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Plato: Complete Works Hardcover – May 1, 1997

ISBN-13: 978-0872203495 ISBN-10: 0872203492
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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

One might be tempted to ask whether another collection of Plato's works is really necessary, given that they have been translated many times. But several factors set this particular volume apart, making it a worthy addition to most libraries. The translations are all relatively recent and thus reflect contemporary language use and terminology. The collection includes works such as the Minos, Epinomis, Demodocus, Eryxias, and Axiochus, which, though generally considered not to have been written by Plato, are "Socratic" in form or style. The text itself is clearly printed and laid out, with useful notes, and Cooper's introduction and notes about the translations are helpful in setting the dialogs in context. Finally, given what the purchaser receives, the price is reasonable. Recommended for all libraries.?Terry C. Skeats, Bishop's Univ. Lib., Lennoxville, Quebec
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.


This is clearly the definitive edition in English of the Platonic writings. It replaces completely the Hamilton-Cairns collection. . . . The notes are at just the right level, and the index is very helpful. The translations are both readable and accurate. They are always reliable, and in most cases the best available. It is the one volume of Plato every student of philosophy will want at her or his side. --Michael D. Rohr, Rutgers University

The most important publishing event in Platonic translation is the Complete Works edited by Cooper and Hutchinson. . . . Hackett has lavished great care in the production of this volume: fine India paper, elegant typography, sewn binding, and cloth boards. . . . It should be in every library and on the shelves of all lovers of Plato. --Steven J. Willett, Syllecta Classica

The edition is a vast improvement over the Princeton/Bollingen edition, the former standard. Congratulations on a fine work! --Christian K. Edemeyer, Columbia University


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 1838 pages
  • Publisher: Hackett Publishing Co. (May 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0872203492
  • ISBN-13: 978-0872203495
  • Product Dimensions: 2 x 6.5 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (98 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,162 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

303 of 310 people found the following review helpful By Mr. S. Koller on June 29, 2007
Format: Hardcover
If you are at all inclined to get all of Plato in one volume then you are well advised to get this volume, for lack of viable alternatives.

The translations are a mixed bag. Cooper had little choice except to take over Grube's translations which inaugurated Hackett editions of Plato. While Grube delivers idiomatic English, he's inaccurate on so many key points that he will simply lead you into dead corners. (Instructurs should seriously avoid him in classroom use. There are worthwhile Penguin volumes of "Euthyphro" and "Republic".)

That said, there are real gems in this collection: Burnyeat's "Theaetetus", Frede's "Philebus", Gill's "Parmenides", Zeyl's "Timaeus", Reeve's "Cratylus", Rowe's "Stateman". But if you are a real fan of (any of) those, you should seriously consider getting the individual volumes (also by Hackett) with their substantial introductions (all of them highly recommended) woefully if understandably omitted from this volume. (Why can't there by a Norton Plato? 3000 pages with all of the individual Hackett's... I know, the market.)

Apart from this alternative (or complementation), you should also consider getting or borrowing items of the Clarendon Plato series: Gallop's "Phaedo", McDowell's "Theaetetus", Irwin's "Gorgias", and Taylor's "Protagoras" - philosophical commentaries and translations which have no superior (not so happy on Gallop, but you'll have to avoid Grube's "Phaedo" anyway).

A final comment. If you are new to Plato, Cooper's volume can be a pleasure to start with. Begin with the first "Alcibiades" and the "Symposium" (both beautifully translated here) and then read Cooper's wonderful introduction to the volume. I very much doubt you'll ever live life without Plato afterwards.
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89 of 96 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 30, 1998
Format: Hardcover
This is the best translation of Plato in English. First and foremost, it is the first and only COMPLETE English translation of Plato's works in the 20th century. All other anthologies have left out some works. Second, the individual translations are of high quality (some of the translations in other anthologies are a bit creaky). Third, the introduction and notes are extremely useful. This book is a godsend to me, since I teach courses on Plato and now no longer have to rely on previous, seriously flawed anthologies. This translation of Plato will be the definitive one for some time to come. It supersedes all other editions.
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45 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Benjamin Myers on May 29, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I got this book because I haven't read Plato in a while and I wanted a convenient volume that I could keep by the bedside. It would be good for me, I decided, to read a dialogue each night before bed. Who knows, maybe I would even dream of Socrates. When I am not reading it, the 1800-page volume can also serve as a sturdy little bedside table, a handsome place to put your tea and biscuits. (If you don't mind setting your cup of tea on the cornerstone of western civilisation.)

It has been a delight to rediscover the dialogues in these elegant contemporary translations, and a surprise to discover so many additional works that I had never seen before. The publisher's workmanship is beautiful too, with quality paper, good cloth binding, and attractive typesetting with generous margins. I like to have room on the page to scribble my own impertinent replies to Socrates, and to ask him questions that he always affably refuses to answer.

Yesterday I had left the book open in the middle of Alcibiades. When I came back into the room one of my children was reading it. "What's this?" she said. "A novel, or a collection of stories?"

"It's philosophy," I said.

"Philosophy!" She was stunned. "I never knew philosophy was so funny."

It is a testament to the quality of these translations that a child could mistake Plato for a novelist; that she could read him without having the faintest idea that it was Serious Business; and that her first response to Plato's Socrates was laughter.
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78 of 85 people found the following review helpful By Johannes Platonicus on February 23, 2001
Format: Hardcover
John M. Cooper's "Comlete Works of Plato" is the best single volume anthology of Plato around. Shrouded within the eighteen hundred pages of this book lie many treasures of abundant proportions.
This edition for the first time exposes these new translations: Cratylus, Alcibiades, Second Alcibiades, Hipparchus, Rival Lovers, Theages, Lesser Hippias, Menexemus, Clitiphon, Timaeus, Critias, Minos, Epinomis, Definitions, On Justice, On Virtue, Demodocus, Sisyphus, Halcyon, and Eryxias.
Also the introduction makes accessible techniques while reading Plato to give a more profound sense of the dialouges in order to distinguish Plato's ideas as a whole. Another point of interest is the section on definitions, which is a dictionary of 185 important philosophical terms that developed throughout the Socratic era. I am very happy to have purchased this volume and I hope you find the same joy in buying it for yourself.
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48 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on February 1, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I am not a classical scholar, just a person that is interested in people and trying to learn about the world around me. I read the Histories, the Pelopponesian Wars and I believe I am getting some idea of the world of the time. I knew I could not really understand the influence the Greeks had on subsequent civilizations without digging into Plato.
So, I looked around and found this book, which is more that 1,000 pages. It has different translators and he says that he is trying to make Plato as alive for the 21st Century as he has been for the last 24 centuries. That sounded promising. I took it home and wondered if I should read it like a novel or just hit the high points. I had no idea what was what.
Fortunately, the introduction to this book proved to be a wonderful road map to the volume, with insight on how to read it. I have found that following the guidence the book is actually fun. As an adult, I have heard so many of the issues reaised throughout my life, it is pretty cool to have them reduced to their essence.
We all know that everyone should read Plato and he is the most important philosopher and all that, but there's a lot of stuff I "should" read that is too tedious. This book turned out to be compelling and once I got started something I wanted to read and not just something I was reading because I "should".
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