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The Republic (Penguin Classics) [Paperback]

Plato , Melissa Lane , H.D.P. Lee , Desmond Lee
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
Price: 6.29 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

31 May 2007 Penguin Classics

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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The Republic (Penguin Classics) + Leviathan (Oxford World's Classics) + The Communist Manifesto (Penguin Classics)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; 3rd edition (31 May 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140455116
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140455113
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 2.1 x 12.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,497 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

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).


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Warm and Friendly Philosophy from Plato 12 Jun 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you are new to philosophy or Plato, or indeed a seasoned and erudite reader, then you really should read and own a copy of this book. Plato is a delight to read (far easier to read than Aristotle, for example), the book being a Socratic dialogue set out very much like the dialogue of a play. I found the ideas and ideologies presented within this book profound and breath-taking, especially given how long ago the original text was written. An absolutely essential read about justice, society and the self.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By Bart
Format:Paperback
Undoubtedly this must be one of the most beautiful books that have ever been written in the history of European literature. Pure philosophy without philosophising... if you know what I mean... The language is simple and straightforward. Concepts are laid out beautifully. Problems and questions are eternally valid and universal. All of them the truths of life. All about being, wanting to be and not giving up; only at some level the questions Plato asks are political questions.
If, once youve read the book, you are one of the lucky (unlucky?) ones for whom the Republic has become the life changing Monumentum then you will most likely be taken on a journey into the cave, deep and dark, and if among that darkness you see the light of Idea, as Plato imagined it, you will either come out of that cave as a different man or nover come out at all.

I read this book for the first time when I was 15 or 16 years old, probably much too early not to understand the power of Idea... my heart was still pure, mind naive, the Idea was irresistible and it had stolen my heart for ever... what it did to me cannot be described...

Read it! Read it! But read it to your Sons and Daughters!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Different translations can make all the difference 30 April 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I read this translation originally, but I lost my copy and decided to replace it with a nicer-looking hardback copy (The Republic: The Influential Classic (Capstone Classics)). I didn't know what all the fuss was about over different translations... but I quickly found out! The hardback I bought was a translation by Tom Butler-Bowdon and I hated it. I would read a paragraph and then wonder what on earth I'd just read. Somehow, the words just felt unnatural and it was difficult to take in. At first I thought it was because I was tired, but then I realised it was the translation.

This paperback version (translated by Desmond Lee) is, by contrast, wonderful So smooth and easy to take in. After a few days of frustration with the hardback, I ditched it and bought the Lee translation again. I love this book. It has been a favorite of mine for years. I'm so glad to have my old friendly version back again. It turns out the translation makes all the difference.

It's a shame about the hardback. I really liked the way it looked on my shelf, but the old cliché is true: you can't judge a book by its cover!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Book for Today 17 April 2013
By Roderic
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I first read this important work in my teens, and I find it even more relevant to today. Although we tend to think of Ancient Philosophers as dull and unconnected with our National life, I recommend this book to the young of today and to older people who might not have had time to tackle it. The book is not like ploughing a wet field, it is much lighter and full of wisdom that is kindly put. In this accessible translation one is led into the realm of thoughtfulness and (dare one say) a spiritual world. Yes, please read it and then keep it by one for a wait in a doctor's surgery.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Product - Would do business with again 13 Oct 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Fantastic read, covers the Republic Critique effortlessly. Great aid and easy reading. Would definitely recommend this book. Definitely Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good modernisation 4 Mar 2011
By Thomas
Format:Paperback
This book has a very modern feel despite the text being around 2500 years old. I like the translation, the choice of words feel more correct, I think it corresponds more to our modern time. I especially like the introduction, outlining every point in the book. There are notes and elaborations along the way, explaining and guiding you through the sometimes difficult arguments. The book itself is not very large, you can easily read it comfortably in one hand. I love the layout and picture on the front of the book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book 13 Jan 2014
Format:Paperback
Being Greek I was fortunate enough to be able to read, many years ago,"The republic" in the original text.
This book,which conveys all of Plato's concepts and ideas in an impeccable way to the English speaking reader,deserves every praise.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent explanation of the text. 12 Aug 2013
By Alanai
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The author gives an explanation of the text at the beginning of each book. The explanations are clearly given and allow the reader to understand Plato without any problem.
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