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The Republic Paperback – October 14, 2011
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Text: English, Greek (translation) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Attempting to understand the nature of justice, Plato gives his vision of a society led by an elite class of guardians who are trained from birth for the task of ruling. The rest of society is composed of soldiers and common people. In the republic, an ideal citizen is one who understands how they can use their abilities for the benefit of society. There is little thought of personal freedom or individual rights in Plato’s republic, since everything is tightly controlled by the guardians for the good of society as a whole. Whether Plato’s republic is an ideal, or even possible society, has been argued for more than twenty-four hundred years.
Whatever your opinion is, Plato's Republic is worth reading for his many varied opinions on a broad range of topics.
The top of the list for requirements with this kind of work is that all the identifying numbers and letters identifying where you are in the work are present, and searchable. This is huge. There are probably a dozen or so editions from a half dozen major translators, and the only way to find your way around is through these line numbers, which all good scholarly citations should include. I just did a quick look at the preview of Allan Bloom's edition, and these numbers are missing from the Kindle. If you want Bloom's translation, get it on paper (which does have the line numbering) and get this one for searching.
I will mention that this also has the virtue of not being the 19th century translation of Benjamin Jowett. You will not be mislead by Jowett, but there have been several newer translations which have improved on his work. This one by G. M. A. Grube may be one of the best, but even if it is not, there is always virtue in having more than one translation. My hand copy translation is by Paul Shorey, in the Loeb Classics edition, with the Greek. So I like having the alternative available.
Yes, it will be more challenging than reading the daily newspaper or the latest Twilight book. The major difference is that a newspaper keeps you informed and the Twilight series allows you to escape. The Republic will make you search inside of your own mind it will make you think and reflect, you will be a different person if you take the time to work through it. It should strike people as interesting that a book written so long ago can and does carry so much weight today. This is the beauty of the Republic.
I have noticed that some of the negative remarks of the book deal with the translation and not the actual book. I must declare ignorance as far as the worthiness of the translation. All I can say about the translation is that when we read this in school, this was the text that our professor told us we needed to have because of the translation. I found it to have a nice flow to it, but, having not read other versions and not being versed on Classic Greek, all I can say is that it worked for us in the class.
Do your self a favor and pick up this book. You will be challenged but never disappointed.
"The translator should conceive of himself as a medium between a master whose depths he has not plumbed and an audience of potential students of that master who may be much better endowed that is the translator. His greatest vice is to believe he has adequately grasped the teaching of his author. It is least of all his fuction to render the work palatable to those who do not wish, or are unable, to expend the effort requisite to the study of difficult texts."
Amen to that. Bloom does us the important service of providing an unadulterated translation of Plato's Republic. It might be awkward and dated in places, but it's far better to approach such a text in a form as close to its true essence as possible. Plato (and Socrates) would heartily agree.
In addition to the translation, Bloom also gives us an exhaustive "interpretive essay" that is keyed to the text. For example, if you don't understand section 369b of the text, just turn to the interpretive essay and read the paragraphs that deal with 369b-372e. Further, Bloom's extensive notes (marked with numbers in the text and collected in the back of the book--i.e. endnotes) provide even more information that is helpful to truly understand the text.