Nietzsche wrote in Human, All Too Human: “The worst readers are those who behave like plundering troops: they take away a few things they can use, dirty and confound the remainder, and revile the whole” (AOM 137). Nonetheless, Nietzsche's interpreters have, to a large extent and to this day, proceeded in just this way. Instead, Nietzsche demanded that one read his aphorisms and aphorism books slowly and thoroughly within the contexts in which he placed them and, further, that one always be attuned, in this reading, to new surprises. This article advocates for such a contextual interpretation of Nietzsche's works (in which Zarathustra's speeches are also considered forms of aphorism). This interpretation must be penetrating enough to clear away the ostensible ambivalence and contradiction with which Nietzsche's work is so often maligned. While notes that Nietzsche did not intend for publication can offer important assistance, they should not themselves become the basis of such an interpretation.

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