The University of Wisconsin Press


De Rerum Natura
The Latin Text of Lucretius
Edited by William Ellery Leonard and Stanley Barney Smith

“A volume which no student of Lucretius, of the classics, of philosophic literature can afford to ignore.”
—Paul Friedländer, American Journal of Philology (1945)

Titus Lucretius Carus (ca. 99–55 B. C.) is known primarily as the Roman author of the long didactic poem De Rerum Natura (On the Nature of Things). In it, he set out to explicate the universe, embracing and refuting ideas of the great Greek philosophers.

Now available in paperback, this annotated scholarly edition of the Latin text of De Rerum Natura has long been hailed as one of the finest editions of this monumental work. It features an introduction to Lucretius’s life and work by William Ellery Leonard, an introduction to and commentary on the poem by Stanley Barney Smith, the complete Latin text with detailed annotations, and an index of ancient sources.

“For students approaching Lucretius this remains the only commentary in English on the entire work in one volume. Leonard’s passionate introduction is a signal milestone in the history of the poem’s reception, while the notes in Smith’s commentary are a helpful guide to interpretation.”
—Peter Knox, editor of Oxford Readings in Ovid

William Ellery Leonard (1876–1944) was a poet and professor of English at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, where he taught from 1906 until his death. Stanley Barney Smith (1895–1962) was a professor of classics at Bowdoin College, 1927–1946. He also taught at the Ohio State University and the University of Illinois during his distinguished career.

Media & bookseller inquiries regarding review copies, events, and interviews can be directed to the publicity department at or (608) 263-0734. (If you want to examine a book for possible course use, please see our Course Books page. If you want to examine a book for possible rights licensing, please see Rights & Permissions.)

Fall 2008
LC: 42-037522 PA
912 pp.   6 x 9   8 plates

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Paper $49.95 x
ISBN 978-0-299-00364-7
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The cloth edition ISBN 978-0-299-00362-3 is out of print.

“A tremendous amount of material which will undoubtedly prove of great value to the students of Lucretius.”
—Phillip de Lacy, Classical Philology (1943)


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