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Xanthippic Dialogues Hardcover – November 15, 1998

5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Scruton has created a witty work that operates on several levels: as a gentle satire on the long-lost-manuscript genre, a parody of certain Platonic dialogs, and a tool for teaching some fairly difficult concepts. The preface, which outlines the discovery of the "manuscript," sounds like the plot of one too many novels (as it is intended to), but the "dialogs" have very definite links with ideas present in the "real" dialogs they parody. Those familiar with the Symposium, the Laws, the Parmenides, and the Republic will find Scruton's versions delightful and reasonably faithful to the ideas of the originals. Two of the dialogs presented here are ostensibly written by Socrates' wife Xanthippe?not the shrewish, nagging Xanthippe of the original but rather a bright, articulate, and creative woman. Scruton's characters have a three-dimensional quality that makes his intelligently written satire of the "lost" dialogs work. Recommended for all libraries.?Terry C. Skeats, Bishop's Univ. Lib., Lennoxville, Quebec
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

"What is original is the working of it into a richly complex, compelling, fluent and natural-seeming fiction, in which each theme and topic seems spontaneously to arise out of its predecessor, and the whole to be woven together into a convincing vision, unified but not unitary, of the nature and ends of life. (If that sounds Wagnerian, it is because it is.) It is a celebration of the only meaningful freedom, a thing which we learn exclusively by immersion in a society which values it, and only by accepting and internalizing that society's constraints." -- Robert Grant, Philosophical Quarterly
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 283 pages
  • Publisher: St. Augustines Press; 1 edition (November 15, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1890318949
  • ISBN-13: 978-1890318949
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,141,505 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
It's a shame this work doesn't seem to be receiving much attention. Admittedly, one can't really reap all the satire of this excellent collection unless one is familiar with Plato, and, indeed, Greek culture in general. However, for the interest Grecophile, this is an amazing work of satire. Scruton presents several dialogues modeled on Platonic originals, and writes the work as if he were a scholar translating. There are forwards to the works and scholarship within footnotes on the 'translation' and 'historical context.' It's a really fun work (admittedly, I felt the Symposium dragged on a bit). I'm looking forward to the sequel.
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It's parody - I thought I'd say that up front so the reader doesn't spend as much time as I did flipping back and forth, squinting at the footnotes and references and wondering "Is this real..."? It isn't, but it's a beautiful, wise and often laugh-out-loud funny mimicry of Plato and Socrates, only the star is the much-maligned Xanthippe (shown here as a sensible and shrewd woman) and featuring a walk-on by a young, sharp and promising Aristotle. And no, you don't have to be steeped in the Greek philosophers to enjoy it.
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