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The Republic (Penguin Classics) [Paperback]

Plato , Melissa Lane , H.D.P. Lee , Desmond Lee
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
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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) + The Politics (Classics) + The Nicomachean Ethics (Oxford World's 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 12.9 x 2.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,077 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Plato (c. 427-347 BC), was an Athenian philosopher-dramatist. Born into a wealthy and prominent family, he grew up during the conflict between Athens and the Peloponnesian states which engulfed the Greek world from 431 to 404 BC. Following its turbulent aftermath, he was deeply affected by the condemnation and execution of his revered master Socrates (469-399) on charges of irreligion and corrupting the young. In revulsion from political activity, Plato devoted his life to the pursuit of philosophy. Plato founded the Academy, an early ancestor of the modern university, devoted to philosophical and mathematical enquiry, and to the education of future rulers or 'philosopher-kings'. The Academy's most celebrated member was the young Aristotle (384-322), who studied there for the last twenty years of Plato's life. Their works mark the highest peak of philosophical achievement in antiquity, and both continue to rank among the greatest philosophers of all time.

Product Description


"[Griffith's] aim was to traslate the Greek text as if it were a conversation, and he has succeeded admirably." Library Journal

"In addition to a vivid, dignified and accurate rendition of Plato's text, the student and general reader will find many aids to comprehension in this volume: an introduction that assesses the cultural background to the Republic, its place within political philosophy, and its general argument; succinct notes in the body of the text; an analytical summary of the work's content; a full glossary of proper names; a chronology of important events; and a guide to further reading. The result is an accomplished and accessible edition of this seminal work, suitable for philosophers and classicists as well as historians of political thought at all levels." African Sun Times Review of Books --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Book Description

The late James Adam's edition of The Republic of Plato was published in 1902 and remains the most detailed and valuable critical edition available. D. A. Rees has written an introduction of 15,000 words for this edition. In it, he surveys Adam's work on the textual problems, language and meaning of The Republic. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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The whole imaginary conversation is narrated by Socrates to an unspecified audience. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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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8 of 9 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 For one night only... Socrates! 9 Mar 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have only read 'Book I' and already I feel that I've got my money's worth! The pace of the dialogues between the characters is excellent, with short, concise answers intersecting pertinent, hypothetical questions. Socrates, in particular, reminds me of one of those sarcastic, know it all people but tolerated because of their charm, intelligence and sardonic wit. You get a real sense that Plato has given us the true Socrates which lends great weight to the realism of the scene. You could, albeit the antiquated prose, put this into a modern setting; down the local pub, family barbeque, or even a prison yard! This was a pleasant suprise as I was under the impression that it was just about the subject matter, which of course, it is fundamentally but even so, Plato could have probably wrote a good story about anything.
I'm no philosophy expert(really!!) and was drawn to the book after reading the allegory of the cave which is also worth the price of the book on it's own. If you haven't read the allegory, I suggest you look it up because I promise it will enlighten you but be warned, it might even blow your mind!!
I purposely haven't mentioned the subject matter because, like I said, I've only read the first book and just wanted to emphasize the fact that if you're studying philosophy, why are you reading this? You should already have it! If you are looking for a humorous and enlightening read, then this is for you. The style of writing does take getting used to but I don't think it's as confusing as Shakespeare. Looking forward to the next nine chapters.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book 29 Oct 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Cant believe that this book is free for kindle, just had to get it when I saw it.
Great for anyone studying social sciences
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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 It's Plato, what do you expect? 22 Sep 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Socrates at his best as recalled by Plato. This particular translation is easy to read and understand and if you like Plato, it's like reading a comic - easy and time passing. A free book it may be but excellent none the less.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Plato's The Republic 9 Sep 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The man died more than two thousand three hundred and fifty years ago and still he is making us think. I would love to ask him a few questions and he would not have it all his own way.
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1 of 1 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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Goodbye Plato
Reading Plato may be informative, but you have got to admit he is an ancient bore! It may be true that the idealised republic is a philosophers device but God forbid it ever came... Read more
Published 15 days ago by Edward
5.0 out of 5 stars Esential reading
This is a must read for everyone it gives a depth to all knowledge and understanding. The classics are sadly underated
Published 1 month ago by David Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book
Being Greek I was fortunate enough to be able to read, many years ago,"The republic" in the original text. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Lazaros K.
5.0 out of 5 stars Ace
Needed this book for my studies saw it for free on kindle and with all kindle purchases stress free winner !!!!
Published 3 months ago by mark john mould
5.0 out of 5 stars Typical Plato
Cleverly written and translated, makes you think about the world and how amazing it is to live and understand. Wise words but Mr. White beard himself
Published 4 months ago by Jesus
4.0 out of 5 stars Movie inspiration
Funnily enough, it was watching the movie "To End all Wars", a true-life story about WW2 British POWs in a Japanese labour camp building the Burma Railway, that inspired me to read... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Clive Tully
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect for reading and money saving
Exactly what I wanted, the book without any academical explanations.
My daughter love it and she is happy to figure out the meaning by herself
Published 6 months ago by Mary-Therese
3.0 out of 5 stars Capricious lecturers
This is a pretty good translation, depending on who you ask. I had a copy of the republic, then needed to buy this exact translation for a specific module on my course. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Ellie Tucker
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent explanation of the text.
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.
Published 8 months ago by Alanai
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