Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




J. Noxon


This essay is conceived as a defense of the thesis that Thus Spoke Zarathustra is a sustained philosophical argument with a philosophically significant literary structure.

It is divided into two chapters. The first, introductory, chapter creates a thought context for approaching Zarathustra l and is full of quotations from Nietzsche's other books to give a more sure idea of· his thought and my interpretation of it. I felt such an introduction "vas absolutely necessary because unless one shares somewhat the Nietzschean perspective -- that perspective being so different from any other philosopher's -- analysis of particular problems in his philosophy will have to be superficial.

The long main chapter presents the thesis. It first clarifies the problem, then describes the style of philosophizing Nietzsche rejected, and then it analyses his style in general, the structural component of style as he realized it in writing Zarathustra in particular, and it establishes "That . type of argument Zarathustra is. It concludes with an overview of the whole argument in Zarathustra, emphasizing its structure.

The thesis of this essay is unique in English language Nietzsche scholarship. Nowhere is Thus Spoke Zarathustra understood as a philosophical whole, which just means it is not understood. Because of this, and despite its great popularity, Nietzsche's magnum opus still goes to waste after eighty-five years, as Nietzsche himself saw it had gone to waste for lack of comprehending readers in the first five years after it publication.

McMaster University Library

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