Letters From A Stoic

Letters From A Stoic

Epistulae Morales Ad Lucilium

Book - 2014
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Selected from the Epistulae Morales ad Lucilium , Seneca's Letters from a Stoic are a set of 'essays in disguise' from one of the most insightful philosophers of the Silver Age of Roman literature. This Penguin Classics edition is translated from the Latin with an introduction by Robin Campbell.A philosophy that saw self-possession as the key to an existence lived 'in accordance with nature', Stoicism called for the restraint of animal instincts and the severing of emotional ties. These beliefs were formulated by the Athenian followers of Zeno in the fourth century BC, but it was in Seneca that the Stoics found their most eloquent advocate. Stoicism, as expressed in the Letters, helped ease pagan Rome's transition to Christianity, for it upholds upright ethical ideals and extols virtuous living, as well as expressing disgust for the harsh treatment of slaves and the inhumane slaughters witnessed in the Roman arenas. Seneca's major contribution to a seemingly unsympathetic creed was to transform it into a powerfully moving and inspiring declaration of the dignity of the individual mind.Robin Campbell's lucid translation captures Seneca's humour and tautly aphoristic style. In his introduction, he discusses the tensions between Seneca's philosophy and his turbulent career as adviser to the tyrannical emperor Nero.Lucius Annaeus Seneca (c.4BC - AD65) was born in Spain but was raised according to the traditional values of the republic of Rome. In AD48 he became tutor to the future emperor Nero and became his principal civil advisor when he took power. His death was eventually ordered by Nero in AD65, but Seneca anticipated the emperor's decree and committed suicide.If you enjoyed Letters from a Stoic , you might like Marcus Aurelius's Meditations, also available in Penguin Classics.
Publisher: London, England :, Penguin Classics, an imprint of Penguin Books,, 2014, ©2014.
Edition: Revised edition.
ISBN: 9780141395852
Branch Call Number: 188 SEN 2014
Characteristics: xxxv, 308 pages ; 18 cm


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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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