Friedrich Nietzsche, The Wanderer and His Shadow (Der Wanderer und sein Schatten).

The Wanderer and his Shadow, the second supplement to Human, All Too Human, first published in 1880.


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Learning to Write Well.  The age of good speaking is over, because the age of city state culture is over.  The limit allowed by Aristotle to the great city — in which the town crier must be able to make himself heard by the whole assembled community — troubles us as little as do any city communities, us who even wish to be understood beyond the boundaries of nations.  Therefore everyone who is of a good European turn of mind must learn to write well, and to write better and better.  He cannot help himself, he must learn that: even if he was born in Germany, where bad writing is looked upon as a national privilege.  Better writing means better thinking; always to discover matter more worthy of communication; to be able to communicate it properly; to be translateable into the tongues of neighbouring nations; to make oneself comprehensible to foreigners who learn our language; to work with the view of making all that is good common property, and of giving free access everywhere to the free; finally, to pave the way for that still remote state of things, when the great task shall come for good Europeans — guidance and guardianship of the universal world culture.  Whoever preaches the opposite doctrine of not troubling about good writing and good reading (both virtues grow together and decline together) is really showing the peoples a way of becoming more and more national.  He is intensifying the malady of this century, and is a foe to good Europeans, a foe to free spirits.  

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