Letters From A Stoic

Letters From A Stoic

Epistulae Morales Ad Lucilium

Book - 1974
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"It is philosophy that has the duty of protecting us...without it no one can lead a life free of fear or worry."

For several years of his turbulent life, Seneca was the guiding hand of the Roman Empire. His inspired reasoning derived mainly from the Stoic principles, which had originally been developed some centuries earlier in Athens. This selection of Seneca's letters shows him upholding the austere ethical ideals of Stoicism--the wisdom of the self-possessed person immune to overmastering emotions and life's setbacks--while valuing friendship and the courage of ordinary men, and criticizing the harsh treatment of slaves and the cruelties in the gladiatorial arena. The humanity and wit revealed in Seneca's interpretation of Stoicism is a moving and inspiring declaration of the dignity of the individual mind.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
Publisher: Harmondsworth : Penguin, 1974.
ISBN: 9780140442106
Branch Call Number: 188 SENEC
Characteristics: 254 p. ; 19 cm.
Additional Contributors: Campbell, Robin (Robin Alexander)


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Aug 20, 2017

Seneca: the philosopher and man who lived in a contradictory way to his principles and beliefs; who preached simplicity, cold water baths, simple food and rudimentary rest, all while exercising great political power in the Roman Empire of Nero (of which he was tutor) and accumulated great riches, among which mention their opulent villas, gardens and vineyards.

In this compendium of letters to his friend Lucilius (whose identity is questioned), Seneca develops the essence of stoicism in a simple and direct manner, characteristic of epistolary correspondence of time. This is exemplified with some ideas of the philosopher contained in the letter CXIV in relation to the literary forms and of writing:

“As the way in which each individual expresses himself resembles the way he acts"
"Once a person’s spirit has acquired the habit of disdaining what is customary and regards the usual as banal, it starts looking for novelty in its methods of expression as well"
“The bold and frequent use of metaphor passes for good style"

In relation to its structure and content, starting from letter L it shows a significant change in the writing of Seneca, and it is here where correspondence writings become essays in form, by setting aside the direct and colloquial Ideas and move towards a written dialogue and a development of philosophical conversation.

It should be noted that this edition offers a translation and edition of shortened versions of epistolary letters, which are not presented in their original extension and the text has been updated with the aim of presenting the ideas and their meaning in a contemporary way. In my judgment, these editing decisions destroy the meaning and context in which they were exposed. In the same way, the translator and editor clarifies that certain omissions of "texts of little importance" were made, without reference to the criteria followed for this.

An essential and classic book in any bookstore. The issue is not recommended, I would suggest exploring some other versions of your translation.

coreyjbryant Feb 21, 2013

Great read. The letters are short, 2-5 pages. Each letter talks about a few topics, eg: friendship, death, exercise, pain and illness..Anyway, Its a great book with amazing insightful words.

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