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.
"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