The Birth of Tragedy, Or: Hellenism and Pessimism
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The Birth of Tragedy from the Spirit of Music is an 1872 work of dramatic theory by the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. It was reissued in 1886 as The Birth of Tragedy, Or: Hellenism and Pessimism (German: Die Geburt der Tragödie, Oder: Griechentum und Pessimismus). The later edition contained a prefatory essay, "An Attempt at Self-Criticism", wherein Nietzsche commented on this earliest book.
The Birth of Tragedy was angrily criticized by many respected professional scholars of Greek literature. Particularly vehement was philologist Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff, who denounced Nietzsche's work as slipshod and misleading. Prompted by Nietzsche, Erwin Rohde—a friend who had written a favorable review that sparked the first derogatory debate over the book—responded by exposing Wilamowitz-Moellendorf's inaccurate citations of Nietzsche's work. Richard Wagner also issued a response to Wilamowitz-Moellendorf's critique, but his action only served to characterize Nietzsche as the composer's lackey.