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Lettera sulla felicità

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  2,500 ratings  ·  159 reviews
Un pensiero per la vita, solo per la vita. Un filosofo veramente amico che da ventitré secoli non cessa di dirci che non può esistere autentica felicità senza il piacere. Un pensiero che, contrariamente a tanti altri, non ha mai fatto e non può fare male a nessuno, che invita ad amare se stessi e soprattutto a rispettarsi, azione primaria per non danneggiare i nostri simil ...more
Paperback, Millelire, 30 pages
Published February 28th 1992 by Stampa Alternativa
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Let me begin by asserting that the equation Epicureanism = Hedonism is absurdly false. I'll elaborate on this below.

Like the works of all of the philosophers who actually initiated and developed Stoicism (lately much on my mind), very little of Epicurus' (c. 342-270 BCE) prolific writings have come down to us. The editor of this volume, George K. Strodach, claims to have translated everything that remains which is not unintelligibly fragmentary. If true, we have only 3 letters (essays), a collec
Epicurean (n) Ἐπικούρειος

1. A disciple or student of the Greek philosopher Epicurus.
2. A person devoted to sensual enjoyment, especially that derived from fine food and drink. ✗ (See Cyrenaic )
"Thus when I say that pleasure is the goal of living I do not mean the pleasures of libertines or the pleasures inherent in positive enjoyment, as is supposed by certain persons who are ignorant of our doctrine or who are not in agreement with it or who interpret it perversel
Sep 07, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book was rather a disappointment. It contains about 280 pages, of which 15 pages are forewords, 80 pages are introduction (which is rather informative, to be honest) and 60 pages or so notes and bibliography. Usually I don't state things so precise - pedantic isn't my style - but a simple arithmetical operation (i.e. addition) leads to the conclusion that the real work spans 125 pages.

Next, this 'real work' is comprised of some fragments of Diogenes Laertius' description of Epicurus as a p
Jan 08, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I needed some help in figuring out what Lucretius or Epicurus was trying to convey in De Rerum Natura, so I started reading 'The Art of Happiness'. I was surprised to find out that some ideas that I believed to belong to Epicurus may have been misinterpreted. (Of course, I might be wrong in my interpretation of THIS book as well...) I started reading Lucretius after reading the Swerve by Greenblatt and now I'm trying to get a firmer grasp on it through the discussion in our group and this book o ...more
Linh Bui
A pretty good read, though the language is so hard to comprehend (I know this is philosophy). He has good view of life and the fact that he focuses on the 'now' moment rather than looking toward the future or grieving for the past. What matters is the present and we have to live to its fullest.

Another book I had to read but it was a good read!
Christopher Brennan
I think I could have done with a little more Epicurus in this and less pulling in from Lucretius and commentary but it was a quick distillation otherwise. The introduction does a great job of providing context, but as a result the translators cometary throughout felt repetitive rather than expanding.
Aug 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There is a lot of narrative and speculation by the author of the book, but I find Epicurus and Lucretius's observations about the good life to be profound and noble.
Seneca quotes Epicurus all the time in his Stoic Epistles.
"Wealth may procure for one the pleasures of eating and drinking, but it cannot provide freedom from Sorrow or cheerfulness of Spirit" Epicurus
Fábio Rachid
Mar 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very short book where Epicurus lays down his philosophy in a very simple and clear way to one of his students.

It is Epicurus' definition of happiness, which means a body without suffering and a mind without perturbation, and how to achieve it, by looking for pleasure (not purely in the material, sensorial way), which is what leads you to have a sane mind and body. So he differs from hedonism, since banquets, drinking and search for sex, which are a sensorial pleasure, should not be actively so
Michael Percy
Dec 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
I found this book quite perplexing. I expected a hedonistic discussion of the life of reading, conversation, and communal living. Instead, I was learning about atomic theory and the atomic "swerve" (a way to explain randomness in the universe and the subsequent collision of atoms), the logic of the sun, moon,stars, and weather, and the need to be ever-vigilant to ignore the popular gods and to rely on empirical evidence rather than determinism (fate) and mythology to comprehend the otherwise unk ...more
Apr 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a great little introduction to a fascinating branch of ancient philosophy. The book is a bit deceptive, as this is really just a reprint of a book from 1963 (The Philosophy of Epicurus : Letters, Doctrines, and Parallel Passages from Lucretius by George K. Strodach) with a little preface by Daniel Klein tacked onto it. I'm used to Dover Thrift Editions and Everyman's Library issuing disguised reprints of old translations, but it seems that Penguin is getting in the business too. This tit ...more
Daniel Bennett
Jan 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, how-to-live
Epicurus is oft-maligned for his hedonism, but the Art of Happiness reverses this view. Rather than modern philosophers who only view philosophy as a thought-process, ancient writers like Epicurus developed the whole person. The Art of Happiness contains excerpts from all of Epicurus' extant writings, from ethics to metaphysics and back. Epicurus was a thoughtful and deep writer, and the translation here is excellent. He cultivates a personal life of gratitude and self-control, and encourages th ...more
10 Stars, Favorite!
"Of all this the beginning and the greatest good is wisdom. Therefore wisdom is a more precious thing even than philosophy; from it spring all the other virtues, for it teaches that we cannot live pleasantly without living wisely, honorably, and justly; nor live wisely, honorably, and justly without living pleasantly. For the virtues have grown into one with a pleasant life, and a pleasant life is inseparable from them."

This was delightful and full of wise aphorisms. And I fel
Michael A
Mar 19, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I see I am the first review here.

The thing that bugs me about original philosophy texts -- well, this is a translation, but it has to do -- is that they are often too esoteric and abstruse to really understand. Epicurus is one of many who is not so easy to understand, though I guess it could be a lot worse (ever try reading Hegel?).

To illustrate this confusion, let me offer you some of the things I learned from reading this book. For starters, did you know that sensation results from the collisi
Oct 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An enlightening collection of writings by Epicurus, with some related passages from Lucretius’s ‘De Rerum Natura’., showing how Epicurus’s ideas are a classical antecedent to Existentialism and remain fresh after more than 2300 years. This edition’s excellent introduction and notes enhance the study of his still relevant approach to life. [Thanks, Cathy!]
Ivan Probst
Jul 31, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
By taking what Epicurus has written himself (or so we think), and Lucretius versions, the author manages to build a solid summary of Epicureanism. The book is directed to novices more than advanced persons, and offers a simple way to dig into this ideal of happiness, without much background in philosophy.

If all of it is true I don’t know, as philosophy is always open to personal interpretation. But I feel much of what is said is simply stated facts and a run through what makes the basics of Epic
Jason Williams
Apr 29, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is an excellent example of early Greek philosophy that attempts to explain the world through natural observations.

Without properly developed scientific methods and lacking any scientific instruments, the conclusions and explanations lean heavily on pseudoscience.

A saving grace is that Epicurus does not appear to be dogmatic and would likely change his viewpoint with sufficient evidence.

I would recommend this book to anybody who enjoys skepticism and all of its various forms.
Gaetano Venezia
"We are born once. We cannot be born a second time, and throughout eternity we shall of necessity no longer exist. You have no power over the morrow, and yet you put off your pleasure. Life is ruined by procrastination, and every one of us dies deep in his affairs."

"Nothing is sufficient for the person who finds sufficiency too little."
Mauricio Garcia
Feb 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Can't say I disagree with anything as presented by Epicurus. Succinct and practical advice on how to lead a life of contentment, that is as relevant today as ever.
...So how again is this supposed to have anything to do with hedonism???
Mr Siegal
Nice Wee Book

This is a nice wee book to get a little taste of Epicureanism. It appears to focus more on a way of doing things rather than obtaining truth or something similar. For half an hours read, I believe it is well worth the read.
Evan Micheals
I am liking the interpretations of modern scholars, rather than the originals... I will persist with my on going reading into Stoicism.
It is called "art of happiness" but it talks more about the metaphysics and outdated scientific understand of Epicureanism than the actual epicurean way of living. ...more
John Naylor
A book of two halves.

The first half involves the introduction and the philosophy of Epicurus. The introduction was informative about the life and times that he lived in. It was possibly a little too long as a description with a varying degree of detail amongst the various aspects.
The philosophy chapters were written by an author who absolutely loves run-on sentences. There were times when it was hard to follow due to this. It made parts of the text near enough incomprehensible.

The rest of the
Dan Graser
Dec 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Having recently completed Lucretius' "De Rerum Natura," which posits and poetically elucidates several components of Epicurean philosophy, I wanted to hear it right from the horse's mouth which this volume affords. Where Lucretius was writing in beautiful verse in the 1st century BCE, Epicurus was writing in very blunt and ascetic fashion towards the end of the 3rd century BCE.

Doing so is quite difficult, however, as the majority of Epicurus' writings have been lost. The bulk of information to b
Jan 09, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was written a loooong time ago and has been translated so expect some wordiness, but overall full of inspirational quotes about the truth of the universe and it's phenomena. Great if you need a quick reset on your ideologies or are curious about other beliefs. ...more
Mr Shahabi
Outdated and over-rated.
Michael Neal
Oct 01, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
The information itself is good, but as a read this book was not that enjoyable.
Elliott Bignell
Feb 15, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Epicurus seems to have been a prolific writer whose work has mainly been lost, but whose philosophy was preserved by the school which followed him. This work comprises three lengthy letters which have survived in his own hand, along with the later interpretations and interpolations of Lucretius and the introduction and commentary of the modern translator. It has less directly to do with happiness than one might imagine, and consists of a startling mixture of ideas advanced before their time, thu ...more
Maciej Sitko
Around 85% of the book is actually written either by George K. Strodach adorned by passages of Lucretius. Thus, to call it "by Epicurus" is a little bit of an unfair stretch.

The introduction itself is 70 pages long in which there is too much author's opinion and unrelated excerpt content. Sections and passages from introduction repeat themselves often later in the book. I have the irresistible word coming into mind. The word is "filler".

Epicurus' content is three letters, a short description of
Jul 07, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The introduction of the translator actually pulled me through the rest of the book (the letters of Epicurus himself as they are a bit hard to get into at first). The nature part provides a base layer for us people who are "afraid of the solar system and the gods" so that we can rest assured some things are explained - but not too much in detail. Epicurus simply aims to attain a peace of mind. The rest of physics and mathematics are completely useless to us, according to him. This principle remin ...more
Aug 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, philosophy
This book was really interesting and short at the same time.
Even though the quality of language is really high, this book was less complicated than I thought it would be.
So in the end I understood the message and the philisophy theory behind this. And that's what matters.
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Epicurus (Greek: Ἐπίκουρος, Epikouros, "upon youth"; Samos, 341 BCE – Athens, 270 BCE; 72 years) was an ancient Greek philosopher and the founder of the school of philosophy called Epicureanism. Only a few fragments and letters remain of Epicurus's 300 written works. Much of what is known about Epicurean philosophy derives from later followers and commentators.

For Epicurus, the purpose of philosop

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