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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Modern Talk" translation,
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Conversation,
As translations go, this particular issue is one of the best on the market and the author had discussed it's details with a Kabbalist teacher of mine Glynn Davies. A translation is dependent to a greater or lesser extent on the author's appreciation and interpretation of the sorts of contents involved - and this translation is pretty current. There is a good introduction about the characters, especially Alcibiades and Xenophon who were real people from the time.
I think this book is a wonderful evocation of deep thinking from the Greek world starting with sensual love and then going on to describe a sort of spiritual love that subverts our expectations of what we would understand by Love personified as a deity. Socrates is in the beginning seen to enter into a meditational reverie which probably indicates that some such sages did meditate as in Indian traditions in order to obtain wisdom. Later, Socrates recounts the wisdom transmitted by an Oracle called Diotima (almost as if to say, "this is not what I think (though it is actually) but it was conveyed to me as follows by this trustworthy source".
Some of your friends should appreciate the wisdom of this book. Above all, it is The Symposium, the important conversation among friends at dinner talking about something of the sublime in a way that echoes but also seriously deepens the level of our own more mundane discussions on romance and true love that crop up regularly if you're at that sort of age.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is how the ancient Greeks do it...,
I am quite new myself to the works of Plato and philosophy in general, so I can't offer up a discussion of how it fits into the wider scheme of things but I can say that Symposium is an enjoyable and interesting discussion. Whether the ideas presented in this dialogue are scientifically or even philosophically relevant now I'm not too sure, but it's still a wonderful piece of ancient Greece, complete with the usual references to Greek Gods and Goddesses and musings on the mystery of love. You may be as surprised as I was to read that nearly all references to love and lovers are concerning man and boy relationships, rather than heterosexual relationships, though this is not really important to the nature of love as is discussed. It seems to have been a much more acceptable and normal practice to the ancient Greeks, than it is in the modern world.
Some of Penguin classic' series on Plato's dialogues can be difficult to read, being interspersed with lengthy commentary and footnotes, though that this does not happen with this book. The dialogue is unbroken by any commentary and this is better for the reader, as it allows him or her to produce their own understanding of the text. There is a lengthy introduction and closing notes, though if you do intend to read these then these are best read after you have read the dialogue, again so as not to be influenced by the ideas and conclusions of someone else.
All in all, this a fairly short but enjoyable book, that is an interesting and an enlightening glimpse into the social and philosophical beginnings of western civilisation.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Greatly Accessible,
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Love love love,
This review is from: The Symposium (Penguin Great Ideas) (Paperback)I'm not a philosophy or ancient history student, I picked up Plato's "Symposium" to challenge myself and see if I could understand it. The "Symposium" is a gathering of Greek thinkers who sit around and give speeches about love.
Phaedrus talks about the greatness of love and how those who have it achieve great things. Pausanias talks of the merits of boy/man love where the boy pleasures the man while the man passes on his wisdom to the boy and that this is the best kind of love, not the lesser lover of procreation between man and woman. Eryximachus talks about how love is the source of all happiness. Aristophanes talks about how once upon a time there was no man or woman but a single human who had both sexes' characteristics. These creatures tried to scale the heavens and so Zeus cut them in half and ever since then man and woman have sought to create that single creature again. Socrates talks about his teacher Diotima and how she taught him that love was the only way human beings could be immortal.
"The Symposium" is a short read not to be rushed as there are some fascinating ideas here. Not new ones though but ones that have influenced western culture and thought for centuries. Aristophanes' and Diotima's especially are ideas I've come across before but didn't know they originated in this text. It's also very pro-pederasty which I thought was amusing and can see why some people might have thought Plato was a closet homosexual. Those Greeks certainly were liberated though.
It's an accesible and interesting little book though this Penguin Great Ideas edition features no notes, contextual history, introduction, glossary, reading list, etc which the Penguin Classics edition does so if you're studying this text I'd get that edition rather than this one.
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book!,
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic!,
This review is from: The Symposium (Penguin Great Ideas) (Paperback)I first read this book in college and gave it to my boyfriend for Christmas. It has stood the test of time!
5.0 out of 5 stars Plato makes us fall in love with the topic Love,
In short - which is what this book is - the scene is an intellectual debate between multiple men on the topic of Love as both sexual love, and desire.
The introduction is very precise and informative, however, I suggest reading it after reader the text (which is only 63 pages). This is because the text itself is easy to read, and the introduction opts to discuss how to read it, whereas is best used as a concise outline of what each man says,
Plato is a genius, I suggest his other works also.
Also, Aristophanes' eulogy is hilarious and surprisingly pretty logical.
5.0 out of 5 stars Good,
This review is from: The Symposium (Paperback)This is a really good book, it helped a lot when it came to my degree. Fast delivery which was really nice.
5.0 out of 5 stars Present,
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The Symposium (Penguin Great Ideas) by Plato (Paperback - 25 Aug 2005)