On The Nature Of Things By Lucretius Review

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On the Nature of Things

On the Nature of Things

On the Nature of Things Features

  • Great product!

Martin Ferguson Smith's work on Lucretius is both well known and highly regarded. However, his 1969 translation of De Rerum Natura--long out of print--is virtually unknown. Readers will share our excitement in the discovery of this accurate and fluent prose rendering. For this edition, Professor Smith provides a revised translation, new Introduction, headnotes and bibliography.

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On the Nature of Things

On the Nature of Things

On the Nature of Things Features

  • On the Nature of Things

Reissued to accompany Stephen Greenblatt's The Swerve: the epic poem that changed the course of human thought forever.

This great poem stands with Virgil's Aeneid as one of the vital and enduring achievements of Latin literature. Lost for more than a thousand years, its return to circulation in 1417 reintroduced dangerous ideas about the nature and meaning of existence and helped shape the modern world.

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On the Nature of Things by Lucretius

On the Nature of Things by Lucretius

On the Nature of Things by Lucretius Features

    On the Nature of Things by Titus Lucretius Carus (written around 60 BC) has for centuries been one of the most popular and influential works from our classical past. The poem is a long, impassioned plea for a materialistic understanding of the universe and of human life, without reference to divine creativity or benevolence or to a future life. Only such a view, Lucretius claims, can liberate human beings from religious superstitions, irrational fears, and false ambitions and thus enable us to live successfully. Long celebrated as the greatest expression of faith in Epicurean philosophy, the poem has exercised a decisive influence on the development of Western scientific thought since the Renaissance and is a vitally important part of our humanist traditions.

    Ian Johnston’s new poetic translation brings out the full emotional range of this great work and captures the restless and intense urgency of the original text. The English is an accurate rendition of Lucretius in a fluent modern idiom, so that it makes this important vision of the world accessible to the modern reader.

    The translation includes notes to assist the reader who is encountering Lucretius for the first time.

    Newly formatted for the Kindle platform.

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    On the Nature of Things

    On the Nature of Things

    On the Nature of Things Features

      De rerum natura “On the Nature of Things” is a first-century BC didactic poem by the Roman poet and philosopher Lucretius (c. 99 BC – c. 55 BC) with the goal of explaining Epicurean philosophy to a Roman audience. The poem, written in some 7,400 dactylic hexameters, is divided into six untitled books, and explores Epicurean physics through richly poetic language and metaphors. Lucretius presents the principles of atomism; the nature of the mind and soul; explanations of sensation and thought; the development of the world and its phenomena; and explains a variety of celestial and terrestrial phenomena. The universe described in the poem operates according to these physical principles, guided by fortuna, "chance," and not the divine intervention of the traditional Roman deities. Lucretius wrote this epic poem to "Memmius", who may be Gaius Memmius, who in 58 BC was a praetor, a judicial official deciding controversies between citizens and the government. There are over a dozen references to "Memmius" scattered throughout the long poem in a variety of contexts in translation, such as "Memmius mine", "my Memmius", and "illustrious Memmius". According to Lucretius's frequent statements in his poem, the main purpose of the work was to free Gaius Memmius's mind of the supernatural and the fear of death—and to induct him into a state of ataraxia by expounding the philosophical system of Epicurus, whom Lucretius glorifies as the hero of his epic poem. However, the purpose of the poem is subject to ongoing scholarly debate. Lucretius refers to Memmius by name four times in the first book, three times in the second, five in the fifth, and not at all in the third, fourth, or sixth books. In relation to this discrepancy in the frequency of Lucretius's reference to the apparent subject of his poem, Kannengiesse advances the theory that Lucretius wrote the first version of De rerum natura for the reader at large, and subsequently revised in order to write it for Memmius. However, Memmius' name is central to several critical verses in the poem, and this theory has therefore been largely discredited. Bruns and Brandt have set forth an alternative theory that Lucretius did at first write the poem with Memmius in mind, but that his enthusiasm for his patron cooled. Stearns suggests that this is because Memmius reneged on a promise to pay for a new school to be built on the site of the old Epicurean school. Memmius was also a tribune in 66, praetor in 58, governor of Bithynia in 57, and was a candidate for the consulship in 54 but was disqualified for bribery, and Stearns suggests that the warm relationship between patron and client may have cooled (sed tua me virtus tamen et sperata voluptas/ suavis amicitiae quemvis efferre laborem, "But still your merit, and as I hope, the joy/ Of our sweet friendship, urge me to any toil"). There is a certain irony to the poem, namely that while Lucretius extols the virtue of the Epicurean school of thought, Epicurus himself had advised his acolytes from penning poetry because he believed it to make that which was simple overly complicated.

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      Nature of Things

      Nature of Things

      Nature of Things Features

      • Nature of Things
      The Nature of Things is the ancient Roman philosopher Lucretius's attempt to explain the nature of Epicurean philosophy to the everyday audience.

      Otherwise known by its Latin title, De rerum natura, this scientific work takes the form of a lengthy didactic poem. The Nature of Things is in many ways an early form of popular science - seeks to clarify and make readily understandable the principles of philosophy pioneered by Democritus and supported by Epicurus: Atomism - whereby two forms of reality are possible; nature and void.

      The poem is wide ranging, explaining the classical theories then in vogue regarding the creation of the planet Earth, the composition of the human mind and soul, and how human beings feel the sensations and think the thoughts that they do. The celestial bodies, a source of curiosity for many in antiquity, are explained together with phenomena such as comets.

      Markedly opposed to the Roman state religion, whereby a pantheon of Gods held sway over specific parts of the world, Lucretius poem vaunts the rudimentary scientific approach of antiquity based on observations, recordings and logical, theoretical posits. Lucretius himself had a withering attitude to religion, believing that humanity would be better off without the 'dread' felt from entertaining the various deities.

      A philosophical classic over two millennia since its initial publication, this edition presents the Nature of Things unabridged and properly formatted.

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      On the Nature of Things

      On the Nature of Things

      On the Nature of Things Features

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        Lucretius: On the Nature of Things (Loeb Classical Library No. 181) (Bks. 1-6)

        Lucretius: On the Nature of Things  (Loeb Classical Library No. 181) (Bks. 1-6)

        Lucretius: On the Nature of Things (Loeb Classical Library No. 181) (Bks. 1-6) Features

        • Used Book in Good Condition

        Lucretius (Titus Lucretius Carus) lived ca. 99–ca. 55 BCE, but the details of his career are unknown. He is the author of the great didactic poem in hexameters, De Rerum Natura (On the Nature of Things). In six books compounded of solid reasoning, brilliant imagination, and noble poetry, he expounds the scientific theories of the Greek philosopher Epicurus, with the aim of dispelling fear of the gods and fear of death and so enabling man to attain peace of mind and happiness.

        In Book 1 he establishes the general principles of the atomic system, refutes the views of rival physicists, and proves the infinity of the universe and of its two ultimate constituents, matter and void. In Book 2 he explains atomic movement, the variety of atomic shapes, and argues that the atoms lack colour, sensation, and other secondary qualities. In Book 3 he expounds the nature and composition of mind and spirit, proves their mortality, and argues that there is nothing to fear in death. Book 4 explains the nature of sensation and thought, and ends with an impressive account of sexual love. Book 5 describes the nature and formation of our world, astronomical phenomena, the beginnings of life on earth, and the development of civilization. In Book 6 the poet explains various atmospheric and terrestrial phenomena, including thunder, lightning, earthquakes, volcanoes, the magnet, and plagues.

        The work is distinguished by the fervour and poetry of the author.

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        The Nature of Things (Penguin Classics)

        The Nature of Things (Penguin Classics)

        The Nature of Things (Penguin Classics) Features

        • The nature of things
        The acclaimed new translation of the classic poem at the heart of Stephen Greenblatt’s The Swerve

        Lucretius' poem On the Nature of Things combines a scientific and philosophical treatise with some of the greatest poetry ever written. With intense moral fervour he demonstrates to humanity that in death there is nothing to fear since the soul is mortal, and the world and everything in it is governed by the mechanical laws of nature and not by gods; and that by believing this men can live in peace of mind and happiness. He bases this on the atomic theory expounded by the Greek philosopher Epicurus, and continues with an examination of sensation, sex, cosmology, meteorology, and geology, all of these subjects made more attractive by the poetry with which he illustrates them.

        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.

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        On the Nature of Things: De Rerum Natura (Focus Philosophical Library)

        On the Nature of Things: De Rerum Natura (Focus Philosophical Library)

        On the Nature of Things: De Rerum Natura (Focus Philosophical Library) Features

          This text is a translation of Lucretius’ poem which adheres faithfully to the text, yet with poetic force, accuracy, and humanitas and includes introduction, notes, and a glossary of philosophical terms cross-referenced to use throughout the poem.

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          On the Nature of Things: De rerum natura

          On the Nature of Things: De rerum natura

          On the Nature of Things: De rerum natura Features

          • Used Book in Good Condition

          Titus Lucretius Carus was probably born in the early first century B.C., and died in the year 55. Little is known of his life, although two tantalizing bits of gossip were passed on by St. Jerome: that he was poisoned by a madness-inducing aphrodisiac given him by his wife, and that his great poem On the Nature of Things was posthumously edited by Cicero. For the latter assertion, writes Anthony Esolen in his introduction to the present volume, there is little evidence, and none whatsoever for the former.

          What does survive is a masterful poetic work that stands as the greatest exposition of Epicurean philosophy. Writing in the waning days of the Roman Republic―as Rome's politics grew individualistic and treacherous, its high-life wanton, its piety introspective and morbid―Lucretius sets forth a rational and materialistic view of the world which offers a retreat into a quiet community of wisdom and friendship.

          Even to modern readers, the sweep of Lucretius's observations is remarkable. A careful observer of nature, he writes with an innocent curiosity into how things are put together―from the oceans, lands, and stars to a mound of poppy seeds, from the "applause" of a rooster's wings to the human mind and soul. Yet Lucretius is no romantic. Nature is what it is―fascinating,purposeless, beautiful, deadly. Once we understand this, we free ourselves of superstitious fears, becoming as human and as godlike as we can be. The poem, then, is about the universe and how human beings ought to live in it. Epicurean physics and morality converge.

          Until now, there has been no adequate English verse translation of Lucretius's work. Anthony Esolen fills that gap with a version that reproduces―with remarkable faithfulness―the meaning, pace, and tone of the original Latin.

          Here is a book that will introduce a new generation of readers to a thinker whose powers of observation and depth of insight remain fresh to the present day.

          "Esolen has the rare gift of being both a fine poet and a lover of languages. His diction is poetic and natural; he has a fine ear for sound, and the translation benefits greatly from being read aloud―as Latin poetry was meant to be. This translation is clear and forceful. It can, and will, be read."―Kenneth J. Reckford, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

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