This definitive biography shows that Aristotle’s philosophy is best understood on the basis of a firm knowledge of his life and of the school he founded. First published in Italian, and now translated, updated, and expanded for English readers, this concise chronological narrative is the most authoritative account of Aristotle’s life and his Lyceum available in any language. Gathering, distilling, and analyzing all the evidence and previous scholarship, Carlo Natali, one of the world’s leading Aristotle scholars, provides a masterful synthesis that is accessible to students yet filled with evidence and original interpretations that specialists will find informative and provocative.
Cutting through the controversy and confusion that have surrounded Aristotle’s biography, Natali tells the story of Aristotle’s eventful life and sheds new light on his role in the foundation of the Lyceum. Natali offers the most detailed and persuasive argument yet for the view that the school, an important institution of higher learning and scientific research, was designed to foster a new intellectual way of life among Aristotle’s followers, helping them fulfill an aristocratic ideal of the best way to use the leisure they enjoyed. Drawing a wealth of connections between Aristotle’s life and thinking, Natali demonstrates how the two are mutually illuminating.
For this edition, ancient texts have been freshly translated on the basis of the most recent critical editions; indexes have been added, including a comprehensive index of sources and an index to previous scholarship; and scholarship that has appeared since the book’s original publication has been incorporated.
Awards and Recognition
- One of Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles Top 25 Academic Books for 2014
Carlo Natali is professor of the history of philosophy at the University of Venice. His books include The Wisdom of Aristotle and an Italian translation, with revised Greek text, of Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics. D. S. Hutchinson is professor of philosophy at the University of Toronto. He is the author of The Virtues of Aristotle and the associate editor of Plato: Complete Works.
"Gathering, distilling, and analyzing all the evidence and previous scholarship, Carlo Natali, one of the world's leading Aristotle scholars, provides a masterful synthesis that is accessible to students yet filled with evidence and original interpretations that specialists will find informative and provocative."—World Book Industry
"Natali assembles all of the relevant ancient sources for the life of Aristotle and offers judicious assessments of their reliability and significance. The result, when it comes to the life of Aristotle, is that Natali's work is now the standard biography. . . . This book both satisfies the highest standards of scholarship and is accessible to any intelligent readers. Every college and university library should have it."—Choice
"Having read this book, I now have a much better grasp of the issues involved in ancient biography as it applies to Aristotle and other Peripatetics, and of what we know and we do not know (and knowing what we do not know is a kind of knowledge."—Robert Mayhew, Institute for Research in Classical Philosophy and Science
"What was it like for Aristotle to be a foreigner in Athens? What did it take for him to found a school independent of his friends? What happened in his classroom? And what was it like to adopt philosophy as an aristocratic lifestyle? Carlo Natali's highly readable biography of Aristotle brings to life a very complex subject. Natali acknowledges the merits of Jaeger's great biography of the philosopher, but I would now recommend Natali's even more highly."—Richard Sorabji, Wolfson College, University of Oxford
"This is the best account of Aristotle's life in print. Carlo Natali has given us a critical biography at once truly authoritative and highly accessible—a rare achievement. At the same time, his lucid and compelling narrative offers a distinctive view of the raison d'être of Aristotle's school. There is nothing else of anything like the same stature in English that one could recommend either to students or scholars—and this book will appeal to both."—Malcolm Schofield, professor emeritus, University of Cambridge
"Very well conceived and finely executed, this is a first-rate book about Aristotle not just as a collection of texts but as a living, breathing historical figure working in a particular context. It is eye-opening, thoughtful, deft, eminently sensible, and accessible. By placing familiar things in surprising new contexts, Carlo Natali invariably manages to put new spins on old themes."—John P. Lynch, professor emeritus, University of California, Santa Cruz