The Digital Nietzsche: Download Nietzsche’s Major Works as Free eBooks


In times of deep dis­tress I’ve often found the bru­tal, unspar­ing can­dor of Friedrich Niet­zsche a strange com­fort. While whol­ly enam­ored of the aris­to­crat­ic, Hel­lenis­tic past of lit­er­ary inven­tion, the often bil­ious Ger­man philoso­pher nonethe­less had no illu­sions about the nature of pow­er, which does as it will and is not held in check by what we take for com­mon val­ues. In Niet­zsche’s diag­no­sis, no set of values—or what he calls in The Geneal­o­gy of Morals “moral prejudices”—is ever dis­in­ter­est­ed, tran­scen­dent or “dis­con­nect­ed.” Instead, wrote Niet­zsche, the lan­guage of tra­di­tion­al moral­i­ty is gen­er­al­ly syn­ony­mous with the lan­guage of pow­er, thus:

The master’s right of giv­ing names goes so far that it is per­mis­si­ble to look upon lan­guage itself as the expres­sion of the pow­er of the mas­ters: they say “this is that, and that,” they seal final­ly every object and every event with a sound, and there­by at the same time take pos­ses­sion of it.

It is “because of this ori­gin,” writes the con­trar­i­an Niet­zsche, “that the word ‘good’ is far from hav­ing any nec­es­sary con­nec­tion with altru­is­tic acts, in accor­dance with the super­sti­tious belief of these moral philoso­phers.” Niet­zsche described Chris­tian­i­ty as “hos­tile to life” and called for a “reval­u­a­tion of all val­ues,” exco­ri­at­ing Judeo-Chris­t­ian beliefs as “slave moral­i­ty.” The rad­i­cal icon­o­clasm expressed in works like The Geneal­o­gy of Morals sits side by side with what can seem like the most reac­tionary val­oriza­tions of “nobil­i­ty” and hier­ar­chy. Niet­zsche may have had noth­ing but con­tempt for lib­er­al, bour­geois soci­ety, but he did not seek to replace it with egal­i­tar­i­an social­ism or any­thing of the kind. It is this some­times jar­ring con­trast between his seem­ing­ly right­ist pol­i­tics and his unsys­tem­at­ic dis­man­tling of the ide­o­log­i­cal mech­a­nisms by which state pow­er jus­ti­fies itself that make Niet­zsche such a con­fus­ing philoso­pher, one so eas­i­ly mis­in­ter­pret­ed and mis­read.

The most famous mis­read­ing of Niet­zsche was a delib­er­ate one, orches­trat­ed by his anti-Semit­ic sis­ter Elis­a­beth, friend and admir­er of Hitler, who cor­rupt­ed her broth­er’s late work and adapt­ed it to Nazi ide­ol­o­gy. And yet, despite Niet­zsche’s seem­ing dis­dain for what he vague­ly termed, among oth­er things, an “under race” of com­mon peo­ple, he also loathed anti-Semi­tism and nation­al­ism and would have been infu­ri­at­ed to see his work used as it was by Ger­man and Ital­ian fas­cists. Lat­er read­ings of Niet­zsche, like those of the late Wal­ter Kauf­mann or Niet­zsche schol­ar and philoso­pher Babette Babich, place him in dia­logue with Hegel, Kant, and Aris­to­tle, and with the Exis­ten­tial­ists. Niet­zsche has been called an exis­ten­tial­ist thinker him­self, as well as a prag­ma­tist, nat­u­ral­ist, and pre-postmodernist—all des­ig­na­tions that get at impor­tant aspects of his thought, e.g. his stress on con­tin­gency, on the phys­i­cal basis of thought, and on the rel­a­tive, per­spec­ti­val nature of truth.

This very broad overview doesn’t pre­tend to do jus­tice to the depth and vari­ety of Niet­zschean thought. If you wish to under­stand his work, you should, of course, read it for your­self. And so you can, near­ly all of it, online. Below, find links to almost all of the philoso­pher’s major works, in Kin­dle, PDF, HTML, ePub, and oth­er for­mats. For some excel­lent guides through Nietzsche’s think­ing, con­sid­er lis­ten­ing to Wal­ter Kaufmann’s 1960 lec­tures and watch­ing the Niet­zsche seg­ment in Human, All Too Human, a 3‑part doc­u­men­tary series that also pro­files Mar­tin Hei­deg­ger and Jean-Paul Sartre. Pro­fes­sor Babich’s site has links to many of her arti­cles online and the site Niet­zsche Cir­cle has a large links sec­tion with many help­ful resources. But of course, there’s no sub­sti­tute for the orig­i­nal. Below, in chrono­log­i­cal order, find most of the com­plete works of Friedrich Niet­zsche. Iron­ic, pes­simistic, joy­ous, cre­ative, and scathing, they make for intrigu­ing, frus­trat­ing, enlight­en­ing, and ulti­mate­ly life-affirm­ing read­ing.

All of these texts appear in our col­lec­tion of Free Phi­los­o­phy eBooks as well as in our larg­er col­lec­tion, 800 Free eBooks for iPad, Kin­dle & Oth­er Devices.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Down­load Wal­ter Kaufmann’s Lec­tures on Niet­zsche, Kierkegaard, Sartre & Mod­ern Thought (1960)

Human, All Too Human: 3‑Part Doc­u­men­tary Pro­files Niet­zsche, Hei­deg­ger & Sartre

Free Online Phi­los­o­phy Cours­es

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

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Comments (5)
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  • Matt says:


    Thanks for this awe­some list; both it and this site are real­ly great resources.

    I’ve got a quick cor­rec­tion for you: the “Ecce Homo” linked above is to a text by Baron d’Holl­bach and not Niet­zsche. The Niet­zsche text may be found here:

  • Steve Neihaus says:

    I am inter­est­ed in read­ing his views on aes­thet­ics

  • Jim B. says:

    Glad to see that there is still some inter­est in Niet­zsche. I found that his “Gay Sci­ence” trans­lat­ed by Wal­ter Kauf­mann to be the most excel­lent book that i had read through­out my col­le­giate career. A mas­ter writer of awak­en­ing thoughts. Thanks Josh and Dan. I lived in Durham in ’75-’76 while i went to Car­oli­na. The “Joy­ful Wis­dom” link isn’t worth the time spent open­ing it.

  • RQIRD says:


  • Peter Mann says:

    Despite the cur­rent wide­spread belief that Niet­zsche was Ger­man, he is unam­bigu­ous­ly explic­it in iden­ti­fy­ing him­self as Pol­ish in The Antichrist.

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