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Nietzches The Anti-Christ was one of the last books Nietzsche wrote before the onset of his insanity in 1888. Unlike many of Nietzsches other books, which raise tantalizing questions and examine experience from a variety of angles, some of them contradictory, The Anti-Christ is a relatively straightforward presentation of Nietzsches critique of Christianity. Contrary to what many think, Nietzsche did not advocate the general abolition of Christianity. He thought it served the needs of the majority of people quite well, but believed it had psychologically destructive effects on the minority of people in a society who were most capable of intellectual, artistic, and other achievement.

Mencken was one of the great American prose stylists of the Century, and, as one would expect, his translation of The Anti-Christ is an outstanding read. I happen to think it is a far better read than R.J. Hollingdales translation, which is the one most often used by scholars and students. Whether it is more or less faithful to Nietzsches original is a question I cannot answer, not being sufficiently fluent in German.

In any event, its great to see Menckens much-neglected 1917 translation back in print.

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