De Rerum Natura: The Latin Text of Lucretius (Latin and English Edition) (Latin) 1st Edition
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“A volume which no student of Lucretius, of the classics, of philosophic literature can afford to ignore.”—Paul Friedländer, "American Journal of Philology "(1945)
“For students approaching Lucretius this remains the only commentary in English on the entire work in one volume. Leonard’s passionate introduction is a signal milestone in the history of the poem’s reception, while the notes in Smith’s commentary are a helpful guide to interpretation.”—Peter Knox, editor of "Oxford""Readings"" in Ovid"
"A tremendous amount of material which will undoubtedly prove of great value to the students of Lucretius."--Phillip de Lacy, "Classical Philology "(1943)
"A volume which no student of Lucretius, of the classics, of philosophic literature can afford to ignore."--Paul Friedlander, "American Journal of Philology "(1945)
"For students approaching Lucretius this remains the only commentary in English on the entire work in one volume. Leonard's passionate introduction is a signal milestone in the history of the poem's reception, while the notes in Smith's commentary are a helpful guide to interpretation."--Peter Knox, editor of "Oxford""Readings"" in Ovid"
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The annotations themselves are quite useful. They cover a variety of topics, including: grammar and syntax, special meanings of words (that you would not find in a simple dictionary entry), difficult lines and phrases, context, and literary allusions (it is particularly helpful how the commentary tells you which passages are directly inspired by Epicurus). The annotations take up most of the page, leaving around ten lines of Latin per page - I personally prefer this format, as it breaks up the Latin and makes it easier to read.
Note that this is NOT a dual Latin-English translation. The "Latin and English" Amazon is referring to is the Latin text with accompanying English annotations. This is notable because, as I said, there are no other complete annotated versions of Lucretius' text.
This version generally follows the manuscript tradition compiled and edited by C. Bailey for the Oxford Classical Text, meaning that it is a standard Latin text of Lucretius. This is a good thing, as there are a lot of weird versions out there.
The reason you would buy this book (and why I bought this book) is because you are interested in reading and understanding Lucretius' De Rerum Natura completely. The assigned text for my graduate-level seminar on Lucretius is the Oxford Classical Text (OCT), which is overwhelming at best and completely senseless at worst (moreover, annotations come in separate volumes that are pretty much only attainable by school libraries). This is because Lucretius' Latin is extremely difficult (though after a few weeks with this edition you should get the hang of it!). I say that this edition is for advanced students because the annotations do not hold your hand: there is no index of words, no parsing of complicated forms, and very few outright translations of difficult passages. A beginning/intermediate student should get a compilation of some sort, like the Cambridge Greek and Latin Classics edition (which is superbly annotated and does coddle you a bit).
The importance, however, in using a full text such as this edition, as opposed to simply using a compilation, is that Lucretius really needs to be read in full. There is not really any good way to make "best of" selections, mostly because everything is well-written, compact, and extremely confusing out of context. Lucretius builds his argument slowly using both philosophical and rhetorical devices, often "anticipating" the argument he will later make. That anticipation is lost when selections are taken out of context.
Someone who is not all that familiar with Latin but would like to be able to quote it/read a literal translation should invest in a Loeb dual Latin-English translation. Those texts are superbly edited and have decent translations.
I'd like to point out that I'm using this text for the first time as a junior in college, and my father first used it forty years ago when he was my age. This edition really stands the test of time!
Quite a compendium !!