The lowest Dialogues of Plato, Volume 2: wholesale The Symposium online

The lowest Dialogues of Plato, Volume 2: wholesale The Symposium online

The lowest Dialogues of Plato, Volume 2: wholesale The Symposium online
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R. E. Allen’s superb new translation of Plato’s Symposium brings this classic text to life for modern readers. Allen supplements his translation with a commentary that not only enriches our understanding of Plato’s philosophy and the world of Greek antiquity but also provides insights into present-day philosophical concerns.

 

Allen reveals the unity of Plato’s intentions in the Symposium, explores the dialogue’s major themes, and links them with Plato’s other dialogues. His wide-ranging commentary includes discussions of Greek religious, social, and sexual practices, the conceptual connections between the Symposium and Freud, the influence of the Symposium on later writers, and recent scholarship on the dialogue. Allen’s primary focus is philosophical, however, and he succeeds in explicating the doctrine of Eros in Plato’s Symposium so that the reader can see how wish and desire relate to Plato’s moral philosophy, epistemology, and metaphysics.

Review

"This book will be of immense value to students of philosophy and literature and should interest general readers as well."―Library Journal



"Allen is a superb translator, whose elegantly simple yet precise language gives access to Plato both as a philosopher and as a literary artist."―Library Journal (on Volume 1)



"An important book. . . . The translation is fine; the major contribution is the thickly textured and expansive commentary covering each section of the dialogue. . . . Included are extended discussions of Dionysus, Greek medicine, Plotinus and Ficino, Plato and Freud, and a philosophical analysis of wish versus desire. . . . This book will be of immense value to students of philosophy and literature and should interest general readers as well."―Raymond Frey, Book Review Digest



"This volume contains an elegant translation and a useful essay."―Steven Lowenstam, Classical World



"Remarkable erudition, dialectical sophistication, and good sense are at work here. The result is a readable and interesting book that is likely to be the standard work on the Symposium for a long time to come."―Robert G. Turnbull, Ohio State University



From the Back Cover

This a translation of Plato''s Symposium brings a classic text to life for modern readers. This faithful and readable translation is supplemented with a commentary that not only enriches our understanding of Plato''s philosophy and the world of Greek antiquity, but also provides insights into present-day philosophical concerns.

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4.6 out of 54.6 out of 5
16 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

Alex
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Important dialogue paired with difficult commentary
Reviewed in the United States on April 3, 2018
The Symposium is the second most famous of all of Plato''s diaglogues- second only to The Republic. I will be reviewing R.E. Allen''s translation and commentaries, a black book published as part of a series by Yale University Press. The first hundred-or-so pages... See more
The Symposium is the second most famous of all of Plato''s diaglogues- second only to The Republic. I will be reviewing R.E. Allen''s translation and commentaries, a black book published as part of a series by Yale University Press.

The first hundred-or-so pages consist of commentary given by R.E. Allen. I have previously read volume one. In that volume, the commentaries were presented at a uniformly introductory level. They served to introduce specific Greek concepts untranslatable into English, and they gave cultural background necessary to understand the dialogue. In Volume 1, I would expect any reasonably bright university student to be able to understand the commentaries on a first read even without a philosophy background. The same cannot be said about Volume II.

The commentary in this volume is considerably more advanced, and to be honest there were portions in which I was lost. R.E. Allen does of good job of tracing the increasing complexity of the dialogue, and he often draws from modern (or near modern) perspectives on theories of love to shed light on the dialogue. Allen compares the Greek conception of Eros to the Christian concept of love, and eventually to psychological treatments of love from Freud.

That''s all fine and good. However, there are segments of the commentary where Allen seems to be diverted from the main discussion. For example he writes a multiple-page diversion on the epistemological foundations of Freudian psychology. Or he''ll write a substantial commentary on the metaphysics of love. While I understand that these may be related to the topic of Eros and love, I was lost. Moreover, as someone who has not yet studied metaphysics and epistemology, this was much beyond my understanding.

It is for this reason that I have detracted a star. However, I am also willing to concede that I may not have been sufficiently prepared. It may be that I come back to these commentaries in several years and greatly appreciate them. Please compare my comments with the other reviewers who have given this volume uniformly perfect reviews.

As for the dialogue itself, if you have read The Republic, or Volume I of this series, this dialogue should not be a problem. It is Plato''s treatment of Eros, or sexual love/passion. The setting is a drinking party, where everyone gives an encomium to Eros. As the participants give their speeches, in turn, the view of Eros becomes increasingly sophisticated. The first two speeches are hollow rhetoric- drunk on their own style without any regard to substance. The famous comedian, Aristophanes, gives a poetic description of Eros which feels surprisingly relevant, humans were originally a single spheroidal creature, with two heads. The gods separated us, and Eros is a longing for completeness. Here, we have poetic resonance without any
truth.

The encomiums build up to Socrates'' speech. If you know about Plato''s philosophy in general, it won''t surprise you to learn that Plato views Eros as a drive towards the Form of the Beautiful. There is a Ladder of Love, where appreciation of physical beauty drives humans towards contemplation of beauty itself.

All in all, it''s a fluid translation that isn''t very difficult to understand at face value. I recommend this volume, with the reservation that beginning philosophy students may have difficulty with the commentary at times.
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Owl
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
"...if any other among men is immortal, he is too..."
Reviewed in the United States on June 19, 2014
WHAT THIS BOOK IS ABOUT: The story tells what some seriously bibulous party-goers said at a celebration of a big win for the handsome Agathon, in the 416 BC contest amongst tragic playwrights. He''d feasted his performers the night before, and wine did not run... See more
WHAT THIS BOOK IS ABOUT:

The story tells what some seriously bibulous party-goers said at a celebration of a big win for the handsome Agathon, in the 416 BC contest amongst tragic playwrights. He''d feasted his performers the night before, and wine did not run short. The more select group he invited for a following banquet thus decided not to drink after practically every sentence, but as they pleased. Symposium means literally, "drinking together" ---not for the abstemious! Drinkers took it in turn to improvise on a topic suggested by the Master of Ceremonies, who selected in this case, the praise of Eros. A symposium was a celebration not only of an event, but also held to honor a god or gods, bringing together the sacred and more profane.

Six of the praises are reported by a narrator, Apollodurus, who is telling a companion what he heard from someone who was actually there, Aristodemus. Aristodemus, however, had plead intoxication and the capacity to recall only what he considered the high points. So enter into the spirit of the tipsy occasion and into the purposes of Platon who probably made up the whole of it.

AMONG THE HIGHLIGHTS

The six speeches wonderfully reflect the characters, voices, and quirks of the men.

Phaedrus the philosopher, he of the silver-gilt hair, most handsome himself, speaks well, imaginatively, and proposes Eros is a god who inspires the lover to the heights of devotion, even unto death, as Alcestis died for Admetus. Young, we might think, he imagines an army of lovers, each striving to win honor for his beloved and, inspired by Eros, ready to die to defend his beloved.

He''s followed by Pausanias, whose speech could be a Swiftian satire of how lawyers from 2300 years ago to today, can think, a selfie of his own argumentive cleverness in differenting types of Eros and explaining the fine points of Athenian laws on pederasty. Read aloud, it is LOL funny.

OK, on to Eryximachus, a physician, who advocates temperance in all things and elaborates on the dual nature of divine and profane Eros, extending Eros beyond sexual desires to the love of the Beautiful. Knowledgeable, yet no poet he, this encomium can inspire readers of today perhaps to avoid sharing a couch with an Athenian physician if you want a good time.

Now at last the magnificent comedic writer Aristophanes speaks, beginning with a story on how male and female were once one body, spherical in shape, what happened and with what consequences. Aristophanes is speaking of the human condition, with Eros as a single healing force, a speech of great beauty & power. Agathon''s in comparison is eloquent but flat----and then Socrates weaves the best from each, reveals the limitations of each, and raises us mortals to the divine in Eros as a devotion to the good, the true, the Beautiful.

Socrates claims only to be sharing what he learned from Diotima, the Wise Woman, about love & Eros. Diotima''s final spine-tingling sentence reads in full, "In begetting true virtue and nurturing it, it is given to him to become dear to god, and if any other among men is immortal, he is too." Almost 2,300 years later, we know as did the first readers of Plato''s "The Symposium" that while Diotima refered to those who contemplate the Beautiful, beholding the divine Beauty itself, single in nature, she could be speaking of Socrates himself. Which is why, says editor Allen, Plato put the speech as Socrates telling what Diotima said, rather than speaking in his own voice, Socrates who claims not that he is wise, only that he is a lover of wisdom and beauty.

Then Alcibiades lurches in, and gives a strange speech in praise of Socrates, including an erotic but more detailed report than might be expected of how Socrates ignored Alcibiades'' efforts to seduce him one cold Athenian night. More revelers arrive breaking up the Symposium. Finally only Agathon, Aristophanes and Socrates are awake, discussing tragedy and comedy, until the first two have been vanquished by Dionysus. Socrates arises, goes as usual to debate all day long, unvanquished by Dionysus or, in debate, by any other. The Symposium, like Woolf''s "Orlando," seems a gift of deepest love from Plato to the memory of Socrates.

WHY THIS EDITION OF "THE SYMPOSIUM"

I agree with the scholarly reviewer who compares six editions, concluding if only one would be read, Allen''s would be the choice for the quality of the translation and the value of Allen''s comments Hear! Hear!

I also agree with the reviewer who suggested beginning with the translation itself (76 pages including footnotes), then reading the over 110 pages of Allen''s commentary. The translation and footnotes are readable as they are. Allen''s fine commentary greatly deepens and enriches our understanding of the context----a defense of Socrates against charges of corrupting the youth of Athens. This is valuable, but not essential to reading "The Symposium" in its own voice first.

OVERALL: "Truth is beauty, beauty is truth" may have its roots in Plato''s "Symposium". This is a fine edition and at used book prices, a great, almost piratical, value.

There is a niggle. The arc of The Symposium is from Eros as physical sex to love of divine Beauty. The cover drawing displays only the lustful but not exactly as this translation''s notes say. The picture of the satyr and maenad suggests she has a choke-hold on him, rather than the other way, as the Allen edition states. Granted his hand is way beneath her gown, but one wouldn''t mess against her will with a robust woman holding a spotted panther by the tail & a huge thyrsus in the arm around one''s neck. The picture is from a drinking cup of the period. Perhaps the drawing was selected as a quiet thanks to whoever Diotima may have been and to Plato''s selection or creation of her as the wise woman to whom Socrates attributes his education in matters of love.

The Symposium draws us into a world of possibilities and attentive thought. Eros, life, and love says this edition as a whole in this robust, forthright translation, are more complex, affirmative, and joyous than they may seem. Bibemus! Highly recommended.
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Reviewer from San Ramon
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
The Ladder of love
Reviewed in the United States on April 22, 2011
In this review I will compare 5 translations of Plato''s Symposium: 1. Alexander Nehamas & Paul Woodruff (Hackett Pub Co, 1989). 2. Benardete (University of Chicago Press, 2001). 3. R.E. Allen (Yale University Press, 1993). 4. Shelley''s Translation (St... See more
In this review I will compare 5 translations of Plato''s Symposium:
1. Alexander Nehamas & Paul Woodruff (Hackett Pub Co, 1989).
2. Benardete (University of Chicago Press, 2001).
3. R.E. Allen (Yale University Press, 1993).
4. Shelley''s Translation (St Augustine Press, 2002)
5. Sharon (Focus Publishing/R.Pullins Co, 1997)

I have given all translations 5 stars for their own unique perspectives. Each of these editions has its own strengths and weaknesses, and because of this, none of this edition is complete in itself. Inevitably, if you are serious in undertaking this work, you need to pick up more than one edition. I will give a recommendation on which one to use, at the end of this review.

Symposium consists of a series of speeches on love (Eros), culminating in Socrates'' and then Alcibiades''. What I am looking for is, first, ease of understanding the central concept of the book, this is obtained through different types of translations. My bias is toward a translation that is fluid, natural, and conveys the concept in a straight forward way. Second, I am also looking for helpful insights and philosophical explanations of some key thoughts. You get this from the quality of commentary/notes as part of the book.

Both Sharon''s and Nehamas'' editions are similar in their lucid, straightforward, and current translations. I find that these 2 editions to be the best and easiest in understanding the text. On the translation side, I give these 5 stars. However, the commentaries in both editions are basic, and unsatisfying in my mind. For this, I give 4 stars.

Benardete''s edition has a superb commentaries both written by him and another (which is the gem here) written by Allan Bloom. You may or may not like Bloom''s style, but he does give you a lot of background especially in ancient Greek pederasty culture, and valuable insights in each of the speeches. I give this a 5 star. I will recommend buying this book just for those 2 commentaries. On the translation itself, however, I am not a fan of Benardete''s style. I have commented this in other reviews for his other translations, especially the "Sophist". For some reason, I find it more complex, long winded, and harder to understand. For this I give this edition translation 4 stars only.

Allen''s edition is superb for both translation and commentaries; this is a 5 star book for me.

Finally, on Shelley''s translation: this is a unique edition for a couple of reasons. It is a translation of a masterpiece work, by a master in literature himself, Percy Shelley. So, you are reading not only Plato''s works, but also a work by one of the most influential literary figure in the English world. Secondly, there is an extensive commentary by David O''Connor, not only on the Symposium, but also on Shelley''s process and motivation of doing the translation. A superb edition.

My final recommendation: pick up either Sharon or Nehamas'' book (personally I prefer Sharon''s, it is beautifully done) for the translation, and then pick up Stanley Rosen''s "Plato''s Symposium" for the commentary (I have a separate review for this superb book). However, if you must read 1 and only 1 book, I would stay with Allen''s.
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Chris Largent
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
The best Plato translator and commentator for my purposes (as one who teaches Plato)
Reviewed in the United States on March 19, 2016
Having taught Plato''s dialogues for years and having used many translations, Allen''s are my choice always. His translations are somewhere between brilliant and inspired, and his commentaries are excellent. Let me correct that: not only should every serious philosopher... See more
Having taught Plato''s dialogues for years and having used many translations, Allen''s are my choice always. His translations are somewhere between brilliant and inspired, and his commentaries are excellent. Let me correct that: not only should every serious philosopher read Plato, but all Plato readers should also read Allen''s commentaries.
Allen once noted that he hoped to translate all of Plato''s dialogues in his lifetime. I hope he does!
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Sydney D. Thompson
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Excellent edition
Reviewed in the United States on August 27, 2020
The translation is excellent and so is the one hundred page commentary.
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tranquilocomp
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Great edition
Reviewed in the United States on September 12, 2021
Excellent.
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jamie lawrence
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Great service
Reviewed in the United States on June 17, 2019
Book was as described and promptly delivered.
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Stephanie
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Five Stars
Reviewed in the United States on July 4, 2014
Amazing read!
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Top reviews from other countries

Nick
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Five Stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 20, 2016
a must read
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The lowest Dialogues of Plato, Volume 2: wholesale The Symposium online

The lowest Dialogues of Plato, Volume 2: wholesale The Symposium online

The lowest Dialogues of Plato, Volume 2: wholesale The Symposium online

The lowest Dialogues of Plato, Volume 2: wholesale The Symposium online

The lowest Dialogues of Plato, Volume 2: wholesale The Symposium online

The lowest Dialogues of Plato, Volume 2: wholesale The Symposium online

The lowest Dialogues of Plato, Volume 2: wholesale The Symposium online

The lowest Dialogues of Plato, Volume 2: wholesale The Symposium online

The lowest Dialogues of Plato, Volume 2: wholesale The Symposium online

The lowest Dialogues of Plato, Volume 2: wholesale The Symposium online

The lowest Dialogues of Plato, Volume 2: wholesale The Symposium online

The lowest Dialogues of Plato, Volume 2: wholesale The Symposium online

The lowest Dialogues of Plato, Volume 2: wholesale The Symposium online

The lowest Dialogues of Plato, Volume 2: wholesale The Symposium online

The lowest Dialogues of Plato, Volume 2: wholesale The Symposium online

The lowest Dialogues of Plato, Volume 2: wholesale The Symposium online

The lowest Dialogues of Plato, Volume 2: wholesale The Symposium online

The lowest Dialogues of Plato, Volume 2: wholesale The Symposium online

The lowest Dialogues of Plato, Volume 2: wholesale The Symposium online

The lowest Dialogues of Plato, Volume 2: wholesale The Symposium online

The lowest Dialogues of Plato, Volume 2: wholesale The Symposium online

The lowest Dialogues of Plato, Volume 2: wholesale The Symposium online