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What is Nietzsche’s Zarathustra?

A Philosophical Confrontation

Translated by Justin Gottschalk
Thus Spoke Zarathustra is Nietzsche’s most famous and most puzzling work, one in which he makes the greatest use of poetry to explore the questions posed by philosophy. But in order to understand the movement of this drama, we must first understand the character of its protagonist: we must ask, What Is Nietzsche’s Zarathustra?

Heinrich Meier attempts to penetrate the core of the drama, following as a guiding thread the question of whether Zarathustra is a philosopher or a prophet, or, if he is meant to be both, whether Zarathustra is able to unite philosopher and prophet in himself. Via a close reading that uncovers the book’s hidden structure, Meier develops a highly stimulating and original interpretation of this much discussed but still ill-understood masterwork of German poetic prose. In the process, he carefully overturns long-established canons in the academic discourse of Nietzsche-interpretation. The result is a fresh and surprising grasp of Nietzsche’s well-known teachings of the overman, the will to power, and the eternal return.

224 pages | 6 x 9 | © 2021

Philosophy: History and Classic Works, Political Philosophy

Political Science: Classic Political Thought


What Is Nietzsche’s Zarathustra? is a book that scholars with even a tangential interest in Nietzsche will find invaluable. For anyone with a deep intellectual interest in the subject matter, the book is essential.“


"[A] very close, careful, and often perceptive commentary."

Law and Liberty

“Heinrich Meier opens up a completely new approach to a work that has been much read but so far hardly understood.”

Volker Gerhardt, Humboldt University, Berlin

Table of Contents


What Is Nietzsche’s Zarathustra?

First Part

Second Part

Third Part

Fourth and Final Part

Translator’s Notes

Index of Names

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