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Preface to Plato

4.29  ·  Rating Details ·  104 Ratings  ·  7 Reviews
Plato's frontal attack on poetry has always been a problem for sympathetic students, who have often minimized or avoided it. Beginning with the premise that the attack must be taken seriously, Mr. Havelock shows that Plato's hostility is explained by the continued domination of the poetic tradition in contemporary Greek thought. The reason for the dominance of this traditi ...more
Paperback, 342 pages
Published April 15th 1982 by Belknap Press (first published 1963)
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May 17, 2010 Tim rated it it was amazing
For those billions of you loosing sleep each night trying to figure out why Plato was so hostile to poetry in the Republic, this book will give you sweet dreamless sleep, whiter teeth, and shrink your waistline while you feast on chocolate and pork rinds. And it might even be half true!
Arman Raina
Jun 24, 2015 Arman Raina rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
My summer project of reading Ancient Greek Philosophy got off to a rough start when I stumbled through Plato’s Republic. Expecting an insightful, albeit idealistic political solution, I was sorely confused. Interspersed between polemics against Poetry and Homer, I found traces of a simplistic, totalitarian regime. Even the running of this regime was not elaborated upon, except in the branch of education.
After scouring the internet wildly for answers, I found two likely solutions to my quandary.
Jesse Whyte
Apr 08, 2014 Jesse Whyte rated it it was amazing
One of those books that I encountered too late. But when I did, it suddenly synthesized years of related reading. Coupled with Luc Brisson's "How Philosophers Saved Myth", and it's the perfect preparation for reading Plato and Aristotle.
Sam Lundberg
Mar 14, 2016 Sam Lundberg rated it it was amazing
Fantastic. (Note to self: reread last hundred pages.)
Ted Newell
Dec 08, 2014 Ted Newell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
Simply excellent. Makes sense of the transition involved in thinking by memorized narratives versus writing -- that is, abstraction. I'd say "page turner" but that'd be way too strong. Still, many juicy bits like the singing Turkish soldiers of W W 1 who, still part of the narrative epic culture, spoke in near rhyme.
Oct 10, 2007 berthenia rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
This book completely transformed my world view. It was originally recommended by an ancient languages scholar at U. Mich. after I asked how one could tell which parts of the Old Testament were transcribed later from an oral tradition vs. which ones were "only" written.
Egor Sofronov
Nov 19, 2012 Egor Sofronov rated it liked it
If an enlightening enterprise in archaealogy of knowledge into the Platonic Revolution, then a bit tautological one.
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Eric Alfred Havelock was a British classicist who spent most of his life in Canada and the United States. He was a professor at the University of Toronto and was active in the Canadian socialist movement during the 1930s. In the 1960s and 1970s, he served as chair of the classics departments at both Harvard and Yale. Although he was trained in the turn-of-the-20th-century Oxbridge tradition of cla ...more
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