1 Title and content
2 "God is dead"
4 External links
 Title and content
The book's title uses a phrase that was well-known at the time. It was derived from a Provençal expression for the technical skill required for poetry-writing. It had already been used by Emerson and E. S. Dallas and in inverted form by Thomas Carlyle (see dismal science). However, it was first translated into English as The Joyous Wisdom. Nevertheless The Gay Science has become the canonical translation of the title since Walter Kaufmann's version in the 1960's. Kaufmann references The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary (1955) that lists "The gay science (=Pr[ovençal] gai saber): the art of poetry." The title should not be read with any homosexual connotation.
Nietzsche himself comments in Ecce Homo about the poems in the Appendix, saying they were,
written for the most part in Sicily, are quite emphatically reminiscent of the Provençal concept of gaya scienza—that unity of singer, knight, and free spirit which distinguishes the wonderful early culture of the Provençals from all equivocal cultures. The very last poem above all, "To the Mistral", an exuberant dancing song in which, if I may say so, one dances right over morality, is a perfect Provençalism. This alludes to the birth of modern European poetry that occurred in Provence around the 12th century, whereupon, after the culture of the troubadours fell into almost complete desolation and destruction due to the...