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The Nature of Things by Lucretius

The Nature of Things

by Lucretius, Thomas Wentworth Higginson (Translator)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
2,862242,023 (3.68)1 / 60
  1. 20
    The Nature of the Gods by Cicero (booksontrial)
    booksontrial: These two books can serve as counter arguments of each other.
  2. 00
    The Swerve: How the World Became Modern by Stephen Greenblatt (mkjones)

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English (23)  Dutch (1)  All languages (24)
Showing 1-5 of 23 (next | show all)
Testo latino a fronte. Serie: Scrittori latini commentati per le scuole
  ciabanza | Aug 2, 2014 |
Philosophy, poetry, ancient physics all in one work. Very fine. ( )
  mykl-s | Apr 1, 2014 |
This verse translation works well. One might anticipate that the rhyming couplets would become tiresome. Stallings has, however, arranged her syntax so that most of the time phrases and clauses carry past the line breaks and so the text reads much like prose. At the end of paragraphs and sections, Stallings does align the syntax with the rhyme with the result that these breaks are emphasized.

The translation does not attempt to capture the deliberately archaic language that Lucretius wrote in. I was skeptical at first of some of Stallings' more modern and colloquial word choices, but a check with the Latin showed that these still stayed close to the original meaning.

This is an accessible and recommendable translation of an important work. ( )
  librorumamans | Mar 23, 2014 |
This is an astounding poem. I can’t believe such deep understanding of the world occurred so long ago. Makes the evolution of our sciences through the ages seem rather depressing. If only the spark came from this book! Regardless, an invigorating read into a person who lived so long ago and who was so wise in [insert title here]. ( )
  TJWilson | Jun 22, 2013 |
This is both poetry and philosophical treatise proposing to explain the views of the Epicurean school. Physics written by a poet, for here Lucretius goes into physics as well as metaphysics explaining everything from the theory of the universe being composed of atoms, to the nature of the soul--and without resorting to God or Gods for an explanation. It's not atheist so much as theist. There are Gods, but we need not fear them since they're far removed from human affairs. The world's creation and operation can all be explained by natural law and there is no afterlife. Death is just an ending, and we should no more fear it than fear the eons before our beginning. In its arguments it is often strikingly modern, this poem written in the first century. Certainly aspects of the science presented is dated (there are references to the idea of spontaneous generation and the sun goes around the earth), but the spirit of the ideas is timeless--and the poetry beautiful--that comes through even in translation. This is the opening, a hymn to Venus:

First, goddess, the birds of the air, pierced to the heart with your powerful shafts, signal your entry. Next wild creatures and cattle bound over rich pastures and swim rushing rivers: so surely are they all captivated by your charm and eagerly follow your lead. Then you inject seductive love into the heart of every creature that lives in the seas and mountains and river torrents and bird-haunted thickets, implanting in it the passionate urge to reproduce its kind.

This is not dry stuff, although it is dense--packing a lot of complex ideas in verse. It's not always easy reading no. Philosophy and physics don't make for page turners or escapist reading. But it often has a lyrical beauty and intensity, one devoted to this Earth and the world of the senses and its pleasures and the wonders of science in a way at times inspired and inspiring. ( )
  LisaMaria_C | May 26, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (291 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lucretiusprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Higginson, Thomas WentworthTranslatormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Büchner, KarlTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fowler, DonIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Humprhries, RolfeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Latham, Ronald E.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Melville, RonaldTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Munro, Hugh Andrew JohnstoneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schrijvers, PietTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stallings, A. E.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stallings, AliciaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Mother of Rome, delight of Gods and men, Dear Venus that beneath the gliding stars Makest to teem the many-voyaged main And fruitful lands- for all of living things Through thee alone are evermore conceived, Through thee are risen to visit the great sun- Before thee, Goddess, and thy coming on, Flee stormy wind and massy cloud away, For thee the daedal Earth bears scented flowers, For thee waters of the unvexed deep Smile, and the hollows of the serene sky Glow with diffused radiance for thee!
Mother of Aeneas and his race, delight of men and gods, life-giving Venus, it is your doing that under the wheeling constellations of the sky all nature teems with life, both the sex that buoys up our ships and the earth that yields our food.  [translated by R.E. Latham]
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Translations are not to be combined with the original Latin work.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140446109, Paperback)

This is regarded as a seminal text of Epicurean science and philosophy. With a new introduction and commentary and a revised translation, this edition acknowledges advances in textual research and also provides more background information for the reader. Epicurians discarded both the idea of immortality and the superstitious worship of wilful gods for a life of serene contentment in the available pleasures of nature. Lucretius (c100-c55BC), in elucidating this belief, steers the reader through an extraordinary breadth of subject matter, ranging from the indestructibility of atoms and the discovery of fire to the folly of romantic love and the phenomena of clouds and rainstorms.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:29:41 -0400)

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"This great poem stands with Virgil's Aeneid as one of the vital and enduring achievements of Latin literature.... Based on the tenets of Epicurean philosophy, On the Nature of Things asserts that matter is composed of an infinite number of small particles; that even the soul, like the body, is made up of these atoms and dissolves painlessly after death; that there is no afterlife and therefore no cause for fear; and that the universe operates without the aid or attention of gods."--P. [4] of cover.… (more)

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Average: (3.68)
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2 15
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3 52
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2 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

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Indiana University Press

An edition of this book was published by Indiana University Press.

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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W.W. Norton

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