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Hardship and Happiness

Translated by: Elaine Fantham, Harry M. Hine, James Ker, and Gareth D. Williams
Lucius Annaeus Seneca (4 BCE–65 CE) was a Roman Stoic philosopher, dramatist, statesman, and advisor to the emperor Nero, all during the Silver Age of Latin literature. The Complete Works of Lucius Annaeus Seneca is a fresh and compelling series of new English-language translations of his works in eight accessible volumes. Edited by Elizabeth Asmis, Shadi Bartsch, and Martha C. Nussbaum, this engaging collection helps restore Seneca—whose works have been highly praised by modern authors from Desiderius Erasmus to Ralph Waldo Emerson—to his rightful place among the classical writers most widely studied in the humanities.

Hardship and Happinesscollects a range of essays intended to instruct, from consolations—works that offer comfort to someone who has suffered a personal loss—to pieces on how to achieve happiness or tranquility in the face of a difficult world. Expertly translated, the essays will be read and used by undergraduate philosophy students and experienced scholars alike.

Author Information

Elaine Fanthamwas the Giger Professor of Latin at Princeton University from 1986 to 1999. She has written many books and commentaries on Latin literature, including Seneca’s Troades. Harry M. Hineis professor emeritus in the School of Classics at the University of St Andrews in Scotland and the translator of Seneca’s Natural Questions, also in the series. James Keris associate professor of classical studies at the University of Pennsylvania and the editor of A Seneca Reader: Selections from Prose and Tragedy. Gareth D. Williamsis the Violin Family Professor of Classics at Columbia University and the author of many books, including The Cosmic Viewpoint: A Study of Seneca’s “Natural Questions.”


“[The Complete Works of Lucius Annaeus Seneca] brings together many preeminent anglophone scholars of Seneca as editors and translators and succeeds in its aim to reach a wider audience through readable, modern English translations. . . . The overall high quality of the translations and notes make this volume (and its respective series) highly desirable for scholars and libraries alike.”
— Classical Journal

“A significant improvement over what has been available in English of the previous century. . . . The translations presented here admirably achieve the aim set out by the series’ editors: ‘to be faithful to the Latin while reading idiomatically in English.’ . . . Hardship and Happiness is a handsome volume, beautifully conceived and executed.”
— Review of Metaphysics

“We owe a debt of gratitude to Chicago for this one-volume selection of essays from long ago, which still have the power to stimulate our minds today.”
— Classics for All

Audience: Professional and scholarly;