Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science.  Die fröhliche Wissenschaft.

First published in 1882.

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Esprit as un-Grecian.

The Greeks were exceedingly logical and plain in all their thinking ; they did not get tired of it, at least during their long good period, as is so often the case with the French ; who too willingly made a little excursion into the opposite, and in fact endure the spirit of logic only when it betrays its sociable readiness for courtesy and self denial.  Logic they considered necessary - like bread and water - but similarly Iit would be a kind of prison meal if taken on its own with nothing added.  In good society one must never want to be in the right absolutely and solely, as all pure logic requires ; hence the little dose of irrationality in all French esprit.  The social sense of the Greeks was far less developed than that of the French present and the past ; hence, so little esprit in their cleverest men, hence, so little wit, even in their wittiest men - alas!  Even these sentences of mine will meet with disbelief, and how much of the kind I have still to add!  Est res magna tacere says Martial, like all garrulous people.  
 

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