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On the Good Life (Penguin Classics) 1St Edition Edition
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A lot can be said about the selection of the essays - why would Michael Grant pick a Book Five (Discussions at Tusculum) and a Book Two (On Duties) instead of a complete collection of each? Where's the rest of these works? Frankly, it didn't matter to me. Once I began reading "On the Good Life" I was hooked. This book converted me into a lifelong Cicero fan and Grant's translations (through Penguin Classics) are my primary sources for his works. I have five Cicero books from Penguin Classics so far.
My favorite essay was "On Friendship." I would recommend it to anyone. It is wise, philosophical, and applicable to everyone even today. The rest of the essays were also fantastic with the exception - my opinion only - of "On the Orator." That I could have done without. It was a little too long and way too dry. I wish Michael Grant had squeezed in some other essay of Cicero's.
There are more comprehensive translations of Cicero but "On the Good Life" is a wise choice as a Cicero starter. If you enjoy classic literature and you haven't read Cicero, start here.
"Cicero: ' Ah, you're trying to refute me by quoting things I've said or written myself. That's confronting me with documents that have already been sealed! You can reserve that method for people who only argue according to fixed rules. But I live from one day to the next! If something strikes me as probable, I say it; and that is how, unlike everyone else, I remain a free agent.'" Easy for him to say, and adroitly skating around any further discussion of the subject. Case closed! And if you come at me tomorrow, I may employ an entirely different line of reasoning. This is one reason Cicero used to be required reading for debate students.
Actually that is Tully at his least didactic, as his entire raison-d'etre was to teach. And his texts, coming down to us primarly in epistolatory form, do instruct us how to behave, how to interact, how to be civilized and live according to the Aristotelean Golden Mean. Luckily, they weren't sealed up as his law documents were. Virgil's ideal of "pietas" was derived in large part from Roman fathers of Cicero's ilk.Read more ›
In reading of Cicero's thoughts on morality, it's easy to discern the influence that Cicero had on Immanual Kant. Kant extrapolated and expounded on a lot of Cicero's basic ideas. The dialogue on friendship is a good complement to the writings of what Plato & Aristotle had to say on the subject.
The works are translated and edited by the venerable Michael Grant of Cambridge university. I consider myself pretty well read when it comes to the personages of antiquity. Still, Cicero loves to name-drop and frequently his allusions are beyond my grasp. That's where our good buddy Michael Grant comes in. Grant's footnotes do a terrific job of clarifying who Cicero is referring to, and makes Cicero's writings far more cohesive & easier to understand. I would gather that Grant's elucidations would even be apt to assist people with doctorates in history who wish to engage the Roman writer.
There is one mannerism of Cicero's that is bound to rub a lot of readers the wrong way, and that is his being convinced that the world revolves around Rome. In this way, he reminds me of how modern day New Yorkers believe that the world revolves around NYC. It is helpful, however, to remember that in his day the world basically DID revolve around Rome.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The great Roman orator Cicero wrote on weighty matters of state and governance, but he did not overlook the vital matters that affect our more personal lives. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Eric Mayforth
It's Cicero! As long as the translation is readable, you know it's going to be good!Published 17 months ago by Justin Wollenberg
It's the book I was looking for at a good price. Condition was as advertised.Published 17 months ago by Mitchell Scribner Kramer
Overall, a decent look at why moral behavior is necessary for personal good life and the good life of the state. Read morePublished on August 27, 2013 by Al
Overall, I'm finding this book a very interesting. The only reason that I'm not giving it 5 stars is because I was expecting more insight into Cicero's politics... Read morePublished on August 24, 2013 by Oliver
This is the single best introduction to Cicero. This is an anthology of Cicero's prose writings by the late historian Michael Grant. I have read this book at least a dozen times. Read morePublished on June 30, 2013 by Richard Munro
he drones on and on and on. It would have been better to read a synopsis . This will definately cure your insomniaPublished on February 14, 2013 by Virginia L. Lipke