This audiobook contains the first 65 letters of Seneca's series of Stoic philosophic explorations, covering subjects as far reaching as fame, death, travel, and asthma. Heavily referenced and quoted by many, the full text is read for you, unabridged.
Public Domain (P)2012 One Tusk Industries LLC
I found out about Seneca from reading Tim Ferriss' books, and I am so glad I followed up and got this Audible presentation.
Seneca had a crazy boss: The Roman Emperor Nero. But Seneca was able, till the last, to administer the Roman Empire. Seneca's philosophy is born of life experience at the highest levels of human existence.
For anyone who is interested in a deeper understanding of life, life that is not made up, I highly recommend this book.
The book is set up as letters to a friend so you don't have to worry about a wall of inscrutable words, and you should know this text is Not inscrutable!
Yes. Seneca is always a delight to read, with or without exegesis, and there's much to be said for having his letters (or, at any rate, a third of them) finally available in unexpurgated audio format.
I feel no urge to answer this directly. Instead, I'll direct the reader to my "additional comments" below, as well as to popular on-line articles (plus published books) on Stoicism in general and Seneca in particular. However, for newcomers to Seneca, let me just say that his letters are fascinating, vibrant, and at least as accessible as (and frequently more entertaining than) any other extant Stoic writings. For specifics, their portrait of ancient Roman society and personalities is second only to Plutarch. Finally, this century-old translation by Richard Mott Gummere still holds up very well.
No; as of now, this seems to be the only audio performance of his available on Audible. While not (to my ears) a professional voice actor — and certainly not classically trained like my favorite narrators — Mr. Robinson reads in a lucid, conscientious manner with attention to correct pronunciation, and what's more cannot be too highly commended for his superbly executed contribution towards this hopefully first of many efforts to fill the presently embarrassing lacunae in primary Stoic sources available on Audible.
No, since at 8-plus hours it's far too long to absorb in one sitting (except, perhaps, on a long-distance drive); moreover, the content begs careful cogitation and conscientious reflection.
Yes. Audiobooks for the primary Stoic authors (vs. more general philosophical surveys) presently include at least four readings of the Meditations (Marcus Aurelius), a couple translations of the Handbook (Epictectus's Enchiridion) though none of The Discourses, and two secondary summaries (with excerpted quotations) for Seneca. Thus this audiobook compendium of Seneca's Letters (1-65) to Lucilius, in conjunction with its Whispersync Kindle companion text, fills an important void: the importance of John Robinson's contribution here simply can't be overstated. I urge/beg him to record the already published Kindle Moral Letters to Lucilius, Vol. 2 (Letters 66-92), and then for Robinson, Kindle and Audible to wrap up their groundbreaking project by publishing the remaining third (Letters 93-123) of Seneca's Moral Letters to Lucilius. But even as things now stand, Audible.com fans of ancient Greek and Roman philosophy, and anyone interested in Stoicism, could hardly do better than to start with Daryl Hale's "Stoics and Epicureans," and then proceed from that general introduction with the less intellectual, and more colorful, "Moral Letters to Lucilius, Vol. 1" reviewed here.
This is a life changing and rewarding read/listen.
It is like having a personal conversation and receiving amazing advice from a great philosopher.
I have heard George Washington was fond of some of Seneca's writings. For those deeper in the scholarship of the ancient philosophers, this might be a sort of shallow copy of various originals (to whom Seneca pays tribute). Apparently Seneca was not even close to destitute, though here at times he seems to wrap himself in sack-cloth and talk as if near-indigent. But he has a searchlight gaze at the sort of poverty we all face (in any walk of life): that of time, of being mortal, of suffering and aging, the ultimately unavoidable universals of this sort. And since I am the sort of fellow who (as the Puritans did) finds it suitable to put some time and reflection into these awful conundrums, I feel right at home in Seneca's head and writings. Maybe a younger or more modern person would think it tedious and whiny. I utterly do not. This old fellow was tough as nails, and smart. And he was willing to spend some time peering into the abyss. I'm alright with that.
The reader gives these words the weight they deserve. I will be listening to this book again.
Audible, please record volumes two and three!
It would have been better if I could download the file. I get an error about having the wrong profile. Even the help button doesn't get me any help. This is the first time I ordered an audio to go with a kindle book, it's also the last time.
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