Coming August 2021: A New Translation Of “Tusculan Disputations”

In August 2021, a new and original translation of the full text of Cicero’s Tusculan Disputations will be published by Fortress of the Mind Publications. Nearly two years in the making, this is the first complete translation of Tusculan Disputations to appear in English since the 1920s, and the only one that is fully annotated and illustrated. It is ideal for the student, general reader, and scholar who needs a clear, cogent, and modern edition of this timeless classic.

What is Tusculan Disputations about? Its five books contain discussions of the following questions:

  • Why we should not be afraid of death
  • How we can endure pain
  • How we can assuage mental distress
  • What are some other disorders of the mind
  • Why virtue is sufficient for leading a happy life

As I say in the book’s Foreword:

Although each of the five books of the Tusculans deals with a discrete topic, there is a common theme pulsing through the work, centered on the question of how to live a happy life.  What principles form the basis of the happy life?  How should we go about acquiring and implementing these principles?  The fact that Cicero was able to focus his mind on such profound human questions while mired in extreme personal grief says a great deal about his character and intellect.  The reader of the Tusculan Disputations is carried along not just by the nobility of the ideas, but by the striking grandeur and loftiness of the language.  It remains one of the greatest and most accessible works of Western philosophy; and, in raw honesty, depth of sentiment, and stylistic power, it would find no prose rival in Europe until the advent of Montaigne, Bacon, and Descartes.

Details about the book and its contents can be found in this podcast:

The translation includes the following:

  • A complete foreword and introduction, including summaries of the arguments in each book
  • Over 650 scholarly footnotes explaining names, places, literary references, and other textual points
  • Illustrations that add to the enjoyment and comprehension of the text
  • Clear formatting of the dialogues for smooth reading
  • A complete subject and name index for easy reference

Below are previews of some sample pages of the translation (all content copyright © Quintus Curtius 2021):

The cover of the new translation of “Tusculan Disputations”

As the release date approaches, more details will be provided here and on Twitter (@QuintusCurtius).