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The Discourses of Epictetus - The Handbook - Fragments (Everyman's Library) Paperback – March 2, 1995

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The Discourses of Epictetus - The Handbook - Fragments (Everyman's Library) + Enchiridion (Dover Thrift Editions) + Letters from a Stoic (Penguin Classics)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Everyman Paperback; Subsequent edition (March 2, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0460873121
  • ISBN-13: 978-0460873123
  • Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 5.2 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #265,473 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Greek

From the Publisher

Founded in 1906 by J.M. Dent, the Everyman Library has always tried to make the best books ever written available to the greatest number of people at the lowest possible price. Unique editorial features that help Everyman Paperback Classics stand out from the crowd include: a leading scholar or literary critic's introduction to the text, a biography of the author, a chronology of her or his life and times, a historical selection of criticism, and a concise plot summary. All books published since 1993 have also been completely restyled: all type has been reset, to offer a clarity and ease of reading unique among editions of the classics; a vibrant, full-color cover design now complements these great texts with beautiful contemporary works of art. But the best feature must be Everyman's uniquely low price. Each Everyman title offers these extensive materials at a price that competes with the most inexpensive editions on the market-but Everyman Paperbacks have durable binding, quality paper, and the highest editorial and scholarly standards.

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Customer Reviews

If you are interested in Stoic Philosophy this is the book that you should read.
The Loeb Classical Library edition, unless you can get it on the cheap, may cost you four times as much, but it will be ten times more useful.
B. Marold
For those who are curious about Stoic ethics, the philosophy of Epictetus, as presented here, is a great introduction.
Willy Chambers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

91 of 94 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 2, 1997
Format: Paperback
Many of us are prone to think of ourselves as somewhat "pitiful" in comparison to others: we drive a Chevrolet; they drive a BMW: we have 1900 sq. ft. in our home; they have 3200: we make $35,000 a year; they have a yacht on the Caribbean. Suppose you were lame; a freed slave; and subject to arrest by "the leader of the free world" if he didn't like your teaching. Such was Epictetus who, along with other philosophers, was expelled from Rome by the emperor some 19 centuries ago. Epictetus was not the founder of Stoicism, but he was--apparently--its greater teacher because it is his discussions which have survived in the most nearly complete form for us. This volume contains not only the four "books" of discourses, but also the distillation called the "handbook" or "enchiridion", and various fragments preserved in other writings. These teachings were written down by Arrian, a student of Epictetus and author of a biography of Alexander the Great. Here we hear, as it were, the voice of Epictetus teaching: often within the text we have the questions of a student to whom Epictetus is replying; we are able to catch the teacher's irony and wit. It is as if we are sitting in his presence, just a little farther away than we might wish. Epictetus's "program" is simple: to teach us how to live without fear or grief or unsatisfied desire; to teach how to "worry" ourselves only over those things which we can control, which--to put it simply, as Epictetus always does--are our own reactions and responses. I cannot control my wife; I can control how I respond to her. I cannot control the Senators; I can control how I respond to them. I cannot control whether I have cancer or not; I can control how I react to that situation.Read more ›
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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful By David Jefferson on September 30, 2005
Format: Paperback
I discovered Epictetus following a library checkout of a book on tape by Tom Wolfe titled "A Man in Full" (1998)- a story about two men who met by chance in Atlanta and whose lives changed drastically and positively as one (an escaped convict) reluctantly taught the other (who was in his own personal crisis) the power of what he learned in prison from the teachings of Epictetus. I could see how the ideas Wolfe found in Epictetus might change people even as dramatically as happened in the novel so I read A. A. Long's, "Epictetus: A Stoic and Socratic Guide to Life" (2002, also rated five stars). Long wrote that the best translation was by Robin Hard (this edition). Epictetus wrote nothing (all we have are his student Adrian's lecture notes). He was a former slave recognized for his talent and educated in Nero's Court, later freed, and then exiled. He set up a school in Nicopolis, Greece, taught young men from well-to-do families about stoic philosphy and his reputation grew, resulting in requests for consultations - apparently even from Emperor Hadrian. What I learned from this book is why happiness is an attainable state of mind instead of an occurance and a rational, pragmatic approach. In my field, Epictetus has been described as a pioneer of rational-emotive and cognitive-behavioral therapy (especially the former) and I would support this view. He is an amazing teacher.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Pharmer Tom on September 28, 2007
Format: Paperback
Having developed an interest in Epictetus, I bought a translation of his works, and was sorely disappointed. The wording was awkward, and phrasing often confusing or difficult to understand.
This particular book was the third version of the Discourses I purchased, and I was delighted to find it understandable and enjoyable reading. You also get the complete works of Epictetus (The Discourses, Enchiridion, and Fragments), a nice bonus. I have not looked at every translation available, but I can recommend this one as well done.

As for the review complaining about many typo's, I'm not sure that he is talking about this particular book. Two other translations that I bought were absolutely mangled and virtually unreadable. The "Everyman" edition is much better, understandable, and if there are a lot of typo's, I have not seen them.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Unmoved Mover on November 21, 2006
Format: Paperback
Stoicism is the Philosophy of Choice. It emphasizes emotional responsibility, physical and intellectual temperance, and spiritual connection to a world beyond thoughts and words. The basics tenets of all Stoics are as follows:

- I always have a choice. My impulses, whether emotionally or physically based, can be controlled by my Will. I can choose to react to them or to ignore them.

- The choices of others only effect me in so far as I allow them to effect me. I Will myself into the role of victim or victor. These are choices. No one can harm me.

- I choose to engage life rather than disengage from life. For a Will is best when it is tempered in action.

The texts included in this book, written by Arrian, cover a myriad examples of these principles applied in life, as well as a large set of refutations of what the author construes as contrary philosophies. (The schools of Cynicism and the Epicurean are the main adversaries here.) Of the current English editions available, the Everyman Library's version is by far the most comprehensive collection.

Why one of the reviewers below felt compelled to outline (rather clumsily) the differences between Epictetus and Jesus is beyond my field of study, but I can say that I find the two "philosophies" (for, in truth, Jesus offers not just a philosophy but a faith) quite complimentary. Gandhi thought so too, and his philosophy of satyagraha was a rare combination of both. As any student of Stoicism will find, the one tenet missing from the Stoic lexicon is the following:

- I cannot say that he/she/it/they always has/have a choice.
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