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Meditations (Modern Library MM) [Mass Market Paperback]

Marcus Aurelius , Gregory Hays
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

30 Nov 2004 Modern Library MM
A series of spiritual exercises filled with wisdom, practical guidance, and profound understanding of human behavior, Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations remains one of the greatest works of spiritual and ethical reflection ever written. Marcus’s insights and advice—on everything from living in the world to coping with adversity and interacting with others—have made the Meditations required reading for statesmen and philosophers alike, while generations of ordinary readers have responded to the straightforward intimacy of his style.

In Gregory Hays’s new translation—the first in a generation—Marcus’s thoughts speak with a new immediacy: never before have they been so directly and powerfully presented.


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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Modern Library; Reprint edition (30 Nov 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345472373
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345472373
  • Product Dimensions: 17.5 x 10.8 x 1.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,791,625 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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About the Author

Marcus Aurelius reigned from 161 AD to 180 AD- perhaps the only true philosopher- king in the history of the world. In his MEDITATIONS, a series of notes to himself, he formulated his pantheist Stoic beliefs with a passionate religious conviction. The MEDITATIONS were written day by day, in every situation including war. They often appear to be responses to the stress of supreme power, from the imminent fear of death in battle, to the trials of everyday life.
Gregory Hays, the translator, is Assistant Professor of Classics at the University of Virginia.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars eXCELLENT TRANSLATION 9 April 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
EXCELLENT TRANSLATION

The translation is excellent catching all the nuances of Aurelius's thoughts. It has been a long time since I read 'Meditations and book made re-visiting well worth while
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A virtuous Life 13 Feb 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you are on a quest for what a virtuous life means, this book will help you to find what you are looking for. It shows that his life was based on a solid basis of a Greek education and its "philosophy" in the widest sense.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Medicine of the soul 27 Jan 2014
By F Yang
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book help me understand the human nature. It calms me down when I feel frustrated. Through it I'm getting a quieter mind.
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Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  42 reviews
644 of 653 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars steel for your spine 22 Dec 2002
By The Don Wood Files - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
One should have more than one translation for Meditations. Note this difference between Maxwell Staniforth's translation in 1964 (Penguin Classics) and Hay's 2002 translation in these two passages.
1964: When force of circumstance upsets your equanimity, lose no time in recovering your self-control, and do not remain out-of-tune longer than you can help. Habitual recurrence to the harmony will increase your mastery of it.
2002: When jarred, unavoidably, by circumstances, revert at once to yourself, and don't lose the rhythm more than you can help. You'll have a better grasp of the harmony if you keep going back to it.
-----------------
1964: Adapt yourself to the environment in which your life has been cast, and show true love to the fellow-mortals with whom destiny has surrounded you.
2002: The things ordained for you - teach yourself to be at one with those. And the people who share them with you - treat them with love. With real love.
------------------
The 1964 version is regal, while the 2002 (Hays') version is Aurelius writing, quickly, in a spiral notebook while on horseback, the equivalent of "memo to myself."
Reading this book is like taking a cold shower, or visiting a favorite bartender, who insists on serving you coffee, not drink. Hays has brought us a Marcus Aurelius who puts his hand on your shoulder, looks you in the eye, and tells you like it is: Get over yourself. You can't change the world. Do your best and realize you are of this earth. Human experience is muddy, so what? This book is best read in tough times, when you could use a little steel in your spine.
45 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A timeless meditation book for anyone 17 Nov 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Here is a great book of meditations for both believers and atheists. Marcus Aurelius was emperor of Rome with an unfaithful wife, a worthless son, and the duties of leading an army for 13 years in what is now Germany. Trying to cheer and console himself in the middle of a desolate area, he wrote down what he remembered of the Stoic philosophy which he had studied. His thoughts are inspiring and provoking. This is the book you want with you when life becomes tough. As Marcus' view of god is a pantheistic one, anyone can profit from his thoughts, whether atheist or believer. A book to read ever few years. Highly recommended.
30 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Modern Translation of an Ancient Classic 8 Feb 2003
By Robin Friedman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
In the introduction to his translation of the "Meditations" Gregory Hays observes that "[I]t has been a generation since [The Meditations'] last English incarnation." Hays further explains that he has attempted to present a readable, modern translation of Marcus' great work which strill captures the "patchwork character of the original." I find that Hays's translation succeeds. He translates Marcus's reflections into a colloquial, frequently earthy, English in unstitled language and idiom that will be familiar to a modern reader. I think the translation is as well faithful to Marcus's thought. The reflective, meditative character of the paragraphs come through well, as does the difficulty of the text in many places. This is a book that will encourage the modern reader to approach Marcus -- an altogether commendable result.
Professor Hays has written an excellent introduction to his translation which can be read with benefit by those coming to the "Meditations" for the first time and by those familiar with the work. There is a brief discussion of Marcus's life, his philosophical studies, and his tenure as emperor of Rome (161-180 A.D.) Hays spends more time on the philosophical background of Marcus's thought emphasizing ancient stoicism and of the philosophy of Heraclitus. He discusses the concept of "logos", a critical term for Marcus and for later thought, and argues that logos -- or the common reason that pervades man and the universe -- is as much a process as it is a substance. This is difficult, but insightful.
Hays obviously has a great love for Marcus's book and has thought about it well. He is able to offer critical observations which will help the reader focus in studying the Meditations. (For example, Hays argues that Marcus does not understand or appreciate human joy very well. He also argues that Marcus's thought takes an overly static view of the nature of society and does not see the possiblity or need for societal change.) Hays discusses briefly the reception of the Meditiations over the centuries. I enjoyed in particular his references to the essays of Arnold and Brodsky on Marcus Aurelius. I haven't read these essays, but Hays's discussion makes me want to do so.
The Meditations is one of the great book of the West and will repay repeated readings. When I read it this time, I was struck by Marcus's devotion to his duties in life as the Roman emperor. I got the distinct impression that Marcus would have rather been at his studies but kept telling himself, in his writings, that he had to persevere and be the person he was meant to be. It is a focused approach, to say the least, to the duties to which one was called.
I was also impressed with the similarities at certain points between Marcus's thought and Buddhism. Other reviewers have also noted this similarity. Marcus talks repeatedly about the changing, impermanent character of human life and about the pervasive character of human suffering. He talks about controlling and ending suffering by understanding its causes and then changing one's life accordingly. There is a need to learn patience and to control anger and desire. More specifically, Marcus' understanding of perception and how it leads to desire and can be controlled by reason (discussed well in Hays's introduction.) is very Buddhist in tone. I have become interested in Buddhism and was struck in this reading of the Meditations by the parallels it offers to Buddhist thought.
There is a wonderful paragraph in the Meditations where Marcus urges himself to persevere and not to lose hope simply because he did not become a scholar or a hero or the person of his dreams. What matters is being a good person and living in harmony with one's nature. This passage spoke clearly and poignantly to me as I reread the Meditations. Undoubtedly, the reader will find passages in this book that are addressed clearly to him or her.
This is a book that should be read and pondered many times. Hays and the Modern Library have done readers a service with this translation.
26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perspectives on living 28 Oct 2005
By calmly - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Let facts and common sense be your guide:

1. View yourself as a part, and only a part, of nature.
2. Accept your fate without complaining. Don't waste time judging.
3. Don't be surprised that there are offensive people.
4. Accept that things change, including your body. So accept that you will die.
5. Things repeat: a life of 40 years may see as much as one of 1000 years.
6. While you're worrying about death, your mind may go. Make the best of it while it's intact.
7. Some stress is normal. You may be surprised how much you can endure, especially if you realize its for the best that you do so.
8. We weren't born to feel great, we were born to help others.
9. Why value that which can't offer you security?

That's a little of what I understood Marcus Aurelius to be advising. A sober naturalism, without the comfort of gods or the tease of enlightenment. Between Aurelius and the translator, Gregory Hays, it comes across clear enough that at time I was surprised that this ancient Roman could be speaking so intimately to me.
34 of 40 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Be Warned! This is not the Modern Library Edition! 9 April 2011
By capcall - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
This is not the excellent Modern Library edition translated and with a detailed Introduction by Gregory Hays. I wish this were available on Kindle. But this is definitely not as advertised!
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