'On Anger' is one of Seneca's most important essays. At some length he investigates the nature of anger: how and why it emerges, the effect it has on the individual and those to whom it is directed, and how to manage it and prevent it even from arising. For, Seneca considers, anger simply serves no purpose - it does not bring courage in war, prevent others misbehaving or punish miscreants. In short it has a negative effect on all.
In 'On Leisure' he takes a short look at what is really meant by the term. 'On Clemency' has a special fascination, for in writing it he was addressing specifically his former pupil, Emperor Nero. Did he realise that the boy he knew - full of promise and beneficence - was to become a tyrant?
While delivering his Stoic advice in his characteristically controlled and reasonable manner, Seneca gives us a remarkably contemporary insight into Roman attitudes and manners. Anger may be inappropriate, but this was a society where slaves, torture, crucifixion, and the right of the powerful to exercise their power at will was taken for granted, as some of Seneca's shocking tales and anecdotes demonstrate!
What listeners say about On Anger, on Leisure, on Clemency
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- Ron Peters
Stewart's narrations are very good
For this collection, specifically, it is nice to have On Anger, but On Clemency is an embarrassment for Seneca, and should have been replaced by something else (it's just a piece in which he sucks up to Nero and completely negates his own Stoic teachings in the process). In general it's a bad thing that audible.com books are always simply divided into Chapter 1, Chapter 2, etc. I have to spend large amounts of time bookmarking and annotating my purchases so I can find things in the way you are supposed to be able to, e.g., On Anger, Book 3. Lastly, listeners should be able to share these bookmark and annotation collections with one another, so we don't all have to re-invent the wheel individually.
13 people found this helpful
- Marc Eon
Great but not your first read for Seneca
Classic Seneca. But would not put this at the top of your wish list to Seneclaus. Which I guess is why it is volume 2.
My only issue: He spends a lot of time giving examples of why anger is bad. The examples are usually angry emperors murdering people. It's hard to relate, for me at least.
3 people found this helpful