Thursday, December 03, 2015

Lucretius: The Nature of the Universe

G. B. Cobbold's The Nature of the
Universe is an accessible translation
 of Lucretius's De Rerum Natura.
Lucretius:The Nature of the Universe is now in stock! This prose translation of De Rerum Natura offers an accessible encounter with Lucretius, who is at pains to convince readers of one main point: that their fears of death and punishment in the afterlife cripple them in their daily lives, and these dark fears can only be conquered by the light of rationality he offers through the philosophy of his Greek predecessor, Epicurus. This work does not fit into any of our ideas of distinct disciplines of knowledge. Instead, it smashes boundaries: science and poetry, religion and philosophy all find their place here, as do the profound and the mundane: the many and varied properties of atoms; stories of gods, heroes, and monsters; vivid descriptions of rainspouts, sex, a mother cow lowing for her newly sacrificed calf, human evolution.

Reading Stephen Greenblatt’s The Swerve: How the World Became Modern with the ACL Book Club? Cobbold’s translation is an excellent way to encounter the work that influenced Galileo, Montaigne, Jefferson, Freud, Darwin, Yeats, Santayana, Einstein, and many others—including our late founder, Lou Bolchazy.

If you’re looking to experience Lucretius’s thought in the original Latin (which Cicero described as having “lights of genius”—lumina ingenii), check out Bonnie A. Catto’s Lucretius: Selections from De Rerum Natura, which features notes and vocabulary along with illustrative quotations from ancient as well as modern authors.