Eva Brann is a recipient of the National Humanities Medal. Her other books include Doublethink / Doubletalk, Then & Now, Un-Willing, The Logos of Heraclitus, Feeling Our Feelings, Homage to Americans, Open Secrets / Inward Prospects, The Music of the Republic, and Homeric Moments (all published by Paul Dry Books).
In the first essay, Brann parses out the schema and meaning of Herodotus's The History (The Persian Wars). She writes that Herodotus worked by indirection. Giving a full account of the Persians and the peoples who constituted their empire—and whose empire encircled the Greeks (thus the "Greek center")—Herodotus delineates the essential difference between the Barbarians and the Greeks. This difference Brann calls Athens' "elusive essence," its freedom contrasting with the slavery upon which the Persian empire depended.
In the second essay, the author delves into what it means for a person to unite a disposition toward conservatism with a capacity to reiterate and rehearse events, scenes, and dramas in "the conservatory of the imagination." To uncover the meanings and consequences of this union—this imaginative conservatism—and the type of soul to which it applies, Brann offers twelve perspectives, starting with "Temperamental Disposition" and ending with "Eccentric Centrality" (without ever explicitly focusing on politics). Join her and you'll find both delight and education.
In fourteen essays, Eva Brann talks with readers about the conversations Socrates engages in with his fellow Athenians. In doing so, she shows how Plato’s dialogues and the timeless matters they address remain important to us today.
The Music of the Republic “will establish [Eva Brann] as one of the great readers and interpreters of the Platonic dialogues in modern times.”—Bruce Foltz, Eckerd College
“It is a wonder and a delight to be led by Eva Brann through the Socratic conversations…Those who do not know the Republic will be initiated into its treasures. Those who believe that it is a great book will understand better what they already know. And all who teach the dialogues will find their souls expanded in the presence of this most generous teacher.” —Ann Hartle, Emory University
“In these wonderfully insightful essays, Eva Brann helps us hear the music of Plato’s dialogues and join the conversation…I found myself filled with envy for her students and happy, with this book, to now be included among them.”—Anthony T. Kronman, Yale University
"The title essay of this collection is a miniature masterpiece, one of the most seminal writings of our time on Plato's Republic."—John Sallis, Pennsylvania State University
“An engaged solitary, an inward-turned observer of the world, inventor of the first of philosophical genres, the thought-compacted aphorism,” “teasingly obscure in reputation, but hard-hittingly clear in fact,” “now tersely mordant, now generously humane.”
Thus Eva Brann introduces Heraclitus—in her view, the West’s first philosopher.
The collected work of Heraclitus comprises 131 passages. Eva Brann sets out to understand Heraclitus as he is found in these passages and particularly in his key word, Logos, the order that is the cosmos.
“Whoever is captivated by the revelatory riddlings and brilliant obscurities of what remains of Heraclitus has to begin anew—accepting help, to be sure, from previous readings—in a spirit of receptivity and reserve. But essentially everyone must pester the supposed obscurantist until he opens up. Heraclitus is no less and no more pregnantly dark than an oracle…The upshot is that no interpretation has prevailed; every question is wide open.”