The Republic of Plato

The Republic of Plato

The Republic of Plato

The Republic of Plato

Synopsis

The first translation of Plato's Republic that attempts to be strictly literal, this volume has been long regarded as the closest and best English translation available. This second edition includes a new introduction by Allan Bloom and a valuable new essay, as well as indexes and a glossary of terms to better enable the reader to approach the heart of Plato's intention.

Excerpt

When I teach the Republic now, the reactions to it are more urgent and more intense than they were a quarter-century ago when I was working on this translation and this interpretation. The Republic is, of course, a permanent book, one of the small number of books that engage the interest and sympathy of thoughtful persons wherever books are esteemed and read in freedom. No other philosophic book so powerfully expresses the human longing for justice while satisfying the intellect's demands for clarity. The problems of justice as presented by Plato arouse more interest, excitement, and disagreement at some points than at others. When non- philosophers begin their acquaintance with philosophers, they frequently say, "This is nonsense." But sometimes they say, "This is outrageous nonsense," and at such moments their passions really become involved with the philosophers, frequently culminating in hatred or in love. Right now Plato is both attractive and repulsive to the young.

This is most obvious when they reach the section of the, Republic where Socrates legislates about music. Between the late 1940s and the mid-1960s there was a lull in music's power over the soul, between the declining magnetism of high romanticism and the surge of rock, and music was not much of a practical or theoretical problem for students. They took note of the fact that Socrates is for censorship -- a no-no, of course -- and went on, not taking much account of what in particular is being censored. If forced to think about it, they tended to be surprised that music above all . . .

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