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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Effortlessly Readable, 8 Feb 2002
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For a book 2000 years old, this has a remarkable freshness and vigour, even compared to other Platonic dialogues. The scene is, rather than a dinner party, actually an all night drinking session where a group of notable Athenians decide not to have the usual enforced drinking games due to their enormous hangovers. Instead, with Socrates joining them, they decide that each man should only drink as much as he wants to, and they should all in turn propose a toast to the Greek god of love. I don't know about anyone else out there, but this confirms my idea of what true Philosophy is all about, jabbering away deep into the night with a group of friends on the big subjects in life. Very very entertaining and a salient reminder that, in the intervening millenia, not that much has changed.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Place to Start a Platonic Relationship, 14 Jun 2003
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Captain Cook (Leeward to the Sandwich Islands) - See all my reviews
A special mood is induced by reading Plato, the product of an elite society whose ideal was leisurely contemplation. Indeed, it is an activity that seems to clash at every point with our own unreflective society whose thought currency is minted in soundbites and advertising slogans. People are not encouraged to be philosophical nowadays, so it is mainly the resort of the antisocial and the willfully eccentric who are in this way enabled to look down on the 'crude, vulgar masses.' Who, reading a book of Plato's, hasn't felt something of this pleasure?
If there is one book by Plato that can be considered to have a more mainstream appeal then it must surely be "The Symposium." The subject of love is of interest to us all and worthy of investigation as behind this word, perhaps the most overstretched in our language, there are so many possible meanings.
With this book we are able to eavesdrop on an after dinner party conversation by some truly great minds. As always, Plato is happy to present more than one view. Of course, the shocking point for the mainstream modern reader is that most of the discussion concerns homosexual love, nevertheless much of what is said can also be applied to many heterosexual situations.
Among the participants presented with perhaps some semblance to their original characters, are the great Athenian comic playwright, Aristophanes, and, towards the end, the party is enlivened by the arrival of the controversial Alcibiades, possibly the most brilliant statesman and soldier of his generation. It is through him and his confession of attempted seduction that we learn a great many details about Plato's mentor, Socrates.
The translator, Christopher Gill, succeeds in presenting the chain of argument in a clear, lucid style, further supplemented by a fine, lengthy introduction and copious notes for those unfamiliar with late fifth century BC Greece.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still relevant classic in accessible translation, 13 Oct 2000
By A Customer
Plato's symposium contains a series of speeches on love which despite been firmly rooted in the classical world are still capable of engaging thought, debate and reflection in our contemporary world. This new translation is marked by accessible language which allows the reader to concentrate on what is being said and debated rather than having to wade through the less easy language of earlier editions. Far from dumbing down - the translation is well written and heavily footnoted, allowing the option of exploring the text further in its references to classical history and mythology. I've become hooked on classics again.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!, 15 Mar 2014
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Excellent and fast delivery, the book was in good condition. Overall perfect for my studies. If you like Plato then this is an excellent read for you! 10/10
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Plato: Symposium (Cambridge Greek and Latin Classics)
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