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Dialogues and Essays (Oxford World's Classics) Paperback – August 31, 2009

ISBN-13: 978-0199552405 ISBN-10: 0199552401

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Product Details

  • Series: Oxford World's Classics
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (August 31, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199552401
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199552405
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 0.8 x 5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #152,605 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

John Davie has translated all of Euripides' plays for Penguin Classics.

More About the Author

Lucius Annaeus Seneca, statesman, philosopher, advocate and man of letters, was born in Spain around 4BC. He rose to prominence at Rome, pursuing a double career in the courts and political life, until Claudius sent him into exile exile on the island of Corsica for eight years. Recalled in AD49, he was appointed tutor to the boy who was to become, in AD54, the emperor Nero. Seneca acted for eight years as Nero's unofficial chief minister until Nero too turned against him and he retired from public life to devote himself to philosophy and writing. In AD65, following the discovery of a plot against the emperor, he and many others were compelled by Nero to commit suicide.

Customer Reviews

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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Beez on October 21, 2012
Format: Paperback
It was written 2,000 years ago and, while reading it, I found it true that people don't change that much. The same things in our nature that we tackle today - morality, mercy, anger, providence, sadness, etc - were happening then. Had I not known when it was written, I would have thought it current literature, addressing current issues. He tackled, on Providence, why God lets bad things happen to good people. In Anger, he addresses the temper of Plato (turns out he had quite a temper and worked his whole life to control it). In Sadness, Seneca worked to explain grief and ways of overcoming it. He talks about the ways we waste time in 'the Shortness of life' and that perhaps it isn't that life is short but that we take it for granted and spend it, so many times, on things which help distract us. In Mercy, he discusses the difficulty of generosity but why we should offer to others that which they may or may not deserve regardless.

It felt, in each of these essays, as though he and I had only spoken yesterday about the things of this world that I struggle with and he was writing to me today to address them. The lessons weren't easy but.... well... this is one of those books you pick up if you want to challenge who you are as an individual. I highly recommend it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Reader on August 15, 2013
Format: Paperback
"Thy life to mend, this book attend" - that could be said about this volume of Seneca's essays. Any commentary on them seems superfluous, other than to say that this translation by John Davie reads beautifully and conveys what must have been outstanding eloquence. Seneca develops many Stoic ideas about our human condition familiar from Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius, but in extended essays rather than the short maxim or epigram form of those writers. The introduction by Tobias Reinhardt is informative and helpful. Time spent reading Seneca is time well spent, even if we don't always have the moral strength or character to live up to these ideals.
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14 of 19 people found the following review helpful By L. Jordan Bickel on February 4, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was surprised by how much I got from this book. There is so much wisdom. I'm reading it again. I'm writing down favorite quotes and commentary. A great boost to my stoic studies. Very relevant to the kind of wisdom I'm looking for.

Introduction led me to think the Consolation of Marcia would be the stand-out but it was the weakest one for me, but happiness and tranquility... providence and shortness of life were all awesome! Read this until you wear it out.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By The Doctor on October 31, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
While not wedded to Stoicism as was Cicero, Seneca has a way of approaching some of the fundamental canundra and crises of life with a "stiff upper lip." Some readers may be disquieted by the anecdotes he chooses to make his point, or the casual way in which he approaches seemingly insoluable problems with that one solution to every problem that life brings: suicide. But beyond the passive resignation that echos his Stoic propensity, Seneca manages to ask the right questions and provides many excellent answers. Everyone ought to have read Senenca at some point in life . . . and it is never too late.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By L. Nery on March 22, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
All self-help books should just form a line and commit collective suicide, out of shame for even existing, because Seneca wrote a much better version of them all 2,000 years ago. I always disliked the genre, but now I concede that there might be books out there with truly wise advice for a better life, and not just platitudes; I also know that Seneca wrote these books. I read this book very slowly, rereading paragraphs, pondering about his ideas, at times a bit dazed with so much knowledge of human nature and wisdom. Now I put this book right next to the one I love the most, Brothers Karamazov, which helped form my character decades ago.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By abdillahi ainab on February 11, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A great book to read slowly and think on very deep level. The world might change but human nature is as constant as the stars,sun, and moon. Despite having much knowledge about the world today It appears that this level of understanding has not made us humans wise.
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