- Series: Oxford World's Classics
- Paperback: 368 pages
- Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (May 15, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0199533210
- ISBN-13: 978-0199533213
- Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 0.7 x 5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #176,294 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Selected Letters (Oxford World's Classics) 1st Edition
Use the Amazon App to scan ISBNs and compare prices.
"The Lying Game" by Ruth Ware
From the instant New York Times bestselling author of blockbuster thrillers In a Dark, Dark Wood and The Woman in Cabin 10 comes Ruth Ware’s chilling new novel, The Lying Game. Pre-order today
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
About the Author
Elaine Fantham is Giger professor of Latin Emeritus at Princeton University.
Browse award-winning titles. See more
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top customer reviews
It is worth noting that Seneca's writing is an important and valuable complement to Epictetus's writing. Reading Epictetus, it is easy to get the impression that Stoicism is a "sour grapes" philosophy, only really suitable for the sick and impoverished, or those consumed by fear of such. Reading Seneca, it is easy to get the impression that it is only suitable for wealthy trust-fund children trying to "find meaning" in life. Really, the two are different applications of the same philosophy, shown in different circumstances, and I think it's important to see it from both angles. Which angle each emphasizes is not at all surprising given their respective backgrounds.
Fantham suggests in her introductory essay that Seneca is something of a hypocrite in this regard, but I think that's an overstatement. Seneca may not have been a particularly good Stoic role model, although different historical accounts present him more or less sympathetically. There are plenty of good, interesting biographies of Seneca out there. However, evaluating his writing based on his biography is an example of a tu quoque fallacy in any case, and one should always strive to avoid this.
I would rather discuss why I chose to buy the Oxford World Classics edition instead of the Penguin. The biggest reason is the number of letters: Penguin includes 40 and Oxford includes 80. I believe that the Loeb Classical Library edition (3 vols.) includes all 124 letters, but those were translated in 1928 (almost word for word from Latin).
I also found the Oxford edition a little more readable, but I base this opinion on a comparison of only the first few letters that I could see from sample pages of the Penguin edition since I did not buy it. I may prefer the Oxford translation because it is more recent (2010 vs. 1969 for Penguin).
I preferred the notes in the Oxford edition too. Penguin has five or six pages of notes (mostly bibliographic references) for only the translator's introduction. Oxford includes 33 pages of explanatory notes on Seneca's letters themselves. Students of the classics may already be familiar with Roman traditions, famous men and other historical references, but I certainly appreciated these clarifications.
The Oxford edition also includes a brief summary (1-3 sentences) at the beginning of each letter. For example, the summary for letter 5 says, "On avoiding conspicuous austerity and the meaning of 'living according to Nature.' Adopting a severe lifestyle is one aspect of the wider issue of shunning the crowd, and actually withdrawing or retiring from public life raised in letters 7 and 8." Penguin does not have these summaries.
Whether you choose to read the Oxford, Penguin or any other edition of Seneca's letters, just be sure to read them. There's a reason why they continue to be read 2000 years later!
I do not personally read Latin, but my professor, D.S Hutchinson, who has worked with Latin texts for many years spoke highly of the translation, stating that it is revealing, artistic and accurate.
My only complain for the text is that it is not a complete collection of Seneca's letters. This is an unfortunate lack for such a worthwhile book, but even so, the 80 letters that form this collection are all quality pieces.