Mencken’s Translation of The Antichrist

The philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche on “democracy,” “equality,” Judaism, and Christianity:

translated by H.L. Mencken

THIS BOOK BELONGS to the most rare of men. Perhaps not one of them is yet alive. It is possible that they may be among those who understand my “Zarathustra”: how could I confound myself with those who are now sprouting ears? – First the day after tomorrow must come for me. Some men are born posthumously.

The conditions under which anyone understands me, and necessarily understands me – I know them only too well. Even to endure my seriousness, my passion, he must carry intellectual integrity to the verge of hardness. He must be accustomed to living on mountain tops – and to looking upon the wretched gabble of politics and nationalism as beneath him. He must have become indifferent; he must never ask of the truth whether it brings profit to him or a fatality to him… He must have an inclination, born of strength, for questions that no one has the courage for; the courage for the forbidden; predestination for the labyrinth. The experience of seven solitudes. New ears for new music. New eyes for what is most distant. A new conscience for truths that have hitherto remained unheard. And the will to economize in the grand manner – to hold together his strength, his enthusiasm… Reverence for self; love of self; absolute freedom of self….

Very well, then! Of that sort only are my readers, my true readers, my readers foreordained: of what account are the rest? – The rest are merely humanity. – One must make one’s self superior to humanity, in power, in loftiness of soul, – in contempt.


(from the Preface)

download PDF of The Antichrist

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