Summer Reading: Friederich Nietzsche’s “On the Genealogy of Morals”

We are doing a Summer Reading Group focussing on Friederich Nietzsche’s On the Genealogy of Morals (or Morality depending on your translation)

On the Genealogy of Morality (1887) is considered Nietzsche’s most important work on ethics and politics. He initially conceived of it as a ‘small polemical pamphlet’ that might help him sell more copies of his earlier writings The book offers a critique of moral values and traces the historical evolution of concepts such as guilt, conscience, responsibility, law and justice. Although the Genealogy is one of the darkest books ever written, it is also, paradoxically, a book full of hope and anticipation.

(summary based on Keith Ansell-Pearson introduction to the 2006 Cambridge University Press publication of ‘On the Genealogy of Morality’. available as a pdf at

All meetings will take place between 6:00 and 7:30 pm at the Auckland Domain Band Rotunda, off Domain Drive.

Week 1: Wednesday 18th December, 2013:
Preface and First Essay: Good and Evil, Good and Bad

Week 2: Wednesday 8th January, 2014:
Second Essay: Guilt, Bad Conscience and the Like

Week 3: Wednesday 22nd January, 2014:
Third Essay: What do Ascetic Ideals Mean? parts 1 – 14

Week 4: Wednesday 5th February, 2014:
Third Essay: What do Ascetic Ideals Mean? parts 15 – 28

About the reading group:

The reading group is open to anyone who wishes to participate and we encourage you to forward this invitation to your networks. We will be reading and discussing essays each fortnight moving through the book. The group is facilitated by Melissa Laing [] and Robin Paulson [] who are not experts in Nietzsche, rather will be learning alongside and with everyone who participates.

You can download a pdf poster advertising the reading group here