Twilight of the Idols, 'a grand declaration of war' on all the prevalent ideas of Nietzsche's time, offers a lightning tour of his whole philosophy. It also prepares the way for The Anti-Christ, a final assault on institutional Christianity. Yet although Nietzsche makes a compelling case for the 'Dionysian' artist and celebrates magnificently two of his great heroes, Goethe and Cesare Borgia, he also gives a moving, almost ecstatic portrait of his only worthy opponent: Christ. Both works show Nietzsche lashing out at self-deception, astounded at how often morality is based on vengefulness and resentment. Both combine utterly unfair attacks on individuals with amazingly acute surveys of the whole contemporary cultural scene. Both reveal a profound understanding of human mean-spiritedness which still cannot destroy the underlying optimism of Nietzsche, the supreme affirmer among the great philosophers.
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