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The Republic Of Plato: Second Edition [Paperback]

Allan Bloom
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Oct. 3 1991
Long regarded as the most accurate rendering of Plato's Republic that has yet been published, this widely acclaimed work is the first strictly literal translation of a timeless classic. This second edition includes a new introduction by Professor Bloom, whose careful translation and interpretation of The Republic was first published in 1968. In addition to the corrected text itself there is also a rich and valuable essay-as well as indexes-which will better enable the reader to approach the heart of Plato's intention.

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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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First Sentence
Socrates: I went down to the Piraeus yesterday with Glaucon, son of Ariston, to pray to the goddess; and, at the same time, I wanted to observe how they would put on the festival, since they were now holding it for the first time. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A literal Republic Feb. 21 2006
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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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent translation of an aging classic Aug. 27 2006
Why get *this* Republic rather than some other translation? Because Allan Bloom is wonderfully attentive to the fact that the ancient greek civilization is a totally alien society whose common ground with modern western civilization is reason, rather than details of culture.

For example, Bloom starts his translation with a mini rant about the title itself. The original Greek title is better translated "The Regime". The traditional title is retained in Bloom's translation so that people know this is the same book as all the other translations but that's the *only* place in the book that this word is translated as "republic", everywhere but in the title it is translated as "regime". Bloom really wants you to know that the book isn't about a *form* of government (as though a good society could be established by clever arrangement of voting powers and checks and balances as the founders of the US later thought).

The book is about the actual people in charge of society and what their *character* is like. What virtues should the leaders have? How does such virtue work? How can such virtue be cultivated? This focus (and the characterization of virtue in a foreign language with foriegn starting assumptions about human nature and the "structure of the soul") is what was alien about the Greeks. Connecting modern readers with an alien culture that was concerned with *universally valid* reasoning about how people ought to be when coming together in groups is the point of reading it.

Bloom's whole orientation this way is the joy of this translation of Plato's "Regime" (or "Republic" if you prefer the traditional English title).

The reason I gave it only 4 stars was that, personally, Plato's original work seemed silly and amateurish to me.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The Roots of Western Discourse Dec 4 2012
Plato's 'Republic' is one of the most influential works in Western philosophy--one critic once said how all of Western thought is a footnote to Plato. While I don't agree exactly with that statement, I do believe that Plato helped articulate some of the key questions that humans ponder over when it comes to philosophy and life.

In the 'Republic', Socrates works with Glaucon and Adeimantus in order to define what the ideal city would be. The book begins with a discussion of what the "just" is, and then proceeds to construct an argument for this city as Socrates believes it should be. Issues of class, gender, morality, and the intellectual life are weaved into this dialogue as well. The figure central to the city is the "Philosopher-King", who Socrates believes should rule. Basically, the book thinks about what a city would be like if it were ruled by reason, and it does a good job of laying out different ways for it to be structured, though these plans amount to nothing concrete.

My problem with Plato is his treatment of poets. Socrates banishes them early on in the book because they aren't to be trusted. Aristotle would later say that poetry can be instructive, contrary to Plato's belief that they represent the indulgence of the passions. I believe that the passions, whether or not they are indulgent, are a key part of what it means to be human. Being in touch with them is what makes a human whole. Plato also offers an image of the soul: he believes that the part called reason should guide the passionate part, which is helped by the use of will. I love this image because it represents an ideal we all strive for in every aspect of life. That is, how to guide your passion for something into something productive. I think that being in touch with an emotion helps this even more.
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars For those willing to disagree
So you've asked some of the tough questions. You've questioned your teachers, you've questioned your parents, you've questioned yourself (you never thought to ask your boss), but... Read more
Published on March 10 2003 by Sobeit
5.0 out of 5 stars The classic--what did you expect?
There probably isn't much I can add in a scholarly vein to what people have already said about Plato. Read more
Published on Aug. 25 2002 by magellan
5.0 out of 5 stars The classic discussion of what justice is and how it works.
Plato's purpose here is to find the definition and nature of justice such as whether the just man is happier than the unjust man. Read more
Published on June 5 2002 by "an_avid_book_reviewer"
5.0 out of 5 stars A splendid translation of one of the world's greatest texts.
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. Read more
Published on April 17 2002 by Mitchel Weaver
5.0 out of 5 stars Awsome
If you love philosphy, this is the best book. There are many different versions of this book but this is the best one.
Published on Feb. 21 2002 by "tommy88"
5.0 out of 5 stars Same version I used in College
Ah... those lectures were invaluable. Pick up a copy and do some thinking!!!
Published on May 19 2001 by James May
5.0 out of 5 stars Irony Schmirony
With all due respect (and I really mean it -- Bloom's a treasure and I have a lot of respect for this translation), people with a modern right-wing ideological bent desperately... Read more
Published on March 30 2001 by Bill Krapek
5.0 out of 5 stars The only responsible way to read Plato
The Republic is a challenging, intricate, subtle work in which every word counts. This is why a "literal" translation is necessary -- a translation that truly reflects... Read more
Published on April 11 2000
4.0 out of 5 stars solid translation
For serious students of Plato (i.e. of philosophy) Bloom's translation is a must. Nowadays few can read Greek comfortably, and a translation that does not cheat the readers is... Read more
Published on Nov. 13 1999
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