Tom Payne

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The Ancient Art of Growing Old

book | Non-Fiction | 2015
UK & Comm → Vintage (Ed. Frances Macmillan)

Bette Davis said ‘Old age ain’t no place for sissies’. If that’s true, we could all use a little help as we approach our twilight years.

Translator Tom Payne turns to Cicero, Ovid, Seneca, Hippocrates, Plato, Aristotle, and Aristophanes to learn what the wisest minds of antiquity could tell us about the pleasures and pains of old age. His discoveries are not always palatable (old age is an incurable disease) or inspiring (you’ll live longer if you don’t go to dinner parties), but in the surviving works of the classical world there is also comforting, invigorating and poignant counsel on mental decline, medicine, late love affairs, death and legacy.

Presented in a modern, accessible and playful tone, this lively tour around ancient attitudes to ageing, supplemented by a translation of Cicero’s On Old Age, reveals the true art of growing old gracefully.


Melissa Pimentel manages the translation rights for The Ancient Art of Growing Old


hugely entertaining [...] Consistently intelligent and witty, Payne is a brilliant expositor of ideas [...] Payne's familiarity with and affection for his classical sources are among the many joys of these pages.

Sara Wheeler
The Observer

Witty and readable

Antonia Charlesworth
The Big Issue in the North

Karolina Sutton
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Kristine Dahl
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Translation Rights
Sarah Harvey

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