Reeve's Introduction provides a wealth of historical information about Plato and Socrates, and the sexual norms of classical Athens. His introductory essay looks closely at the dialogues themselves and includes the following sections: Socrates and the Art of Love; Socrates and Athenian Paiderastia; Loving Socrates; Love and the Ascent to the Beautiful; The Art and Psychology of Love Explained; and Writing about Love.
"This is a fabulous collection....the translations of Plato's dialogues are the best I've ever read. The introductions are very enlightening." --Bruce Fink, Duquesne University
C. D. C. Reeve is Delta Kappa Epsilon Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
The collection features Socrates as its central character and a model of the examined life. Its range allows us to see him in action in very different settings and philosophical modes: from the elenctic Socrates of the Meno and the dialogues concerning his trial and death, to the erotic Socrates of the Symposium and Phaedrus, to the dialectician of the Republic.
Of Reeve's translation of this final masterpiece, Lloyd P. Gerson writes, "Taking full advantage of S. R. Slings' new Greek text of the Republic, Reeve has given us a translation both accurate and limpid. Loving attention to detail and deep familiarity with Plato's thought are evident on every page. Reeve's brilliant decision to cast the dialogue into direct speech produces a compelling impression of immediacy unmatched by other English translations currently available."
Also included are concise introductions by Cooper and Hutchinson to each translation, meticulous annotation designed to serve both scholar and general reader, and a comprehensive index. This handsome volume offers fine paper and a high-quality Smyth-sewn cloth binding in a sturdy, elegant edition.
These dialogues underscore the limitations of democratic relativism and emphasize the nature of philosophy or the free mind. Plato’s Apology of Socrates is both poetry and an act of reformation, justifying the life of philosophy, challenging the authority of the pagan gods and heroes, and introducing Socrates as a heroic and even divine figure. In contrast, Xenophon’s Socrates is not dialectical and otherworldly, but makes a different appeal for philosophy. From Xenophon emerges the heroic tradition of Plutarch with its reflections on the virtues and vices of great historical men.
Focus Philosophical Library translations are close to and are non-interpretative of the original text, with the notes and a glossary intending to provide the reader with some sense of the terms and the concepts as they were understood by Plato and Xenophon’s immediate audience.