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Seneca Stoic Philosophy of Seneca Paperback – 17 Jan 1990

2.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (17 Jan. 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393004597
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393004595
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,090,640 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From the Back Cover

Representative selections from Seneca's writings offer the reader an excellent introduction to the range of his work. Translated and with and introduction by Moses Hadas.

About the Author

AESCHYLUS: A complete fifth-century Athenian, he was the creator of her proudest artistic achievement, tragedy. By using more than one actor he changed the form of plays from recited poetry to true dramatic dialogue, thereby making possible the sweeping grandeur of his great trilogy, THE ORESTEIA.<br><br>SOPHOCLES: The most popular tragedian of the Golden Age, he expanded the scope of classic drama by his technical innovations and lyric intensity, leaving the world such masterpieces as ANTIGONE and OEDIPUS THE KING, the play Aristotle called the perfect model of Greek tragedy.<br><br>EURIPIDES: A prolific author, Euripides wrote some one hundred plays. In contrast to his contemporaries, he brought an exciting-and, to the Greeks, a stunning-realism to the &quot;pure and noble&quot; form of tragedy. His influence altered drama forever, and he is regarded today as the originator of modern dramatic sensibility.<br><br>ARISTOPHANES: The most famous comic playwright of ancient Greece, he wrote what are now the only extant representative of Greek Old Comedy. His three outstanding characteristics-gross obscenity, exquisite lyricism, and a serious concern for decency and morality-may seem a strange combination to the modern reader. Aristophanes is still regarded by modern audiences as a master of risqu&#233; wit and brilliant comic invention.

AESCHYLUS: A complete fifth-century Athenian, he was the creator of her proudest artistic achievement, tragedy. By using more than one actor he changed the form of plays from recited poetry to true dramatic dialogue, thereby making possible the sweeping grandeur of his great trilogy, THE ORESTEIA.<br><br>SOPHOCLES: The most popular tragedian of the Golden Age, he expanded the scope of classic drama by his technical innovations and lyric intensity, leaving the world such masterpieces as ANTIGONE and OEDIPUS THE KING, the play Aristotle called the perfect model of Greek tragedy.<br><br>EURIPIDES: A prolific author, Euripides wrote some one hundred plays. In contrast to his contemporaries, he brought an exciting-and, to the Greeks, a stunning-realism to the &quot;pure and noble&quot; form of tragedy. His influence altered drama forever, and he is regarded today as the originator of modern dramatic sensibility.<br><br>ARISTOPHANES: The most famous comic playwright of ancient Greece, he wrote what are now the only extant representative of Greek Old Comedy. His three outstanding characteristics-gross obscenity, exquisite lyricism, and a serious concern for decency and morality-may seem a strange combination to the modern reader. Aristophanes is still regarded by modern audiences as a master of risqu&#233; wit and brilliant comic invention.


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I was really looking forward to reading this book, as I remembered quite a few passages Montaigne quoted in his Essays that seemed profound, so Seneca struck me as someone to get acquainted with. And it did seem promising in the beginning. The first couple of essays (in this book) were pretty good, but it seemed to get worse and worse until finally I was just glad to be finished. The last few letters are almost the same and the author seemed to have quite a high opinion of himself and his philosophy, without justification in my opinion, and without really explaining his philosophy very well. It might seem strange to say it, based on the author's reputation, but I don't think he was very good at expressing himself. I agreed with a lot of what he wrote, but a lot of it was also nonsense, and I had the feeling that he didn't know exactly what he was trying to say, even though he wrote like he did. The introduction by the translator was informative and interesting, and he even warned the reader that they might not be getting what they were expecting. All in all, Seneca was no idiot, but he didn't strike me as especially bright or profound either - just annoying and full of conviction that wasn't so convincing.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars 17 reviews
94 of 102 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As good a book on Stoicism as is out there 15 Oct. 1999
By irick - Published on Amazon.com
I read this book while in graduate school (when I was suppose to be reading something else of course), and it had a profound effect on me. There are many legends in Stoicism but there are few tangible works, ones that one can imbibe and feel atleast a little filled--other than Marcus Aurelius. This book gives not so much a systematic look at the philosophy but it does have that density and practicality and intimacy, which is so rare. It is interesting and more illuminating than any other book on the topic that I have come across, including the other greats: Epictetus, Aurelius.
58 of 64 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Good Book 18 Nov. 2004
By Donald Vish - Published on Amazon.com
Seneca's one hundred and twenty four letters to Lucilius constitute a secular bible, an ethical catechism written in a gnomic and epigrammatic style that sparkles as it enlightens. So impressed were the early church fathers with Seneca's moral insights that they advanced (fabricated?) the speculation that he must have come within the influence of Christian teachings. T.S. Eliot sneers at Seneca's boyish, commonplace wisdom and points out that the resemblances between Seneca's 'stoic philosophy' and Christianity are superficial. For those seeking a practical, modern manual on how to do good and how to do well, written in the 'silver point' style that values brevity, concision and memorable expression, Seneca's letters are indeed the Good Book.
34 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wisdom of the Ages 21 July 2006
By John Chancellor - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Even though this book was written over two thousand years ago, there is so much wisdom that is appropriate today.

I must be honest and tell you that it is not an easy read. Writers of that age did not believe in simple sentence structure. And unless you are a student of ancient history, there are lots of references whom you will not know. However the value is so great that I recommend you spend the time and effort and learn from a great thinker.

Thankfully we have moved to a democratic form of government. The rulers of that day generally ruled by brute force, eliminating those who opposed them. A large part of his writings were to teach people how to deal with the problems of the day.

While our problems are different in name, the underlying principles for dealing with them have not changed. We have learned more about the mind and how it works, so his discourse on the mind is a little dated.

Some examples of his insight:

"It is not that we have so little time but that we lose (waste) so much."

"Many people, I imagine could attain wisdom if they were not convinced they already had it, ..."

"...we are tormented alike by the future and the past. Our superiority brings us much distress; memory recalls the torment of fear, foresight anticipates it. No one confines his misery to the present."

His lessons are still very valuable today.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent 13 Jun. 2013
By Sila - Published on Amazon.com
I first encountered Seneca in a book by Og Mandino
He was in search of some answers on life

"True happiness is to enjoy the present,
to understand our duties toward God and Man,
not to be amused with either hopes or fears, but to rest content.
For he that is so wants nothing, for what he has is abundantly sufficient,
the great blessings of mankind are in us, and within our reach,
yet we rush around like people in the dark, and fall foul of the very thing we are looking for without finding it.
There must be a sound mind to make a happy man,
there must be a constancy in all conditions
Tranquility is a state of mind which no condition of fortune can elevate or depress
and there is no cheerfulness, like the resolution of a great mind not to be elevated or depressed with good or ill-fortune
True Joy is serene, the seat of it is within,
a wise man is content with his lot whatever it may be,
without anxiously wishing for what he has not"

Seneca

Great Book---Wisdom for our times and ancient times.
Seneca is one of my favorites
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't be afraid you are getting in over your head; this book is wonderful! 1 Jun. 2013
By Eddie Merkel - Published on Amazon.com
I absolutely loved this book! It is remarkable (and refreshing) to find how similar life now is to Seneca's time. As some sage somewhere has said, "man is always the same, mankind is always changing."

I have thought for some time (since first reading Antifragile) that I probably had a lot in common with the Stoics. Because of that I decided to buy this book about Seneca's Stoic philosophy and find out for myself. While it left the idea of stoicism less sharply defined than I was hoping for, I found every part of this book a total joy to read.

There is a lot of wisdom here and each section is put forth in such a way that it is very easy to understand and the context of Roman life is very illuminating. I honestly do not know if Moses Hadas (the translator) is any good at translating Latin or not. All I know is I think he did a wonderful job with this material. This is an easy book to read and enjoy and I highly recommend it!
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