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Gorgias (Penguin Classics) [Paperback]

by Plato, Chris Emlyn-Jones, Walter Hamilton
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Book Description

June 29, 2004 0140449043 978-0140449044 Revised

Taking the form of a dialogue among Socrates, Gorgias, Polus, and Callicles, the Gorgias debates crucial questions about the nature of government. While the aspiring politician Callicles propounds the view that might is right, and the rhetorician Gorgias argues that oratory and the power to persuade represent “the greatest good,” Socrates insists on the duty of politicians to consider the welfare of their citizens—a duty he believed had been dishonored in the Athens of his time. The dialogue offers fascinating insights into how classical Athens was governed and creates a theoretical framework that has been highly influential on subsequent political debate.

  • A revised edition of Walter Hamilton's distinguished translation, with new editorial material
  • Includes chronology, glossary, index, and suggestions for further reading

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Editorial Reviews


"The admired qualities of Dodds's works, a scholarship both exact and deep, an economy and lucidity in exposition (Dodds has few rivals in saying much in the fewest words with absolute clarity), and an immense level-headedness and sobriety which combined with the sharpest acumen and independence of judgment in the handling of evidence is never seduced by the charm of fantasy, all these once more characterize his edition of the Gorgias."--Philosophical Quarterly
"Professor Dodds's fine edition (which both overhauls the manuscript tradition and supplies a commentary as wide ranging as it is perspicacious) fills a gap untouched in this country since 1890....The Gorgias should have a special appeal to contemporary students, and to historians no less than philosophers." --Times Literary Supplement
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Language Notes

Text: English, Greek (translation) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Series: Penguin Classics
  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; Revised edition (June 29, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140449043
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140449044
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 5.1 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #682,061 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
39 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great introduction to Plato's philosophy July 18, 2002
This is one of my favorite Socratic dialogues. The evidence suggests that Plato wrote it soon after the execution of Socrates, and while I would not say there is a bitter edge to this Gorgias dialogue, I can definitely say that the exchanges do get a little lively at times. At one point, I could almost hear the voices of Socrates and Polus being raised as they argued. Another positive aspect of this dialogue is the fact that it is comparatively easy to understand. Socrates does not start spouting ideas about true Forms or using geometry to prove his points; the more esoteric, more advanced Platonic ideas are to be found in Plato's later writings. In many ways, this dialogue also serves as an introduction to Plato's masterpiece The Republic. Socrates' ideas on some things seem nascent at this point, and he actually contradicts some points he would later make, but the heart of Socratic thought lies within easy grasp in the pages of this dialogue.
The dialogue begins as a discussion about the true nature of oratory. The famed orator Gorgias is in town, and Socrates is most anxious to have a discussion with him. At first, Gorgias' younger friend Polus desires to speak for Gorgias, but he proves little match for Socrates. When Gorgias enters the discussion, Socrates treats him very well, as a respectable man with whom he disagrees, and Gorgias for his part is never flustered by Socrates' description of his art as a knack and as a form of pandering. Later, Callicles bravely jumps into the mix, and things really get interesting. Socrates seemingly admires Callicles' courage to state what he means without shame, yet he winds up getting Callicles to agree with his points in the end. What is it all about?
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best translation available September 16, 1998
By A Customer
I read these translations before they were published, and can attest that they are extremely accurate and readable. Unlike most translators, Nichols strives for the highest level of accuracy and consistency. Key Greek words are translated consistently throughout, allowing the reader to follow their usage throughout the diallogues and see how Plato subtly plays with their meaning. Also, the footnotes are both helpful and exhaustive.
Anyone who read and enjoyed Allan Bloom's famous translation of the Republic will also enjoy these -- they are written in the same spirit. Don't waste your money on any other translation of these dialogues.
Oh, and I might add, the dialogues themselves are masterpieces of philosophy, and of Western literature. The Gorgias may well be, after the Republic and the Laws, Plato's thrid most important work. Must reading for anyone concerned about the fate of justice and morality in these troubled times.
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13 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great translation October 11, 2002
Nichols' translation of Gorgias is indeed impressive. I have heard and read other translations of Gorgias- but the word choice of those other translation is too unadmirable(like "knack"-a word that is not fitted with Platonic dialogues). Nichols keeps consistent and easily understandable words. He doesn't go about saying "smart" words- unlike others who seem to try and exhaust their vocab. before they finish the work.
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3.0 out of 5 stars College Class February 3, 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Got this for a college class, had what I needed and it was an interesting read outside of class as well.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great book May 18, 2013
By Brianna
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I love the binding on this edition. I had to get it to read for school and it is a beautiful copy.
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