Looking for Theophrastus: Travels in Search of a Lost Philosopher
by Laura Beatty
***🏆 A Five Books Book of the Year ***
Looking for Theophrastus is a charming, meditative travel/philosophy book by Laura Beatty, a British writer of fiction and literary nonfiction. Theophrastus attended Plato’s academy and worked closely with Aristotle but has all but been forgotten. In this book, he comes to life across the millennia. “Once, when asked who his friends were, Theophrastus answered quickly, How would I know? I am rich.”
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“Theophrastus was slightly younger than Aristotle and came to Plato’s Academy when Plato was quite an old man. Then, when Plato died, he traveled with Aristotle, and was involved in Aristotle’s non-philosophical projects looking very closely at the nature of the world: the biological world, the geological world and so on. Theophrastus is probably best known for a book called The Characters. It’s not really famous amongst philosophers, although he was a philosopher. The Characters consist of descriptions of types of people in terms of their psychological patterns of behavior and so on, which seem very modern. But what Laura Beatty has done is take the bare bones of his life—because not all that much is known about him—and made a literal journey through the places where Theophrastus lived and tried to understand more about him.” Read more...
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