Nietzsche's writings are complex polyphone compositions: Nietzsche adopts a multitude of positions and voices, including their specific rhythmical features, through the rhetorical technique of prosopopoeia. This is also the case in his aphoristic books. By interpreting the famous “incipit parodia” from the preface to the second edition of GS, I argue in this essay that Nietzsche actually understands the concept of parody in the ancient sense, where it is nothing else but a form of prosopopoeia or personification—in contrast to the modern sense, where it denotes a kind of mockery. This has wide-ranging consequences for the understanding of Nietzsche's writing in general, his theory of the mask, and his identification of tragedy and parody.

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