Synopses & Reviews
A classic on power to stand alongside Machiavelli and Marcus Aurelius.
With aphorisms ranging from "find everyone's weak spot" to "quit whilst fortune is smiling, as all good gamblers do," this engrossing classic of the Spanish Golden Age offers pragmatic, hardheaded, and coldly- calculated advice on how to thrive in a cut-throat world. Its three hundred maxims were originally written in Spanish more than four hundred years ago and are as applicable to modern life as they are to the dynamics of Spanish Baroque society.
A unique collection of advice for lifeand perhaps the first 'self-help' book ever written
Written over 350 years ago, The Pocket Oracle and Art of Prudence is a subtle collection of 300 witty and thought-provoking aphorisms. From the art of being lucky to the healthy use of caution, these elegant maxims were created as a guide to life, with further suggestions given on cultivating good taste, knowing how to refuse, the foolishness of complaining and the wisdom of controlling one's passions. Baltasar Gracian intended these ingenious, pragmatic aphorisms to challenge the mind, and recognised that few would be capable of applying them.
In Jeremy Robbins's introduction to his penetrating new translation, he examines Gracian's place in Spanish literature and his previous works. Robbins also looks at the themes, contexts and contradictions of The Pocket Oracle, as well as the brevity and subtlety of Gracian's cool-headed aphorisms. This edition also contains a chronology, suggested further reading and notes.
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About the Author
(1601-1658) entered the Society of Jesus in 1619, was ordained in 1627, and took his final vows in 1635. A college teacher, confessor to the viceroy of Aragon, and sometime army chaplain, he became one of the great Spanish stylists and moralists of all time.
Jeremy Robbins is Forbes Professor of Hispanic Studies at the University of Edinburgh.