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Plato: Complete Works
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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
Top customer reviews
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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.
This is the standard volume of Plato owned by my philosophy buddies. It's too large to carry around with me and read on the go, but that's to be expected from a volume containing Plato's complete works.
Many reviewers have mentioned the print being much too small. Measuring the letters on my copy, it looks like it's 9 pt font.
The translations are pretty readable and nice. But what I like most about this edition is how it's nicely the format is with how it chronologically places the dialogues in a order that best makes sense for someone new to Plato to get introduced to, and how it locates dialogues that make sense to read together, based on their continuation or relevancy to the setting or topic of the dialogue, next to each other. Such as the first 4 dialogues in this edition: "Euthyphro" -- which occurs before Socrates' hearing, "Apology" -- Socrates defense during his trial, Crito -- occurs after his sentence but before his execution, and Phaedo -- which occurs during his execution and death; the first 3 are pretty short and easy to get into if you're relatively new to philosophy, and Phaedo, which makes sense to read chronologically after them, is the start of getting into some of Plato's deeper beliefs that aren't him critiquing the popular topics of his day. Then, after those, the proceeding dialogues are Theaetetus-Sophist-Statesman-Parmenides, which are linked to the same setting, followed by Philebus (which is sort of similar in theme of what is knowledge to the previous 4). Then Symposium and Phaedrus -- both centered on love and beauty. Next comes the First and Second Alcibiades and Hipparchus, which loosely share the theme of vice and greed, which is followed by Rival Lovers and Theages, both based on what kind of education one should focus on attaining. Theages's placement, in my opinion, marks the official start of the discussion of virtue in this edition with the following dialogue, as it's proceeded by Charmides-Laches-Lysis; which are then followed by the Sophist-centered dialogues (Euthydemus-Protagoras-Gorgias-Meno-Greater Hippias-Lesser Hippias) that pretty much talk about the same subject but with Plato's rebuttal of the practices and beliefs of the prominent Sophists of his day. The next chronological dialogues after that and before the Republic are Ion, Menexenus, and Clitophon, all of which center the integrity of orators. Finally, you get to the notorious Republic, which is pretty long and includes various subjects and topics discussed in the previous mentioned dialogues; which is followed by Timaeus and Critias which are continuations in the same setting. Then you get Minos, a fitting introduction dialogue for the theme that is in "Laws", and finally "Laws" -- Plato's longest and perhaps last major work (that we have), that is a more pragmatic-contrasted version of the Republic. Then you have mostly spurious and minor work that has in the past been attributed to him, that, aside from his Letters, aren't that relevant to read if you're focused on his philosophical beliefs alone.
This is perhaps the best order to read his dialogues in if you really want to read all them continuously. The only fault I find in it, is the early location of Parmenides in this edition, which I believe, and is notorious for, being the most cryptically-complex and ambiguous dialogue of Plato's, that is best suited to hold-off, or to be re-read at the end.
There isn't much commentary or annotation in this edition, which I can't really complain about, as Hackett's main purpose of compiling these translations was probably more aligned as making this more of reference edition for scholars and students to have and flip through for studying particular dialogues, and not a thoroughly connected study textbook for those interested of reading ALL of Plato (which many of people, besides for academic philosophers, probably don't do). So to those who are reading this, who aren't that familiar with Plato and want to read the entirety of his complete works (or a significant amount of it) I highly advise you to first read or become familiar with Homer and Hesiod with their epics, read a little bit on some of the major Pre-socratics and their beliefs, some plays or overview of Greek drama, and some of Greek history (I highly recommend reading Herodotus and Thucydides' Histories), and get something like the Cambridge Companion to Plato as commentary to read afterwards.
Most recent customer reviews
I was amazed to find that except for the title and contents page, the printed pages had been reduced to a barely readable font.Read more