The third and fourth books of Cicero's
Tusculan Disputations deal with the nature and management of human emotion: first grief, then the emotions in general. In lively and accessible style, Cicero presents the insights of Greek philosophers on the subject, reporting the views of Epicureans and Peripatetics and giving a detailed account of the Stoic position, which he himself favors for its close reasoning and moral earnestness. Both the specialist and the general reader will be fascinated by the Stoics' analysis of the causes of grief, their classification of emotions by genus and species, their lists of oddly named character flaws, and by the philosophical debate that develops over the utility of anger in politics and war.
Margaret Graver's elegant and idiomatic translation makes Cicero's work accessible not just to classicists but to anyone interested in ancient philosophy and psychotherapy or in the philosophy of emotion. The accompanying commentary explains the philosophical concepts discussed in the text and supplies many helpful parallels from Greek sources.
Margaret Graver is an assistant professor of classics at Dartmouth College.
"The translation is elegant and fluent, and the varying levels of information in the notes are useful for a range of readers."
— M.R. Wright, Classical Bulletin
“Cicero was a man of wide culture, and he had studied in Greece with good masters, although he knew he was not, by Greek standards, an original philosopher. He is concerned in these books to find a way of dealing with emotion, and with the fact that life is so damagingly exposed to chance and suffering. Ought one really to aim at the passionless existence which the Stoics regarded as best? Were the emotions always bad? . . . . Professor Margaret Graver picks out and handles the third and fourth of Cicero’s four themes. Her idiomatic and readable translation is followed by a full and sympathetic commentary. The book gives an admirable introduction to the philosophical thought of Cicero, and also a whole period of Greek philosophy, including the work of the early Stoics.”--Jasper Griffin, New York Review of Books
— Jasper Griffin, New York Review of Books
“Graver’s thoughtful and well-produced book provides an excellent introduction to Cicero’s summary of ancient thought on the emotions . . . and, as such, will prove useful to teachers of ancient philosophy as well as to colleagues in religious studies interested in pre-Christian moral psychology.”
— Hans-Friedrich Mueller, Religious Studies Review
“Graver has provided a starting point for serious work on the
Tusculans by assembling all the pertinent references, and providing a basic philosophical commentary. . . . One is grateful to have a lively modern translation . . . and a thoughtful general sourcebook of the Tusculans, from which novices and experts alike will take something of use.”
— John A. Stevens, Ancient Philosophy
“Graver has taken great pains, and it shows. The translation is never less than elegant and rises to real eloquence, especially in rendering the abundant quotations from Homer and tragedy.”
— Andrew R. Dyck, Classical World
“The translation is both accurate and highly readable. . . . I cannot find a single consequential choice that, after careful reflection, I would fault Graber for making. But the truly fine achievement of the book is the commentary. . . . I conclude, then, by stressing the exceptional excellence of this work, which presents Cicero’s text and the profound issues it raises in a way that can speak not only to readers familiar with Hellenistic philosophy and ancient psychology but also to students. . . . Buy it, read it, put it in your students’ hands.”--Bob Kaster,
Bryn Mawr Classical Review
— Bob Kaster, Bryn Mawr Classical Review
“This volume is generally of very high quality, and ought to be lauded as a valuable contribution to philosophical psychology and classical studies.”
— Sarah Byers, International Journal of Classical Tradition
“A superb new translation . . . with an excellent commentary.”<\#209>Jonathan Bate,
Times Literary Supplement