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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Our Prose.  None of the present day cultured nations has so bad a prose as the German.  When clever, blase Frenchmen say, "There is no German prose” we ought really not to be angry, for this criticism is more polite than we deserve.  If we look for reasons, we come at last to the strange phenomenon that the German knows only improvised prose and has no conception of any other.  He simply cannot understand the Italian, who says that prose is as much harder than poetry as the representation of naked beauty is harder to the sculptor than that of draped beauty.  Verse, images, rhythm, and rhyme need honest effort — that even the German realises, and he is not inclined to set a very high value on extempore poetry.  But the notion of working at a page of prose as at a statue sounds to him like a tale from fairyland.  

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