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Meditations: A New Translation Paperback – 15 May 2003

4.7 out of 5 stars 6,391 ratings
Edition: 1st

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"Here, for our age, is [Marcus's] great work presented in its entirety, strongly introduced and freshly, elegantly translated." --Robert Fagles

From the Back Cover

A series of spiritual exercises filled with wisdom, practical guidance, and profound understanding of human behavior, Marcus Aurelius's "Meditations remains one of the greatest works of spiritual and ethical reflection ever written. Marcus's insights and advice--on everything from living in the world to coping with adversity and interacting with others--have made the "Meditations required reading for statesmen and philosophers alike, while generations of ordinary readers have responded to the straightforward intimacy of his style.
In Gregory Hays's new translation--the first in a generation--Marcus's thoughts speak with a new immediacy: never before have they been so directly and powerfully presented.

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Product details

  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ 0812968255
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ RANDOM HOUSE GROUP; 1st edition (15 May 2003)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 256 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 9780812968255
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0812968255
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 13.03 x 1.35 x 20.32 cm
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.7 out of 5 stars 6,391 ratings

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Marcus Aurelius Antoninus was born to an upper-class Roman family in A.D. 121 and was later adopted by the future emperor Antoninus Pius, whom he succeeded in 161. His reign was marked by a successful campaign against Parthia, but was overshadowed in later years by plague, an abortive revolt in the eastern provinces, and the deaths of friends and family, including his co-emperor Lucius Verus. A student of philosophy from his earliest youth, he was especially influenced by the first-century Stoic thinker Epictetus. His later reputation rests on his Meditations, written during his later years and never meant for formal publication. He died in 180, while campaigning against the barbarian tribes on Rome’s northern frontier.

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Abhishek Debnath
5.0 out of 5 stars About Various Translations of "Meditations"
Reviewed in India on 5 June 2019
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5.0 out of 5 stars About Various Translations of "Meditations"
Reviewed in India on 5 June 2019
"What am I doing with my soul?"

This collection of sublime thoughts compiled as a book (originally titled as "Eis Heauton", meaning: "To Himself"; original language was Greek) has never gone out of print since circa AD 161. The writer, Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, was a Roman emperor and the most renowned stoic philosopher of antiquity. My review though is not about the book itself but about the various available translations of the book.

There are three noted translations which are most readily available in market:
1. A. S. L. Farquharson's Everyman's Library hardcover edition.
2. Martin Hammond's Penguin Classics edition.
3. Gregory Hays' Modern Library edition.

The first one is the most revered edition published in 1944. Though the physical appearance of this edition is the most eye-catching with an elegantly produced hardcover binding and handsome printing, the translation seems dated and old-fashioned. If you want to exhibit your book collection in front of people, you may buy this edition. Though for reading pleasure and better understanding of the philosophy, I'll not recommend it.

The second edition by Penguin (2006) is better than the Farquharson's as far as readability is concerned, but avoid this one too. This translation is more inclined to the exactness of the original text than the readability or understandability of the writing. As it seems, this is the bestselling edition of "Meditations" as far as the Amazon's Indian website is concerned. Thanks to the Penguin Classics tag attached to it, perhaps. No matter what, this is NOT the best edition in comparison.

The last edition which is by Hays (2002), in my opinion (and as per the general consensus as well), is the best edition available. This is the most comprehensible translation of "Meditations" for the modern readers. The language is fluid and contemporary. If you want to study the thoughts of Aurelius more profoundly then get this Gregory Hays edition, paperback published by Modern Library (snapshots attached).
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224 people found this helpful
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5.0 out of 5 stars Beware multiple versions
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 19 July 2020
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vivek mishra
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best eye-opening book I ever read but not for those who are unfamiliar of stoicism.
Reviewed in India on 4 October 2020
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best eye-opening book I ever read but not for those who are unfamiliar of stoicism.
Reviewed in India on 4 October 2020
There are many translations available of meditation book, I would like to suggest everyone to buy the book Published by modern library edition which is written by Gregory hay, it has a great introduction and translation. Now coming to book, it's actually not a book but a personal diary of Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius who used to follow stoic philosophy. Paper quality is avg and can be improved but you can't expect much in 300-400rs. To understand his views and ideas you should have basic idea of stoicism and for that i would suggest you to buy guide to good life by Irvine which gives overall view of stoicism and how to implement those ideas in your life. Also if you really like the idea of stoicism and want to read more i would suggest to read seneca letters and Epictetus discourse. I consider myself very lucky that i got introduced to stoicism and it really changed my whole perspective, it's just like gita where you can find timeless wisdom, and I'm going to use it's quote in daily life here are few which i liked most:
1)You have power over your mind - not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.
2)Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.
3)If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.
4)When you arise in the morning think of what a privilege it is to be alive, to think, to enjoy, to love ...
5)Never let the future disturb you. You will meet it, if you have to, with the same weapons of reason which today arm you against the present.

Thank you for reading my review, I hope it gave you overview of the book and if you know any more great books then please suggest more books on stoic philosophy.
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Ben Millane
2.0 out of 5 stars Great content, bad translation
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 18 November 2019
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Florian Dublin
5.0 out of 5 stars Profound. Challenging. Life Changing.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 10 November 2021
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