Friedrich Nietzsche

On the Genealogy of Morals

A Polemical Tract

Translated by Ian Johnston
Vancouver Island University, Nanaimo, British Columbia,
[2014, Reformatted 2022]

For the Rich Text Format or a PDF version of the sections of this text, use the link at the start of each essay.




This translation (2014), a revised version of an earlier text, is based on the first German edition of Friedrich Nietzsche’s Zur Genealogie der Moral (Leipzig, 1887).


Nietzsche frequently uses italics to emphasize a word or phrase in his text. These have all been preserved. I have also italicized all foreign words in the text (e.g., a priori) and all book titles (for both of which Nietzsche in most cases uses a normal font). I have also used italics for all explanatory words and phrases inserted in the text and for the occasional insertion of Nietzsche’s original German phrasing into the English text (all such insertions are in square brackets). I have retained Nietzsche’s paragraph divisions.


In the text I have translated Nietzsche’s longer quotations from foreign languages into English and placed the original quotation in an endnote (at the end of each essay). When he quotes a Greek word, I have left the original Greek in the text and added, in square brackets, a version of the word in the English alphabet and a translation.


In those places where Nietzsche refers to his own earlier works with page numbers, I have added section numbers, too, (again, in square brackets) so that readers may consult any edition of the relevant text.


Nietzsche’s punctuation is often quite idiosyncratic (especially his use of dashes, ellipsis dots, and question marks), but it is an important feature of his style. I have retained most of it, as best I can, in order to convey this aspect of his style. But in some places I have not followed it faithfully.


Students, teachers, artists, and members of the general public may download and distribute copies of this translation or parts of it without permission and without charge. They may also freely edit the text to suit their requirements. All commercial use of this text, however, is forbidden unless the translator gives his permission. For details, please contact Ian Johnston







 First Essay
Good and Evil, Good and Bad


Second Essay
Guilt, Bad Conscience, and Related Matters


Third Essay
What is the Meaning of Ascetic Ideals?