Marius the Epicurean, His Sensations and Ideas. Walter Pater. Random House - Modern Library Edition (1945?).

  • Looking for a thought-provoking book that describes the heart and mind of an Epicurean making his way centuries ago? For me Marius is more like "lifetime" reading than "summer reading".

    This is a remarkable book in my opinion. It is about Marius' "career" during the years of Marcus Aurelius. Marius persists in deepening his understanding of himself and the philosophy he makes his own. Pater's reputation for beautiful, challenging writing is well-earned.

    You can learn more about Pater's work and Marius' life journey at wikipedia and elsewhere.

  • Thank you for the review, Condorcet! The book has been on my list for some time, but I have not read it. How deftly does Pater deal with the gnawing influence of Christianity? I see that the story has been criticized by Christians for it's lack of zeal: from Wikipedia;


    In an early review in Macmillan's Magazine the novelist Mary Ward praised "the great psychological interest" of the book, but identified as a weakness its tendency to depict Christianity from an aesthetic viewpoint, rather than presenting it as life's ultimate truth and reality.

    The book was written at a time that is particularly interesting to me.

    Incidentally, when I was in College someone had written on the wall at the bottom of a staircase that

    "To burn always with this hard gemlike flame, to maintain this ecstasy, is success in life."

    The quotation is Walter Pater's.