Paul Raimond Daniels's Nietzsche and The Birth of Tragedy is an engaging, instructive, and clearly written study of Nietzsche's first book. It is a particularly fine achievement given the difficulties, in terms of both style and content, that Nietzsche's text presents to the reader. Daniels's aim is to present BT as an ideal introduction to Nietzsche's philosophy, and, in light of its problematizing of the relation between art and truth, to argue that BT is crucial for evaluating the aims, successes, and shortcomings of Nietzsche's later philosophy (ix, 2). Furthermore, Daniels presents an “affirmative” interpretation, arguing that BT champions a life-affirming worldview that finds its highest expression in ancient Greek artistic culture and tragedy. So a persistent concern of Daniels's book is to defend BT against a Schopenhauerian reading.

The book is divided into six chapters. The first chapter examines the various influences on BT, and the last chapter...

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