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The Republic of Plato: Second Edition Paperback – Unabridged, October 3, 1991

4.5 out of 5 stars 99 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Greek

About the Author

Allan Bloom is professor of social thought at the University of Chicago. The author of many books, including The Closing of the American Mind, he is also the translator of Rousseau’s Emile (Basic Books, 1979).
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books; 2 Sub edition (October 3, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0465069347
  • ISBN-13: 978-0465069347
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (99 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,130 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Plato's Republic is really beyond reviews, and it would be presumptuous do anything other than encourage potential readers to study it for themselves. As the overt political slants of some of the other reviews suggest, his ideas resonate in the modern world as much as they did in his own. Whether a reader approaches Republic with positive or negative prejudices, the actual text of the argument forces constant reevaluation and refinement of those preexisting opinions.
Allan Bloom has created a literal translation that is ideal for those who truly wish to engage with Plato. Most other translators have used non-literal methods that attempt to convey in a more contemporary form what Plato "meant" by his arguments. However, in this process the translator's own interpretation of Plato's argument inevitably influences the language in which he renders his translation. Bloom has attempted, with a great degree of success, to separate the processes of translation and interpretation. Rather than imposing his reading on the text itself, he express it in a thought-provoking interpretive essay that follows the text
This is probably not the easiest translation of Plato to read, because Bloom does not attempt to serve as a baby-sitter for his readers. However, the extra time spent in reading this version will be well rewarded by a deeper understanding of Plato's argument.
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Format: Paperback
i add my praise of bloom's *translation*, which avoids many of the historical pitfalls in rendering plato's language and concepts and, on the whole, is idiomatic, consistent and accurate. the few criticisms of the edition posted here seem to me to turn on bloom's educational background, which is a silly cavil, or on his translation, which as far as i can tell is objectionable only to readers lacking greek themselves.

i especially praise bloom's *edition*, which provides excellent endnotes to some of the disputed passages and, in particular, clarifies the meaning of key greek words (eidos, doxa, nomos, arete, politeia, etc.) and the translation difficulties the words create. i cite for example his gloss on greek "thymos" (passion) which bloom describes as "the seat of anger" (a common straussian misconception) but consistently translates as "spirit" or "spiritedness", which is about as accurate as english can render its complex meaning. the point is that without this kind of annotation the reader is hostage to the translator's whims. bloom discloses his choices at every turn, so that the reader is aware of the translator's challenge, can approve or evaluate his translation choices, and has the context for further exploration of plato's ideas if that seems fruitful. in this respect, the endnotes are at least as stimulating as the text.

the edition also includes a very useful index to proper names and a separate index to subjects (really, a synoptic index of concepts such as "virtue" or "justice"), which allows the reader to retrace page by page the steps in the argument that hinge on particular words (in the original greek) or specific philosophical ideas.
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Format: Paperback
Plato's 'Republic' is one of the most important works of ancient Greek philosophy, and one of the foundation pieces of political science and political philosophy of that and subsequent ages. It was one of the first pieces I read when undertaking a political science degree. This translation by Allan Bloom is perhaps the most recent 'Republic' I have read.

Plato was not only a great philosopher, but also a great writer. While few master the classical Greek language sufficient to undertake its study in the original language, the text appears in countless translated forms of varying degrees of integrity. This translation by Bloom is one of the best literal translations - it stays very closely to the original, explaining things that do not translate easily, but avoiding many interpretation issues that often show more of the philosophy and/or politics of the translator than of Plato.

The text is traditionally divided into ten sections, although some scholars see this as being a function of the papyrus and scrolls of original composition more than being integral to the structure of the text itself. One of the interesting features of the Republic is that it was not originally intended for scholars and philosophers primarily, but for the common (albeit educated) reader, and remains one of the more accessible texts of ancient Greek philosophy.

In typical fashion, this is done in a dialogue fashion, with the lead character Socrates (fashioned after Plato's teacher, the great philosopher Socrates, although the words Socrates utters in this and many other Platonic dialogues are undoubtedly Plato's own).
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Format: Paperback
The famous French philosopher, Rene Descartes, once said that the reading of good books "is like a conversation with the finest men of past centuries." I agree with Descartes; and there are probably few better groups of people to have an intelligent conversation with than Socrates and his friends.
Allan Bloom's translation is a breath of much needed fresh air. We have here a very literal translation of The Republic. Bloom doesn't try to spoon feed Plato to us, and I for one am very glad about that. In the introduction Bloom makes, in my opinion, a very powerful case for the literal translation of The Republic. When I first picked this translation up I wasn't sure that a strictly literal translation was really need, so I'm greatful for this introduction. Bloom tells us precisely why he thinks that it is a good idea to have a literal translation and he's darn convincing, I say.
Give this a shot. Lord knows you'll get more out of it than that dreadful Penguin translation. :)
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