Alex's Reviews > The Republic of Plato

The Republic of Plato by Plato
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review
Aug 28, 08

it was amazing

What can I say that hasn't already been said? It's trendy to sneer at the "Great Books" crowd, or at people who seemingly cannot overstate the importance of this work, but as any schoolchild can tell you: the more adults complain about something, it's probably secretly really really awesome and "I should probably try this." As Bloom puts it in his revised preface, this is a permanent book. What is justice? What is the good? What is the ideal city? Can such a thing be made? What of education, music, and the passions?

"The problems as presented by Plato arouse more interest, disagreement, and excitement at some points than at others. When non-philosophers begin their acquaintance with philosophers, they frequently say, 'This is nonsense.' But sometimes they say, 'This is outrageous nonsense,' and at such moments their passions really become involved with the philosophers, frequently culminating in hatred or love."

See? Love it or hate it, not a human being alive or dead can escape philosophy, nor can they escape this book.

But why Bloom's over other translations of the Republic? Translation itself has been a thorn in our sides since the Tower of Babel: how does one render accurately in another language what an author meant in the original? Allan Bloom is of the view that on the question of meaning, the translator must presume to know the meaning of the original in all its precision and context. That is, on top of being a highly capable linguist he must also be a top scholar of the work. So while attempting to get behind the meaning behind "See Spot Run" might work fairly well, it's the highest presumptuousness to think that the same would work easily for The Republic. That is the case for a literal translation - no fuss over meaning, no fretting about tainting an old work with modern perspectives on it. That's what Bloom attempts here, and without knowing ancient Greek, I'll take my professors' advice that he succeeds.

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read The Republic of Plato.
Sign In »

No comments have been added yet.