The Republic

The Republic

Book rating: 05 Paperback Penguin Classics

By (author) Plato, Introduction by Melissa Lane, Translated by Desmond Lee

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  • Publisher: PENGUIN CLASSICS
  • Format: Paperback | 480 pages
  • Dimensions: 128mm x 196mm x 26mm | 299g
  • Publication date: 23 December 2008
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0140455116
  • ISBN 13: 9780140455113
  • Edition: 2, New edition
  • Edition statement: 2nd ed.
  • Sales rank: 2,763

Product description

One of the greatest works of philosophy and political theory ever produced, Plato's "The Republic" has shaped western thought for thousands of years, remaining as relevant today as when it was first written in the Ancient Greece. This "Penguin Classics" edition is translated by Desmond lee with a new introduction by Melissa Lane. Plato's "Republic" is widely acknowledged as the cornerstone of Western philosophy. Presented in the form of a dialogue between Socrates and three different interlocutors, it is an enquiry into the notion of a perfect community and the ideal individual within it. During the conversation other questions are raised: what is goodness; what is reality; what is knowledge? "The Republic" also addresses the purpose of education and the role of both women and men as 'guardians' of the people. With remarkable lucidity and deft use of allegory, Plato arrives at a depiction of a state bound by harmony and ruled by 'philosopher kings'. Desmond Lee's translation of "The Republic" has come to be regarded as a classic in its own right. His introduction discusses contextual themes such as Plato's disillusionment with Athenian politics and the trial of Socrates. The new introduction by Melissa Lane discusses Plato's aims in writing "The Republic", its major arguments and its perspective on politics in ancient Greece, and its significance through the ages and today. Plato (c.427-347 BC) stands with Socrates and Aristotle as one of the shapers of the whole intellectual tradition of the West. He founded in Athens the Academy, the first permanent institution devoted to philosophical research and teaching, and the prototype of all Western universities. If you enjoyed "The Republic", you might like Machiavelli's "The Prince", also available in "Penguin Classics".

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Author information

Plato (c.427-347 BC) stands with Socrates and Aristotle as one of the shapers of the whole intellectual tradition of the West. He founded in Athens the Academy, the first permanent institution devoted to philosophical research and teaching, and theprototype of all Western universities. Desmond Lee was a fellow and tutor of Classics at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, and later became President of St Hughes Hall, Cambridge. Melissa Lane received her PhD in Philosophy from Cambridge University. She teaches the history of political thought and political philosophy in the History Faculty at Cambridge University, and is a Fellow of King's College. Her books include Method and Politics in Plato's Statesman (Cambridge, 1998) and Plato's Progeny: how Plato and Socrates still captivate the modern mind (Duckworth, 2001).

Customer reviews

By Mitch Wellstead 16 Jan 2011 5

Firstly, the pressing of this version felt a little fragile compared to the rest of the Penguin Classics range. I felt like I had to be careful with the front cover. Possibly just my one, as the rest in the series have been fantastic.

The book itself is indisputably the foundation of Western philosophy, although I guarantee you won't always agree with it. Socrates has some very odd views on some areas of society; for example he advocates the abolition of the family unit and the establishment of sex festivals where the best of the rulers are mated to produce the ideal offspring, and children are separated at birth.

It's certainly one of the most revolutionary insights into not only political science, but also from a social perspective. Equality of women, a system resembling Communism in some ways (the abolition of private property for the Guardian class for example), and what many would call a statement of totalitarian ideals centuries, even millennia before the rest of the world caught up are just some of the innovations presented in The Republic.

A great starting place for those interested in philosophy and political science alike. The pressing was a little annoying, but the introduction was fantastic, and the translation easy to read.

ie: buy it.