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Marcus Aurelius - Meditations Hardcover – 2003


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 201 pages
  • Publisher: The Folio Society (2003)
  • ASIN: B000XYEJ0U
  • Product Dimensions: 10.2 x 6.7 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,584,373 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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See all 26 customer reviews
Yes, this book is very quotable.
Chris Gladis
Marcus Aurelius was a well liked emperor you lived from 120 A.D. to 180 A.D. ruling in the late part of his life.
Steve Burns
It is definitely a book to read and re-read, and each time, still brings new, refreshing insights.
Felicia W

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

121 of 122 people found the following review helpful By garwood on August 25, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Other reviewers here have commented about the work itself, so I would just add a note about this specific translation.

One of the most difficult tasks for a reader interested in non-English language work (and works from classical times in particular) is to choose an appropriate translation. Of course, what counts as `appropriate' is somewhat subjective.

What I was looking for was a translation that is clear and accurate; one that manages to convey something of a feeling for the both the person who wrote, and the times they wrote in. In this Staniforth excels.

Unlike say, the Benjamin Jowett translation of Plato which (at least to my ears) has a distinctly Victorian ring, or the popular new age paraphrases of many of the Stoics (and in truth they are paraphrases or adaptations rather than translations), to me Staniforth (whose translation dates from 1964) strikes just the right balance.

The words of Marcus Aurelius are rendered intelligibly and with a dignity and awareness of the historical context. The reader is neither forced to re-read and ponder (i.e., speculatively re-translate), nor wince at inappropriate colloquialisms of 21st century English. Better still, one can immediately perceive and appreciate the times in which the work was written. No mean accomplishment, to say the least.

Of course, each reader needs to make this judgment for themselves. Amazon provides an excellent (and free) way of doing this with its `search inside this book' feature, which is enormously useful for anyone making this decision.
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54 of 58 people found the following review helpful By Chris Gladis on January 22, 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I don't read a lot of philosophy. I'm not sure why, since philosophy is really the province of the Liberal Arts graduate, and that's what I am. Even worse, I was a political science major, and pol-sci is really just applied philosophy. You ask yourself questions like, "What is man's obligation to man?" and "How can a society best benefit everyone involved in it?" and the next thing you know it's three in the morning and you're on your twelfth cup of Denny's coffee.

Arguing the meaning of life in a diner, however, isn't considered to be "real" philosophy. Philosophy these says means making up your own lexicon, creating words to describe concepts that you have spun out of the rhetorical ether - or, in philosophical terminology, "just made up." So you get phrases in modern philosophy that go on for pages and pages, and have so many recursive clauses that you wind up having to go back to the beginning just to figure out where you left off.

So, if you're like me - and it's not impossible that you are - and you don't feel like delving into the murkiest depths of intellectual waters, I can solidly recommend Marcus Aurelius' immortal Meditations. There is no beginning, there is no end - you can open up the book anywhere, read for a while, and then put it down.

Written back in the 2nd century, Meditations is a collection of Marcus' thoughts on life, existence, and how to be a good and moral man. Some of those observations are long, a page or two, but most of them are just a few lines. It's kind of as though Marcus was hanging out at his camp in Carnuntum and he had a Thought. "Pen!" he would yell, "and paper!" He'd scribble his idea down and put it away to be filed away later. Whether he had any great plans for this collection of ideas, we'll never know.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By laszlo kovari on March 3, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
The key is death. Forgetting this is what makes life an illusion.

Lie down, close your eyes and try to die. Feel the body giving up and drifting away, gather the strength to focus, not to pass out, to stay alert so you can preserve yourself.
Maintain control in the face of the most elemental fear with an irrevocable determination to fight till the very end and not to succumb to nature. With the death of the body the significance of time becomes minimal - you're still perceiving it but you know it'll be gone, too. You realize that your life was nothing and that you got it all wrong.

You were dead and now you have the chance to live.

You remember only the small things now. The smallest things you missed; you realize how and where you screwed up. You realize: it was all about control. The control you need now to gather the power to survive this trauma. The rest was just a setting: parents, lovers, enemies, religion, kids, career, home; sogar dein Auto!

If only you had been aware of this!

You realize that this is your last chance to control your destiny. Not to forget! Not to let the experience overwhelm you, not to let it put you to sleep.
You understand: if you identify with what you experience, you are lost. To preserve yourself you must dominate your experience! You! Your mind screams: this is not me!!! Whatever you see and feel: this is not me!

You have always been alone!

And you remember the small details: the conflicts, the love, the hate, the anger, the pride, the shame, the guilt, the lies; ...and the fear!
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