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Fragments (Penguin Classics) (English and…

Fragments (Penguin Classics) (English and Greek Edition) (edition 2003)

by Heraclitus, Brooks Haxton (Translator), James Hillman (Foreword)

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5951126,707 (3.91)7
The Phoenix Pre-Socratic series is designed for modern students of the Pre-Socratic philosophers. This volume provides the Greek text of Heraclitus with a new, facing page translation together with a commentary outlining the main problems of interpretation and the philosophical issues raised by Heraclitus' work. The volume also contains an English translation of substantial material from the ancient testimonia concerning Heraclitus' life and teaching, and offers selective bibliographic guidance. While much of the commentary follows lines of interpretation that have won general acceptance, it differs from many in its claim that the logos of which Heraclitus speaks in fragments 1, 2 and 50 means, essentially, 'statement.' This statement, uttered in words by Heraclitus, reflects that statement everlastingly uttered by the cosmos itself, which descriptively tells of how things are and prescriptively lays don patterns of cosmic activity that serve as the basis for human laws (fragment 114).… (more)
Title:Fragments (Penguin Classics) (English and Greek Edition)
Other authors:Brooks Haxton (Translator), James Hillman (Foreword)
Info:Penguin Classics (2003), Edition: Bilingual, Paperback, 128 pages

Work details

Fragments by Heraclitus



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» See also 7 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
I was thinking about the quotation “The only constant is change,” and how much it reflects our modern world. I wondered who said it first and was shocked to learn it was a philosopher from Ancient Greece, one I was unfamiliar with. Heraclitus. He lived around 500 B.C.E. so his ideas feeling so current is indicative of the quality of his ideas. I decided to read what else he had to say, which is not a lot because only Fragments remain.

A lot of us have probably also heard that we only step in the same river twice as well. That’s another one from Heraclitus as is the idea that life is flux, life is change. What remains are short refrains, full of impatience with ignorance and human weakness. He probably was not a fun guy at parties. But he had a lot to say about how we perceive the world.

If everything
were turned to smoke,
the nose would
be the seat of judgment.

I chose this because it is not famous, but it is true. We perceive the obvious. How do we discern more? Through wisdom and judgment. His ideas are a good antidote to disinformation, such as his suggestion “Let us not make rash guesses our most lucid thoughts.”

I don’t know Greek, let alone ancient Greek, so have no capacity for judging the translation by Brooks Haxton. I like how he presents it in poetic refrains, unlike another translation I looked at. The Greek is on the facing page, so scholars can check his work.

Fragments is short and sweet. You can read all of his work in thirty minutes and then you can reflect on it for a lifetime.

Fragments at Penguin Random House
Heraclitus at Ancient.eu

https://tonstantweaderreviews.wordpress.com/2019/05/06/9781440679285/ ( )
  Tonstant.Weader | May 6, 2019 |
The introduction to this work is inevitably longer than the fragments themselves. What survives is a mish-mash of various interpretations and I daresay unreliable sources. What strikes me about the pre-Socratics, and Heraclitus specifically, is the melding of religion and reason in a way that the West would not mention when the modern cultural monolith seeks its origins in a part of the world where it is fine to claim mythic philosophical ancestry, yet it is despised when one's pedigree is pure. On the first page of the fragments, Heraclitus mentions the trouble with those who will not learn: "III. - ...Those who hear and do not understand are like the deaf. Of them the proverb says: "Present, they are absent,"

IV. — Eyes and ears are bad witnesses to men having rude souls.

V. — The majority of people have no understanding of the things with which they daily meet, nor, when instructed, do they have any right knowledge of them, although to themselves they seem to have.

VI. — They understand neither how to hear nor how to speak.

This is not entirely a Western idea, for indeed, Confucius said, “When you see that [students] do something wrong, give them sincere and friendly advice, which may guide them to the right way; if they refuse to accept your advice, then give it up”.
Reading Heraclitus leads me to Pythagoras as my next venture into pre-Socratic philosophy, and also to Hesiod's Theogony. It would seem that there is much to learn from this period of history, and how it echoes down through the ages. ( )
  madepercy | Nov 7, 2017 |
Sort of the Ur-book of Greek philosphy. But more than that. Maybe less. It's all the same, right? ( )
  rnsulentic | May 6, 2017 |


The living, though they yearn
for consummation of their fate,
need rest, and in their turn leave
children to fulfill their doom.


Even a soul submerged in sleep
is hard at work, and helps
make something of the world.


The waking have one world
in common. Sleepers
meanwhile turn aside, each
into a darkness of his own.


Yearning hurts,
and what release
may come of it
feels much like death.


What use are these people's wits
who let themselves be led
by speechmakers, in crowds,
without considering
how many fools and thieves
they are among, and how few
choose the good?
The best choose progress
toward one thing, a name
forever honored by the gods,
while others eat their way
toward sleep like nameless oxen.
( )
  S.D. | Apr 5, 2014 |
A very loose, non-literal translation (Brooks Haxton in the Penguin paperback), but interesting because it's got the Greek text on the left-hand facing pages to the English translation. A volume that could entice someone to learn ancient Greek. ( )
  CurrerBell | Dec 4, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (33 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Heraclitusprimary authorall editionscalculated
Hillman, JamesForewordsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Carbone, SalvatoreIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Haxton, BrooksTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Parinetto, LucianoEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Robinson, T. M.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Robinson, T.M.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The Word proves those first hearing it as numb to understanding as the ones who have not heard.
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Haiku summary
The only basis
    Of "Real":  Change.  Parmenides,
    Pythagoras:  wrong!

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