The brilliant writings of a highly influential Greek philosopher, with a foreword by Daniel Klein, author of Travels with Epicurus
The teachings of Epicurus—about life and death, religion and science, physical sensation, happiness, morality, and friendship—attracted legions of adherents throughout the ancient Mediterranean world and deeply influenced later European thought. Though Epicurus faced hostile opposition for centuries after his death, he counts among his many admirers Thomas Hobbes, Thomas Jefferson, Karl Marx, and Isaac Newton. This volume includes all of his extant writings—his letters, doctrines, and Vatican sayings—alongside parallel passages from the greatest exponent of his philosophy, Lucretius, extracts from Diogenes Laertius' Life of Epicurus, a lucid introductory essay about Epicurean philosophy, and a foreword by Daniel Klein, author of Travels with Epicurus and coauthor of the New York Times bestseller Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar.
For more than sixty-five years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,500 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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This book is based on a translation of surviving Epicurean texts by George K. Strodach, originally published in 1962, and it comes with a new foreword by Daniel Klein. One of the best, if slightly out of date, things about the book is Strodach's extensive introduction, which covers all aspects of Epicurean philosophy, as well as its later rendition by the Roman poet Lucretius in his De Rerum Natura. Indeed, partly because Epicurus' own prose isn't exactly riveting, this book intersperses passages by Lucretius to make for an overall more pleasant reading experience. Of course, thanks largely to nasty Christian propaganda, today the word "epicureanism" is associated with debauchery and the seeking of pure sensual pleasures. As you'll find out reading this book, however, that is very far from what Epicurus both preached and practiced. There are still many valuable things about Epicurus' thought, 24 centuries after his time, and it is worth rediscovering them through Strodach's...
Professor Strodach also provides an extensive Introduction and learned Notes that make up the bulk of the book. Most of the actual writings of Epicurus and his students have to do with epistemology and metaphysics rather than the art of happiness, the putative subject of the book. This material is...
here we have almost everything that a bad translation in a bad edition should strive to be. it is so astonishingly badly done that it amounts to an unintentional parody of academic incompetence, something nabokov might fabricate for the finical mr. pnin.
in a scrupulously comprehensive and scholarly edition (by brad inwood and l.p. gerson -- highly recommended), the genuine texts related to epicurus amount to about 110 pages. in george strodach's translation we have 250 pages. the added content consists of strodach's pedantic, diffuse, digressive, inaccurate and fatuously opinionated translator's introduction, 76 pages long, in which he unbuttons his wisdom as to what epicurus "really said" and, if epicurus did not really say it, why he was wrong not to do so -- and if he did say it, why he was foolish or misguided to say it. then strodach interpolates paragraph comments (really, a running commentary) within the reprinted texts (the letters to herodotus and menoeceus, the...
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