Western thinker.
features a revised translation (with little editorial intervention),
expanded notes (including a summary of the argument of each chapter), an
expanded Introduction, and a revised glossary.
Beyond Good and Evil is one of the most remarkable and influential books of the nineteenth century. Like Thus Spoke Zarathustra, which had immediately preceded it, Beyond Good and Evil represents Nietzsche's attempt to sum up his philosophy—but in less flamboyant and more systematic form. The nine parts of the book are designed to give the reader a comprehensive idea of Nietzsche’s thought and style: they span "The Prejudices of Philosophers," "The Free Spirit," religion, morals, scholarship, "Our Virtues," "Peoples and Fatherlands," and "What is Noble," as well as chapter of epigrams and a concluding poem.
This translation by Walter Kaufmann—the first ever to be made in English by a philosopher—has become the standard one, for accuracy and fidelity to the eccentricities and grace of style of the original. Unlike other editions, in English or German, this volume offers an inclusive index of subjects and persons referred to in the book. Professor Kaufmann, the distinguished Nietzsche scholar, has also provided a running footnote commentary on the text.
From the Trade Paperback edition.