Selected Lives

Front Cover
Wordsworth Editions, 1998 - Fiction - 871 pages
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This translation first appeared in a privately printed edition in 1904 (the translator remains anonymous).

With an Introduction by Derek Matravers.

When it was first published in 1781, The Confessions scandalised Europe with its emotional honesty and frank treatment of the author's sexual and intellectual development. Since then, it has had a more profound impact on European thought. Rousseau left posterity a model of the reflective life - the solitary, uncompromising individual, the enemy of servitude and habit and the selfish egoist who dedicates his life to a particular ideal.

The Confessions recreates the world in which he progressed from incompetent engraver to grand success; his enthusiasm for experience, his love of nature, and his uncompromising character make him an ideal guide to eighteenth-century Europe, and he was the author of some of the most profound work ever written on the relation between the individual and the state.

 

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Contents

Life oj Theseus
3
Life of Romulus
39
Comparison of Theseus with Romulus
79
Life of Coriolanus
137
Comparison of Alcibiades with Coriolanus
179
Life ofMarius
235
Life ofNicias
293
Life of Crassus 333
377
Life offulius Caesar
467
Life of Demosthenes
533
Life of Cicero
563
Comparison of Cicero with Demosthenes
613

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About the author (1998)

PLUTARCH. c.46--c.125 Considered by many to be the most important Greek writer of the early Roman period, Plutarch was a member of a well-to-do Greek family, a chief magistrate, a priest at Delphi, and an exceptionally well-read individual. His philosophical views were based on those of Plato and, although a Greek, he esteemed the achievements and attributes of the Romans. By the time Plutarch's works were published for the first time in the eleventh century, some had already been lost. He wrote innumerable essays on philosophical, historical, political, religious, and literary subjects, 78 of which survive today and are known collectively as the "Moralia." He is known primarily, however, for his Parallel Lives of Greeks and Romans, which consists of 50 biographies---23 of prominent Greeks, 23 of Roman leaders, and 4 separate lives---accompanied at intervals by short comparative essays. Although historical information is included in the work, Plutarch wrote it originally to inspire emulation in youth, so the emphasis is on character, moral choice, and anecdote. Sir Thomas North's 1579 translation into English of Parallel Lives became an important source for William Shakespeare which he used for three plays, Julius Caesar, Antony and Cleopatra, and Coriolanus.

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