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De Rerum Natura: The Poem on Nature
Translated by C.H. Sisson
RRP: GBP 9.95
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Price: GBP 8.96
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ISBN: 978 1 857547 23 8
Categories: Ancient Greek and Roman
Published: August 2003
215 x 135 x 15 mm
Publisher: Carcanet Press
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...nothing can be created
From nothing, nor anything created return to nothing.
There must therefore be immortal elements
Into which all things in time can be dissolved
And from which all things can be renewed once again.
from Book I
The De Rerum Natura of Lucretius (99BC-55BC) is one of the great books of the world, a lucid explanation of physical phenomena that develops into a majestic vision of the ultimate nature of the universe.
Lucretius' observations of the particularities of the world remain vividly alive across the centuries. Through his eyes we see the growth of crops and the changing seasons, the behaviour of animals and the symptoms of disease. We follow his enquiring, scientific mind as he investigates the workings of mirror images, thunderstorms and magnetism, how we walk and what sleep is. The poem's power lies in the tension between this brief, sensuous, richness of life, and Lucretius' overarching belief in an empty universe of eternally recurring elements.
Cover illustration: Image of the sun from the Extreme Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope on the SOHO satellite. Courtesy of the SOHO-EIT Consortium. SOHO is a joint mission of international cooperation between ESA and NASA
Table of Contents
'C.H. Sisson's version of Lucretius's De Rerum Natura is well worth having. It should help to bring back into active presence not only the most Latin of major Latin poets, but a work in which the perennial question as to whether science and poetry, philosophy and poetry, can be united receives an unsurpassed affirmative answer.'
George Steiner Praise for C.H. Sisson `His poems move in service of the loved landscapes of England and France; they sing (and growl) in love of argument, in love of seeing through, in love of the firm descriptions of moral self-disgust; they move in love of the old lost life by which the new life is condemned.'
Donald Hall, New York Times Book Review 'I think he is worth a place on the short shelf reserved for the finest twentieth-century poets, with Eliot and Rilke and MacDiarmid.'
Robert Nye, the Scotsman
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