On the Nature of Things (Leonard translation)


Read by Daniel Vimont

(3.6 stars; 7 reviews)

On the Nature of Things, written in the first century BCE by Titus Lucretius Carus, is one of the principle expositions on Epicurean philosophy and science to have survived from antiquity. Far from being a dry treatise on the many topics it covers, the original Latin version (entitled De Rerum Natura) was written in the form of an extended poem in hexameter, with a beauty of style that was admired and emulated by his successors, including Ovid and Cicero. The version read here is an English verse translation written by William Ellery Leonard. Although Leonard penned his version in the early twentieth century, he chose to adhere to both the vocabulary and meter (alternating between pentameter and hexameter) of Elizabethan-era poetry.

While the six untitled books that comprise On the Nature of Things delve into a broad range of subjects, including the physical nature of the universe, the workings of the human mind and body, and the natural history of the Earth, Lucretius repeatedly asserts throughout the work that his chief purpose is to provide the reader with a means to escape the "darkness of the mind" imposed by superstition and ignorance. To this end he offers us his enlightening verses, that through them might be revealed to us "nature's aspect, and her laws". (Summary by Daniel Vimont) (10 hr 32 min)

Chapters

Book I, Part 1: Proem 10:27 Read by Daniel Vimont
Book I, Part 2: Substance is Eternal 13:35 Read by Daniel Vimont
Book I, Part 3: The Void 7:06 Read by Daniel Vimont
Book I, Part 4: Nothing Exists per se Except Atoms and the Void 5:03 Read by Daniel Vimont
Book I, Part 5: Character of the Atoms 10:21 Read by Daniel Vimont
Book I, Part 6: Confutation of Other Philosophers 18:54 Read by Daniel Vimont
Book I, Part 7: The Infinity of the Universe 14:31 Read by Daniel Vimont
Book II, Part 1: Proem 5:45 Read by Daniel Vimont
Book II, Part 2: Atomic Motions 22:40 Read by Daniel Vimont
Book II, Part 3: Atomic Forms and Their Combinations 31:47 Read by Daniel Vimont
Book II, Part 4: Absence of Secondary Qualities 20:40 Read by Daniel Vimont
Book II, Part 5: Infinite Worlds 17:18 Read by Daniel Vimont
Book III, Part 1: Proem 8:37 Read by Daniel Vimont
Book III, Part 2: Nature and Composition of the Mind 25:02 Read by Daniel Vimont
Book III, Part 3: The Soul is Mortal 34:29 Read by Daniel Vimont
Book III, Part 4: Folly of the Fear of Death 24:22 Read by Daniel Vimont
Book IV, Part 1: Proem 3:00 Read by Daniel Vimont
Book IV, Part 2: Existence and Character of the Images 16:11 Read by Daniel Vimont
Book IV, Part 3: The Senses and Mental Pictures 51:52 Read by Daniel Vimont
Book IV, Part 4: Some Vital Functions 20:07 Read by Daniel Vimont
Book IV, Part 5: The Passion of Love 21:37 Read by Daniel Vimont
Book V, Part 1: Proem 5:19 Read by Daniel Vimont
Book V, Part 2: Argument of the Book and New Proem Against a Teleological Conce… 16:16 Read by Daniel Vimont
Book V, Part 3: The World is Not Eternal 16:30 Read by Daniel Vimont
Book V, Part 4: Formation of the World and Astronomical Questions 31:47 Read by Daniel Vimont
Book V, Part 5: Origins of Vegetable and Animal Life 14:15 Read by Daniel Vimont
Book V, Part 6: Origins and Savage Period of Mankind 7:46 Read by Daniel Vimont
Book V, Part 7: Beginnings of Civilization 39:12 Read by Daniel Vimont
Book VI, Part 1: Proem 9:11 Read by Daniel Vimont
Book VI, Part 2: Great Meteorological Phenomena, Etc. 46:58 Read by Daniel Vimont
Book VI, Part 3: Extraordinary and Paradoxical Telluric Phenomena 46:06 Read by Daniel Vimont
Book VI, Part 4: The Plague Athens 15:32 Read by Daniel Vimont

Reviews

slow but steady


(4 stars)

As a slow reader on a time constraint, I found this audiobook very helpful when played at twice the original speed. (And since the reader wanted to enjoy the language and poetics, the language continued to flow nicely!) since I’m not paying for this service there is the mentality that “beggars can’t be choosers” but if he had read just a bit faster and used dramatic pauses sparingly, I dare say it would have been a gem in the free audio book industry (if there even is one!)


(2 stars)

The reader makes it impossible to enjoy. Their tone and inflection coupled with their need to be "breathless" is humorous at best and criminally immersion breaking at worst. A great work done wrong.

Fabulous Reading


(5 stars)

Intelligent and sensitive reading of this fantastic Ancient text.